UCLA announced Patricia Lester, MD is the new Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.
Dr. Lester is the Jane and Marc Nathanson Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and David Geffen School of Medicine. She serves as the Director of the Division of Population Behavioral Health, Director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center, Co-Director of the Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support, and as part of the leadership team for the UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families. She also leads the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health + UCLA Public Partnership for Wellbeing a multidisciplinary partnership developed to strengthen communities, reengineer systems, and revitalize policy. Dr. Lester’s research, administrative and clinical work have been dedicated to the development, evaluation, and implementation of family-centered prevention and treatment for families and children facing trauma and adversity within community ecosystems. She co-developed the preventive intervention FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) which enhances resilience and wellbeing in youth and families facing adversity, trauma and loss. Over the last 15 years, she has led a large-scale FOCUS implementation reaching over 1 million people as a public health continuum of preventive services for the Department of Defense, a model that has been adapted through a community-participatory approach for schools and other community settings. She is an author of over 100 articles and chapters, and her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health; the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, state and county governments; and numerous private philanthropies. She has served on federal advisory committees for the National Academies of Science and the Department of Defense and has testified for Congress regarding military and veteran families. In 2018, Dr. Lester received the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Irving Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention.