Lab Members

Lauren C. Ng, PhD
Lab Director

Dr. Lauren Ng is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at UCLA. She conducts translational psychological science and health disparities research for children, adolescents, and adults. The goal of her research is to reduce mental health disparities for underserved, minority communities in the US and in low- and middle-income countries. She is currently conducting research studies in the US and in Ethiopia. Her research spans many areas along the translational science pipeline including using qualitative and mixed-methods to develop and adapt interventions, evaluating intervention efficacy and process, and using hybrid effectiveness-implementation methods to increase the likelihood of implementation and sustainability in real world settings. In addition, her research emphasizes bi-directional learning between global and local research and practice settings to improve access to, and quality of, care in the US and around the world.


Caroline E. Shanholtz, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Caroline Shanholtz is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Psychology at UCLA. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona and completed her predoctoral internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Shanholtz’s program of research involves developing, evaluating, and implementing evidence-based interventions targeting stress and trauma for youth and families facing adversity. The goal of her research is to make mental health services more acceptable and effective for underserved youth and families. Dr. Shanholtz uses community based participatory research approaches and mixed methodologies (quantitative and qualitative) to develop or adapt interventions that meet the needs of youth, families, providers, and systems of care to increase intervention implementation and sustainability. Dr. Shanholtz also conducts trauma-focused therapy with children and adolescents. Ultimately, Dr. Shanholtz aims to use her research and clinical work to make interventions more accessible, effective, and equitable for youth and their families.


Gray Bowers, MA
Lab Manager

Gray is a graduate from the California State University, Long Beach Master’s in Psychological Research Program with an emphasis in stress and coping research. Gray’s research has examined the effects of stress in vulnerable populations, particularly the relationships between trauma, stress, and use of coping strategies. They have experience working with diverse populations such as homeless youth, undocumented immigrants, and veterans with severe mental illness and psychosis. Their research goals include taking an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach to understanding how trauma and identity relate to mental illness development and treatment in underserved populations. Through their research, Gray hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the impacts of stress on well-being and the improvement of individualized care in vulnerable populations.


Yesenia Aguilar Silvan, MA
Graduate Student

Yesenia received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Latin American Studies from UCLA. For post-baccalaureate, Yesenia worked as a clinical research coordinator focusing on the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based mental health interventions for vulnerable populations, such as ethnic and racial minorities, first-generation immigrants exposed to trauma, and high-risk urban youth. Yesenia is currently a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at UCLA and is advised by Dr. Lauren Ng. Her research focuses on identifying and addressing mutable factors that contribute to documented healthcare disparities in care access, continuity, quality, and outcomes for vulnerable populations. In particular, Yesenia is interested in using community-driven strategies to develop, culturally adapt, and implement trauma interventions for hard-to-reach, underserved, minority communities./p>


Christine Bird, MA
Graduate Student

Christine is a doctoral student in the TRUST lab, who is interested in the contextual factors of trauma (e.g., identity, neglect vs. abuse, negative cognitions, social factors) and the development of mental health outcomes. Her research goals are to inform treatment, particularly for underserved minorities, through better understanding of the complexities of trauma and trauma classification. Christine earned her MA in Psychology from the University at Buffalo and her BA in Art Conservation and Art History from the University of Delaware. Christine is also a cofounder of the hiring assessment firm, Plum, and co-creator of Stronger Together WNY, a non-profit organization that aims to advance the voices of targeted minorities. She is also the creator/co-editor of the PCSAS Newsletter, designed to inform and inspire advocacy for the Clinical Science movement.


Gia Chodzen, MA
Graduate Student

Gia received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from Depaul University in Chicago, IL. Gia is currently a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at UCLA and is co-advised by Dr. Lauren Ng and Dr. Denise Chavira. Gia’s research focuses on examining malleable factors that may improve psychological treatment outcomes among LGBTQ+ individuals and racial minorities. She is particularly interested in examining intersectional minority identity in the context of increasing the efficacy of trauma-focused interventions.

Rddhi Moodliar, MA
Graduate Student

Rddhi received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Washington – Seattle. A series of formative undergraduate and post-baccalaureate research experiences motivated Rddhi to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology. As a graduate student in UCLA’s Clinical Psychology program and a member of the TRUST Lab, Rddhi is interested in understanding how marginalized groups react to and cope with trauma. In particular, she is curious about the influence of culture and context on the utilization, engagement, and effectiveness of interventions. Ultimately, Rddhi hopes to develop accessible and culturally sensitive interventions for trauma exposure.


Megha Nagaswami, BA
Graduate Student

Megha received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, Megha worked as a clinical research coordinator in a lab focused on developing evidence-based treatments for depression. She is currently a graduate student in the Clinical area and is advised by Dr. Lauren Ng. Her research focuses on understanding experiences of interpersonal violence and its related trauma in underserved populations with an emphasis on long-term mental health outcomes of survivors. She aims to understand the role of culture and other factors in perceptions and experiences of both interpersonal violence and trauma. Megha’s ultimate research goal is to contribute to culturally-sensitive, community based approaches to addressing interpersonal violence.