13 Academic Researchers in Texas Receive Hogg Foundation Grants to Study Mental Health

June 16, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — Thirteen academic researchers exploring different aspects of mental health in Texas have been awarded $226,770 by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

The one-year grants are capped at $17,500 each. The 13 research projects were selected from a pool of 48 proposals submitted by tenure-track assistant professors at 17 Texas schools.

"These grant dollars will not only enhance the body of knowledge as it relates to mental health, but will also assist these young researchers in advancing their careers," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.

The recipients and their projects are listed below.

  • Our Lady of the Lake University: Dr. Ezequiel Peña, Department of Psychology, will examine how additional Spanish language training and feedback for bilingual counselor trainees improves their ability to provide mental health services to Spanish speakers
  • University of Houston: Dr. Tam Dao, Department of Educational Psychology, will study how people of different Asian American ethnic groups in Houston seek and respond to mental health treatment. Dr. Allison Dempsey, Department of Educational Psychology, will develop a screening tool to identify behavioral health issues common among children who are born prematurely and their caregivers, and will assess the effectiveness of follow-up services.
  • University of Texas at Arlington: Dr. Pablo Mora, Psychology Department, will examine how Latinos’ cultural views affect their decision to seek mental health services and contribute to mental health disparities for Latinos.
  • The University of Texas at Austin: Dr. Germine Awad, Educational Psychology Department, will examine how the mental health of Arab Americans is affected by their religious self-identification and perceived discrimination by others. Dr. Janay Sander, Educational Psychology Department, will analyze the impact of academic success and failure on the mental health of high school students. Dr. Su Yeong Kim, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, will study how children serving as interpreters in immigrant families affects the mental health of both parents and children. Dr. Dnika Travis, School of Social Work, will investigate the mental health of child care providers and barriers they encounter in seeking mental health treatment.
  • University of Texas at El Paso: Dr. Kathleen O'Connor, School of Nursing, will measure the mental health impact of recent Texas/Mexico border violence on university students.
  • University of Texas at Tyler: Dr. Sarah Sass, Department of Psychology and Counseling, will find out if anxiety can be treated by diverting people's attention away from emotionally arousing stimuli.
  • University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio: Dr. M. Danet Lapiz-Bluhm, School of Nursing, will study the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and the nervous system. Dr. Daniel Lodge, Department of Pharmacology, will investigate a new method for treating schizophrenia. Dr. Jason O'Connor, Department of Pharmacology, will research the link between brain inflammation and depression and anxiety in people with Alzheimer's disease.

The Hogg Foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education.

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