Family therapy students awarded national research fellowship
Two Texas Woman’s University doctoral students are among only 21 family therapy students across the nation to be awarded competitive federal research fellowships with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Sheeza Mohsin and Allison Tomlinson, both doctoral students in family therapy at TWU, were awarded fellowships through the organization’s Minority Fellowship Program. The program aims to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racial and ethnic populations.
Mohsin, who was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, said funding from the fellowship will help further her research on Islamophobia and the impact of identity on accessing mental health care. She said discrimination against the Muslim population leaves many Muslims reluctant to seek help from mental health care providers, many of whom are Caucasian.
“My identity as a Muslim-American woman plays into why I chose this area of research,” Mohsin said. “I want to increase mental health care access for all multicultural populations.”
Tomlinson, of Mansfield, received this fellowship during three previous academic years, and said she is elated to again be named a fellow for completion of her dissertation this year. Her research focus is on interventions for incarcerated women and their families to help them cope and function more successfully.
“I’m interested in helping families thrive well in the face of stress,” Tomlinson said. “Maternal incarceration (moms going to jail) creates a profound impact on women and their families. I believe we have to learn to address this crisis effectively to prevent harmful effects to countless women and their children.”
Aaron Norton, Ph.D., assistant professor of family therapy at Texas Woman’s, said Mohsin’s and Tomlinson’s work “highlights the dedication of our students to the highest quality family therapy research and meeting the mental health needs of diverse communities. These fellowships are exceptionally competitive, and it reflects the growing standing of TWU’s family therapy program on the national level.”