Mental health research in Texas got a boost recently when 10 professors received the Hogg Foundation’s mental health research grants. The research projects were selected from 44 proposals submitted by tenure-track assistant professors from universities throughout Texas. The one-year grants are each capped at $17,500.
“Each grant award supports innovative work produced by young researchers, which is critically important both in building a body of knowledge and in developing effective mental health interventions that advance wellness and recovery,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The grant recipients are:
Dr. Ashley Butler, an assistant professor and clinical psychologist in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, will research the use of intervention services by African American and Latino parents of young children with disruptive behavior disorders. Through her research, Dr. Butler seeks to understand the factors affecting parent behavior in integrated health interventions for young children with disruptive behavior disorders.
Dr. Lizette Ojeda, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, will examine the influence of Latino masculinity, family connectedness and perceived discrimination on the mental health of Latino immigrant day laborers. Dr. Ojeda is a Spanish-speaking Latina who has studied other Latino mental health topics, including the experiences of Mexican American male college students. Through her research, she hopes to build better practices and policies and improve upon the lack of literature on the mental health of the Latino population in the United States.
Dr. Marisol Perez, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, will study 5-to-7-year-olds to examine environmental factors that may be contributing to the increasing prevalence of eating disorders in young children. Dr. Perez seeks to develop an online intervention program to guide mothers on facilitating healthy body image development in their daughters at an early age.
Dr. Douglas Smith, an assistant professor of marriage and family therapy at Texas Tech University, will study how a brief intervention in reported cases of intimate partner violence affects couples seeking mental health services. The study will provide insight into intervention’s role in violence prevention, treatment and mental health outcomes.
Dr. Leigh Johnson, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, will study the influence of depression on diabetes in Mexican Americans. Her research will examine the relationship between depression scores and glycated hemoglobin levels in elderly Hispanics. She has chosen to focus on Hispanics due to the high rate of diabetes within the demographic and the lack of research focused on depression in Mexican Americans.
Dr. M. Teresa Granillo, an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin, will focus her research on mental health service utilization by Latina college students. She will study the influence that mental health challenges and use of services have on the academic outcomes of this population. This research builds on her commitment to serving Latina youth by improving their well-being and opportunities for success.
Dr. Amy Chanmugam, an assistant professor of social work at The University of Texas at San Antonio, will research the mental health needs of children in domestic violence shelters. Through her research, Dr. Chanmugam will develop a comprehensive picture of how mothers perceive and seek help for children exposed to domestic violence that have mental health needs. She identifies children who have lived through domestic violence as an underserved and under-researched population vulnerable to poor mental health, academic and social outcomes.
Dr. Robert Gonzalez, an assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, will study the relationship between sleep disturbance and inflammation in bipolar disorder. Dr. Gonzalez has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder. He has cared for patients living with bipolar disorder in federal and industry-funded clinical trials, and has researched the relationships between sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances and bipolar disorder.
Dr. David Roberts, an assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, will research tablet-based social cognition training for individuals with schizophrenia. Dr. Roberts has over a decade of experience working with people with schizophrenia and has previously led three similar intervention studies. He has doctoral and post-doctoral specialization in conducting treatment intervention research for psychiatric conditions.
Dr. Patricia van den Berg, an assistant professor of psychology at The University of Texas Medical Branch, will research disordered eating and body dissatisfaction among African American, Latino and European American adolescents. Dr. van den Berg has chosen her research area in order to fill the gap in literature on eating and weight-related disorders among ethnic minority adolescents.