The Psychology Department at the University of Denver welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds. We value diversity along many dimensions, including culture, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, socioeconomic status and language.
Faculty members provide strong support for students to learn about and apply for funding opportunities related to issues of diversity. Funding received by recent graduate students includes: (links for each bullet)
- NIH minority training grants
- APA Minority Fellowships
- University-level fellowships, including the Inclusive Excellence Award
The graduate training program encourages students to gain experiences around issues of diversity in courses, clinical training, research projects and additional student activities.
Students in the clinical area provide clinical services through the Child and Family Center for youth, adults and families from diverse backgrounds. Clinical supervision helps clinicians to develop multicultural competencies.
- All required courses pay attention to issues of diversity. Specific courses such as Multicultural Issues in Mental Health and Cultural Psychology also provide opportunities for in-depth examinations of these issues.
- The Multicultural Reading Group is a student-run group that meets to discuss articles and work on projects related to multicultural issues.
- Examples of current faculty research addressing issues of diversity:
Dr. Anne DePrince examines the effects of abuse, violence, and trauma on diverse samples of youth and adults. She is particularly interested in community-engaged research that brings community voices into the research process.
Dr. Julia Dmitrieva's research explores ethnic differences in parenting and how these differences are related to adolescent psychosocial outcomes. For example, her research finds that compared to European Americans, Asian American youths are more susceptible to the negative effects of moving away from home to college. Her ongoing work is exploring the potential link between ethnic differences in parenting and this ethnic difference in the effects of transitioning to college.
Dr. Jill Holm-Denoma's research focuses, in part, on identifying multi-level risk factors for the development of eating disorders—both among young Caucasian women and among traditionally understudied populations (e.g., members of ethnic minority groups, middle-aged women, men, etc.).
Dr. Omar Gudino's research examines the mental health and service needs of racial/ethnic minority youths exposed to violence, particularly those involved with the child welfare and public mental health systems. His ongoing research examines risk and resilience in youths exposed to violence, racial/ethnic disparities in mental health service use, and evidence-based assessment and treatment for diverse populations.
Dr. Pilyoung Kim investigates how social contexts such as poverty-related social disparities influence children's ability to cope with their stress as well as their parents' ability to buffer the negative effects of the stress on the children. Early experiences can lead to differences in brain development, which are further related to physical and psychological health throughout life. Current research tries to understand the links between environmental, biological, and psychological mechanisms by which social contexts, such as poverty, influence children's ability to regulate their own emotions and their parents' caregiving ability. Social contexts and home environments are assessed in depth during home visits and children's brain development is assessed by a neuroimaging (fMRI) technique.
Dr. Howard Markman co-directs a research project promoting positive couple relationships and enhanced parenting by teaching couples techniques for communicating clearly and coping with financial stress while also promoting investment in and satisfaction with parenthood.
Dr. Stephen Shirk focuses on the development and evaluation of psychological treatments for adolescent depression. He is particularly interested in developing effective treatments for underserved youth populations, especially those served by the public mental health system. His clinical samples include teens from diverse socio-economic and racial/ethnic backgrounds.
Dr. Sarah Watamura examines familial, cultural, and individual protective factors against dysregulated stress physiology among infants, toddlers and preschoolers experiencing high levels of environmental stress. Particular questions include buffers unique to recent immigrant families from Mexico, as well as risk and protective factors within Hispanic-American, African-American and Caucasian-American families and the effectiveness of an intervention focused on strengthening core parent-child interactions in the face of "toxic" stress.
Dr. Max Weisbuch. His Social Perception and Attitudes (SPA) Lab examines the role of visual and emotional processes in how people respond to other races, genders and social groups.
Examples of graduate student projects that address diversity:
- Beatriz MacDonald Wer. "Cross-country Differences in Rates of ADHD; Reading Disability across Different Minority Groups in the US"
- Ben Loew. "A Short-term Study of Web-Based Relationship Education for High-risk Couples; and Military Beliefs and PTSD in Recent Combat Veterans; and Reasons for Marriage in Army Couples."
- Eliana Hurwich-Reiss. "Feasibility of a Culturally Adapted Relationship and Parenting Education Program for Low-Income Spanish Speaking Families."
- Hannah C. Bianco. "Transactional Processes in the Parent-Child Relationship: Parent Gender and Child Age Considerations."
- Jane Sundermann. "Predicting Mental Health Symptoms Among Victims of Childhood Maltreatment: The Contributions of Maltreatment Characteristics and Emotion Regulation (ER) Difficulties."
- Laura Rindlaub. "Expanding the Adaptation to Poverty-Related Stress Model: The Relationship Between Parental Coping and Child Outcome."
- Lisa McFadyen-Ketchum. "Assessing Biological Sensitivity to Changes in Parental Support in Very High-Risk Infants and Toddlers."
- Marina Mendoza. "Exploring Stress and Coping in Hispanic Immigrant Families."
Graduate students recognize the importance of integrating diverse perspectives into their research and clinical training. For example:
- The Multicultural Interest Group is a student-led group that seeks to enhance awareness of and competency in social dimensions to inform our research, teaching, and clinical work in psychology. These dimensions include but are not limited to race/ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, nationality, age and disability.
- A student-initiated effort, the Psychology Advocates for Community Engagement (PACE) focus on finding ways for students to get directly involved with disseminating knowledge about and reducing stigmas associated with psychopathology and treatment, as well as providing empirically supported treatments to the local community.
The Department of Psychology is connected with campus, community and government organizations that work with diverse populations. These include:
- Asian-Pacific Development Center
- Aurora Mental Health Center
- Center for Multicultural Excellence, University of Denver
- Children's Hospital Colorado
- Denver Health
- Early Head Start
- Victim Services Network
The Department of Psychology's Diversity Committee brings together faculty and graduate students to pursue activities to support department excellence around issues of diversity.
In 2012, the Diversity Committee and MCRG collaboratively launched a quarterly bulletin, Diversity Matters!, to highlight research, teaching and training excellence around diversity issues:
- Vol. 3 Issue 1, Fall/Winter Quarter 2013/2014
- Vol. 2 Issue 2, Winter Quarter 2013
- Vol. 2 Issue 1, Fall Quarter 2012
- Vol. 1 Issue 2, Spring Quarter 2012
- Vol. 1 Issue 1, Winter Quarter 2012