The CARE lab

Community-Academic Research Engagement

Working with communities
to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families

About Us


The CARE lab is run by Maya Boustani at Loma Linda University. The goal of the CARE lab is to develop academic-research collaborations to reduce mental health disparities for vulnerable youth and families. The research rests on three principles (a) prioritize research-practice partnerships in the design and delivery of services; (b) identify low-cost ways to disseminate evidence-based practices in communities of need, using indigenous resources; and (c) attend closely to workforce and organizational factors that support feasibility, effective implementation, and sustainability of evidence based practice.
About Us

Meet our Team


Maya Mroué Boustani, PhD

Lab Director, Assistant Professor

Kelly Vogel

Lab Manager, Graduate Student

Chalita Antommarchi

Graduate Student

Savannah Bachar

Graduate Student

Gabriela Bagnara

Graduate Student

Talia Banayan

Graduate Student

Jaynish Hazari

Graduate Student

Hannah Jutzy

Graduate Student

Veronica Nakla

Graduate Student

Research Projects


Project eEva

Project eEva

This project investigates human-computer interactions with a virtual health agent delivering Motivational Interviewing.

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Project YASP

Project YASP

The purpose of this study is to determine if the Youth Alternative Solutions Program is effective at reducing incarcerations and hospital admissions related to substance use.

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Project SOARing

Project SOARing

The School-Based Opportunities for Adolescent Recovery (SOARing) study examines the preliminary effectiveness of an adolescent DBT-skills group treatment delivered in a school-based setting.

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Project Sierra

Project Sierra

Project Sierra is a needs assessment using qualitative focus group data to identify mental health needs and stressors of students attending an alternative high school in an under-served community.

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Community Partners


San Bernardino City Unified School District

We are excited to be partnering with the San Bernardino City Unified School District on mental health and wellness initiatives.

Publications


Common elements of adolescent prevention programming: Minimizing burden while maximizing the reach.

Common elements of adolescent prevention programming: Minimizing burden while maximizing the reach.

The current review identifies common elements across evidence-based prevention programs focused on the promotion of health-related outcomes in adolescents.

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Forty years of Engagement Research in Children’s Mental Health Services:  Multidimensional Measurement and Practice Elements.

Forty years of Engagement Research in Children’s Mental Health Services: Multidimensional Measurement and Practice Elements.

The purpose of this study was to synthesize the engagement literature using a multidimensional measurement framework to identify practice elements that are associated with improved engagement.

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“Teaching Moments” in Psychotherapy: Addressing Emergent Life Events Using Strategies From a Modular Evidence-Based Treatmen

“Teaching Moments” in Psychotherapy: Addressing Emergent Life Events Using Strategies From a Modular Evidence-Based Treatmen

This study examined the extent to which emergent life events could be appropriately addressed using existing evidence=based treatment strategies.

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A systematic review of prevention programs targeting depression, anxiety, and stress in university students

A systematic review of prevention programs targeting depression, anxiety, and stress in university students

This review examined effective (i.e., outcome-producing) prevention programs targeting depression, anxiety, and/or stress in university students. Programs could be delivered in a group-based, online/computer-delivered, or self-administered format and at the universal, selective, or indicated prevention level.

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A pilot study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a coordinated intervention design to address treatment engagement challenges in school mental health services

A pilot study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a coordinated intervention design to address treatment engagement challenges in school mental health services

This pilot study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and initial implementation outcomes of a coordinated knowledge system designed to support the efforts of school mental health professionals to address treatment engagement challenges.

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Development of a transdiagnostic, low-intensity, psychological intervention for common adolescent mental health problems in Indian secondary schools

Development of a transdiagnostic, low-intensity, psychological intervention for common adolescent mental health problems in Indian secondary schools

This paper describes the development of a low-intensity, first-line component of the PRIDE model, a programme that aims to establish a suite of transdiagnostic psychological interventions organised around a stepped care system in Indian secondary schools.

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Advances in Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Design: Time for a Glossary.

Advances in Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Design: Time for a Glossary.

The primary purpose of this article is to suggest clarifying terminology regarding emerging treatment design (modular, transdiagnostic, flexible).

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Sexual health prevention programming for youth in or at-risk for foster care: Improving knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

Sexual health prevention programming for youth in or at-risk for foster care: Improving knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

For the current study, we adapted and supplemented an evidence-based sexual health program called SiHLE, using a systematic adaptation framework to address the unique and targeted needs of youth living in a temporary shelter due to lack of housing.

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Perceived benefits and proposed solutions for teen pregnancy: Qualitative interviews with youth care workers.

Perceived benefits and proposed solutions for teen pregnancy: Qualitative interviews with youth care workers.

The purpose of this article is to examine youth care workers’ perceptions of the specific and unique sexual health needs of youth at risk for foster care.

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A Framework for Translating an Evidence-Based Intervention from English to Spanish

A Framework for Translating an Evidence-Based Intervention from English to Spanish

This article describes the development of a framework for the Spanish language adaptation of an evidence-based intervention.

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Building resilience after school for early adolescents in urban poverty: Open trial of Leaders @ Play.

Building resilience after school for early adolescents in urban poverty: Open trial of Leaders @ Play.

This study examines the promise of Leaders @ Play, a park after-school program for urban middle school youth designed to leverage recreational activities for social emotional learning

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Parent-child attachment and nondisclosure as mediators of the effects of exposure to community violence on psychological distress.

Parent-child attachment and nondisclosure as mediators of the effects of exposure to community violence on psychological distress.

This study tested the quality of parent–adolescent relationships and adolescent nondisclosure to adults as mediating mechanisms through which exposure to community violence may lead to psychological symptoms.

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Interested Students


Interested Students
Thank you for your interest in joining the CARE lab. Although we would love to take in all students interested in our work, we have limited slots (vary year to year based on Dr. Boustani's other obligations). You may be able to participate in one of our research studies by helping with data collection, analysis or other tasks without necessarily having your dissertation chaired by Dr. Boustani. Please discuss these options with Dr. Boustani directly.

If you are interested in joining the lab, please consider the following steps: 

Fall and Winter of your first year:
  • Email Dr. Boustani a copy of your CV, your transcript, and a cover letter explaining why you are interested in working in the lab and what project you are interested in working on (see a list of projects here: https://www.thecarelabllu.com/research-projects). If you are interested in an independent project, please make the case in your cover letter about how it fits with the lab's mission and Dr. Boustani's areas of expertise. 
  • Attend a CARE lab meeting. If your schedule prevents that, please arrange to watch a recording of one of our meetings.
Dr. Boustani will let you know of acceptance into the lab by Spring of your first year (at the latest).

If you join the lab, you agree to the following:
  • Attend weekly lab meetings
  • Donate 5 to 10 hours per week to data collection  / data analysis of various ongoing projects
  • Develop a research project (doc project or dissertation) that is related to an ongoing study in the lab in part or in whole (I recommend that PsyDs pick to use data from an ongoing study)
  • Discuss with Dr. Boustani before volunteering your time in any other work (working in another lab, TAship, supplemental practicum experiences or even work outside the lab )
  • Follow timelines for doctoral project completion, as outlined by Dr. Boustani
Our lab handbook is available here

Other Articles


Contact Us


  • 11130 Anderson St, Loma Linda, California 92350, USA
  • Loma Linda University Department of Psychology