APA, Division, and State Leadership Experience

My career has been motivated by one idea — psychology can help humanity move forward. From traditional media to new mediaprofessionals and the public, everything I’ve done has focused on translating psychological science into practical applications people can use to make their lives better.

This is why I’ve spent the last decade of my life serving the American Psychological Association — its mission to benefit society resonates with me. I chaired APAGS, served on the Policy and Planning Board and the Board of Directors, was appointed to the Good Governance Project and its implementation team, completed multiple terms on the Council of Representatives, and presently serve on the inaugural Council Leadership Team. These experiences have taught me how to find consensus within a group, even when there are diverse opposing views.

Along the way I’ve advocated for psychology on Capitol Hill with the New York State Psychological Association, was appointed to two Society for the Teaching of Psychology presidential task forces, and was an officer of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

These experiences have prepared me to be a leader in psychology. I know our history. I understand the challenges we face and I have a plan to build a better future for psychology. 

Biography

As a child growing up in Northern California, I never cared about school and almost flunked out. Everything changed when I took introductory psychology at De Anza Community College. The first lecture by Dr. Wendell Goesling inspired me in a way no other subject had before. He taught me practical ways I could use psychology to become a better student, improve my relationships, and set a new course for my life.

This led me to the University of California, Los Angeles, where I majored in psychology and minored in Asian American Studies. Much of my time was spent learning how to integrate these fields. Things came together when I became a research assistant at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, a nonprofit organization that provides leadership training to ethnic minorities. Here, I helped develop interdisciplinary methods to study workplace barriers impacting people of color. This experience taught me an important lesson – psychologists can have a large impact if we leave our offices and engage our local communities.

I went on to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the Catholic University of America. I was drawn to this small APA-Accredited program in Washington, D.C. because of its focus on children, families, and cultures. I completed a thesis on culture and marital conflict and a dissertation on the development of Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). My clinical training included experiences in the D.C. public health system, university counseling centers, and independent practice settings. I completed my training as an intern at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital Center and as a post-doctoral fellow at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

Now, I’m a member of the faculty at the Columbia University Medical Center where I specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Additionally, I am a coordinator of our Launching Emerging Adults Program, an innovative family-based treatment designed to help young adults function independently.

My dream is to bring psychology to everyone, everywhere. That is why I host The Psych Show on YouTube, created the award-winning Brain Knows Better blog, and contribute to traditional media like CBS News and new media like Mashable. For this body of work, The Mighty named me one of their mental health heroes of 2015.