Kiara Wesley, Ph.D.
is the winner of the Trainee Champion of Diversity Award for 2018. Dr. Wesley is a graduating post-doctoral fellow at the VA in the Mood Disorders and Behavioral Health Integration clinics. She has an impressive track record for promoting diversity through scholarship, teaching and clinical work. Prior to her training at UCSD and the VA for her clinical internship, Dr. Wesley completed her doctoral dissertation from Rutgers University entitled, “The Impact of Sociocultural Factors on Relationship Quality for African American Couples.” She has delivered numerous presentations at scientific conferences and published both articles and chapters in this area based on her work within the Black Couples Research Project led by Dr. Shalonda Kelly. As both a clinical psychology intern and a postdoctoral fellow at the VA San Diego Healthcare system, Dr. Wesley has demonstrated her commitment to culturally competent care and addressing health disparities. As examples, Dr. Wesley has developed new programs (including a brief psychoeducation intervention for couples) and designed and delivered a diversity workshop to VA trainees that was well-received by peers and colleagues. In addition, Dr. Wesley’s supervisors, colleagues and patients have been particularly impressed by and grateful for her attention to each veteran’s personal story and history as she delivers mental health care to veterans in the Mood Clinic, Family Mental Health Program, and BHIP program in the VA.