September 23, 2008
For immediate release
Maryam Kia-Keating of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School has been invited to serve as a member of the APA Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families Who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States. The invitation letter from Alan E. Kazdin, President of the American Psychological Association (APA), said, “Your expertise, vision, and leadership in the field will make this effort reflect the quality of what psychology and related areas have to offer. The Task Force needs your level of experience and scholarship for this important topic and task.” Kia-Keating is one of seven scholars chosen for this task force.
Maryam Kia-Keating says, “In his address for the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in 2007, Dr. Paul Rozin pointed out that ‘There are probably about two thirds as many displaced persons as schizophrenics in the world, and the number is growing. Although clinical psychology pays great attention to schizophrenia, minimal resources are devoted to understanding displaced persons.’ It is a tremendous honor to join this APA Task Force and to have the opportunity to contribute to APA’s collaborative and dynamic efforts towards better understanding and assisting children and families exposed to war and displacement.”
The American Psychological Association sought researchers, practitioners, and educators who are particularly knowledgeable about the numerous factors that influence the mental health and wellbeing of this group, such as, the effects of armed conflict, the developmental level of the child, the culture of the family, and the characteristics of the community, as well as, interaction among these factors. Task force members are also well-versed in the literature on the effects of war on children and families who are refugees in the U.S., including developmentally and culturally-appropriate practice; resilience and trauma among children at risk; culturally appropriate practices with immigrant communities; and international literature and knowledge from the areas of origin and other countries of resettlement.
Maryam Kia-Keating received her Ph.D. from Boston University in Clinical Psychology and an Ed.M. from Harvard University in Risk and Prevention for School Aged Children and Adolescents. As a research fellow with the Center for Refugee Trauma, a National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) site, she worked for three years on investigations of refugee youth including Sudanese unaccompanied minors in the United States, Somali adolescents resettled in the United States, and Sierra Leonean ex-youth combatants returning to their villages. Kia-Keating completed both her predoctoral clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. Kia-Keating’s academic interests focus on the impact of stressful events and adversity on developmental trajectories, among a variety of diverse populations and contexts. Specifically, Kia-Keating is interested in those groups who have experienced high levels of exposure to adversities and traumatic experiences during childhood and/or adolescence, including refugee and immigrant youth who have been exposed to war violence and other adversities. Her research aim is to better identify the factors and processes that explain both risk and resilience in the face of these high-risk environments, in order to develop effective prevention and intervention programs for diverse youth.
[Maryam Kia-Keating is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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