Betty S. Lai, PhD - Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University

Betty S. Lai is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. Her postdoctoral training was supported by an NICHD T32 training fellowship. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with a specialization in children and families, from the University of Miami.

Her research focuses on how children and families respond to trauma and violence. She has examined responses to community and family violence, mass violence (e.g., war), mass trauma (e.g., disasters), and reactions to more subtle forms of victimization (e.g., peer victimization, cyber victimization). She is interested in the various sequelae that may result from exposure, such as mental health symptoms (e.g., Lai, Auslander, Fitzpatrick, & Podkowirow, in press; Lai, Kelley, Harrison, Thompson, & Self-Brown, in press), physical health symptoms (Lai, La Greca, & Llabre, in press), and school functioning (McGill, Self-Brown, Lai, Cowart, Tiwari, LeBlanc, & Kelley, in press). Further, she has focused on intensive training in innovative methodologies (e.g., genetic markers; La Greca, Lai, Joormann, Auslander, & Short, 2013) and modeling strategies (e.g., growth mixture modeling; Self-Brown, Lai, Thompson, McGill, & Kelley, 2013), in order to better understand how to minimize the effects of violence and trauma on children and families. To highlight the work currently being conducted by researchers, she is co-editing a special issue on youth and trauma for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Her career goals are to become an independent researcher with a focus on minimizing the effects of violence and abuse on the physical and mental health of children and families. For her AVA Scholar project, her aims are to identify and understand patterns in barriers to enrollment and engagement in mental health treatment. She will be utilizing a community sample of families recruited to enroll in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatment. In addition, she is working to develop grant projects as a primary investigator.

Betty can be reached at