Current Predoctoral Fellows
Current Postdoctoral Fellows
Miriam Hernandez Dimmler, BA (in biological sciences and psychology, Columbia College of Columbia University), MA and PhD candidate (UC Berkeley). Her mentor at UCSF is Alicia Lieberman. Her dissertation is titled "Parent Expectations, Knowledge of Student Performance, and School Involvement: Links to the Achievement of African American and Latino Children." Her dissertation chair at UC Berkeley is Rhona Weinstein. The dissertation was funded in part by a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and a UC Dissertation-year Fellowship. Miriam has also received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Her research to date has focused on parenting qualities in relation to children's academic and social competencies, such as parenting factors that predict to achievement gains in underserved, ethnic minority students from low-performing elementary schools. Miriam has three published articles, of which she is first author on one. Miriam speaks both English and Spanish in her research and clinical work.
Alinne Z. Barrera, PhD (University of Colorado, Boulder). Under the mentorship of W. Edward Craighead, PhD, Dr. Barrera completed her graduate studies in clinical psychology in 2006. Her dissertation, "Risk factors associated with Major Depressive Disorder among adolescent Latinas" was funded by several scholarships and grants, including an NIMH Minority Supplement. Dr. Barrera’s research and clinical interests are in the prevention and treatment of depression in underserved minority populations, with a specific focus on Spanish-speaking individuals. Dr. Barrera completed her predoctoral clinical internship at UCSF where she worked in the Department of Psychiatry at San Francisco General Hospital. She is currently the senior group facilitator for the Spanish-speaking CBT Depression Group at the SFGH Psychosocial Medicine Clinic. She is currently funded by an NIMH Postdoctoral National Research Service Award (2007-2010) where she will develop and test a Web-based prevention of postpartum depression intervention (Mentor: Ricardo F. Muñoz, PhD). Dr. Barrera is currently consulting with community clinicians to develop and test an evidence-based depression prevention intervention for Spanish-speaking immigrant women.
Samantha R. Fordwood, BA (Cornell), MA and PhD candidate (UCLA). She is mentored by Dale McNiel. Her dissertation, "A longitudinal model of suicidality among outpatient youth: Effects of previous suicidality, psychopathology, and gender" was funded by an NIMH National Research Service Award. While at UCLA, Samantha worked with Drs. Joan Asarnow, John Weisz, and Constance Hammen, and she minored in statistics. During graduate school, her research was focused on treatment outcome studies for mood and anxiety disorders among youth, with an interest in suicidality and self-harm. Her clinical and research interests have now shifted to adult populations. She is currently expanding her clinical training in DBT, with plans to continue to conduct research on suicidality, treatment effectiveness, and risk assessment. She first-authored a paper about suicide attempts, psychopathology, and stressful events amongst depressed primary care adolescents that is currently in press in JCCAP.
Amy Busch, PhD
Nina M. Kaiser, BA (Colorado College), MS and PhD candidate (Purdue University). Nina currently is working with Linda Pfiffner. Nina's dissertation, "Externalizing psychopathology in childhood: Self-perceptual accuracy, perceptions about others, and changes in problems over time," employed a large school-based sample of third- and fourth-graders to examine concurrent and longitudinal relations among overly positive self-views, perceptions about other children, externalizing symptoms, and problematic social functioning; this project was chaired by Betsy Hoza, at the University of Vermont. Nina's primary research interests involve concurrent and longitudinal investigations of child (e.g., social cognitions such as self-perceptions and attributions) and family (e.g., parenting style) as predictors of externalizing psychopathology and social problems. In addition, Nina is interested in research exploring treatment efficacy for externalizing populations and adapting empirically-supported, clinic-based behavior modification and social skills training programs to school-based contexts. Nina's primary clinical interest lies in working with children with attention, learning, and peer problems (and these children's families). Nina has significant clinical experience with children and adolescents with internalizing problems (anxiety, depression) and self-harm behaviors, as well as with adults presenting with a variety of concerns.
Auran Piatigorsky, PhD (UC, Berkeley). Dr. Piatigorsky presently provides clinical services to adolescents, young adults, and families, and he participates on research of prodromal psychosis. His past research has addressed the developmental psychopathology of antisocial behavior, ADHD, and personality traits.
Katherine L. Possin, BA (Tufts), MS and PhD candidate (SDSU/UCSD). Her mentor is Joel Kramer, PsyD. Her dissertation is titled “Visuospatial and visual object cognition in early Parkinson’s disease.” Her dissertation chair is J. Vincent Filoteo, PhD. Katherine’s research to date has focused on cognitive deficits in patients with frontostriatal dysfunction, such as patients with Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease, and how memory and attention process are affected. Her plans involve a clinical neuropsychology research career investigating cognitive and neural changes in individuals with brain disorders and in normal aging. She has very strong clinical background, both in terms of psychotherapy and assessment. She has six published articles and is first author in two of these.
Leandro Torres, BS and BA (in psychology and biology, University of Iowa), MS and PhD candidate (University of Oregon). His mentor at UCSF is Ricardo F. Muñoz. His dissertation "Understanding the variability of depression symptoms in recovery: Life stress as context and consequence in the course of recurrent depression" re-examines a landmark study in the prevention of recurrence with maintenance medication in continuation of his research interests in the description and prevention of recurrent depression. His dissertation chair is Scott Monroe. He is particularly interested in the phenomenology of depression and elucidating the significance of day-to-day changes in mood and cognitions in different phases of the course of depression. Clinically, he has strong training in CBT and some training in therapies incorporating mindfulness techniques such as ACT and MBCT. He has three published articles, one under review, and one chapter in preparation. Leandro is bilingual and is committed to research and clinical work with both English and Spanish speaking populations.