Medical Director, Child and Family Trauma Service
Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry
At the UCLA Semel Institute, Dr. Lester is the Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center, and Medical Director of the Child and Family Trauma Service.
A board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Lester’s research and clinical work have been dedicated to the development, evaluation, and implementation of family centered prevention and treatment for families facing the impact of military deployments, traumatic events, and parental illness. She co-developed the family-centered preventive intervention FOCUS which was designed to promote resilience and mitigate stress in families facing adversities such as natural disasters, medical illness, and military wartime deployments. Over the last 3 years, she has led the successful large scale implementation of FOCUS for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, as well as piloting at Army and Air Force sites. Dr. Lester oversees the on-line FOCUS learning center and evaluation programming, which utilizes web-based technologies to support program implementation at scale. She is well-versed in the scientific and programmatic issues facing military families, and serves as an advisor on the needs of military children and families across military, university and non-profit agencies. She is also the co-principle investigator on a Department of Defense study to evaluate the impact of wartime deployment reintegration on young military children and their families.
Her work has been supported by the Department of Defense, the US Department of Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, National Institute for Mental Health, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.