How my journey towards becoming a clinical psychologist in the future has led me to this great opportunity to join the Race Equality Foundation team as Research Assistant….
I have always been drawn to different cultures and languages, and believed it was important for me to gain a deeper understanding of different cultural perspectives in the context of a more complex and globalised world.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Temple University Japan and my MSc in Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences at King’s College London, where I also worked as a Research Assistant. During that time, I worked on clinical trials on autism and continued working with children and young people with neurodevelopmental conditions at NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). This led me on my path to focus on projects which aim to improve outcomes for disadvantaged and/or underserved populations.
At NHS CAMHS, I was working closely with parents waiting years to receive an assessment for their child; a waiting time that had sometimes a detrimental effect on the mental health of both children and parents. I realised how much these families would have benefitted from an accessible parenting programme such as the Race Equality Foundation’s Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) programme, to offer them strategies to forge positive relationships between parents and children.
My overall experience was an eye-opener in understanding the stigma surrounding certain conditions in different cultures and communities. This stigma results in some people not receiving adequate treatment and with some communities not being reached to receive support. This is when I became particularly drawn to working with the Race Equality Foundation as I felt I needed to be part of an organisation which would equip me to be the inclusive researcher and clinical psychologist I envision being.
By being involved in the NIHR-funded Together study evaluating the SFSC parenting programme, designed to reach a wide range of parents, I know I will be able to be part of a movement bridging this gap, reaching out to minority ethnic parents and by that hopefully improving outcomes for underserved populations we are working with. This study is an incredible project combining the Race Equality Foundation’s knowledge about inequalities and factors preventing families from minority ethnic backgrounds from taking part in research, with that of other organisations such as UCL, one of the leading research universities in the world, recognised for its global impact.
Most parenting interventions have failed to engage with families from ethnic minorities and those living in poverty, but the Together study shows promising results. I hope this project will show future studies the importance of inclusivity and approaches that can be used in research to reach out to a wide range of people and eventually reduce inequalities.