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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology

Psychology Matters

Alumni Matters

wilson By Ann Chu
DU PhD Psychology Alumn, Class of 2008
Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco




The Clinical Child Ph.D. program in the Department of Psychology prepared me to be a scientist and practitioner well-versed in the language of psychological knowledge and clinical practice with children and families. This foundation has allowed me to navigate with other systems of care that also work with children and families and improve their quality of care.

My career preparation began in my first days on campus, as I planned my master's thesis. Through recruiting 7-10 year-old children and their mothers to participate in a study about parenting practices and betrayal trauma, I learned how to talk about research to children so that they were able to provide informed consent (or assent). Over the years, the research projects I worked on all involved community participants, so I continued to learn to integrate and translate research for non-academic audiences. As co-editor with Anne DePrince for an APA Trauma Psychology book series ( Concise Guides for Trauma Care ), we continue this work as we support researchers from different trauma areas to translate scientific findings for a clinical audience.

The clinical training from the department in empirically-supported treatments for children also helped me to hold the importance of having scientific research and clinical work inform each other. I believe strongly in bringing evidence-based treatments to community mental health clinicians who are the frontline workers for children and families. As I put on different hats throughout my day - administrator, researcher, trainer, supervisor, and clinician - I hold on to the value imparted by DU of being a scientist practitioner. I am guided by the principle of connecting psychological theory and research to psychotherapy with diverse clients so that we can promote health and wellbeing in the children and families that we serve.