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Dina Birman, Ph.D

Associate Professor of Psychology

Research
I have two major programs of research: (1) Acculturation and adjustment of refugees and immigrants; and (2) Refugee mental health services, particularly school-based interventions. My approach to these topics is rooted in Community Psychology in several ways. First, I view these topics from an ecological perspective, studying not only individual and family level variables, but also how communities and institutions shape the lives of the people within them. Second, I believe that community research can be conducted in ways that empower and support communities and institutions through long-term collaborations with individuals and institutions we study. In this way research projects can not only contribute to general knowledge but also support and enhance the settings where data are collected. Third, mental health interventions can serve preventive functions that enhance general adaptation of immigrants and refugees as well as provide intensive treatment to those who need it.

Courtney Bonam, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Social Psychology

Research
Courtney Bonam is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She began this position in 2012, after completing a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley. Dr. Bonam is also a research affiliate of San Francisco State University's Center for Sustainable Cities and Schools. Trained as a social psychologist, her research focuses on stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination; environmental justice; racial disparities in access to high quality physical space; as well as the experiences and perceptions of multiracial people. Courtney is a graduate of Stanford University. During her time there, she published research focusing on multiracial individuals' views of race as a social construct, as well as how this view can afford them resilience in potentially challenging social situations.

Sabine French, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Research
My primary research interest is studying ethnic identity development in adolescents. Identity development is a crucial facet of adolescent development. Adolescence is the time when individuals have the cognitive abilities, the social influences, and the opportunities to examine and explore various identities. Living in such a diverse society, ethnic identity may become particularly important for adolescents of color. Most theories of ethnic identity development suggest a developmental stage model where individuals move from an unexamined identity through a period of exploration and then finally to an achieved identity where an individual is secure in what it means to be a member of his/her ethnic group.

In order to explore the process of this developmental model, I have examined the ethnic identity of racially and ethnically diverse adolescents and college students longitudinally over multiple years in two separate projects. My research has supported the theorized developmental models.

I am also examining the factors that promote or hinder the positive development of ethnic identity, as well as the association of ethnic identity with psychological well being, healthy behaviors and academic achievement - with a particular focus on understanding the differing pattern of findings in the different racial/ethnic groups. Thus far, I have found that different racial and ethnic groups exhibit some different patterns of relationships with predictor and outcome variables; thus affirming that there are some aspects of ethnic identity that are unique to individual ethnic groups.

My second line of research focuses on factors that promote or hinder academic achievement among ethnically diverse adolescents.

Melissa Lamar, Ph.D

Associate Professor Psychology in Psychiatry

Research
Dr. Lamar’s work attempts to determine the neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive and affective dysfunction in normal and pathological aging with an emphasis on minority populations. Her recently funded research supported by the National Institute on Aging uses current and novel MRI techniques to determine the underlying white matter microstructure associated with vascular risk and cognitive performance in aging. To date, no studies have applied myelin mapping to aging and vascular risk in minority populations. This research stand at the nexus of current and future MRI techniques for identifying and utilizing a biomarker of white matter micro-structural integrity in vivo, providing a foundation for a new model of vascular aging that may be the basis for specific interventions to slow the progression of white matter neuropathology and associated cognitive decline. Even more importantly, it focuses on minority populations, a traditionally under-served but consistently over-represented portion of those individuals negatively impacted by vascular co-morbidities.

David McKirnan, Ph.D

Associate Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology

Research
I have been doing research within the GLBT community for 25 years or so. I have primarily addressed alcohol and drug use and HIV risk among men, both in measurement studies and randomized controlled trials of structured behavioral interventions. One intervention study addressed coping with HIV infection, medication adherence and sexual risk among gay men and Lower socioeconomic status African-American women. The last intervention study I completed was a randomized controlled trial of a multi-media, group-based prevention program for younger African-American men who have sex with men. My earlier work addressed GLBT attitudes toward potential HIV vaccines, as well as several vaccine trials. My work has primarily been based at Howard Brown Health Center, the largest GLBT health center in the Midwest.

Edison Trickett, Ph.D

Professor of Psychology

Research
My current research projects are a study of acculturation and adaptation among Soviet and Vietnamese refugee adolescents and adults, and an evaluation of a school within a school for refugee and immigrant adolescents who have undergone serious educational disruption in their countries of origin because of war or political turmoil. On the more conceptual front, I am writing a book on collaboration between researchers and community settings and editing a book on ways of increasing the community impact of AIDS interventions.