Research Assistant, NYS Psychiatric Institute, Columbia Univ. Medical Center
Amanda G. Cruz, a McNair Research Scholar raised in Bronx, New York joined the CECC in July of 2017 as a Research Assistant. As of May 2019, she became an accomplished Masters graduate in Psychology with distinction. Upon graduating with a BS in Psychology and a minor in English, she received the Francis T. M. Mahoney Baccalaureate Scholarship Award in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Many training experiences have aided Ms. Cruz in exploring her research interests throughout her studies, such as her involvement in independent research projects and in the Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars Program during her undergraduate career. She simultaneously spent time volunteering and completing clinical & non-clinical internships. At the CECC, she has been involved in many projects within the areas of interpreter utilization, suicide prevention, the empowerment of youth with first-episode psychosis and their providers, financial wellness, CFI implementation, and minority engagement in mental health services. Ms. Cruz was also part of the Local Organizing Committee of the 2018 World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry.
Ms. Cruz aspires to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology and her research interests involve increasing cultural competence in research/mental healthcare to not only help increase treatment-seeking behaviors, but to overcome disparities in the care of underserved cultural groups. In addition, Ms. Cruz is concerned with empowering individuals whom are marginalized based on their mental illness, cultural background, language, legal status, or socioeconomic status, and in understanding the impact of various psychosocial factors on these individuals’ expectations for themselves, their resiliency, and their overall mental health outcomes. She is also interested in developing effective prevention strategies for and in understanding the nature/treatment of various disorders, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of psychological treatments for these disorders, considering how make these treatments more culturally sensitive.