Sheina Godovich, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at The Catholic University of America, is one of 100 doctoral students in the United States and Canada selected to receive a $20,000 Scholar Award from the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Sisterhood.
The P.E.O. Sisterhood, founded in 1869, provides merit-based awards for women in the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. “The award recognizes Sheina’s high level of academic achievement and her potential for having a positive impact on society, particularly youth from underrepresented and marginalized communities,” says Brendan Rich, associate professor and interim chair of psychology.
Within clinical child psychology, Godovich hopes to expand access to effective mental health interventions. She has focused her research on improving the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices (interventions with research supporting their effectiveness). She focuses on school-based interventions because most young people receive mental health services in schools. For her dissertation, she is now studying how school mental health providers form attitudes and make decisions about the interventions they use. She compares how different sources of information affect a provider’s attitude toward a specific mental health intervention.
“The Catholic University of America’s clinical psychology doctoral program provides balanced clinical and research training, which was my main goal for graduate school,” says Godovich. She appreciates how the program integrates both clinical considerations into research training, and research evidence into clinical training. “This matches my career goal of combining these approaches as a scientist-practitioner.
“Similarly, I’m interested in research that has direct clinical impact, such as studying treatment effectiveness in real-world contexts like school and private practice settings. I specifically chose CatholicU because of the opportunity to conduct this kind of research with Dr. Brendan Rich, as well as the opportunity to expand my personal research in the field of dissemination and implementation science.”
Godovich’s career goal is to integrate individual and systemic interventions to support youth mental health, such as through a leadership role in mental health care delivery within an academic medical center.
“I hope to expand the implementation of evidence-based practices by partnering with communities to start new interventions, studying implementation processes to ensure high-quality care, and changing health care systems so effective interventions are more affordable,” she says. “My greatest hope is that this work supports every young person having easy access to effective, culturally sensitive mental health interventions whenever they need it.”