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Summer 2013


reetings from 806 W. Franklin St.! What a dynamic year we’ve had. After just graduating the largest number of undergraduates in our history, we continue to excel in our community-based research, teaching and service activity, and we’ve had an extraordinary year of international exchanges, including faculty from the University of West England and the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, visiting the department. We also welcomed back Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D. (B.S. ’91), as our May commencement speaker. Originally from Bedford County, Espelage completed her undergraduate degree at VCU 22 years ago before going on to earn a M.S. and Ph.D. and enjoying a successful career as a counseling psychologist and faculty member at the University of Urbana-Champaign, studying youth violence prevention. Many of our Psychology faculty research, teach and serve internationally. Many also have a considerable amount of interaction on the VCU campus with international students. One program many faculty are involved with is the Humphrey Fellows program, which you can read about on Page 8. Funded by the State Department and by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Humphrey fellows come from nations around the world to spend 10 months at VCU studying substance abuse policy. Because many Psychology faculty study substance use and abuse – ranging the gamet from prevention in adolescence to treatment of substance use during pregnancy – Psychology faculty are natural mentors for many of the Humphrey fellows. We believe that faculty, graduate and undergraduate students alike can benefit from international experiences. To that end, one of the initiatives our Alumni Advisory Committee is launching is a fundraising campaign for an undergraduate scholarship that will allow a student to study abroad for a summer or a semester. Preference will be given to experiences that involve a service-learning component, also an important value at VCU and in our department. As is our usual practice, we have a lot of interesting news to report including some significant awards for our students (Pages 67 and Page 11) and faculty (Pages 6-7 and Page 10), an exciting community event focused on HIV education and awareness and innovative pedagogy (Pages 12 and 22). As you embark upon your summer, we would enjoy hearing about what is new in your life. Please drop us a line or visit the campus. Best wishes for a rejuvenating summer,

Wendy Kliewer, Professor and Chair

Wendy Kliewer Chair

Michael Southam-Gerow Director, Graduate Studies

Linda Zyzniewski Director, Undergraduate Studies

Dorothy Fillmore Associate Director for Academic Operations

PROGRAM DIRECTORS Eric Benotsch Health Jeff Green Social Barbara Myers Developmental Joseph Porter Biopsychology Bruce Rybarczyk Clinical Marilyn Stern Counseling Jody Davis Web and Facebook

Jennifer Elswick Newsmagazine Production

Important Alumni Links Submit a class note. Update your contact information. Join VCU Alumni . View the alumni directory. Get your alumni email address.


Inside This Issue 1

12 continued

Colored Girl ADHD clinic by Austin Miles Bug-in-the-ear technology (Class of 2016, Communication Arts), by Heather Jones, Ph.D. winner of the Psychology studentinitiated HIV/AIDS themed art competition held at the “Go the Mile” Moral injury among the issues facing combat veterans event featured on p.17 Feature on the work of clinic director, Leticia Flores, Ph.D. Alumni News and Notes by Leila Ugincius

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4-5 6-7

Department News and Updates

8-9 Humphrey Fellowship Program Psychology professors mentor international professionals by Robert Balster, Ph.D.

10 College of Humanities and Sciences’ faculty scholarship recognition Congratulations to our department’s researchers

11 Psychology student awards and scholarships, 2012-13

14 Graduate student spotlight Daniel Snipes, M.S. Health Psychology program

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18-19 Career profile Dorothy Fillmore discusses her 31 years at VCU by Jen Elswick

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Undergraduate student spotlight Kristin Caire, Class of 2013

Campus visitors Three prominent scholars visit during the spring semester

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Research spotlight How can we reduce HIV? Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.

Lecture spotlight Micah McCreary, Ph.D., explores the era of black ‘Gangster Movies’ and their impact on crime and violence

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Elizabeth Cotter, Ph.D.

17 Psychology students GO the MILE for underserved populations in the Richmond community Student-initiated community event Ask the CPSD raises awareness about HIV/AIDS A reader struggles with binge eating by Jasmine Abrams, M.S., and by the Suzanne Mazzeo research group Joshua Brevard, M.S.

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Brittni Trofort (class of ’13), left, Jasmine Abrams (doctoral student in health psychology), Ashley Everett (class of ‘13) and Miracle Allums (class of ‘13) pose for a picture at the "Go The Mile" event featured on page 17.

22-23 May 2013 graduates Speaker: Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D. (B.S. ‘91)

24 Department contact information


Alumni News and Notes

Elizabeth Carter (B.S. '80, M.S. '85, Ph.D. '86) was featured in a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch regarding the results of recent surveys of an estimated 350,000 health professionals licensed and regulated by the state of Virginia. Carter leads this effort in her role as director of the Healthcare Workforce Data Center at the state Department of Health Professions. She also serves as a member of our department’s alumni committee. Sonya “Sonni” Gittelman (B.S. ’89) went on to receive her master of social work degree from the VCU School of Social Work in . She worked in several agency settings and became licensed as a clinical social worker in 1994. Gittelman has been working as a full-time psychotherapist in private practice since 2000. Roblyn Mitchell (B.S. ’97) was recently inducted as a lifetime member into the prestigious Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at Yale University based on her academic achievements and dissertation research in the area of cultural intelligence and acculturative stress. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in international psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology-Chicago Campus.

Oscar Holmes IV, Ph.D. (B.S. ‘02) successfully defended his dissertation, “An Examination of the Mediators and Moderators in the Relationship Between Justifications, Organizational Contexts, and Discrimination in Personnel Selection,” in March, earning him a Ph.D. in Management from University of Alabama's Culverhouse College of Commerce and a faculty appointment at Rutgers University's Business School in Camden. Before his time at University of Alabama, he graduated from University of Richmond with a master of liberal arts degree in international and American cultural studies in 2005 and from VCU with a bachelor of science degree in psychology with minors in human resource management and Spanish in 2002. Kyra Kiehna (B.S. ‘12) is thrilled to be moving to New York City! She was recently admitted to the class of 2015 at Columbia University's School of Social Work and will begin her studies in the fall in pursuit of a master of science in social work degree. She plans on following CUSSW's advanced clinical practice track so that she can provide therapeutic services to those suffering from eating disorders.

In Memoriam 1940s

1980s

James E. Conner, Ph.D.** (B.S. ’49/H&S), of Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 4, 2013, at age 88. 1950s Malcolm D. Farmer (B.S. ’58/H&S; M.S. ’60/AHP), of Proctorville, Ohio, June 29, 2011, at age 77. 1960s Billie Hawkins Elmore (B.S. ’61/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Sept. 23, 2012, at age 80.

Jennifer L. Ashnault (B.S. ’85/H&S), of Hampton, Va., Sept. 18, 2012. Debbie L. Gagliardone (B.S. ’85/H&S), of Virginia Beach, Va., Sept. 14, 2012, at age 51. 1990s Maria Devens, Ph.D. (M.S. ’93/H&S; Ph.D. ’96/H&S), of Chicago, April 10, 2013, at age 46.

Patricia D. Johnson (B.S. ’96/H&S), of Wesley Chapel, Fla., Sept. James E. Sheffield (B.S. ’63/H&S; M.P.A. ’87/H&S), of Richmond, 4, 2012, at age 44. Va., March 28, 2013, at age 80. Janet H. Ruehle (B.S. ’95/H&S; M.T. ’95/E), of New Kent, Va., Aug. 28, 2012, at age 51. 1970s Bonita F. Johnson (B.A. ’71/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 12, 2013, at age 86. Martin E. Maples (B.S. ’75/H&S; M.S. ’77/AHP), of Shawsville, Va., Dec. 8, 2012.

**Life member of VCU Alumni


We reached out to some recent doctoral program graduates to see what they were up to... Jess Barber (Ph.D. ‘12) is a full-time lecturer Monica Jones (Ph.D. ‘12) works at Cornell Uni(one-year visiting position) in the University of versity Counseling and Psychological Services Scranton’s Department of Psychology. as a psychologist/community consultation and intervention specialist. Daniel Baughn (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Nichole Kelly (Ph.D. ‘13) is a postdoctoral reBenita Belvet (Ph.D. ‘13) is a postdoctoral fel- search fellow in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at the Uniformed Serlow in PTSD/trauma recovery at the Durham vices University of Health Sciences. VA Medical Center. Cassie Brode (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Penn.

Laura Kiken (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s program in integrative medicine.

Lillian Christon (Ph.D. ‘13) is a postdoctoral fellow in the University of North Carolina’s Department of Psychology.

Maria Kuznetsova (Ph.D. ‘12) is an assistant lecturer at the University of Wyoming.

Russ Clay (Ph.D. ‘12) is visiting professor of psychology at the University of Richmond. Caroline Cobb (Ph.D. ‘12) is an Ellen R. Gritz postdoctoral fellow at the American Legacy Foundation’s Schroeder Institute.

Neeraja Ravindran (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine. Kasey Serdar (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at Shepard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore.

Jessye Cohen-Filipic (Ph.D. ‘12) is an assistant professor at Ithaca College in New York.

Courtney Smith (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Kathryn Conley (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at Pace University in New York City.

Sarah Vunck (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University.

Ashley Dibble (Ph.D. ‘13) is working at the Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Va.

Beth Wheeler (Ph.D. ‘12) works at Forensic Psychology Associates in Midlothian as a clinical psychologist.

Nicole Fischer (Ph.D. ‘13) is a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University. Aubrey Gartner (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow on the psychosocial rehabilitation track at Durham VA Medical Center. Melissa Glennie Holt (Ph.D. ‘12) is an assistant professor in Culver-Stockton College’s Department of Psychology. Shannon Hourigan (Ph.D. ‘12) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Optimal Weight for Life Clinic, Division of Psychology, Children's Hospital Boston. David “Jeff” Jennings (Ph.D. ‘13) is an assistant professor at Regent University.

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Department News and Updates Robin Everhart, Ph.D., of the health psychology program, was selected as program chair of American Psychological AssociaEverhart tion’s Division 43 (Society of Family Psychology) for the 2014 APA Convention. She will also serve as chair of the Division 43 Hospitality Suite for the 2013 APA convention. The society’s mission is to expand both the study and the practice of family psychology through education, research and clinical practice. If you will be at APA this summer, please stop by the Division 43 Hospitality Suite!

er, meaning affirmations may increase more open and objective evaluation of information and thus facilitate communication between science and religion. View the press release from Hope College.

ship. As a counseling psychologist whose research has focused on the psychological sequelae of the stress and trauma associated with racism and discrimination in African Americans, he realized that South Africa provides a unique opportunity to study the longHeather Jones, Ph.D., term effects of racial oppression on indihas recently been viduals and families, and how trauma awarded an Endowassociated with this oppression is transment Fund grant of mitted across generations. He will col$47,000 from the laborate with faculty, staff and students VCU Center for Cliniat the Sinomlando Center for Oral Histocal and Translational Jones ry and Memory Work at the University Research. The grant will fund a research project designed to of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg to investigate whether or not motivational conduct oral histories with survivors (and their families) of apartheid-era ethinterviewing for low-income Africannoviolence. American caregivers of newly diagnosed children with ADHD increases their subDorothy Fillmore sequent help-seeking behaviors relative (see Page 18) was to their child's ADHD. VCU collaborators the subject of a reon the project include Sean McKenna, cent feature in the M.D., (Pediatrics) and Joshua Langberg, Richmond TimesFillmore Green Hulsey Van Tongeren Ph.D. (Psychology). Dispatch. In the article, she is profiled as Jeffrey Green, Ph.D., chair of the social Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., recipient of the Catalyst Award given psychology program, and Timothy yearly by ROSMY. Catalyst Award recipihas been appointed Hulsey, Ph.D., of the clinical psychology ents are honored for their work in the honorary professor in program (and dean of the Honors Colthe Department of Be- community in support of LGBTQ youth. lege), with recent social program alumhavioural Medicine at nus, Daryl Van Tongeren, Ph.D., now a the University of Kwafaculty member at Hope College, have zulu-Natal in Durban, Kliewer been awarded an $80,000 research grant South Africa. Kliewer, from the John Templeton Foundaalong with Dr. Basily Pillay of UKZN (see tion. The project is titled “Making and Page 20), is conducting a study of risk Defending Meaning: Understanding and and resilience in South African youth Quaglia Goodman Reducing Tension between Scientific and with seed money Jordan Quaglia, M.S., and Robert GoodReligious Meaning Systems.” The profrom a VCU Internaman, M.S., doctoral students in ject will examine how the human moti- tional Partnership the social psychology program who work vation for meaning may impair objective grant. in the social affective neuroscience lab evaluation of information and elicit deShawn Utsey, Ph.D., under the direction of Kirk Warren fensiveness and biased thinking in the was recently awarded Brown, Ph.D., each recently received face of competing worldviews. Howeva Fulbright scholara $15,000 Francisco J. Varela Research Utsey


Department News and Updates Award for Contemplative Science from Mind and Life Institute. Goodman’s project, "The Effect of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction on Episodic and Prospective Memory Function in Aging Adults," will be conducted at the social and affective neuroscience lab under the direction of Brown and in collaboration with Dr. Bhikkhu Analayo from the University of Hamburg. The project will examine the effect of an eight-week mindfulness training intervention on behavioral, neurological and ecological momentary assessment measures of episodic and prospective memory functioning among seniors at risk for mild cognitive impairment. Quaglia’s project aims to compare the influence of two stressreduction and well-being interventions on social cognition and behavior. To date, very few studies on mindfulness meditation have explored whether and how mindfulness training improves social interactions and relationships. The funded study will compare an eightweek mindfulness intervention with another well-being intervention to investigate the effects of mindfulness on neural, behavioral and real-world markers of social cognition and functioning.

ly underrepresented populations. The winning project, titled “The Influence of Family Dynamics: Mental Health of Colombian Dementia Caregivers,” explores the associations between caregiver mental health and familial characteristics such as empathy and family communication in a sample of dementia caregivers from Cali, Colombia. KUDOS to Psychology graduate and undergraduate students who participated in VCU’s research symposia this year. Psychology accounted for 34 of the 37 posters from the College of Humanities and Sciences that were presented at the Graduate Research Symposium and for 34 of the 61 total entries from the entire university community!

At the university’s annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium, our undergraduates got the opportunity to present research endeavors to their academic peers, members of the VCU faculty, community members and friends and family. Projects at this yearly event—organized by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program— inMegan Sutter, a first year cluded research and scholarly work from doctoral student in the a wide variety of academic disciplines. health psychology proOf 91 posters submitted from the Colgram, was recently lege of Humanities and Sciences, 29 awarded the RISE Rewere from Psychology. There were 200 search Award from the Sutter posters submitted university-wide. Read Association for Psychologithe complete abstract list from the cal Science. The purpose of the award is event. to cultivate and acknowledge outstanding scholarly research conducted by stu- Paul Perrin, Ph.D., and Psychology doctoral students Anthony Coy and Rebecca dent members of APS in psychological fields related to socially and economical- Hubbard collaborated with colleagues in

Mexico and Spain to investigate culturally-specific factors that may help TBI caregivers in Mexico cope with providing care to a family member with TBI. Their research team recruited 84 individuals with TBI and family caregivers from Mexico City, Mexico, to fill out questionnaires assessing impairments in individuals with TBI, healthiness of family functioning and caregiver mental health. The authors found that strong family functioning was an important buffer in the relationship between TBI social impairments and caregiver burden, such that as long as families had healthy functioning, caregivers had extremely low burden, even when TBI impairments were severe. Their findings highlight the major role that the family unit plays in many Latino cultures. Rehabilitation interventions designed for this region which strengthen family functioning have the potential to improve caregiver mental health and therefor influence the quality of informal care that caregivers can provide.

Perrin

Hubbard

Coy

Reference: Coy, A. E., Perrin, P. B., Stevens, L. F., Hubbard, R., Díaz, D. M., Espinosa, I. G., & Arango-Lasprilla, J. C. (2013). A moderated mediation path analysis of Mexican traumatic brain injury patient social functioning, family functioning, and caregiver mental health. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94, 362-368.


VCU’s Humphrey Fellowship Program Robert L. Balster, Ph.D. ince 2006, VCU has been a host cam- Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., Aashir Nasim, Ph.D. Wendy Kliewer, pus for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fel- (now chair of African American Studies), Muzafar came to lowship Program, a Fulbright exand Dace Svikis, Ph.D. Mary Loos, Ph.D., appreciate the change activity that brings accomplished also from the department, serves as the importance of assessing risk and protecprofessionals from selected developing Humphrey Program liaison to Virginia tive factors that are operable in his largely countries of Africa, Asia, Muslim country in designing Latin America, the Caribbea culturally-sensitive proan, the Middle East, Europe gram. With Kliewer’s help, and Eurasia to the United Muzafar identified the ComStates at a mid-point in their munities That Care survey careers for a year of study as one that could be used in and related practical profesMalaysia after suitable sional experiences. Fellows modification to study risk are nominated by U.S. Emfactors. He translated the bassies or Fulbright Commissurvey into Malay and addsions based on their potened some items from the tial for leadership. The U.S.-based Monitoring the Humphrey Fellowship ProFuture school-based survey. gram receives primary fundMuzafar had the survey ing from the United States back-translated into English, Department of State, Bureau making modifications as of Educational and Cultural needed to the question set VCU’s 2012-13 Humphrey fellows: Jezelle Charles, left, Kouame Sedaminou, Rosie Affairs, and is administered and, while on his fellowship, Myint, Claudemir Dos Santos, Sossinou Awoussi, Bola Ola, M.D., and Suzan Ben Ezra by the Institute of Internaarranged to have the survey Read their biosketches. Watch a video they made about their experiences. tional Education through its conducted in Malaysia. Humphrey Fellowship Program office in State University, an affiliate campus for Kliewer trained Muzafar in the use of SPSS Washington, D.C. Most of the fellows our program. The Humphrey fellows for data analysis and the product of their who come to VCU are working in the area working in Psychology have come from work was presented as a poster at a naof substance abuse prevention, treatment Uruguay, Ghana, Malaysia, Albania, Brazil, tional scientific meeting. Muzafar also and policy, and many are psychologists or Nigeria, Uganda, Myanmar, Egypt, Russia completed his Ph.D. requirements during other behavioral health providers. and Venezuela, bringing extraordinary his fellowship year. At the end of his felmulti-cultural richness to the department. lowship, Kliewer arranged for Muzafar to Although the Humphrey Program is hostIn addition, Humphrey fellows regularly do a six-week professional affiliation with ed administratively in the Institute for take psychology graduate courses. The Professor Laurie Chassen in the psycholoDrug and Alcohol Studies, the Department fellows have been especially appreciative of Psychology has been the leading acaof a program evaluation workshop that demic department with which the fellows Faye Belgrave put together for them. affiliate and its department faculty play key roles in administering the program Space does not allow me to describe all of and mentoring the fellows. Typically, VCU the projects that Humphrey fellows have hosts 7-9 fellows each year. I am the cam- undertaken with Psychology faculty, but pus coordinator for the Humphrey Prolet me describe a few. Mohd Muzafar gram and Alison Breland, Ph.D., serves as Shah bin Mohd Razali, Ph.D., was a 2009the academic coordinator. Both of us hold 10 Humphrey fellow from Malaysia. He is affiliate appointments in the Department on the faculty of the Sultan Idris University of Psychology. In addition, the following School of Education. Muzafar’s main infaculty with primary appointments in Psy- terest in participating in the Humphrey chology have served as advisors and men- Program was to improve evidence-based Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., left, professor and chair tors for Humphrey Fellows: Faye Belsubstance abuse prevention programs in of Psychology, and Muzafar Mohd Razali, Ph.D., grave, Ph.D., Eric Benotsch, Ph.D, Rose his country and bring prevention science 2009-10 Humphrey fellow Corona, Ph.D., Tom Eissenberg, Ph.D., to his university. While working with


gy department at Arizona State University, one of the foremost substance abuse prevention research centers in the world. Based on these experiences, Muzafar designed a training program for substance abuse prevention specialists for implementation in his School of Education. He has subsequently been promoted to department chair. He has also been appointed as a teaching and research fellow at the Asian Centre for Research on Drug Abuse. This center of excellence is located at the Islamic Science University of Malaysia. Muzafar continues to consult with Kliewer about his professional advancement. Based on her experience working with Muzafar, Kliewer is serving as a mentor for one of the fellows this year, Kouame Sedaminou from Togo. Sedaminou is a teacher and vice principal of a secondary school in Lomé, where he has been trying to implement substance abuse prevention among the students. There are very limited data from Togo on substance abuse prevalence in the schools or on risk and protective factors that are important in that country. Sedaminou and Kliewer are designing a school survey instrument that will need to be translated into French for use in Togo. These experiences with Humphrey fellows demonstrate the importance of social and cultural context in youth problem behavior, a major area of strength in our Department of Psychology. Based on his work with Kliewer, Sedaminou will be doing a professional affiliation with an NGO in Atlanta that specializes in culturally relevant prevention programs for the Hispanic community where he will learn more about how to assess these factors and do appropriate program design.

Maia Rusakova, Ph.D., 2010-11 Humphrey fellow

Maia Rusakova, Ph.D., was a 2010-11 Humphrey fellow from St. Petersburg, Russia. Her background and interests were in wom-

en’s health, especially in women who are marginalized by poverty, sexual exploitation or infected with HIV/AIDS. These interests are closely aligned with those of Dace Svikis, Ph.D. Rusakova obtained her Ph.D. from the Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She was the co-founder and current director of the Regional NonGovernmental Organization of Social Projects in the Sphere of Populations’ Well-being, “Stellit,” located in St. Petersburg and was working across Russia and in other Russian-speaking countries. She was also working as the head of the sector on the Sociology of Adrian Abagiu, M.D., left, 2008-09 Humphrey fellow, Deviance and Social Control in the Sociand Dace Svikis, Ph.D., professor of psychology, psyological Institute of the Russian Acadechiatry, and obstetrics/gynecology my of Sciences and had a joint appointment in the Faculty of Psychology at St. recting a harm reduction program for IV Petersburg State University, one of the drug abusers as part of that country’s apdesignated global partner universities for proach to prevention of HIV infection. His VCU. Indeed, Rusakova was recruited to program includes a methadone maintethe Humphrey Fellowship Program after nance program operated from an infecresearch exchange visits by VCU faculty to tious disease clinic. Svikis toured the St. Petersburg State University organized treatment programs in Bucharest and by the VCU Global Education Office. While worked in partnership with Abagiu to at VCU, Rusakova became affiliated with identify promising directions for clinical Svikis and did a professional affiliation at research, with a particular focus on womthe Addiction and Women’s Health: Aden and other vulnerable patient subvancing Research and Evaluation program. groups. She worked with Svikis and her team to The Department of Psychology has been a write several grant proposals. One of critical resource for the VCU Humphrey these, “Fostering Multidisciplinary TranslaFellowship Program. Indeed, based upon tional Research in the Study of Women the successful implementation of the prowith Substance Abuse and Intimate Partgram at VCU, it was renewed in 2011 for ner Violence,” was funded by the VCU Inanother five years. For 2013-14, we are ternational University Partnerships Major anticipating 9 fellows, a majority of whom Initiatives Awards Program. The project have backgrounds and interests related to reinforced continued collaboration, culmipsychology and behavioral health. I hope nating in Svikis and Rusakova’s recently the VCU faculty who have given so much submitting a grant application in response time and effort to this program have bento the NIH Joint U.S.-Russia Collaboration efitted themselves from the opportunity in Biomedical Sciences. to work with a such a talented group of The VCU grant allowed Svikis to travel fellows and to learn more about their twice to St. Petersburg, where she and countries and global health research. I Rusakova continue their work in both know the fellows have greatly benefitted women’s health and the identification of from working with psychologists. risk factors that predict development of Robert Balster, Ph.D., is director of the Institute for alcohol and other drug use disorders in Drug and Alcohol Studies, Luther A. Butler Professor of Russian youth. Based on Svikis’ increased Pharmacology and Toxicology, and research professor of psychology experiences in substance abuse work in and psychiatry at the VCU Medical the former USSR, on her last trip to EuCenter campus in Richmond. He is rope she also met in Bucharest with 2008- VCU’s coordinator for the Humphrey 09 Humphrey fellow Adrian Abagiu, M.D., Fellowship Program in Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment and from Romania. Abagiu is a physician diPolicy.


Faculty Scholarship Recognition In February, the College of Humanities and Sciences held its annual Faculty Scholarship Recognition program to award faculty across the College for excellence in research endeavors. See the pictures and read the program. Psychology’s professors were prominent among the award recipients.

Stephen Auerbach, Ph.D., for the City of Bruce Rybarczyk, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. for the Richmond-funded project “Enhancement Health Resources and Services Administraof Richmond Adult Drug Treatment Court;” tion-funded project “A Training Program in Lifespan Primary Care Psychology for the Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin- Underserved;”

Faculty author awards are given to

istration-funded project “Substance Abuse Michael Southam-Gerow, Ph.D., for the and HIV Prevention Among African Ameri- National Institute of Mental Health-funded can College Students;” project “Development and Validation of Child Therapy Integrity Measures;” Al Farrell, Ph.D., for the Centers for Dis-

faculty members listed as primary author or editor for a book published in 2012. Recipients from Psychology were

ease Control and Prevention-funded project “Evaluation of a Comprehensive Approach to Youth Violence Prevention;”

Scholarly award winners are faculty

tion Trials for Youth Exposed to Violence;”

members who are the recipients of awards presented by outside organizations in 2012 to recognize scholarship or scholarly works. Recipients from Psychology were

Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., for the Department of Education-funded project “Organizational Skills Interventions for Children with ADHD;”

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., for the Department of Education-funded project “Promoting Behavioral Competence in Adolescents with Disabilities: An Inclusive Violence PreFaye Belgrave, Ph.D., for the book, Broth- Clarissa Holmes, Ph.D., for the National ers of Ujimi: A Cultural Empowerment Pro- Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kid- vention Model” and gram for African American Adolescent ney Diseases-funded project “Prevention Everett Worthington, Ph.D., for the John Males and of Self Care Deterioration in Early Adoles- Templeton Foundation-funded project “An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Everett Worthington, Ph.D., for the book, cents with Diabetes;” Humility.” The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., for the National for Clinicians: Using Research in your Prac- Institute of Mental Health-funded project Tom Eissenberg, Ph.D., and Dace Svikis, tice. “School-Based Expressive Writing Interven- Ph.D., were inadvertently left out of the program due to clerical error. Eissenberg and Svikis are two of our most active scholars. Each served as principle investigator on multiple federal grants in 2012.

Al Farrell, Ph.D., for the Nan Tobler Award for Review of the Prevention Science Literature from the Society for Prevention Research and

Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D., for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded proBruce Rybarczyk, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., for being ject “NOURISHing Families named fellow of the American Psychologi- to Promote Healthy Eating cal Association (Rehabilitation Psychology and Exercise in Overweight Adolescents;” division).

Research excellence award winners are faculty members who were principal investigators on one or more external grants whose total expenditures during fiscal year 2012 were at least $50,000. Recipients from Psychology were

Barbara Myers, Ph.D., for the Virginia Department of Correctional Educationfunded project “Parenting Children of Promise;” James McCullough, Ph.D., (president of the College of Humanities and Sciences’ faculty council) left, Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., and Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., in attendance for the annual College Faculty Scholarship Recognition program. View more pictures from the event.


Congratulations to recipients of Psychology’s 2012-13 student awards and scholarships! Photo by Elijah Christman

Third row from bottom of stairs going up Outstanding Counseling Graduate Student First row from bottom of stairs going up Janet A. Lydecker Wendy Kliewer, chair Elizabeth Fries Memorial Scholarship; Outstanding Psychology Junior John P. Hill Award for Adolescent Research; Rose S. Bono Counseling Psychology Leader/Community John Corazzini Award Engagement Doctoral Student Award Jacqueline D. Woods Claire C. Russell Outstanding Psychology Senior Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Brenna I. Posner Chelsea A. Reid Outstanding Social Graduate Student Graduate Psychology Black History in the Anthony E. Coy Making Jasmine A. Abrams Middle row from bottom of stairs going up Outstanding Child Clinical Track Outstanding Master's Candidate Graduate Student (Gunst Award) Kathryn E. Maher Daniel J. Snipes Outstanding Clinical Student (Deborah Braffman Schroeder Award) Hannah G. Lund

John P. Hill Award for Adolescent Research; Outstanding Developmental Graduate Student Award Katherine A. Taylor Melvin V. Lubman Undergraduate Psychology Scholarship Linda Afi Mensah-Etsi Not pictured Undergraduate Psychology Black History in the Making Jakira T. Brooks Undergraduate Psychology Black History in the Making Lindsay M. Mitchiner Outstanding Behavioral Medicine Track Graduate Student Vivian M. Rodriguez Outstanding Developmental Graduate Student Nikola R. Zaharakis


ince I was a young child, I have had difficulty with binge eating. I've tried the popular weight loss centers 10-15 times over the years, worked with a nutritionist, worked with a psychiatrist, and have even had gastric bypass surgery. I did manage to lose 100 lbs. after my surgery, but have managed to gain most of it back again. There seems to be some sort of chemically-driven force that runs deep that drives me to eat uncontrollably that does not seem correctable. I am beyond discouraged and a way forward is not clear to me. My pervasive feeling is that any future efforts to change are in vain and that there is no hope of achieving decent health. Can you provide some guidance to me on where to go from here? Center for Psychological Services and Development, 612-620 N. Lombardy St.

Eating and emotions are intertwined. It can be difficult

to change your eating without addressing feelings. Although you might know a lot about eating healthy and exercising, knowledge isn’t enough. It is important to also work on underlying triggers or emotions that lead to binge eating. This is where working with a therapist can be helpful. Psychology’s role in helping you achieve a healthy relationship with food usually involves developing a behavioral plan and working on underlying emotional issues. The work might also involve learning new coping strategies to manage difficult emotions instead of using food to cope. Becoming more aware of what triggers your binge eating episodes and developing other healthier ways to cope in the moment can help prevent future binge eating.

Send an anonymous question about mental health and treatment issues through our secure messaging system.

Often people are drawn to quick solutions, such as dieting (e.g., cleanses, low carb diet, making certain food “off-limits”) instead of more sustainable lifestyle changes. These short-term strategies are linked to regaining the pounds lost or binge eating. When you drastically restrict yourself from eating certain foods, your body’s natural instinct is to consume extra calories. Restriction can lead to binge eating, which can feel like you’ve lost control. This cycle exacerbates negative feelings such as depression, guilt or shame. Feeling this way can make it even more difficult to make healthy changes. Overall, we all need to focus on our physical and emotional health instead of only seeing weight. Society makes this difficult with its promotion of an unachievable beauty type. However, changing focus from weight to health not only breaks the dieting-binge eating cycle, but helps you see yourself as a person and not just a number on the scale. Answer provided by the Mazzeo research team: Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D., Rachel Gow, Ph.D., Elizabeth Cotter, Ph.D., Janet Lydecker and Allison Palmberg.

The ADHD Clinic at the Center for Psychological Services and Development is co-directed by Heather Jones, Ph.D., and Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., of the clinical psychology program. Clinical, developmental/clinical, and counseling psychology graduate students are able to participate in this clinical training practicum experience. In the clinic, student therapists learn to conduct evidencebased assessments and deliver evidence-based treatment to families of children and adolescents with inattention and/or behavior problems. Interventions delivered to families include behavioral parent training, instruction in organization and planning and the establishment of a home-school note. Thanks to a VCU Center for Teaching Excellence grant awarded to Jones, students also have the opportunity to use bug-in-theear technology to improve their clients’ learning of parenting strategies and also to receive live supervision during assessments. The ADHD Clinic continues to serve the greater Richmond community. Interested families may visit the CPSD website for more information. Jones guides Islam with bug-in-the-ear technology.

Graduate student therapists Nadia Islam, left, and Tess Drazdowski practice IQ testing while using the bug-in-the-ear kit to talk to Jones (not pictured) supervising behind the one-way mirror.


Moral injury among the issues facing combat veterans Leticia Flores, Ph.D. ith suicide rates among veterans on the rise, another problem facing veterans also is capturing the public's attention. Service members suffering from moral injury are feeling profound guilt and shame for things they may have done — or not done — in combat, or for events they may have witnessed.

training facility for advanced counseling and clinical psychology doctoral students. The center partners with the Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic at the College of William & Mary to assist veterans in receiving disability benefits.

Among the numerous benefits that the veterans can accrue, one of the most important is therapy.

“Many of these guys have never actually sat down with somebody and talked about what’s happened,” Flores said. “And so The clinic, which receives no federal funding, getting them to actually continue to get serhas garnered interest from the federal level. vices, whether it be with the VA or not, is a Last year, members of Congress toured the success for us.” facility, and legislators have referred their Unfortunately, therapy still has a stigma constituents looking for help to the facility. attached to it for PTSD and TBI patients, and After First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Flores says it could be even harder for those According to the U.S. Department of VeterBiden heard of the clinic, they invited Flores suffering from moral injury to seek help. ans Affairs, “Events are considered morally and other representatives of the clinic to visit “I can predict that it will be even harder for injurious if they ‘transgress deeply held mor- the White House earlier this year. them to seek services over an issue for which al beliefs and expectations.’ Thus, the key The hope, Flores said, is that they can devel- they by definition feel ashamed of,” she said. precondition for moral injury is an act of op a roadmap that other states can use to “This is where we are seeing church and othtransgression, which shatters moral and ethi- help their own veterans. er faith organizations becoming more incal expectations.” While William & Mary provides the legal ex- volved in working with service members — it While moral injury may sound similar to post pertise, the CPSD provides the medical diag- seems to ‘fit’ more in people's conceptualizatraumatic stress disorder, there are marked nostics. The majority of cases are patients tions for who would best address these isdifferences. suffering from PTSD, although there also are sues.” “One very significant difference is that PTSD cases of traumatic brain injury and moral Bringing these issues to the forefront can is a formal diagnostic term, a formal psychi- injury. only help veterans, both those contematric disorder or ‘syndrome,’" said Leticia Most of the patients are men. Some are plating suicide because they feel they have Flores, Ph.D., associate professor of psychol- homeless or destitute, Flores said. Someno other options, and those who are hauntogy at VCU. “Professionals in the mental times the clinic helps the patients receive ed by anxiety or guilt and are too ashamed to health field all know the criteria that one more monetary benefits. seek therapy. must meet in order to get a diagnosis of “So we have had individuals who have been “I am heartened by the increased dialogue in PTSD, and it is a recognizable condition that homeless and who now can actually get an our society about the issue of moral injury may be used to justify treatment, compensaapartment with these additional finances,” and the efforts to address it,” Flores said. tion, etc. Flores said. “Sometimes it results in just add- “We owe it to the men and women we send “The concept of moral injury is a much fuzzi- ed benefits at the VA and they can get the out to fight our wars to help them rebuild er, ethereal, existential state of being. Moral individual therapy or the group therapy for their lives once they return. injury still tends to be thought of as falling the PTSD treatment that they needed for so “Not only do we need to help them become within the realm of religion or philosophy. long. educated and obtain jobs, but we need to There is no ‘diagnosis’ called moral injury, so “Other cases that we’ve had, the veteran has ensure that they can return to live as fulthere are currently no commonly accepted, been trying to go back to school and they’re filling a life as possible with their loved ones medicalized treatments or industry standhaving problems in school, too, because they and themselves. We cannot do that by ignorards for compensation based on the condican’t concentrate and they’re worried about ing or minimizing the psychological and existion. While PTSD seems to be most related to where the chair is and, you know, ‘that per- tential wounds they sustain in service to our the fear response — it is considered an anxison looks kind of suspicious,’ and so we’ve country.” ety disorder — moral injury is considered to been able to use our evaluations to help get be more shame- or guilt-based.” Leila Ugincius (B.S. ‘95/MC) is the public veterans accommodations in classrooms that relations specialist and social media Flores is director of the VCU Center for Psywill help them do better in school.” manager for VCU Public Affairs. chological Services and Development, a


Graduate Student Spotlight Daniel Snipes, M.S., Health Psychology program Daniel Snipes is a second year doctoral student in the health psychology program working with Eric Benotsch, Ph.D. He was born in Los Angeles, Calif. and has been living in Richmond for the past 2 years. He attended California State University-Long Beach with full funding support from the National Institute of Mental Health’s Career Opportunities in Research program and graduated from there with his bachelor’s degree in 2011. With his fellowship from NIMH, he was able to develop his research interests in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) health disparities.

ta in the hopes of producing tailored inter- struct the multidimensional nature of sexventions for transgender populations. ual prejudice towards LGBT individuals.

Snipes’ master’s thesis used data that he collected to examine HPV vaccination among young adult men. He proposed a test to the theory of planned behavior by investigating the role of attitudes, perceived norms and behavioral control in their prediction of intentions to receive the HPV vaccine. Some of his current independent research projects have been examining sexual victimization among college students. With the help of Brooke Green, second year counseling graduate student, he has been investigating substance use and high-risk drinking as a result of sexual victimization, especially among men. Snipes is interested in differential high-risk coping mechanisms used Snipes’ research is focused on the health for men versus women when they experidisparities often faced by LGBT individuals. ence sexual victimization and how those Of particular interest to him are oncogenic potentially lead to sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and disease (STD) transmission via high-risk human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pre- sexual behavior. He intends to expand vention. He tackles these research inter- this research to LGBT populations as he ests by examining sexual behavior, subgains more funding. stance use and stigma among LGBT indiRecently, Snipes was awarded the Nationviduals. In his first year in the health psy- al Science Foundation graduate research chology program, Snipes aided Benotsch, fellowship. This competitive award comes his advisor, in gaining a sample of with three years of funding, including full transgender adults in the Richmond area. tuition/fee remission and a stipend. His Oftentimes, transgender individuals are a proposal to the NSF identified a new dipopulation that is especially difficult to mension of sexual prejudice (also known access. Both he and Benotsch spent late as homophobia) that is unseen in the curhours at community venues collecting da- rent research literature. He will be spend-

Snipes’ dissertation project will examine high-risk sexual behaviors among gay and bisexual men. Specifically, he will be examining delayed condom application (DCA, which refers to insertive sex that begins or ends with unprotected penetration) among a sample of gay and bisexual men. Given that gay men will engage in DCA behavior, but report having safe sex on behavioral assessments, this specific behavior is important for disease prevention. He hopes to use this research to inform interventions aimed at reducing HIV transmission. Snipes’ productivity since coming to VCU has been notable. To date, he has 10 publications in journals ranging from Addictive Behaviors to Drug and Alcohol Dependence on a variety of topics, including “sexting,” the mix of alcohol with energy drinks, the non-medical use of prescription drugs and LGBT ally behavior. Snipes reports that research is his life. He is dedicated to improving the health of LGBT individuals through the production of quality research. Ultimately, he would like to work as a professor at a university, combining his research on LGBT health with the local community to create, and sustain, HIV prevention efforts. Today, the California transplant can’t imagine going to school anywhere else. To him, VCU feels like home.

ing his time as an NSF fellow to decon-

Can you help? Help give an undergraduate student who would not otherwise be able the opportunity to study abroad by donating $12 or more to our undergraduate scholarship fund. To express our thanks, we’ll send you your choice of Department of Psychology t-shirts (designed by two of our former undergraduate students). Visit us on the web to donate and pick out your favorite t -shirt. We’ll ship it to you for free!


Undergraduate Student Spotlight Kristin Caire (B.S. ‘13) Kristin Caire (B.S., ’13) just graduated and is already putting her psychology degree to work. She loves working with people and is able to do just that at her job in the supported living program at Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services. There, she provides life skills assistance to adults with cognitive disabilities to help them maintain their independence.

Caire now has a high level of respect for evidence-based practices and was excited to learn how to look at research, to read it and to apply it effectively to her field.

The proud Caire family celebrates Kristin’s graduation: Beau and Paula Caire (parents), left, Kristin Caire and Anna Caire (grandmother)

Caire faced an extreme Caire got her start at VCU when she trans- challenge as a senior in high school when ferred from the University of Mary Wash- she was in a severe car accident that left ington in Fredericksburg. Upon arrival, her with nerve damage. Her struggles she tried many different majors. She was with the subsequent chronic pain coupled apparently destined to be a psychology, with going to school proved no ordinary however, when she accidentally registered task. The experience clearly gave her a for a forensic psychology course and deheightened sense of compassion. She said cided to give it a shot. She ended up lov- her daily experience with disability gave ing the class and realized that psychology her an understanding for what barriers was what she was meant to do. other students face while pursuing their degree. It is evident that Caire is proud to be a Ram. She was excited to be a part of a When asked why she transferred to VCU, university with such a strong emphasis on Caire said she loved the diverse student research and one that gave undergradupopulation. She rocks many piercings and ates the opportunity to gain experience in tattoos and said she “felt more at home” research labs. After taking Dr. Zyzniewat VCU because of its vast diversity. She ski’s statistics course, she wanted to learn speaks very highly of her professors whom more about research and get some hands- she says helped motivate her to be pason experience. Zyzniewski helped her find sionate, to better understand the material a research assistant position in Drs. in and outside the classroom and to get Southam-Gerow’s and McLeod’s Treateverything she could out of her time at ment Integrity Measurement lab, where VCU. She says that despite any problems she worked for several semesters gaining she faced, her professors were willing to research experience and entering more help her succeed. data than she thought was ever possible!

For fun, Caire loves spending time with her many animals – dogs, cats, birds, fish, spiders and snakes included. Her favorite pet is her dog, Guinness, an Akita. Another love of Caire’s is shooting rifles with her family in Warrington where they have Civil War-style rifles and – believe it or not – a cannon! Shooting for sport gives her an effective outlet for stress management. In the next year or two, Caire’s goal is to apply to VCU’s School of Social Work. Along with her M.S.W., she plans to use the knowledge and skills she gained from her psychology degree to move up the ranks with her current employer. What would Caire like to share with the future Psychology students? “When the drive is there, people can do anything…the worst thing you can do is doubt yourself!”

Submitted by Megan Sutter, health psychology doctoral student.

Department of Psychology Sponsors Facial Action Coding System Workshop With the assistance of the Honors College, the department recently hosted Erika Rosenberg, Ph.D., a world renowned expert in the study of facial expressions of emotion. The 5-day intensive training workshop was designed to train participants in the Facial Action Coding System, the comprehensive, anatomically-based facial measurement system developed by Ekman & Friesen. FACS has been used in a wide range of applied and basic research contexts, from research on emotion, communication and psychopathology to health psychology and forensics. Participants reported that the group setting greatly enabled their ability to learn this rigorous measurement system.


Research Spotlight: Faye Belgrave, Ph.D. How Can We Reduce HIV? Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., is a professor of social psychology and director for the Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention. She is also an affiliate of the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies and the Department of African American Studies. Her work is community and intervention focused and attends to aspects of culture (gender, ethnicity, age and place, etc.) to promote well-being among African American youth and young adults.

strategy involves the participation of students in peer-led evidenced-based HIV and substance abuse prevention curriculums. Sisters Informing Sisters about the Topic of AIDS is the curriculum for women and Nia is the HIV prevention curriculum for males. Safe in the City is used for both men and women. A substance abuse education component that emphasizes the role of alcohol and other drug use on sexual risk behaviors is integrated into all curriculums. The second strategy is a social marketing environmental strategy that consists of "stall seat" journal posters specifically targeting African Americans. These "stall" journals are strategically placed on VCU's campus at different time periods. The third strategy is substance abuse and HIV education and awareness "edutainment" sessions, labeled "the Black Perspective." These fora are open to all in the VCU community and held in partnership with Black student organizations. The final strategy is HIV testing. The goal is to encourage routine testing among VCU students.

African American young adults are at higher risk for HIV than any other racial/ ethnic group with the highest disparity occurring in the 13-24 year old group. Unless this epidemic is reversed, at some point in their lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 Black men and 1 in 32 Black women in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV infection. At VCU we are working hard to reduce these disparities. The Raise 5 project was funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to reduce HIV risk and substance abuse The project is funded for five years and among African American students is beginning its third year. More than a attending VCU. Raise 5 uses five major thousand students have attended the strategies to achieve this goal. The first

education and awareness fora; over one hundred students have participated in our evidenced-based programs; and over 800 students have been tested. The project is carried out under the leadership of Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., principal investigator and project director, Deborah Butler, project coordinator, and Raymond Tademy, Ph.D., post-doc and evaluator. Graduate students Jasmine Abrams, Joshua Brevard, Sarah Javier and Morgan Maxwell are also involved in carrying out all five strategies. Learn more at the Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention web site. Raise 5 partners include Susan Tellier from the Fan Free Clinic, Linda Hancock, Ph.D., and other staff from VCU's Wellness Center and a host of other student organizations at VCU. Preliminary evaluation of the program indicates increases in testing among African American college students, high levels of engagement in Raise 5 education and awareness activities and reduction in risky sexual and drug attitudes and behaviors.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Cotter, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the counseling psychology program. Cotter was recently awarded the American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship Award ($150,000). Her research interests lie in the development of culturally sensitive health promotion programming. This project will examine the effectiveness of translating an established pediatric obesity intervention (Suzanne Mazzeo’s NOURISH+) into a community setting. Specifically, Cotter’s research involves a partnership with a community health center situated within a public housing development. This investigation has the potential to reduce obesity rates in an underserved population, thereby reducing the risk of future cancer incidence and other health concerns.


Psychology Students GO the MILE for Underserved Populations in the Richmond Community Did you know that African American women account for over 75 percent of HIV/AIDS cases among women in Virginia? Hosted in recognition of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, G.O. the M.I.L.E. aimed to help African American women and girls Get the facts, Offer support, Manage HIV/AIDS, Initiate testing,

lowing agencies: VCU’s Institute of Woman’s Health, Minority Health Consortium, Richmond City Health District, Fan Free Clinic and Nia Incorporated. More than 20 VCU students from various departments volunteered to assist with event preparation, execution and clean up. Students deserving of honorable mention include Miracle Allums, Psychology, class of ‘13; Ashley Everett, Biology, class of 2013; Brittni Trofort, Shalesha Majors, School of Education, class of ‘13 and Ma-

Learn prevention and Encourage discussion. Conceptualized by Psychology doctoral students Jasmine Abrams and Morgan Maxwell, G.O. the M.I.L.E. was a community awareness event designed for African American women and girls at risk for contracting HIV/ AIDS. Funded through a small grant from VCU’s Institute for Women’s Health, the creative and interactive health education program aimed to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS risk and provide access to free screening services. The community event included an HIV/AIDS themed art competition for high school and college students in which $350 in cash prizes were awarded. The event also featured a dramatic production depicting stories of HIV positive women and girls, entitled “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” The production was written and directed by an undergraduate Psychology student, Justin Delaney. In addition, participants enjoyed a prevention tips discussion, free HIV testing and Condom Olympics. The event was overseen by Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., and conducted in conjunction with the fol-

ing information. Ninety-four individuals attended the event, ranging in age from 11 to 81. The Minority Health Consortium reported screening 24 people for HIV. Further, the event was wellreceived by participants. For example, nearly 80 percent of participants strongly agreed that they enjoyed the dramatic production and more than 50 percent strongly agreed that they learned something new during the prevention tips presentation. Also, nearly 80 percent of participants strongly agreed that they would incorporate what they learned into their lifestyle. Event organizers were encouraged by participants to make this an annual community event. Some participant comments: “This program was of exceptional quality. The activities that were provided reinforce the theme of the program. The services provided should be something done for every community throughout the United States. Great job!” “Great info. Move forward and take into schools, health departments and churches.”

riam Sankoh, Bioinformatics and Mathe- “I hope that this informative program matical Sciences, class of ‘14. With the can go forward to educate the younger help of volunteers and community part- generation.” ners, participants were able to enjoy a day full of adventure and learning through a theatrical performance, an art Jasmine Abrams, M.S., is a doctoral gallery viewing, participation in activities student in the health psychology prodesigned to promote condom use, free gram. She, together with Morgan Maxwell, doctoral student in health psycholHIV testing, free refreshments and free ogy, conceptualized and coordinated the gifts. GO the MILE event.

Joshua Brevard, M.S., doctoral student of social psychology, conducted a formal evaluation of the educational yet entertaining event which revealed the follow-

Joshua Brevard, M.S., is a doctoral student in the social psychology program. His research interests are HIV and substance abuse prevention.


Administrative and Professional Faculty Spotlight Dorothy Fillmore Discusses Her 31 Years at VCU Dorothy Fillmore (M.A. English/English Education, ’84)) is the current associate director of academic operations in the Department of Psychology. We are proud to report that she was recently honored with the Catalyst Award for her distinguished work in supporting LGBTQ youth in the Richmond community, and more specifically, her work on VCU’s LGBT Subcommittee of Equity and Diversity which is now called Equality VCU. ROSMY gives three of these on an annual basis – one to an individual (Fillmore), one to an institution and one to a faith-based organization. Beth Ahabah is this year’s faithbased organization recipient and the Valentine Museum is this year’s institution recipient. As we celebrate the recognition of her impact on our LGBTQ youth with great pride, it is worthwhile to take a look back at Fillmore’s 31 years of education and service to VCU. Please see the table below for a list of all the positions she has held since arriving in 1982.

ered her passion for the profession of academic advising. She describes advising as “the perfect synthesis between her strengths in both teaching and listening.” Luckily for VCU students, she has remained on that career path ever since and despite the many other hats she has worn since then, she still identifies first and foremost as an academic advisor. On her experience with a variety of VCU departments, her partner of 23 years, Lisa Furr of VCU Allied Health Professions’ Virginia Center on Aging, has remarked quite comically that “Dorothy has never had to apply for a new job because of her tendency to ‘reorganize’ every 3 or 4 years, or so.”

Dorothy’s VCU Career 1982-present

A proud East Tennessean by birth, Fillmore left Knoxville for a “geographic cure” at the undergraduate program at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. After earning her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion, she headed to Union Theological Seminary in Richmond for a year before finally arriving at VCU to pursue her master of arts in English/English Education. Upon graduating from VCU in 1984, Fillmore accepted an adjunct faculty position in the English department where she taught English Composition and Rhetoric I and II for two years. It was in her next role as an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Advising and Nontraditional Studies where she discov1982-1984 Graduate assistant in the Writing Center, College of Humanities and Sciences 1984-1986 Lecturer and adjunct faculty for Department of English, College of Humanities and Sciences 1986-1995 Academic Advisor; Assist. Director, Office of Academic Advising and Nontraditional Studies 1995-1999 Coordinator, Division of University Outreach 1999-2004 Assistant Director, Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Humanities and Sciences 2004-2007 Coordinator, Forensic Science, College of Humanities and Sciences 2007-present Assoc. Director for Academic Advising, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences


In her acceptance speech for the Burnside-Watstein award, Fillmore prepared and read the following. When asked to describe VCU’s evolution since her 10 Dorotheisms: “a few things I have learned along the advocacy way” arrival in 1982, Fillmore made a list of “B’s” – 1. It takes many hands to do this work, and 7. We need everybody – we need the angry, creabeautification, better we are blessed to have colleagues and allies tive, scholarly, dissenting, theatrical, in the closet, basketball, buildings and all along the way. Thank you for the bridges out of the closet, gay, straight, bi, transgender, bureaucracy. She reyou are building and the incredible support queer. There is not one way to do this work. It is a membered with fondness you provide. rainbow flag, not a single colored flag. the time her first VCU 2. Public displays of affection will change the paycheck as an adjunct 8. It is good to be outrageous. world. I really believe this. So let’s get to it! instructor arrived late and she was able to pick 3. Are we making room at the table? Who is 9. Do not wait for others to “get it” before you live it up from her departnot there? Who is not here? Let’s make your life. If I had waited for others “get it,” I would ment the very next day! room. still be waiting. Fillmore also notes how much less of a commuter 4. I have many blind spots. While I may school and school for think that “Dorothy World” is the way things nontraditional students should be; there are other “worlds” which 10. Let’s continue to be tenacious and do the VCU is now than it used have merit. work. The work of the VCU LGBT Subcommittee is to be. Of progress in the to add gender identity and its expression to VCU’s areas of diversity and non-discrimination policy; to find a way to fund a 5. The worst “isms” and “phobias” are the inclusion, she observes domestic partner benefit plan; to work to expand ones I swallowed from the culture and my that although the universervices for LGBT students through a resource upbringing. I sometimes need help in flushsity still has some work center; to educate ourselves and others about ahead of it in these areways to combat bias and hate and about the ways 6. The past is not the future. Sometimes I as, it is a far more incluoppression affects all of us. get stuck here, but when I ask for help from sive institution than it my friends and colleagues at VCU, they are was in the early 1980’s. able to help me move forward. And it is on this very issue – that of diversity and equity – that Fillmore has given VCU a wonderful gift in Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Glen Allen, she the form of her zeal for the advancement of lesbian, gay, biloves to knit and walk (“but not at the same time”) and is cursexual and transgender persons as valued members of the rently enjoying a class on LGBTQ writing at the Gay Communiinstitution and student body. As mentioned above, she is a ty Center. An avid reader, she is now working on the fifth Harmember and former co-chair of Equality VCU and has served ry Potter book, The Order of the Phoenix. When asked what in that role since it was originally called the VCU LGBT Alumni keeps her motivated in her career after 31 years, she says, Group in the mid 1990’s. In addition, she is a past member of “People.” She cherishes all the connections she has made the College and Department of Psychology Diversity Comacross the campus throughout the years and still derives great mittee and currently serves as secretary of the College’s Disatisfaction from her daily work with students. The departversity Committee. In order to recognize her outstanding con- ment chair of Psychology, Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., says, tributions to the advancements of the LGBTQ community at “Dorothy Fillmore is an absolute delight to work with and I VCU, Equality VCU recognized Dorothy in 2012 with the Burn- consider her the glue that holds our department together in side-Watstein Award. The award is given annually to individu- so many ways. She is an integral reason our undergraduate Page 9 als who enrich the community at VCU and make a significant and graduate programs function so well." difference in the lives of LGBT faculty, staff and students.

In her spare time, Fillmore enjoys time with Lisa and their beloved dogs, Rascal and Willow. She is a board member of the

Jen Elswick is director for strategic initiatives, assistant to chair and admiring co-worker of Dorothy Fillmore in the Department of Psychology.


Campus Visitors Spring 2013

Naomi Moller, Ph.D., visited our department during the spring semester to give the lecture “Story-Stem Completion: A Novel Qualitative Method for Collecting Data.” Moller is a chartered psychologist and associate head of the Department of Psychology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, a VCU international partnership university. Her talk was about a novel qualitative method for collecting data. British psychology is very strong in the area of qualitative methods and story-stem completion is a dominant method in therapy there, one which is supported by government and the National Health Service focus on making sure that 'service-user' (i.e. client) voices are heard. The presented method is a newish qualitative method that is 'resource lite' and fun for both trainees and more experienced qualitative researchers. The method was illustrated with findings from a story-stem study which explores perceptions of fat counselors.

Basil Pillay, Ph.D., DHSM, LLM, is the chief clinical psychologist and head of department for the Department of Behavioural Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, also a VCU international partnership university. Pillay gave a colloquium to our students and faculty titled “Survivors of gross human rights violations - mental health & forgiveness as a psychosocial strategy.”

Carolyn Tucker, Ph.D., is the Florida Blue endowed chair in health disparities research at the University of Florida and the Richard and Thelma O. C. Barney endowed term professor of health disparities in the UF College of Medicine (2008present). She also is a distinguished alumni professor, professor of psychology, professor of community health and family medicine, affiliate professor of pediatrics, a research foundation professor and a While on campus, Pillay met with many fellow in the American Psychological Assofaculty who share common research interciation. She is the director of the UF ests and spoke with the College adminHealth Disparities Research and Intervenistration regarding his ongoing collaboration Program and is a member of the edition with our department chair, Wendy torial board for the Journal of the NationKliewer, Ph.D., on a research project titled al Medical Association. She is nationally “Risk and Resilience in South African known as the founder of the evidenceYouth: An International Collaboration Bebased Health-Smart Behavior Program to tween VCU and UKZN.” In addition to givmodify and prevent obesity, which is being a classroom presentation to Kliewer’s ing used nationally in community centers, 494 undergraduate research students, YMCAs, churches and health care sites. many of whom enter data for the project, Pillay also had the opportunity to meet Together with our department, the Obesiwith some of our department’s affiliates ty Research Center in VCU's Department After the formal talk, Moller stayed to talk from Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical of Biostatistics and the Center on Health more informally about UWE and possibili- Center. Care Disparities hosted Tucker for two ties for faculty and student exchange with talks during her March visit—"Roles of VCU. Psychologists in Fostering PatientCentered Culturally Sensitive Health Care" and "Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Culturally Diverse Communities 'With an Ear for the Beat of Different Hearts.'“


Lecture Spotlight Menaces to Society: Exploring the Era of Black ‘Gangster Movies’ and their Impact on Crime and Violence Micah McCreary, Ph.D. On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, in the University Student Commons Theater, Micah McCreary, Ph.D., delivered a fascinating lecture to a packed audience. Students filled every seat in the theater to hear “Menaces to Society: Exploring the Era of Black Gangster Movies and their Impact on Crime and Violence.” McCreary discussed the portrayal of criminals in movies dating back to the 1960’s and exhibited how iconic characters in movies such as The Godfather and Shack helped to shape the attitudes and behaviors of criminals. He showed several clips from infamous gangster movies and discussed how movies such as “Training Day” featuring Denzel Washington continue to impact a Submitted by Dionne Shepperson, Interim Assistant Director, culture of violence. Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

For extra credit…..

I attended “Menaces to Society: Exploring the Era of Black ‘Gangster Movies’ and their Impact on Crime and Violence” on Tuesday, February 12th at 7pm.

Through Dr. McCreary’s analysis of the eight personas of manhood, I found it incredibly interesting to see how we characterize men— specifically black men—in categories such as pacifist, player, protestor, parent, prophet or priest. To see how the identity of black men has evolved and how it has been given a “box” by media and “gangster movies” was enlightening because throughout history, the real life actions of the black man have tended to result from what the media portrays that a black man should be. Dr. McCreary led us through the evolution from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and in the end we were able to see the nonchalant and cool, yet powerful, portrayal of manhood displayed throughout the centuries come together in the movie “Training Day” with Denzel Washington. We previewed the movie “Juice” which brought us to the question, “How far will you go to get it?” In the movie the characters talk about getting the juice, but what they are truly talking about is how far we will go to get the POWER. Power plays a critical role in our society identifying what we should expect the role of a man to embody. It was interesting to see how that character had developed throughout time. In taking this knowledge and applying it to real world experiences, it makes me question how we can challenge men, specifically black men, to continue to step out of this role that has been created for them. How can we show our black men that the power they desperately seek does not lie in the streets or in the fairytale storyline of a gangster movie, but that real power already lies within them in their minds? It makes me wonder how we can get our black men to understand that power lies within education, trust and honest living. Being a part of eye-opening discussions and speaker sessions like these allows me the opportunity to understand the realities our African American community is dealing with so that we may take action into creSubmitted by Latessa “Miracle” Allums, class of 2013. ating a greater good for our future generations.


Congratulations, May 2013 Graduates! Doctor of Philosophy

Chase Brodin Steven Brokob Anthony Coy Jakira Brooks Monica Durrette Amber Brown Jennifer Reid Antwain Brown Carla Shaffer Megan Brown Master of Science Dorsey Bumbrey Kristin Caire Joshua Brevard Brian Calhoun Elizabeth Collison William Cameron Brooke Green Aaron Carr Maria Greenwood Pamela Carter Janette Hamilton Sha'kara Chambers Sarah Javier Hannah Childs Caroline Lavelock Joshua Cho Gillian Leibach Candace Coates-Faircloth Yin Lin Robert Cockerille Morgan Maxwell Erika Coleman Jordan Quaglia Ciara Collier Daniel Snipes Kelsey Cox Bachelor of Science with Honors Carlene Crews Danielle Croke Brenna Ives Posner Brinn Crooke Bachelor of Science Brian Curtis Maral Abooali Michael Dabrowski Estella Aganze Andrea Davies Jennifer Aguilar Emily Davis Delethia Agyeibi Kimberly Davis Irene Agyeman Michelle Davis Jared Ambrose Prachi Desai Jamesha Anderson Anjlee Dhaliwal Joanna Aninakwah Marla DiMercurio Gordon Arnott Sarah Ditulli Kristy Bacon Sarah Dix Brennan Bagnall Taylor Dixon Valerie Balog Jacquelyn Downing Corey Barnes Emmanuel Duah Khalid Barnwell Kayla Duff Rachel Beckner Barbara Dunn Rediat Belay Praisegod Ekwueme Brooke Belcher Lauren Estep Natasha Beltram Chasity Faison Manpreet Bhogal Chanae Farrow Jarrod Bishop Kiara Faulks Jennifer Blackhurst Casey Fines Alexandria Blackwell Niya Flemmings Maeya Bland Gloria Flores Shakia Bobbitt Sean Foley Benjamin Bone Stephen Folkes Melissa Borda Lauren Francisco Jodie Brazelton Samantha Fuentes Karri Bridges Catherine Galie Tiara Broaddus Ryan Gardiner

Simon Garza Brian Geib Meliza Generoso Megan Girbert Massa Gongbay Evelyn Gonzalez Kionna Graham Megan Gray Crystal Greene Taylor Guardia Priscilla Guevara Lauren Gueye Nadine Gunter Brian Hahl Sandra Haines Mohammad Matin Hajimohammadi Shannon Hakh Hannah Hames Se-A Han Erin Hanley Christina Hardy Cierra Harris Katelynn Harris Daniela Harvey Asheleigh Henry Ellis Hill Lorin Hoisington Tyeisha Hooks Lauryn Hutchinson Monica Ilog Heidi Imperio Mary Irby Patrick Izac Sha'Tanya Jackson Shari Jackson Lauren Jameson Zain Javed Shawna Jefferson Lerika Jenkins Lindsey Jensen Charlea Johnson Camilla Jones Jalisa Jones Mark Jones Sumire Kakizaki Morotina Kargbo Poonamjit Kaur Chris Keck Nakuma Wani Kenyi Young Kim Niambi King Nicholas Kossey

Cassidy Kramer Christopher Kropf Katherine Kulick Jessica Lantz Case Layman Janayia Lemon Kate Leon-Guerrero Brandi Leupold Shanequa Lewis Tyler Lienhart Patrick Lindrew Andrew Linscott Alicia Luis-Guerra Magaly Maltez Cassandra Martine Brittany Mason Leah Mason Tiwian Mason Allyson Mayes Haley McBee Jessica McCauley Matthew McClenny Kelly McClung Ryan McHale Mallory McKenzie Robert McVay Michael Mcmullen Julia Messer Katherine Miller Michael Monks Sierra Moran Meagan Morrison Raven Morton Heather Muzia Stewart Muztafago Daniel Namkoong Alicia Nantista Wasim Nasser Jared Navarro Meaghan Neylon Nicholas Nguyen Kimberly Norman Kathryn Northup Kelsey Nuckols Nnedinma Nwobodo Eric Oberholtzer Brandon Obie Kristina Oehlbeck Brandon Oliver Apule Osika Hanna Owens Tarsha Page-Brown Anjani Parikh


Jonathan Park Mark Parrish Rebecca Paster Niyati Patel Pooja Patil Alexandria Patterson Dominique Payne Tori Pearson William Pegram Kristina Perez Lael Pierce Danielle Pinn Sharmaine Placides Brenna Posner Kristen Proffitt Timothy Pugh Jonathan Punzi Clair Purmasir Daniel Quinn

Hannah Ragnauth Rebecca Rainforth Venus Rezvankhoo Hamza Riaz James Ritter Denise Robinson David Rockman Tyler Rosenberg Elaina Ross Aaron Rowe Carter Rowell Jessica Rowland Allison Rowley Tulika Sahai Melanie Savia JaQuelle Scott Sweta Shah Courtney Shelton Daniel Shunfenthal

Sabina Smajlagic Ashvin Sood Betis Sorto-Sanchez Carrie Southworth Meredith Spencer Tory Spindle Shanelle Squire Floyd Steele Ashley Stewart Kelsey Stewart George Sullivan Mayah Taylor Jordan Tebbens Sheena Thomas Travis Tincher Corey Tolliver Sarah Tolson Brittni Trofort Gaye Troy

Christopher Van Buskirk Hannah VanLandingham Lorenzo Vazquez Deeyna Velasquez Alberto Velez Krista Veneziano Cayla Ware Brittany Watson Emily Watts Miles Wilhelm Chelsea Wilkinson Andrew Williams Kim Williams Seaver Woolfolk Kathryn Yob Kylie Zebina Helen Zeraye

Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D. (B.S. ‘91), is a professor of child development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is an University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. She earned her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment and dating violence for the last 20 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on more than 110 professional publications. She is co-editor of four published books including “Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention” and “International Handbook of Bullying” published by Routledge. She is associate editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors and social workers across the U.S. Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming. She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms. Learn more about Espelage at her University of Illinois-Urban Champaign website.

Graduation Speaker: Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D.


Photo by Elijah Christman, fiscal technician in the Department of Psychology

Happy Summer to All! Virginia Commonwealth University College of Humanities and Sciences Department of Psychology 806 W. Franklin St. P.O. Box 842018 Richmond, VA 23284-2018 Phone: 804-828-1193 Fax: 804-828-2237 Web address: www.psychology.vcu.edu/ Newsmagazine comments: Jennifer Elswick, jlelswick@vcu.edu

Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation or disability.

VCU Psychology - Summer 2013 Newsmagazine  

All the latest news and updates from VCU's Department of Psychology.

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