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UC Berkeley


Catrina Gotuaco - Education and Human Development

After graduating from UC Berkeley in May 2013, Catrina pursued her interest in mental health research, and secured an internship as a research assistant for Dr. Nolan Zane at the Asian American Center for Disparities Research (AACDR). She contributed to a publication on cultural adaptations to psychotherapy, and participated in the planning and piloting stages of a study on the construct of face concern, which is known to impact mental health treatment processes among persons of Asian/Asian-American ethnicity. Catrina writes: Coursework in my ISF area of concentration of Education and Human Development greatly prepared me for success in my internship by introducing me to much content (e.g., social psychology, developmental psychopathology, and psychosocial development) with research processes (e.g., conducting a literature review and analyzing data) that I would use as an intern.
Following her internship at AACDR, Catrina worked for the San Mateo Countys Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) as a Health Equity Intern. She was actively involved in public health campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and helped organize Faces of Hope, a photo exhibit that showcased faces and stories of hope and resilience from individuals who have experiences living with mental health challenges. Beyond the photo exhibit project, she assisted with a project to enhance clinician competencies while working with individuals of diverse sexual or gender identities.
In the Fall of 2014, Catrina will enroll in the Masters in Counseling program at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB). She recently received the prestigious, four year-renewable Tang Scholarship for her graduate studies
Catrina shares with us the abstract for her 2013 thesis Understanding the Stigma of Mental Illness for which Professor Stephen Hinshaw served as a reader: The objective of this paper is to provide an understanding of the stigma of mental illness and its pervasiveness worldwide. Current research yields no universal definition of mental illness, stigma, or stigmatization, nor unified theory that explains why some come to stigmatize others. Various disciplines posit their own definitions and rationales for stigmas ubiquity, and while many commonalities emerge, distinct emphases predominate. Some perspectives emphasize individual-psychological processes, and assert that cognitive adaptations for social exclusion explain stigmatizing responses across cultures. Others focus on both individual-psychological and social processes, and suggest that shared existential concerns come closer to explaining the cross-cultural displays of stigmatization toward individuals with mental illness. Yet, despite disagreement over rationale and definition, there is agreement over consequences associated with stigma for those who bear its mark. Stigma of mental illness imparts diminishing effects on the life opportunities of those whose lives it touches, as evidenced by self, societal, and structural discrimination. Human energies therefore, must not only attune to the expansion in understanding of these various theoretical frameworks, but to the assessment of stigmas impact. Consistent with prior research, this paper offers no panacea for stigma reduction; rather, it emphasizes the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration and multi-level intervention efforts for enhancing societal wellbeing.

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