The UCLA Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support (CARES) Center is an innovative center dedicated to supporting the development of resilient, emotionally healthy children. The Center is also focused on training, research, and community outreach to help clinicians, researchers, school staff, and parents recognize the early signs of childhood anxiety and support families in accessing resources to build family strengths and resilience.
Led by members of UCLA’s world-renowned mental health programs, the UCLA CARES Center is developing new and improved strategies to help children, parents, clinicians, and community members better engage with one another to reduce the burden of childhood anxiety.
At the UCLA CARES Center, our mission is to reduce the burden of childhood anxiety and enhance family and community resilience.
The UCLA CARES Center approach is multifaceted, and focuses on five specific areas:
Education and Prevention
To support prevention and early intervention with youth, families, schools, and communities through increased recognition and understanding of childhood anxiety
To promote a new generation of clinicians and scientists devoted to advancing the health and resilience of families affected by stress and anxiety
To foster the development of innovative and emerging technologies focused on supporting children who are dealing with anxiety and their families, and to find new and effective methods of education, training, and intervention
To develop, test, and disseminate new school- and community-based strategies for reducing stress and enhancing resilience among children
Public Awareness and Advocacy
To promote, through policy, awareness campaigns, and advocacy, a new standard of best practices in schools, local communities, and other systems of healthcare built from evidence-based, family-centered anxiety prevention research
John Piacentini, PhDDirector
Dr. Piacentini is a board-certified clinical child and adolescent psychologist whose works focuses on the development and testing of effective treatments for childhood anxiety and related disorders. Dr. Piacentini has played a lead role in several major treatment studies for these disorders and has published over 240 research papers, many in leading medical journals, chapters and books. In addition to his role as the Director of the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Piacentini is Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the UCLA Child OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders. He has a long history of child and family advocacy and serves on Boards for several organizations, including, nationally, the Anxiety Depression Association of America, the International OCD Foundation, the Tourette Syndrome Association Behavioral Sciences Consortium (Chair), the Trichotillomania Learning Center, the American Board of Professional Psychology, and, locally, the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation (Vice-President). In addition, he is also current President of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
Patricia Lester, MDCo-Director
A board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Lester has sustained a career-long focus on developing and disseminating preventive interventions, practices, and policies that support child and family resilience in the context of trauma and adversity. Her research and leadership has focused on the study of translational and implementation processes needed to bring evidence-based prevention to scale within systems of care and community settings. In addition to her role as the Co-Director of the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Lester is the Jane and Marc Nathanson Family professor of psychiatry in the Division of Population Behavioral Health and director of the Division of Population Behavioral Health. She also serves as the director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center, medical director of the Family Stress, Trauma and Resilience Service (STAR), director of the DMH + UCLA Prevention Center of Excellence, and is on the founding leadership team for the Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families.
Kate Sheehan, LCSWManaging Director
Ms. Sheehan is a licensed clinical social worker and the Managing Director for the CARES Center. She previously worked at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA with children, adolescents, and their families, and she led crisis intervention and prevention education efforts at the Santa Monica UCLA Rape Treatment Center. Her areas of expertise include attachment difficulties, trauma, depression, and eating disorders in addition to anxiety. She earned an MSW from Columbia University. She also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She graduated with highest honors from the Sorbonne, and she is fluent in French though less fluent in Spanish. A practitioner of meditation, she has also had a yoga practice since toddlerhood when she was taught by her grandmother.
Catherine Mogil, PsyDStaff Psychologist
Dr. Mogil has spent her career working with children of all developmental stages. She has been involved in several intervention development and translational research projects examining the efficacy of parent-assisted interventions for infants and toddlers in foster care, school-aged children with developmental disabilities, and adolescents with Autism Spectrum and other disorders. Dr. Mogil is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in the David Geffen School of Medicine. In addition to her work at the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Mogil serves as the Director of Training and Intervention Development for the Nathanson Family Resilience Center and the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health. She is also the Director of the Family Development Project and the Co-Director of the Child and Family Trauma Service. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.
Anna Alkozei, PhDClinical Psychology Intern
Anna is a current Clinical Psychology Intern at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and is currently completing a Clinical Psychology Re-Specialization at the University of Arizona. Anna is passionate about sharing evidence-based interventions for psychological disorders with the wider community to strengthen youth resilience and emotional flexibility.
Ashley Johnson, MSDirector of Communications
Ms. Johnson is the Director of Communications for the UCLA CARES Center, UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center, and the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health.
Valerie SommerCommunications Specialist
Valerie is a communications specialist with the UCLA CARES Center. Valerie graduated from UCLA with a BS in Psychobiology. She also serves as communications specialist for the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health.
The UCLA CARES Center would like to thank our partners for their support!
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