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Doctoral Internship in Clinical & Community Psychology Graduates 14; Honors Faculty

June 21, 2022

The Yale Doctoral Internship in Clinical & Community Psychology honored 14 graduates at a commencement ceremony June 14 at the Greenberg Center.

The program, one of the nation’s premier internships in clinical and community psychology, also honored four faculty with awards and presented the first Yale Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology Alumni Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology.

The program provides state-of-the-art training to the next generation of health service psychologists that prepares them for entry-level practice in which they deliver high quality services within an increasingly integrated healthcare landscape; fosters growth and development of psychology leaders and innovators who can effectively apply their knowledge and skills to ensure access, availability and affordability of psychological interventions to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse public; fosters academic leadership and development, including scholarly contributions to the field; and promotes the career development of fellows by facilitating informed choices about their next steps professionally.

The 2022 graduates were: Ishita Sunita Arora, Lauren Carney, Gabriel Cartagena, Tania Chowdhury, Alyssa Lauren Conigliaro, Wendy Cook, Reihonna Frost-Calhoun, Kayla Aubrey Lord, Nicolas G. Meade, Christie Whitney Musket, Rachel R. Ouellette, Shannon Schrader, Isaiah Imani Sypher, and Hemrie Zalman.

Faculty honorees included:

  • Allison N. Ponce , PhD: In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions as a Teacher
  • Christy L. Olezeski, PhD: In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions as a Supervisor
  • Francisco Lopez, PhD: In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Psychology Training
  • Whitney A. E. Randall, PsyD: In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Psychology Training

The first Yale Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology Alumni Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology was presented to Dr. Abir Aldhalimi, a member of the Yale Doctoral Internship graduating class of 2015-2016, where she was a fellow in Behavioral Medicine within Yale New Haven Hospital.

Aldhalimi is the senior mental health advisor in the Inclusive Development Hub in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She works to promote U.S. development assistance that recognizes and respects marginalized groups, including those who have been exposed to potentially traumatic events and human rights violations.

As the technical lead for the mental health team, she designs and implements assistance programs for marginalized populations at the intersection of mental health, inclusive development, and human rights with the goal of increasing access to mental health services. She has helped develop and implement inclusion training to employees within the embassies of Morocco, Jamacia, Germany, Egypt, Tanzania, Guinea, Senegal, and Jordan.

Along with these programs, she develops tools to be used by USAID country offices and international organizations to develop mental health programs in low-income countries as well as works with governments to advance mental health policy. As a former child refugee, leaving Iraq during the Gulf War, she has dedicated her career to better understanding and meeting the needs of marginalized populations through inclusive United States Government programming, policy, and academic research, on a national and international front.

She was nominated by Drs. Donna LaPaglia and Dwain Fehon. In a segment of their compelling nomination, they shared that “Throughout her life, Abir has demonstrated grit, determination, an indefatigable work ethic. She has a positive spirit and a wonderful ‘can-do’ attitude that has helped her to achieve higher and higher levels of academic and professional success. Abir has worked tirelessly to understand, articulate, and serve the mental health needs of vulnerable medically ill and culturally disenfranchised people. She is passionate about her career as a health service psychologist and she seeks opportunities where she can serve the mental health needs of others, not only through clinical service, but also through program development and the advocacy of culturally sensitive and informed mental health policy and legislation”

The award was formed in consultation with the Psychology Training Faculty and represents a collaborative effort to honor alumni who continue to embody the core values of the training program in clinical service, scholarship, and leadership. Specifically, the award is granted to a person, who is within 10 years of graduating from the program, and who has shown distinguished excellence in their careers in one or more of the following areas: humanitarian efforts or contributions, clinical or service excellence, teaching, research and scholarship, diversity, equity and inclusion, advocacy, and/or leadership.

Presenting the award to Aldhalimi was Amber W. Childs, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and the program’s director of training.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on June 21, 2022