Hogg Foundation Awards $150,000 in Grants for Mental Health Research at Texas Universities

June 2, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — Ten tenure-track assistant professors conducting mental health research projects in Texas have received grants totaling nearly $150,000 from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

"Finding funds for academic research can be a challenge. These grants will enable the recipients to build their academic expertise and credentials," said Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

The projects tackle issues such as mental health care preferences of Iraqi war veterans, the impact of the economic crisis on depression among elderly Korean immigrants, and potential links between childhood obesity and mental health.

"These grants have a two-fold purpose: to further the recipients' academic careers and to encourage research of important mental health issues in Texas, including those that affect underserved groups and consumers of mental health services and their families," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation.

The one-year grants are capped at $15,000 each. The foundation received 35 proposals from faculty at 16 colleges and universities in Texas. The recipients are listed below.

  • Baylor College of Medicine: Dr. David Eagleman will study the psychological, behavioral and neurological traits of people convicted of sex crimes. Dr. Mary Newsome will determine why some at-risk youth who grow up in highly stressful conditions such as violence, poverty and abuse have greater resiliency than others in the same environment.
  • Texas A&M University: Dr. Jamilia Blake will study parental socialization practices that may contribute to ethnic differences in youth aggression.
  • Texas Woman's University: Dr. Kimberly Booker will assess the psychological needs and behavioral difficulties of adolescents in disciplinary alternative education programs and identify better screening methods to help at-risk youth.
  • University of Texas at Arlington: Dr. Suk-Young Kang will study the recent economic downturn's effect on depression among Korean immigrant elders in Dallas-Fort Worth.
  • The University of Texas at Austin: Dr. Hongjoo Lee will study the effects of menopause and hormone replacement therapy on attention and memory, using an animal model mimicking abnormal neural activities often seen in many mental disorders. Dr. Michele Rountree will research the obstacles and supports experienced by people with HIV/AIDS in accessing mental health and substance use services in Texas.
  • University of Texas at Dallas: Dr. Shayla Holub will examine the relationship between weight and psychological health in young children.
  • University of Texas at San Antonio: Dr. Gabriel Acevedo will examine the influences of religious involvement and civic participation on mental health in low-income communities.
  • University of Texas at San Antonio Health and Science Center: Dr. Laurel Copeland will examine mental health care preferences of 3,200 South Texas veterans who recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation's grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas.

For more information, contact: Merrell Foote, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, 512-471-9142 (office); 512-415-0408 (cell).