Diana is a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she also received her Master’s in Counseling Psychology. Prior to graduate school, she received a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University. Diana’s research focuses on examining intergenerational promotive and protective factors that buffer the impact of violence and adversity among underserved populations. In her work, she draws on cultural and family strengths that promote resilience among Latinos/as impacted by trauma. She is interested in addressing health disparities among vulnerable populations and using community-based participatory approaches that are trauma-informed and culturally sensitive. Additionally, she is becoming certified as a Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) therapist with PCIT International. After graduation in June 2018, Diana hopes to continue work with diverse and underserved populations through both community-driven research and trauma-informed clinical practice. She will continue to promote trauma-informed prevention and intervention efforts that are both accessible and culturally adapted.
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UCLA Family STAR Clinic
Liz is a clinical psychology doctoral student from Clark University, where she also obtained her Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Before pursuing her Ph.D., Liz obtained a Master’s in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Liz’s research focuses broadly on diverse couples and families, with an emphasis on adversity and trauma through the use of qualitative methodology. Her past work included examining experiences of LGBTQ families formed through foster care and adoption, including the impact of public policy on family dynamics. More recently, Liz has explored help seeking in LGBTQ communities related to accessing couples therapy, brief relationship interventions, and resources for dating violence/sexual assault. With the help of the 2017 Michael Sullivan Diversity Research Award, Liz’s dissertation explored the ways in which LGBTQ women navigate experiences of interpersonal trauma. After graduation in May 2018, Liz hopes to continue to develop an expertise as a child/adolescent psychologist for acute and complex clinical presentations, including histories of trauma, with a specialization in LGBTQ youth.
Post Doctoral Fellow
Elisa Brown Fuller is a postdoctoral fellow in the Nathanson Family Resilience Center at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. As a member of the Family Development Program, she provides psychotherapeutic support to parents of medically fragile infants who have been admitted to or graduated from the neonatal intensive care unit. She attended Fielding Graduate University’s Ph.D. program in clinical psychology with a focus on parent infant mental health. During her clinical internship at the Immaculata University Internship Consortium in Pennsylvania, she worked with underserved, ethnically diverse children and high-risk young mothers. In her work with families, she emphasizes relationship-based interventions aimed at addressing relational difficulties and developmental trauma as a result of early childhood separation, abuse, or neglect.
Heather Bemis, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nathanson Family Resilience Center (NFRC) at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Her fellowship focuses on early childhood as a critical period for early intervention and developmental research. She is a family
interventionist for the Family Development Program, in which she serves vulnerable families with a baby born into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. In addition, she is developing a curriculum to bring a trauma-informed and family centered lens to the NICU environment.
Clinically, Dr. Bemis is trained in several evidence-based treatment approaches for children and families across a variety of populations and multidisciplinary settings, including medical systems. Her research focuses on coping, family interaction, and adjustment among families of children with medical illnesses, and in particular, the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage on these processes. Overall, her work aims to address social and healthcare disparities and to promote positive change at the individual, family, and institutional levels.
Dr. Bemis received her M.S. and Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University. She completed her predoctoral internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, in the Pediatric Consultation-Liaison track.
Melissa Wasserman, PsyD is a Postdoctoral Fellow specializing in tele-services for veteran families. Dr. Wasserman received her doctorate from Pepperdine University, where she studied clinical psychology. She completed her internship at the UCLA Semel Institute, where she received specialized training in assessment and intervention for families who have overcome traumatic experiences. Her research interests include intergenerational trauma and resilience with a special focus on military and veteran populations.
Minh-Chau obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology from San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program. Her post-doctoral fellowship with the NFRC focuses on working with various systems to disseminate the FOCUS model to increase resilience among families at high risk for experiencing trauma. She will work with systems such as the VA, the foster care system, and schools. Mihn-Chau previously worked at the Youth Stress and Mood Program (YSAM) with Dr. Joan Asarnow where she coordinated multiple clinical trials testing the efficacy and effectiveness of treatment protocols for adolescent depression and suicide. In graduate school, she worked at the Child and Adolescent Anxiety and Mood Program (ChAAMP) with Dr. Robin Weersing on clinical trials for youth anxiety and depression. One of her top priorities during her post-doctorate fellowship is to gain experience working with complex systems to develop a richer, more nuanced understanding of how to work effectively to improve mental health care for children and families. She hopes to continue her training in trauma, trauma-related conditions, and resilience, and to bridge this training with her prior experiences. Additionally, she is passionate about decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness, advocating for mental health parity, and working in a setting that allows her to be active in both research and clinical work.
Ruth Ellingsen is a post-doctoral fellow in the Nathanson Family Resilience Center at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Ruth recently completed the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at UCLA. During her graduate training, Ruth received specialized clinical and research training in the prevention and treatment of traumatic stress in children and families. As part of her postdoctoral training, Ruth provides clinical services to children and families exposed to various challenges, medical traumas or other community or family traumas. She is also involved in program development and evaluation to better serve trauma-exposed children and families. Ruth’s research focuses on factors that influence positive parenting of children at risk.