White House, 806 W. Franklin St.
reetings from 806 W. Franklin St. and welcome to Zeitgeist, the new moniker for our newsmagazine. Many thanks to Dr. Aashir Nasim for the suggestion! As I write this we are in final preparations for the spring 2013 term and are looking forward to a busy semester. This issue is packed with interesting information about what our faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate students and alumni have been up to. For example, read about Dr. Eric Benotsch’s work on non medical use of prescription medication, a growing public health problem, on page 10, and about Dr. Shawn Utsey’s film, “Until the Well Runs Dry,” on the exploitation of African American bodies, on page 7. Research on violence and health continue to be departmental strengths. Elizabeth Goncy, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in the VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development, has strengthened this research portfolio even further with a grant from the National Institute of Justice to study dating violence (page 6). Jackie Woods, a graduate student in the counseling psychology doctoral program, has been working with Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D. on adolescent eating disorders. Learn about her background and research project on page 12. Our undergraduates have also been busy. For this issue we spotlight Steven Brokob, class of 2013, one of the many psychology students who is also a veteran (page 9). Steven recently assisted us with the planning of our Veterans Day celebration and participated in a panel discussion on life after war at the event (page 8). Our alumni lead interesting lives. In this issue we feature Kathleen Grzegorek (B.S. ‘82), who attended the Temple University School of Law and went on to become a founding partner of one of the nation’s leading firms specializing in immigration law (page 5). This past November, we welcomed six alumni back to campus who served as panelists for our “All About Psychology” fair. They spoke to about 100 undergraduate students about their individual career journeys since earning their psychology degrees. Further, we have assembled an alumni committee to advise the chair about best ways to engage current and future alumni and to spearhead projects that will benefit our undergraduates (also page 5). We also have other regular features, such as CPSD Corner, Ask the CPSD, Psychology events featured in the news and a congratulatory acknowledgment of our latest graduates. Best wishes for a great Spring!
Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Page 2
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 E-magazine Production
What have you been up to lately? Tell us so we can feature you in our next newsmagazine!
Inside This Issue
1 Cover photography by Elijah Christman, Program Support Technician for VCU Psychology Inverted globular fisheye photo of White House, 806 W. Franklin St.
4 Psychology alumni serve on department committee and “All About Psychology” panel
Award winners Micah McCreary, Ph.D. Tracey Gendron, Ph.D.
Department news and updates
Department awarded first National Institute of Justice Grant Elizabeth Goncy, Ph.D.
7 Medicine and the exploitation of black bodies Spotlight on the work of Shawn Utsey, Ph.D.
12 Graduate student spotlight Jacqueline Woods, M.S., counseling program Meet our new service center director of operations Stephanie L. Hart, M.B.A., C.R.A.
13 Ask the CPSD A reader writes in to seek advice regarding a son who might be gay
8 Life after the military: Panel tackles difficulties of adjusting to civilian life when military service ends by Leila Ugincius
CPSD Corner Use of iPad and mobile devices in therapy: on the road to Hawaii
14-15 Undergraduate news
16 Elizabeth Carter (B.S. '80, M.S. '85, and Ph.D. '86), left, and Taura Daniels (B.S. ’01) speak to undergraduates about careers available to psychology majors at our “All About Psychology” fair
9 Undergraduate Spotlight Steven Brokob, class of 2013
Alumni spotlight Kathleen Grzegorek (B.S. ’82) by Gregg Johnson
Research Spotlight Non medical use of prescription drugs by Eric Benotsch, Ph.D.
December 2012 graduates Speaker: Christopher Kilmartin (M.S. ‘86, Ph.D. ‘88)
17 Department contact information
Alumni On Campus J. David Smith, Ed.D. (B.S. ‘67, M.S. ‘73/AHP) attended a “Meet the Authors” event in November at the School of Education to discuss the new book he has coauthored with Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas, “Good Blood, Bad Blood: Science, Nature, and the Myth of the Kallikaks.” Invented by psychologist Henry Herbert Goddard in 1912, the name Kallikak is derived from the Greek words kallos (good) and kakos (bad). Goddard believed that nature and heredity are unalterable forces leading to feeble-mindedness and degeneracy, which he illustrated using case studies of “Deborah Kallikak,” a woman at his in-
Alumni Serve as Panelists at Career Fair The Department of Psychology and the VCU Chapter of the International Honor Society for Psychology Majors (Psi Chi) held an “All About Psychology” fair on November 5. Six of our department’s alumni spoke at the fair about their fields of study and professional experiences after having earned their psychology degrees. In attendance were about onehundred undergraduate students and representatives from around the university to assist with questions about mentoring, GRE preparation, internship opportunities, AmeriCorps/VISTA, rehabilitation counseling, social work, career opportunities and graduate school funding. The alumni panel was the capstone event of the evening and received high praise from our students. We would like to extend our warmest thanks to our panelists for taking their valuable time to serve our students in this manner. Read their biosketches and see pictures from the event. Ruth Brown (Ph.D. ‘11) Elizabeth Carter (B.S. '80, M.S. '85, Ph.D. '86) Taura Daniels (B.S. ’01) Joshua Marks (B.S. ’10) Angela Rathbun (B.S. ’11) Jacqueline Slemaker (B.S. ’06, M.Ed. ‘09)
Smith (left) and Wehmeyer stitution for the feeble-minded. Using new source material, Good Blood, Bad Blood retells the story of Deborah in its entirety. This is a compelling story that is vital to understanding both this specific American tragedy and the history of efforts to manipulate the human population. Buy the book.
Meet the members of our new Alumni Committee We in Psychology are dedicated to our alumni and to keeping them engaged in the life of our department long after they have passed through our doors. As such, Chairwoman Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., has formed an alumni committee to assist us in this effort. The committee will meet 2-3 times per year and will provide feedback to the chair on the department’s efforts in alumni engagement. The committee met with Kliewer for the first time in October and have already given valuable insight that will help better inform our initiatives. We thank them for their service to our department and look forward to working with them over the coming months. Look for a profile of the members in the next issue of the newsmagazine. Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D. (left); Elizabeth Bambacus (B.S. ‘07); Jillian DeBold (B.S. ‘10); Bonnie Dowdy (Ph.D. ‘94); Kataresea Ford (B.S. ‘96); Michael Martelli (Ph.D. ‘95); and Vanessa Rakestraw, Ph.D. (B.S. ‘80) Not pictured: Thomas Campbell (Ph.D. ‘08) and Terry Spurrier (B.S. ‘80)
Grzegorek is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
Kathleen Grzegorek (B.S. ’82)
I started at VCU in the fall of 1978. I did not know what I wanted to major in. I just liked being in school and taking interesting classes. I don’t think I declared a major until I absolutely had to! Although I did end up majoring in psychology, I was very influenced by a few other professors and different departments. I met many people working on their BFA’s in painting and sculpture. I don’t feel that I had talent or creativity in art, but I learned so much hanging out with friends in the arts. Even 30+ years later, the friends I am still in touch with were from the School of the Arts.
Kathleen Grzegorek received a B.S. in psychology from VCU in 1982 and later attended the Temple University School of Law. In December 1990, she was admitted to the State Bar of California and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Grzegorek went on to be a founding partner of Stone & Grzegorek, LLP, one of the nation’s leading firms specializing in immigration law. Stone & Grzegorek has six certified specialists in immigration law—more than any other law firm. The firm has developed an Another profound influence was a summer international reputation for achieving study abroad program that I participated in outstanding results in the practice of during the summer of 1980 in Madrid. It immigration law. Grzegorek wrote to us about her time at was probably not the best place to send undergraduates at the time. Franco had VCU: died only a few years previously and Spain “My father worked for the federal govern- was still somewhat unstable. When I ment, so we made many moves to different landed at the airport in Madrid, it was in states while I was growing up. I spent rubble after having been just bombed by a eleventh and twelfth grade in Prince Basque terrorist group. Be that as it may, I George County, Va. and graduated from loved Madrid. The language, culture, art, Prince George High School in 1978. At history, politics (and, I must admit, Spanthat time, I was sick of moving and had ish guys) were overwhelming. When a many friends going to VCU. Besides go- friend who works with international stuing with my high school friends to VCU, dents recently told me that every American another reason I wanted to attend was that girl who studies abroad as an undergraduI wanted to go to Richmond. I was in ate always comes back with a boyfriend, a twelfth grade, I had a part-time job as a funny haircut and a taste for strange liquor, tour guide at Shirley Plantation and came it really rang true! to appreciate the history and architecture Bottom line, what was so rewarding about of that part of the state. So, I wanted to my VCU time was the diversity and live in the Fan where there were even breadth of different classes and experimore old buildings!
ences. I learned so much from the history department. I took Russian history classes with Dr. Monroe, Spanish and Latin American history classes with Dr. Greer, psychology classes with Dr. Maloney and, of course, Spanish language classes. I also gained an appreciation for southern writers from a few English classes. History of film and animation were useful for my future career here in Los Angeles servicing the entertainment industry. Looking back, I believe this incredible mix at VCU is why I became an immigration attorney. I love my clients. They are from many different countries, cultures and socioeconomic groups. I work extensively with colleges and universities on international student and scholar cases. At the moment, the majority of my academic cases have involved astronomers – a very mind-expanding group to work with once I understood what they do! I also work with many clients in the arts and entertainment industry. I hate to admit it, but my Spanish is a bit rusty nowadays. We’ve got many fluent speakers in my office who handle the majority of communications. We have a thriving pro bono practice serving some really worthwhile groups such as immigrant juveniles in the foster care system. I also notice VCU influences in my personal life. I own a historic craftsman home in Pasadena that was built in 1906 (very old for LA!) with a very peaceful Japanese garden. My husband is a theoretical physicist at Caltech.” Kathy’s full bio can be found here. An overview of her law firm can be found here.
Gregg Johnson is director of communications for the College of Humanities and Sciences. Page 5
Winner of a VCU Quest for Innovation award ongratulations to Micah McCreary, Ph.D., of our counseling program. McCreary recently received a VCU Quest Innovation award for his proposal, “The BEST (Brothers, Energized, Spirited, Talented) Project.” The BEST project is a program developed to provide training and mentoring for young African American men at risk for school drop out. The BEST Project proposes to build (1) their math, science and technological abilities and skills; (2) their persistence, problem solving and conflict management, self-regulation and motivation skills; and (3) their cultural, spiritual and moral character. The major concern to be addressed is whether various components of a comprehensive program with psychological, mental, educational and spiritual-religious components will have a positive effect on at-risk young men.
racey Gendron, assistant professor, Department of Gerontology, completed the Master’s in gerontology program in 1995 with a concentration in public administration from VCU. She is also currently a doctoral student in our developmental psychology program. She teaches the Biology and Physiology of Aging, Research Methods and Grant Writing among other courses for Gerontology. Her research interests include the professional identity development of gerontologists, health disparities in the aging population and higher education through service learning and community engagement. Gendron was recently honored at the BurnsideWatstein LGBT Awards Reception and Ceremony. Her work on the university's equity and diversity committee and her development of a personcentered caring curriculum for healthcare professionals on issues unique to the aging LGBT population are just two of the ways she has contributed to the LGBTQIA climate at VCU. Congratulations, Tracey! Page 68
Department’s First National Institute of Justice Grant een dating violence (TDV) is a serious public health concern with significant implications for healthy development during adolescence and into adulthood. Recent data (CDC, 2010) indicate that between 10-33% of adolescents report having been a victim of Elizabeth Goncy, Ph.D. physical or psychological TDV (CDC, 2010). TDV has significant implications for adolescent development and is an important risk factor for later domestic violence (e.g., Gidycz et al., 2007). Notably, TDV has been linked to many negative outcomes, including physical injury, poor mental health, suicide and homicide with a public health cost of $12.6 billion per year in the United States. The substantial societal costs and the long term negative impact underscore the need for research on TDV. As a result, federal agencies have recently made understanding the predictors and consequences of TDV a top funding priority. Last year, the National Institute of Justice awarded two post-doctoral fellowships with this primary purpose. Elizabeth Goncy, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at the VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development, was recently awarded one of these two grants with senior mentorship from Albert Farrell, PhD., and Terri Sullivan, Ph.D. Her grant, which started January 1, incorporates five studies to examine TDV in urban early adolescents over the next three years. Goncy’s projects involve secondary analysis of data currently being collected by the CDC-funded Academic Center of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention (ACE) at VCU within the Clark-Hill Institute. The VCU-ACE project collects multiple waves of data on youth violence perpetration and victimization including TDV, as well as associated risk factors and adjustment, as part of an evaluation of a community-level comprehensive prevention approach. Goncy’s studies will examine a myriad of TDV issues in early adolescence including measurement of TDV, estimation of TDV prevalence rates by gender age and season, and identification of trajectory profiles of TDV across middle school. Further, Goncy’s projects will help specify similarities and differences between TDV and general aggression during early adolescence, as well as examine how different trajectories of TDV can be predicted by risk factors, such as aggression, exposure to community violence, and polyvictimization. The project’s final objective is to more clearly delineate the consequences of early TDV by predicting adjustment at the end of the eighth grade, including substance use, antisocial behavior, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Goncy is hopeful that the projects will lead to more refined measures of TDV, as well as help identify clear and useful strategies for prevention and intervention of TDV during adolescence. This project was supported by Award No. 2012-IJ-CX-0014, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.
Medicine and the Exploitation of Black Bodies from their childhoods of warnings to steer clear of MCV late at night, for fear that they might be snatched away to the dissecting room, never to be seen or heard from again. Utsey demonstrates how – much like the effects of unethical medical experiments and other incidences of medical apartheid where African Americans were the major victims – the legacy of grave robbing Drawing connections between the historical Black experience for medical dissection is indelibly etched into the psyches of and its effects on the psyche of African Americans as they navi- African Americans today. These practices, he notes, have all gate society today, and then communicating these relationships fueled contemporary attitudes that African Americans hold toin an accessible and impactful way can be a tall order. wards medicine. But Shawn Utsey, Ph.D., professor of psychology and chair of While the filmmaking process can be lengthy, Utsey says that it the African American Studies department, makes it all seem presents a unique way to creatively condense his passion for effortless using an unconventional (for psychology) but insightresearch in psychology and African American studies, and his ful research process—documentary filmmaking. commitment to social activism, and holding various institutions In his latest documentary, Until the Well Runs Dry: Medicine accountable for their past actions, into a platform that is accessiand the Exploitation of Black Bodies, Utsey explores the prac- ble to audiences in both the academic and general community. tice of disinterring cadavers (grave robbing or bodysnatching) In fact, his work has received important accolades that speak to for purposes of medical dissection and examines how this has both the creative quality of his work and the social relevance of contributed to African American mistrust of the medical estabits content. Until the Well Runs Dry, which premiered in Nolishment today. This nefarious practice was widespread in the vember last year and has already been aired on local television, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States. In was recently selected for participation in the Virginia Film FesRichmond, Va., the epicenter for the domestic trade in enslaved tival, slated for November 2013. Africans during the 1800's, African Americans – both living and dead – were especially vulnerable. Black bodies dispropor- Utsey's first documentary, Meet Me in the Bottom: The Struggle to Reclaim Richmond's tionately turned up as African Burial Ground, anatomical material on won the 2010 Virginia the dissecting tables of Independent Film Festhe Medical College of tival award for Best Virginia, the University Documentary, as well of Virginia and other as the Audience medical schools in the Choice Award. state and beyond. In fact, many longtime Richmond residents interviewed for the documentary recount stories
Shawn Utsey, Ph.D.
Phi Kappa Phi Initiation
Steven Danish, Ph.D., professor in our counseling program, is the founder of F.R.E.E. 4 Vets, which is a program to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan develop the skills necessary for their transition to civilian life. Learn more about Dr. Danish.
Congratulations to Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., department chair and professor of developmental psychology, who was recently initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society promoting the pursuit of excellence in all academic fields.
Life After the Military Panel tackles difficulties of adjusting to civilian life when military service ends "You're used to your word being the word, and you expect a certain type of deference based on your rank and your position. "And so it was very difficult — very difficult — for me when an 18-year old called me by Paul E. Galanti, left, commissioner of the Department my first name. And when I had a graduate of Veterans' Services, and panelist Bethann Vealey student — who would've been one of my sergeants or corporals or maybe a first lieuWhat is it like for veterans and their families tenant I was trying to educate — actually after military service? What are the reintegra- gave me an assignment that I had to give tion issues, especially for those returning to back. These type of things, they may not school? The Department of Psychology ad- seem significant to you, at a certain level, but dressed these questions in a panel discussion when you're a senior enlisted or a senior offithat included student veterans and military cer in the military hierarchy, you have some family members in honor of Veterans Day. serious clout. I didn't realize how much I The panel was part of a larger reception for thought I was until I came here and I was just veterans and their families on Nov. 13 in the another number—I was 'Ray.' It took me two University Student Commons. years to get used to being called by my first "All of us who have served feel special when name by someone under a certain position." something like this happens," said Raymond The list of adjustments that former service Tademy, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow members have to make when they return to with Psychology’s Center for Cultural Excivilian life goes on. periences in Prevention and U.S. Marine for For panelist Steven Brokob, who served in 25 years. "We feel acknowledged. When you the Marine Corps for five years, getting sacrifice or give your youth to serving your transfer credits acknowledged was difficult country, it's nice when someone says thank when he started at VCU. you or shows their appreciation because dur"I had to go back a year later and show them ing that time you sacrificed freedoms that again," Brokob said. "I got like 20 credits most Americans take for granted. We don't have freedom of speech, freedom of assem- after that and it was amazing. It just saved me so much time, because of some of the bly. We can't quit our jobs; we can't call in courses that I've taken in my time in the Masick. And we're always on call even when we're at home with our families. We can al- rines." ways be called in at any time." Brokob, who graduates in May with a psychology degree, hoped the panel discussion Tademy, who participated as a panel memwould "increase mindfulness in understandber, spoke of the difficulty he had adjusting to civilian life as a college freshman following his service in the Marine Corps as a senior enlisted E9 sergeant major and student master chief.
ing the adversities that we face as veterans and how difficult it is to mesh into being a student in today's society." Bethann Vealey knows all too well the difficulties of balancing civilian and military roles. The second-year doctoral student in the School of Social Work is on active duty with 12 years of continuous service as a Naval officer. She previously served four years as an active Marine. "I've noticed that when I try to do things that typically are rewarded in uniform — like taking initiative, being the leader of the group, it's all about the team kind of a concept — it's not seen as favorably," she said. "It's usually seen as being aggressive instead of assertive, as speaking out of tune or as not respecting the process." Vealey's balancing act is made even more difficult by her additional role of military spouse. "My husband is still on active duty, he just got orders to Japan," Vealey said. "I'm going to stay here in my program and I'm also going to be dealing with that, with not living with my spouse because I chose to come to a tour of duty to better myself. "It's difficult to share those experiences with other people. Especially when you're older. … I don't have the same confidence as when I'm in uniform and I'm leading people." Janette Hamilton rounded out the panel. A spouse of an active duty Army serviceman, Hamilton has been married for three years. "It's important for us in the academic environment – students, faculty, staff, everyone – to recognize, not only contributions that can be made by veterans, but unique contributions from family members. I think that there's room to grow and awareness is the first piece."
"You have to understand, when you have that position in the military, you're kind of expecting the whole room to look your Panelists Bethann Vealey, left, a Marine Corps veteran and active duty Navy offiArticle and photos courtesy of Leila cer; Steven Brokob, Marine Corps veteran (see undergraduate student spotlight on way and get quiet when you Ugincius, VCU Office of Public Affairs opposite page); Raymond Tademy, Marine Corps veteran; and Janette Hamilton, walk in the door," he said. spouse of an active duty member of the Army.
Undergraduate Student Spotlight Steven Brokob Class of ‘13 Why did you choose psychology as a major?
from the professors.
My previous work experiences involved fixing computers, aviation electronics and machines responsible for manufacturing computer chips. So it always stumps people when I tell them I am studying psychology. I primarily wanted to become an engineer for electronics and robotics to potentially design prosthetics for wounded warriors. However, I was not accepted into the engineering program at VCU due to not having the math and science prerequisites. I then decided to take a study abroad course in psychology research topics in Ghana the summer after my freshman year. I love to travel and really wanted to make a difference in the world. I was also concerned with the rise of mental health issues and the overuse of psychopharmaceutical drugs.
Another thing I've learned is that—yes, it is critical to achieve to be the best of the best of the best, but failure is also crucial for growth. I think in today's society, we Brokob in Ghana in 2010 are taught that we must never fail and that it is unacceptable. To me, it is all about perseverance and getting back up after each and every time we fall short, to never give up and to know how to ask for help when you need it.
What have been your favorite psychology classes so far? My favorite classes in psychology have been my study abroad trip to Ghana with Dr. Dzokoto; Principles of Learning and Cognition with Dr. Leahey; Physiological Psychology with Dr. Cobb and working in Dr. Kliewer's Prevention Research Lab. I learned a lot being exposed to actual research experience and I find learning about neurology and cognition to be extremely fascinating.
“Another thing I've learned is that— yes, it is critical to achieve to be the best of the best of the best, but failure is also crucial for growth.”
Tell our readers about how your life as a veteran has informed your life as a student, if at all. I feel being a veteran and a fulltime student definitely has its advantages. I have been able to learn some key things in life that I wouldn't have otherwise learned if I had gone to college straight out of high school. The values imparted from my Marine Corps training— like honor, courage and commitUSMC boot camp , 2003 ment—have indeed stuck with me. I strive to do my best in every class, regardless if it is for my major or not. I often find myself as one of the students always providing a unique insight to the class or answering questions
What is it like being an older student among the sea of 18-22 year olds? It was a difficult adjustment being a 24year old freshman in 100-level classes with 18-year old students. I was able to adapt just as I did in my first job after I served in the Marine Corps working in a semiconductor manufacturing plant with many of my co-workers being my dad's age. What interests do you have outside of academics?
I love sports—football, college basketball, international soccer. I also play for the VCU Men's Lacrosse Club and would like to get into coaching either in the U.S. or abroad someday. My faith is also very important to me as I love fellowship with other believers and attending services. What are your plans for the future? I have recently taken the Graduate Record Examination, but have not applied to any programs yet. I am currently in the interview process to intern with the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. I hope to continue gaining experience in research and ultimately work on furthering my education.
Research Spotlight: Eric Benotsch, Ph.D. Non Medical Use of Prescription Drugs Prescription drugs traditionally used for managing pain and treating insomnia, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other psychiatric problems are increasingly being used recreationally, without a doctor’s prescription. In the decade that followed 1991, the prevalence of non medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) increased by 53 percent and non medical prescription drug use disorders increased by 67 percent (Blanco et al., 2007). Between 1993 and 2005, the non-medical use of prescription painkillers (343%), stimulants (93%), tranquilizers (450%) and sedatives (225%) all increased drastically (NCASA, 2007). In 2008, more than half of all drug-related emergency room visits were associated with NMUPD (SAMHSA, 2011). VCU graduate students in health psychology Aaron Martin, Amy Jeffers and Daniel Snipes and I have conducted several recent studies examining recreational or non medical use of prescription drugs. In each study, the psychoactive drug most commonly used in the past three months was alcohol (reported by, on average, 70 percent of participants across eight studies), followed by marijuana (39) and then prescription drugs used non medically (20), with the most frequently used “hard drugs” – ecstasy (8) and cocaine (7) – well behind. When prescription drugs are used without a physician’s recommendation, users may overdose or experience other adverse outcomes, especially if the prescription drug is used with other substances. In one of our studies, almost half of the individuals who reported NMUPD indicated that they had combined this use with the use of alcohol, and 21 percent indicated that they had combined the use of a prescription drug with the use of an illicit drug.
In addition to health hazards from the direct effects of drugs, many individuals who use prescription drugs non medically also report other healthjeopardizing behaviors. For example, in our research, NMUPD was associated with higher sexual risk behaviors in young adults (N=435), men who have sex with men (N=350), and transgender adults (N=174) – three groups who are at ing has received and our study is one of increased risk for HIV and other sexually the first to examine attitudes in these transmitted infections. drivers.
Another study examined driving while under the influence of prescription drugs used non medically. This behavior was reported by 12 percent of young adults (N = 763). These same individuals were also more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol and various combinations of illicit drugs. There were psychological differences as well. People who drove while using prescription drugs non medically scored higher on measures of impulsivity, hopelessness and sensation seeking and perceived this behavior to be more common and less risky. The literature on driving while under the influence of recreational drugs is relatively sparse compared with the attention drunk driv-
An additional study, conducted by Amy Jeffers, examined the use of prescription stimulants normally used to treat ADHD (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall) as a weight loss aid. Nearly 12 percent of young adults (N=705) reported misusing prescription stimulants to lose weight. Participants who said they used prescription stimulants for weight loss had greater appearance-related motivations for weight loss, greater stress-related eating and lower self-esteem and were more likely to report eating disordered behaviors, such as vomiting or using laxatives to lose weight. Jeffers’ work suggests that interventions designed to reduce problematic eating behaviors in young adults might wish to assess the misuse of prescription stimulants. Overall, our findings suggest that a sizable minority of the population is misusing prescription medications and that these individuals are at risk for health and mental health problems. More research is needed on this increasing drug trend. Our next step is piloting an intervention to reduce problematic NMUPD. Benotsch is an associate professor and director of the health psychology program. His research focuses on substance use and HIV prevention.
Other Department News and Updates Congratulations to Tom Eissenberg, Ph.D, of the biopsychology program, on receiving an official invitation from the Department of Health and Human SerEissenberg vices to serve as a new member on the secretary's advisory committee on human research protections at the direct recommendation of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. His term on the committee will be 2012-2016. The other new members joining him on this prestigious committee are:
inexpensive, single-serve alcoholic beverages (also known as “40s” or “22s”). Alarmed by the data, residents held several community fora and collaborated with the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) unit that controls alcohol licenses to businesses. Eventually, residents were able to convince the ABC to restrict licenses to convenience stores to sell these single-serve alcoholic beverages. This new policy remained for six months but was reversed following legal action initiated by the opposition. The Institute used this situation as a natural experiment to evaluate the effect of the policy on violence in the community.
Chair Designate: Jeffrey Botkin, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics and medical ethics, associate vice president for research, University of Utah
In 2003, through the VCU Clark-Hill Institute’s community outreach efforts, City of Richmond residents became aware of the increased prevalence of youth violence Al Farrell, Ph.D. (through increased Director, VCU violence-related am- Clark-Hill Institute bulance pick-ups) for Positive Youth Development surrounding convenience stores selling
Watch the interview. Victoria Shivy, Ph.D., was recently quoted in the Richmond TimesDispatch article, “Outdoors: Who will take care of the James River Park?”
New research findings! Read about some new findings from our department’s investigators. A sampling of the research questions addressed are: Does long-term medication use improve academic outcomes for students with ADHD?
Pilar Ossorio, J.D., Ph.D., associate professor of law and bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Read the VCU Press Release.
Owen Garrick, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO, Bridge Clinical Research, Inc.
The list of those who are already serving on the committee may be found HERE.
Micah McCreary, Ph.D., visited CBS 6 this past summer to talk about the writings Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes sent a professor prior to the mass theater shootings.
Flores, left, director of the CPSD; Joanne Grossi, M.I.P.P., is the regional director for the USDHHS; Fillmore, associate director for academic operations
Lettie Flores, Ph.D. and Dorothy Fillmore recently attended an Equality Virginia-sponsored "listening session" with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on LGBT health care concerns. Flores and Fillmore are both members of the College of Humanities and Sciences’ equity and diversity committee, and this issue is directly related to their work for promoting equity, diversity and inclusivity on campus. Read the College’s Equity and Diversity Plan.
Do older adults or younger adults adjust better to life after heart transplant? Can pain be reduced by improving sleep in chronic pain sufferers with insomnia? Congratulations to Lettie Flores, Suzanne Mazzeo and Bryce McLeod on their promotions to associate professor, professor and associate professor with tenure, respectively.
McLeod Page 11
Graduate Student Spotlight Jacqueline Woods, M.S., Counseling Program acqueline “Jackie” Woods is a third year student in the counseling program working with Drs. Marilyn Stern and Suzanne Mazzeo. Born in Alexandria and raised in Ashburn, Woods has lived in Virginia all of her life. She completed her undergraduate studies at the College of William and Mary, where she graduated with a double major in psychology and history in 2009. Following college, she spent a year living in Charlottesville working in the marketing department for a local winery. Her continued interest in psychology brought her to the counseling program in 2010. Since coming to VCU, Wood’s research has focused primarily on obesity in the African American community. Through her advisor, Dr. Stern, she became involved with the TEENS project, a family-based multidisciplinary study that provides behavioral, medical and nutritional support to overweight adolescents in the Richmond area. Her Master’s thesis used data from the TEENS project to examine the relation between family characteristics—such as the home environment and parentchild interactions—and changes in participants’ percentage body fat, body mass index and cholesterol levels in the first six months of the program. Woods also runs a biweekly behavioral support group for girls in the program which allows her to participate in both the research and clinical aspects of the program. She particularly appreciates the opportunity to work directly with the participants and families because it helps her better understand how diet, exercise, culture and socioeconomic factors impact health in this understudied population. Her dissertation also focuses on obesity in African American families. Woods received a two-year diversity supplement
grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund her dissertation project under the mentoring of Dr. Mazzeo. Her dissertation will build upon Dr. Mazzeo’s NOURISH+ program, a family-based pediatric obesity intervention that educates parents about diet, exercise, parenting style and body image to help parents make healthy decisions for their families. The diversity supplement will give her the opportunity to conduct the NOURISH+ intervention within a primarily African American church congregation in the Richmond area and to train church leaders to facilitate the intervention groups. Doing so will create a sustainable intervention that the church can continue to conduct after she finishes her dissertation study. She hopes to start the intervention this semester. In addition to her research, Woods has become involved in a variety of clinical opportunities at VCU. She currently sees clients as a practicum student at the Center for Psychological Services and Development. Previously, she worked as a practicum student at VCU’s University Counseling Center. She also co-leads groups for the TEENS, NOURISH+ and LIBER8 research studies run by Drs. Mazzeo and Stern. This semester, Woods is excited to start providing family therapy through an independent study with Micah McCreary, Ph.D., and to conduct clinical work on the medical campus through the primary care clinic. While the clinical work keeps her busy, Woods is grateful for the wide variety of clinical training she has received at VCU and hopes to work as a therapist after graduation. In her spare time, Woods enjoys cooking with her partner, Colin, and going for runs around Richmond. This semester she is looking forward to running the Monument Avenue 10k for the fourth time and plans to train for the Anthem Richmond Marathon in November.
Meet our new Service Center Director of Operations Stephanie L. Hart, M.B.A., C.R.A., joins our department as the new service center director of operations. In this role, she will oversee all fiscal and personnel matters for the department. This is no small task given our $5.7 million in grant funding for 2011-12. Hart comes to us from the VCU Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies where she served as business manager. She earned her M.B.A. at Wake Forest University’s Babcock School of Management in 2002. Prior to joining IDAS in 2003, Hart was a research assistant for the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She is a member of the International Who’s Who of Professionals, Society for ReStephanie Hart, M.B.A., C.R.A. search Administrators and the National Council of University Research Administrators. Page 12
y husband and I suspect that our son might be gay, but don't know how to approach the subject with him. Can you provide some guidance on how we might move forward? There are many resources out there to help supportive, caring parents like you who want their child or teen’s coming out process to be as positive as possible. Because he has not explicitly spoken with you about his experiences, it is hard to gauge where he may be in the process of understanding, acknowledging and/or accepting his sexual identity. One of the things you can do as parents is to educate yourselves on the unique needs and challenges of LGB youth. It is also good to know that the path to LGB identity formation is not linear or clear cut. It is good Center for Psychological Services and Development, to be and feel better prepared by knowing some of the issues, but realize that 612-620 N. Lombardy St. every person’s development is different. Fortunately, there are lots of books, websites, videos, support groups and even discussion boards (some websites are listed below) to guide you and give you some support as parents. You don’t want to force any discussions—let your child/teen come to you in his own time. If he starts dropping hints or makes comments that invite questions, then he is clearly “testing the waters” with you to see how you’ll respond. If you respond positively and matter-of-factly, then he will start to see that there’s a “safe zone” at home where he just might be able to talk about what he is going through. Throughout all of this education, don’t forget the basics. Continue to listen to him; show him as well as tell him that you love and care for him unconditionally; and show him as well as tell him that you want to know about and be a part of his life. If and when he feels ready to confide in you about who he likes/loves, you’ll have provided the solid grounding needed for him to know that you will accept and affirm whatever he says. Educating yourself will enable you to know what to ask and how to ask it so that your child/teen will be able to discuss a very sensitive matter with you in a safe, accepting and informed manner. This kind of nurturance is what every parent wants to provide to their child, and what every child needs to have from their parents, regardless of the issue. This article is dedicated to Jeanne Manford—mother, elementary school teacher and activist for gay rights. Manford founded the national support group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG. She died on January 8 at the age of 92.
Websites: True Colors Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) UC Davis LGBTQIA Glossary of Terms Advocates for Youth Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Video: Lead with Love
Submit your anonymous question to the CPSD for the next issue.
Leticia Flores, Ph.D., L.C.P., is associate professor of counseling and clinical psychology and is director of the Center for Psychological Services and Development.
Last newsletter, we learned that third-year clinical child doctoral student Nadia Islam was using an iPad in her work with child clients at the CPSD. Because of this work, Islam will be joining her fellow clinical graduate colleague Alison Eonta (now on internship at the Pittsburgh VA) and the CPSD Director, Leticia Flores, Ph.D., LCP, at the American Psychological convention in Hawaii. The women will be part of a symposium entitled "21st Century Therapy: Infusing Technology into Graduate Training in Psychology.” Islam will discuss her work with the iPad, Eonta will discuss her work with mobile devices in the anxiety clinic at CPSD and Flores will moderate the discussion. Nadia Islam
Alison Eonta Page 13
D.J. Haley Makes It Real Palmdale, Calif. Psychology Junior D.J. Haley, the 7-foot starting center for the VCU men’s basketball team, grew up in a household where education dominated the conversation. Both of his parents hold advanced degrees, so his long-range plan always included attending college. Recruited from 3,000 miles away, D.J. says VCU offered two characteristics he hoped to find in a university: a solid basketball program and strong academics. During his initial visit to VCU, the university athletics staff and the campus greatly impressed him. On his tour, his coaches stressed the importance of academics, and D.J. says that VCU offered an overall welcoming feeling that extended beyond the players to his professors and fellow students. To play Division I sports, a student-athlete needs focus, dedication and organization. No one knows that better than D.J. He says his coaches and an academic adviser act as reinforcements and they support him on and off the court — especially during the hectic season and when he’s on the road. Today, the California transplant can’t imagine going to school anywhere else. To him, VCU feels like home.
VCU STAT Award: Alexandra McDougall, class of 2013, College of Humanities and Sciences' Department of Psychology, for service hours contributed to STAT (Students Today Alumni Tomorrow), leadership and for serving as a role model to her peers. Congratulations, Alexandra!
Undergraduates Sean Tams and Hanna Owens Win Travel Awards Undergraduate psychology majors Sean Tams and Hanna Owens have been awarded travel awards by the VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program so that they may present their research at the 2012 conference of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Owens will present her poster, "Measuring Parental Readiness to Change in Parents of Children with Attention and Behavior Problems," focused on the correlates of parental readiness to change in a sample of parents presenting to a child mental health clinic. Tams performed secondary data analyses on data from a sample of adolescent psychiatric inpatients with depression; his poster is entitled "Construct Validity of the Inventory of Suicide Orientation in Psychiatric Inpatient Youth.” Both Tams and Owens are under the research mentorship of Heather Jones, Ph.D., working on ongoing studies of ADHD and associated impairments in children and adults. Both students aspire to attend a graduate program in clinical psychology. Page 14
Bead Party November 8 Several students from Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.’s PSYC 491cross-cultural psychology course hosted a bead party just in time for holiday shopping in support of Bead for Life. Bead For Life is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help bring Ugandan women out of extreme poverty. By carefully collecting and rolling colorful recycled paper, these women make a variety of intricate and beautiful jewelry pieces which are then sold at bead parties. All profits from the jewelry sales go straight to providing the impoverished women with the training and education needed to get out into the working world; in fact, many do indeed go out to start their own businesses as a result. Courtesy of www.beadforlife.org While Bead For Life works to help raise money, their larger mission is to help make the world more aware of the working conditions of women in Africa. With more education on this matter, people from all countries can step in and offer their support. Many VCU students attended the event and it turned out to be a great success. Not only did the students raise almost $350 to support the women of Uganda, they were also able to emphasize the importance of being aware of women struggling through poverty to the students who attended. Visit Bead for Life’s website to host your own party. Summary provided by Chelsea Wilkinson, class of 2013
Donate $12 to our undergraduate scholarship fund and you will receive a free VCU Psychology t-shirt! Bead party hostesses—Chelsea Wilkinson , ‘13, (left); Ashley Harris, ‘14; Allison Crowley, ‘13; Betis Sorto-Sanchez, ‘13; Emily Jackson, ‘13; Faye Belgrave, Ph.D. and Ishita Dosaj, ‘13
Submitted by Chelsea Wilkinson, Class of 2013
Congratulations, December 2012 Graduates! Katrice Brake Sarne Branch Tristan Brennis Charlotte Brouwer Christina Brown Stacey Brown Ronel Bruington Katherine Bullard Kristina Bundy Jessica Cale William Carneal Katherine Carroll-Thompson Candace Carter Gee Cheung Cecilia Choi Samantha Cooke Tamara Cornelius Andrea Crump The graduation speaker was Christopher Kilmartin, Scotti Cutlip Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. Sherry Dai Kilmartin received a Ph.D. (1988) and M.S. (1986) in Heather Dela Cruz counseling psychology from VCU after earning a Lauren Dickerson B.S. (1976) in psychology from Frostburg State ColKyle Easton lege. Dr. Kilmartin is a licensed clinical psychologist Furdous Eltahir Brittany Funn who has a great deal of experience consulting with Brittany Gainey businesses, college students, human service workers Brendaly Gamboa and counselors. He is an internationally recognized Catherine Goble expert on gender and on violence prevention whose Thomas Goodman major scholarly work is The Masculine Self (fourth Tommie Gordy edition, Sloan Publishing, 2010). In addition to his Sarah Grove research work, Kilmartin is also a professional comeErika Guevara dian who currently tours with a lecture/storytelling Shannon Hahn hybrid performance titled Guy Fi: The Fictions that Ashley Hamiter Rule Menâ€™s Lives. Le-Andri Hanekom Sonia Haro-Garcia Quandrea Harper Doctor of Philosophy Ashley Harris Daniel Baughn Stephanie Harris Monica Jones Markeisha Harris-Minor Master of Science David Haver Kathryn Haynes Amma Agyemang Stephanie Irizarry Amy Jeffers Courtney Johnson Michell Pope Katrina Kask Adriana Rodriguez Tara Kelley Therese Verkerke Glendon Kemp Tala Khayyer Bachelor of Science Kyra Kiehna Zuhra Abbamin Esther Kim Stephanie Alvarenga Ikedra King Mohsin Amjed Larica Kintchen Sara Amodi Angela Korb Selamawit Aseffa Sarah Lambert Mirza Muzammil Baig Hoang Le Ashley Bedeau Leigh Ledbetter Anna Belenkaya Germaine Lewis Shadonna Bethea Janae Lewis Jamielynn Bodman Libbe Lewis Amber Bonner Mercedes Lopez Marie Borgman Kimberly Lukert Danielle Boyd Raghu Veer Madiraju
Jessica Manigo Belinda Mann Hannah Mason Rosa Mazzola Jamie McAfee Jena McComas Lydia McCormick Phillip McIntire Krystin Mcadams Kaleigh Milligan Gabriela Mira Jacqueline Molyneaux Porscha Monroe Anthony Morales Matthew Morgan Trenice Morton Ashleigh Murphy Benjamin Norton Brandon Nutt Sunita Patel Allison Plumley Emily Pon Brandy Preston Katie Pritchard Veronica Quinonez Andrea Revilla Brooke Reynolds Danielle Roberts Justine Rosenbaum Jamie Roth Waleed Sami Alan Samuels Ana Sanchez Perez Jenobia Sanders Jordan Saunders Amanda Schielke Cecily Sheffield Abigail Shepperson Tyler Simmons Audra Sowers Lindsay Stash Candace Taylor Ronnicia Thomas Joseph Vaughan Marie Vergamini Erika Walker Paula Wallace Stephen Wallace Shauntelle Watson Christine West Lindsay West Shamika West Patrice Whilby Brooke Whitaker Natasha Williams Samantha Williams Kenesha Wilson Richard Wilson Danielle Wozniak Tiara Yates Ryan Yost Jaleel Young
Wishing you a safe and healthy 2013 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, email@example.com
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, veteranâ€™s status, political affiliation or disability.