The applicant is requesting five years of funding through the Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) program to enhance her skills in services research in order to extend mental health services to refugee and immigrant children and adolescents. The long term scientific goal is to possess the expertise to conduct large-scale services and intervention research on refugee children in collaboration with schools, mental health agencies, and parents in multiethnic communities. This application builds upon the applicants' strong background in clinical, community, and cross-cultural psychology, extensive experience working in diverse refugee communities and agencies and post doctoral training in intervention research. Recognizing the importance of schools for newly arrived immigrant and refugee students as the primary setting where they confront the new culture and experience acculturative stress, the application proposes to support the needs of refugee children, parents, and teachers through adapting school-based mental health services models such as """"""""Positive Attitudes Toward Learning in Schools"""""""" (PALS) proposed by Atkins, the applicant's primary mentor. The training skills to be acquired consist of fundamentals of health services research with particular attention to intervention development, adaptation, and transportability. In addition, training will include learning about existing evidence-based models for treatment of PTSD in children. The training will also focus on acquisition of qualitative and quantitative methods necessary for services intervention research. Two studies are proposed to complement the training activities. Study 1 is designed to understand mental health problems that occur in classrooms for refugee and immigrant children. The goal of this work is to determine what issues require mental health interventions in these classrooms in order to enhance successful academic and social adaptation of refugee and immigrant students. Study 2 will evolve from results of study 1 to test of the feasibility and acceptability of an adapted PALS intervention approach (PALS-R) for refugee and immigrant students. Completion of this program of training and research will enable the applicant to pursue timely, ethnoculturally appropriate, empirically supported services research on mental health issues of refugee and immigrant children attending urban schools and develop interventions that can meet the mental health needs of this underserved population.
|Birman, Dina; Beehler, Sarah; Harris, Emily Merrill et al. (2008) International Family, Adult, and Child Enhancement Services (FACES): a community-based comprehensive services model for refugee children in resettlement. Am J Orthopsychiatry 78:121-32|