Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating is a wellness and resilience expert. She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, where she oversees the Trauma & Adversity, Resilience & Prevention (TARP) research program. She is the founder of the Power of Drishti, providing meditations and music for health workers, clinicians, teachers, parents, changemakers, activists, first responders, and other everyday heroes, with acknowledgment and support for all who care for others, particularly in high stress contexts. She provides consultation on child development, mental health, and authentic representation for childrens’ media and writes for Psychology Today. She is on Twitter @drkiakeating


After graduating from Punahou School, Dr. Kia-Keating attended Dartmouth College, and completed her graduate studies at Harvard University and Boston University. As a postdoctoral scholar at UC San Diego and an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Diego, she was the clinical director of a school-based prevention program for adolescents. She was a fellow with the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University. Her fellowships with the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) focused on prevention and intervention for children, and child and adolescent development. She developed an expertise in childhood traumatic stress through her work at the Yale Childhood Violent Trauma Center, and the Center for Refugee Trauma at Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical Center, both National Child Traumatic Stress Network sites.

Dr. Kia-Keating’s scholarship focuses on resilience and thriving among children, families, and communities facing toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and collective trauma, including war, mass violence, and climate change related disasters. She utilizes participatory and human-centered design approaches to empower communities and form multisector collaborations to find innovative solutions for complex needs. Her community co-designed HEROES program for parents and children teaches mindfulness, parent-child attunement, and restorative communication to support resilience, and mitigate the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). She was appointed to 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. Dr. Kia-Keating has worked with displaced populations, including those from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico, El Salvador, and around the globe.Her multidisciplinary work and perspective draws from and has relevance for psychological science, design and social innovation, integrated behavioral health, education, global studies, and public health.

Dr. Kia-Keating’s research has been funded by NIH. Her articles have been published in high impact academic journals, including the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychologist. Her research and interviews have been featured in outlets with high volume readerships, including the Washington Post, ABC news, and CNN.

Her deep investment in her recognizing and promoting youth resilience draws from her own personal experiences of forced migration due to armed conflict during childhood, including the challenges and opportunities of attending eight schools in seven years, in four different countries and three different languages. Her global experience provides her with an international lens, an appreciation for common and shared humanity, and a unique and authentic vantage point from which to positively impact young people’s lives, and truly believe in their power to create hope, recognize and cultivate interconnectedness, and to forge a path towards resilience in themselves, their families, and their communities.


When we love children, we acknowledge by our every action that they are not property, that they have rights – that we respect and uphold their rights.

bell hooks

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. It is not the length of life, but the depth [that matters].

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.