The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating $206,710 in funding for her community-based participatory research project addressing health disparities related to trauma exposure and violence prevention for Latino/a youth. Specifically, the grant will be used to build on the work of Proyecto HEROES led by Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School and Dr. Jessica Adams at Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM). Since 2013, federal funds from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of NIH, have supported their efforts to bring together key stakeholders from Santa Barbara County in a collaborative effort to prevent youth trauma and violence and reduce their long-term effects.
“It is deeply unsettling to recognize how much violence our children are exposed to on a regular basis, especially when there is clear scientific evidence of its negative repercussions,” says Dr. Kia-Keating. “I have the idealistic vision of a world where all children have the chance to grow up violence-free, and where we recognize the true value of youth voices and actions. Seeing youth as assets, who contribute to the well-being of our communities, can shift our focus onto to finding ways to support all youth in meeting their fullest potential. With Proyecto HEROES, I look forward to continuing to work towards these goals, alongside an amazing, committed group of community partners who are equally passionate about making a positive impact.”
The current grant will help to launch a low-cost, culturally attentive, parent-youth engagement prevention program, using a trauma-informed, restorative approach. The prevention program will be facilitated by youth mentors and ‘promotores’ who are community health workers.
Maryam Kia-Keating is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the UCSB Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Boston University, and completed her clinical and post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. She focuses her work around coping and resilience in the context of experiences of trauma, stress, and adversity, particularly for ethnic minority and other vulnerable and/or understudied populations including refugees and immigrants. She utilizes community-based participatory research methods to engage and empower communities towards social action and reducing health disparities.