Our team

Team
Joan Asarnow, PhD

Co-Director

Dr. Joan Asarnow is a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the Youth Stress and Mood Program. Her current research, teaching, and clinical work focus on the development, evaluation, and dissemination of treatments for depression, self-harm, and suicide prevention in children and adolescents. Dr. Asarnow specializes in cognitive-behavioral and patient and family centered treatments and has done extensive work bringing evidence-based treatments to primary care and emergency department settings. Dialectical behavior therapy, a form of cognitive-behavioral treatment, is offered through the Youth Stress and Mood Program.

Jeanne Miranda, PhD

Co-Director

Dr. Miranda is the Co-Director of YSAM and a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Miranda is a clinical psychologist with expertise in treatment research and a specific interest in working with minority and low-income populations. To this end, she was the Senior Scientific Editor of "Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General" (2001) and was a member of the Institute of Medicine and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) council. Building on this work, Dr. Miranda leads the program's efforts to adapt care strategies to be sensisitive to the needs of diverse populations, notable adoptive youth and youth who identify as sexual and/or gender minorities.

Kalina Babeva, PhD
Kalina Babeva, PhD

Affiliated Psychologist

Kalina Babeva, PhD continues her work at YSAM while she also works as a psychologist at Children’s Hospital Seattle in the Mood and Anxiety Program. Dr. Babeva is a psychologist whose work emphasizes treatment and research on the prevention and treatment of depression, suicidality, and self-harm in children and adolescents. Dr. Babeva was previously a postdoctoral fellow at YSAM within the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the UCLA Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she also completed her pre-doctoral internship. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Southern California. Her work at YSAM emphasizes assessment and psychotherapy training and quality assurance for both an NIMH-funded Randomized Trial of Stepped Care for Suicide Prevention in Teens & Young Adults and the UCLA-Duke Center for Trauma Informed Suicide and Self-Harm Treatment and Prevention (ASAP) funded as part of SAMHSA’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She also contributes to other YSAM research and services initiatives aimed at improving care for youth who suffer from suicidal and self-harm behaviors and improving the lives of youths and families.

Sunhye Bai, PhD, MPH

Visiting Assistant Professor

Sunhye Bai, PhD, MPH, is a Visiting Assistant Project Scientist at UCLA and an Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bai completed an NIMH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the UCLA Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She received her MPH degree from UC Berkeley in 2010, specializing in Maternal and Child Health, and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in 2017, where she also completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship. Dr. Bai’s research utilizes naturalistic research methods to understand how stress and risky health behaviors affect internalizing symptoms and suicidality in teens across time. She also applies these methods to examine neuroendocrine mechanisms that link stress regulation, psychopathology and susceptibility to risky health behaviors. Dr. Bai is leading Project SAFE, a research study focusing on evaluating a novel mobile ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and intervention (EMI) tool for use with parents and teens as a companion to brief in-person acute care interventions.  This project is funded by the American Psychological Foundation. Dr. Bai also provides expertise in statistical and ecological momentary assessment methods.

Benjamin Rolon-Arroyo, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow & Clinical Instructor

Benjamin Rolon-Arroyo (PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst) is a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Recipient at UCLA under the mentorship of Drs. Joan Asarnow and Jeanne Miranda. His research interests focus on the development of disruptive behavior disorders and the impact of traumatic stress in youth, as well as the improvement/development of assessment tools for these populations. Currently, his work is examining relations between stress and negative outcomes, such as self-harm and suicide risk. 

Jocelyn Meza, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow & Clinical Instructor

Jocelyn Meza, PhD, received her B.A. in Psychology at UCLA, her Ph.D. in Clinical Science at UC Berkeley and her 2-year clinical internship at UCSF. Her research focuses on understanding the risk and protective factors associated with self-harm and suicide in vulnerable populations. Currently, as a UCLA NIH T32 fellow, her research examines predictors and moderators of positive treatment outcomes in a randomized control trial aimed at reducing suicide and self-harm in adolescents. Next year she will transition back to UCSF to complete her Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship under the mentorship of Marina Tolou-Shams, Ph.D. As a Chancellor’s Fellow she will be examining the predictors associated with non-suicidal self-injury among court-involved, non-incarcerated Latinx youth. Her research aims to better understand how to predict and prevent self-harm and suicide, a growing global and public health concern.

Lucas Zullo, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow & Clinical Instructor

Lucas Zullo, Ph.D. obtained his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Currently he is a NIMH Diversity Fellow and Clinical Instructor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UCLA, under the mentorship of Drs. Joan Asarnow and Jeanne Miranda. His research focuses on adolescent suicide prevention, with an interest in harnessing mHealth technology for suicide prevention and improving care for suicidal LGBTQ youth. Currently he is assisting with the development of a mHealth intervention that serves as a decision aid on lethal means restriction for parents of suicidal adolescents. On his NIMH Diversity supplement, Dr. Zullo is studying the attitudes and beliefs of ethnic and racial minority youth around mHealth utilization for suicide prevention.

Chase Venables, BA

Clinical Research Coordinator

Chase Venables recently graduated from Harvard University in 2019, with a B.A. in Psychology. In his role as the YSAM Research Coordinator, Chase manages the SAMHSA-funded ASAP Treatment and Prevention Center, coordinates several studies that are currently being conducted within YSAM, and is in charge of patient recruitment and scheduling for the YSAM Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinic.

Affiliated Members
Jennifer L. Hughes, PhD

Jennifer L. Hughes, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an Assistant Professor and Licensed Psychologist at the UT Southwestern Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care (CDRC). She is the head of the CDRC Risk and Resilience Network, which aims to build partnerships with local schools and youth community organizations to implement mental health promotion and suicide prevention programs, as well as to work together to better understand resilience and risk in youth. Dr. Hughes is currently on the Executive Board of the American Psychological Association Division 53 Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (SCCAP) and serves as the Chair of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Child and Adolescent Depression Special Interest Group (SIG). Dr. Hughes was previously a psychologist at Children's Health System of Texas, where she worked on the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit and with the Suicide Prevention and Resilience at Children's (SPARC) Intensive Outpatient Program. Prior to working at Children's, Dr. Hughes was a Clinical Instructor and Staff Psychologist in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the Associate Director of the UCLA Youth Stress and Mood Program. Dr. Hughes received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2010 and completed her pre-doctoral internship through UT Southwestern Medical Center. During her time at UT Southwestern, Dr. Hughes worked closely with two leaders in the area of child depression, Drs. Graham Emslie and Betsy Kennard, on several landmark projects, including the Treatment of Adolescent Suicide Attempters (TASA) study, the Treatment of Adolescents with Depression study (TADS), and the Treatment of Resistant Depression in Adolescents (TORDIA) study. In addition, Dr. Hughes collaborated with Dr. Kennard to develop and test a relapse prevention intervention for youth depression. Dr. Hughes completed her postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Joan Asarnow at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Hughes is the recipient of a Young Investigator Grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to adapt and test an intervention designed to prevent future suicide attempts in adolescents. Broadly, Dr. Hughes’ research explores the efficacy and effectiveness of psychosocial treatments for building resilience, the prevention and treatment of youth depression, and addressing suicide in youth. For more information, please visit: http://profiles.utsouthwestern.edu/profile/59801/jennifer-hughes.html

Jamie Bedics, PhD

Clinical Instructor, Psychologist

Jamie Bedics is a Psychologist at UCLA and Director of the Master of Science in Clinical Psychology at California State Lutheran University. At YSAM, Dr. Bedics provides training and quality assurance on Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He currently provides training, supervision, and quality assurance ratings for the NIMH-funded Randomized Trial of Stepped Care for Suicide Prevention in Teens & Young Adults. This trial was funded as part of the national Zero Suicide Initiative.

Maggie Rea, PhD

Affiliated Psychologist, Trainer

Dr. Rea is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Student Wellness at UC Davis. She collaborates with YSAM on Depression Treatment Quality Improvement (DTQI) and integrated care initiatives.

Former Members
Stephanie Ernestus

Former Clinical Scientist

Dr. Ernestus completed her Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship in the Nathanson Family Resilience Center at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Ernestus received her doctorate degree from the University at Albany, State University of New York after the completion of her pre-doctoral internship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ernestus is passionate about helping children and families overcome stressful life events and other risk factors, and is particularly interested in the influences of contextual factors (such as families or school) on children’s development of resilience. Her research has focused on using person-centered methods of examining the idiosyncratic development of risk and resilience in psychological presentations. Clinically, she has worked in several clinical settings with parents, families, and multi-disciplinary teams to assist in promoting a stable environment to sustain positive change. Dr. Ernestus is now a faculty member at Stonehill College.

Veronica Barbery

Former Research Clinician

Veronica Barbery Mandelbaum is a licensed clinical social worker working as a supervisor and clinician for the Youth Stress and Mood Program. Veronica received her masters in Social Welfare from UCLA and has worked with and trained under Dr. Joan Asarnow for the past 11 years. Her passion is working with children, teenagers and young adults who are dealing with depression, anxiety, behavior problems and/or having trouble managing life transitions and stressors, within a cognitive-behavioral model. She also enjoys working as a clinician and assessor for the clinic’s various research studies involving youth with depression, a history of suicide attempts and/or deliberate self harm.

Jane Diamond

Therapist

Jane Diamond, LCSW, is a therapist in the Youth Stress and Mood Program. She has had many years of experience at UCLA and other sites providing mental health services for children, teens and families, as well as teaching and providing clinical supervision. Her current role is to provide individual and group therapy for participants in the CARES study.

Nick Anderson, PhD

Dr. Anderson is a former Postdoctoral Fellow and Clinical instructor with the Youth Stress and Mood (YSAM) lab. Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. from Kent State University and completed his clinical internship at the VA Northern California, and he is currently an Assistant Professor at Alliant International University. His research interests are geared toward understanding the developmental and emotion dysregulation mechanisms in youth and adults who have a history of depression, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicide. Dr. Anderson is currently an Assistant Professor at Alliant International University.

Olivia Fitzpatrick, BA

Former Clinical Research Coordinator

Olivia Fitzpatrick recently graduated from The Ohio State University in 2017, with a B.A. in Psychology, Global Health, and Spanish. In her role as the YSAM Research Coordinator, Olivia manages the SAMHSA-funded ASAP Treatment and Prevention Center, coordinates several studies that are currently being conducted within YSAM, and is in charge of patient recruitment and scheduling for the YSAM Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinic. She has matriculated into Harvard University, pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.