Thania Galvan

Please join us in congratulating Thania Galvan, a doctoral student in the clinical psychology PhD program at the University of Denver, as the 2017 Stephen Rose Scholarship Awardee.

Thania recently completed her M.A. in child clinical psychology at the University of Denver, where she is a Ph.D. candidate. Her personal history navigating the differences between American and Mexican culture and values as a Latina immigrant born in Mexico to adolescent parents forms the basis for Thania’s research interest and career pursuits. Her dissertation will use a culturally and contextually sensitive framework to develop a mental health intervention focused on building resiliency in children of undocumented Latinx immigrants. She will continue working with Dr. Omar Gudino, her research mentor, in the university’s Services for At-Risk Youth and Families (SAYF) Lab that he directs. Among Thania’s research experiences that have increased her awareness of the impact of and need for culturally and contextually sensitive research and interventions, she was mentored on risk and resiliency factors associated with mental health outcomes in Latinx and other ethnically diverse youth as a recipient of a Diversity Supplement Award from the NIMH. On another project, she explored the effectiveness of a psycho-educational intervention for Latinx youth at risk of developing severe mental disorders, and learned about the positive effect that culturally adapted interventions can have on treatment acceptability and outcomes. During her undergraduate B.A. program in psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, which she completed in 2011, Thania’s honor’s thesis explored the effects of language and maternal speech on language development.

Thania will present her research efforts at the 2018 National Latina/o Psychological Association (NLPA) convention. Below is a summary of what she stated as her research projects.

Summary

Mental Health Disparities and Mental Health Service Utilization among Latinx youth

In an attempt to better understand mental health disparities and mental health service utilization among Latinx youth, I am currently involved in two ongoing research projects.

The first of this is my own project exploring the influence of caregiver immigrant status and acculturation levels on differences in perceptions of need between internalizing and externalizing symptoms among Latinx youth. Based on a large, longitudinal database containing information collected from caregivers and youth who had active cases in one or more public sectors of care (Alcohol and Drug Services, Department of Social Services: Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, and Public School Services for Youth with Serious Emotional Disturbances), this project is currently in the data analysis phase and primarily focuses on Latinx children in the early high school years (mean age = 14.64).

The second project is a mixed-methods approach to understanding barriers to mental health service utilization among Latinx youth. As such, this study focused on collecting data from different mental health stakeholders (e.g., mental health providers, families in services, families not in services, and agency mangers) in an attempt to better understand differences in perception of barriers to Latinx youth service utilization among those involved in the process. This project is in the beginning stages of the data analysis phase, and is expected to continue throughout the year. Potential questions that will be explored include looking at differences between each of the above-mentioned groups on the quantity and type of barriers identified, solutions offered to reduce those barriers, and areas of disagreement in problem identification and perceptions of need.