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Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in mk-hs1216the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.

She is a proud alumni from: Punahou School, Dartmouth College (A.B.), Harvard University (Ed.M. in Risk and Prevention), and Boston University (Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology). Dr. Kia-Keating completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the University of California, San Diego/VA Healthcare Systems. As a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Diego she was the Clinical Director of a school-based secondary prevention program. Dr. Kia-Keating has received specialized training in child traumatic stress in her work with two National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) research and intervention centers: the Childhood Violent Trauma Center at the Yale Child Study Center, and the Center for Refugee Trauma at the Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical Center Boston. Dr. Kia-Keating served on the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States. She participated in the 2018 meeting on Migrants and Refugees in the 21st Century at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture in Erice, Sicily, which developed the Statement on “Mass Migrations: A Planetary Emergency.” She was a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Psychological Science in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) during the 2018-19 academic year.

Dr. Kia-Keating’s research has been funded by NICHD, NIMH, and NIAAA.  She focuses her work around coping and resilience in the context of experiences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma, and stress, particularly for ethnic minority and other vulnerable and/or understudied populations including refugees and immigrants. Her research aims to better identify the cultural, developmental, protective, and promotive factors and processes that explain both risk and resilience in the face of high-risk environments. She uses community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods to work in partnership with communities in order to inform prevention and intervention efforts.

Dr. Kia-Keating collaborates with the Center for Scholars and Storytellers. She is a Network Leader for the World Federation for Health and Migration. She is a Consulting Editor for two prominent journals: Child Development, the flagship journal for the Society of Research in Child Development, and Cultural Diversity and  Ethnic Minority Psychology (2019-), the flagship journal of Division 45 of the American Psychological Association.

Research Areas:

How do we best support children, families, and communities after extremely adverse or traumatic experiences? Dr. Kia-Keating researches risk, protection, and promotion from a social-ecological perspective, taking into consideration the complex, and transactional factors that impact an individual’s developmental trajectory. She is interested in variables and processes that place a child or adolescent at risk, and have a particular focus on traumatic stressors such as victimization, exposure to violence, war, disasters, and other adversities. She also studies protective factors, those elements that help to buffer or mediate risk and potential mental health outcomes, in the hopes of building a better foundation of understanding of ways prevention and intervention programs can help provide scaffolding for children and adolescents towards healthy development.

What are the most effective ways to promote resilience, strength and wellness?: Dr. Kia-Keating’s research highlights the importance of including both psychopathology and wellness or positive psychology as outcomes in order to not only capture problems and risks but also to better understand healthy development and resilience. Dr. Kia-Keating has a particular interest in psychocultural influences on mental health, given that much of the knowledge is based on homogeneous samples and does not always include or adequately acknowledge the role of culture. She examine diverse groups, including populations that are often neglected in the literature, with a focus on refugees and immigrants, as well as an attention to generational differences.

How can we provide effective prevention and intervention programs that reach and better serve communities that need them most?: Dr. Kia-Keating uses community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods to work collaboratively with communities and consider risk, positive youth development, and resilience in order to translate research into more effective programs for youth.The translational components of Dr. Kia-Keating’s research focus on school, clinical, and community-based practice, including locations where barriers to service access can be diminished, and facilitators that can better reach vulnerable, underserved, and diverse populations.

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