May 29, 2007
For immediate release
Rene Staskal, Graduate Student at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, Wins $10,000 Grant for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Research
The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation has awarded UC Santa Barbara Gevirtz School doctoral candidate Rene Staskal with a $10,000 research grant. The grant will fund Staskal’s study titled Cross Cultural Issues in Assessment and Identification of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the Public School Setting.
Staskal’s research on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will examine the current identification and treatment practices used by school psychologists; it will focus on students with OCD in the grade school setting. The study will also gather information regarding the struggles of Asian, Latino, and White individuals with OCD, and which treatments, if any, are provided. Additionally, the validity of using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale – which is used extensively in research and clinical practice to determine severity of OCD and to monitor improvement during treatment – as a screener for OCD among Latinos and Asian Americans will be examined.
“I would like to thank Dr. Steven Smith and Dr. Manuel Casas for their assistance in reviewing the grant,” says Staskal. “Cross-cultural identification of mental illness in the school setting is an area of emerging importance. The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation has a strong tradition of supporting individuals with OCD by raising awareness and funding research. I am grateful the Foundation has made this research possible.”
Awareness of OCD has increased in recent decades. Research indicates that the school setting is ideal for identification of mental illnesses because of the access it provides to students. Research also indicates that the majority of children with a disorder often do not receive mental health services, and Latinos and Asian Americans may be at particular risk since they are underserved by mental health professionals.
Before policymakers can put mental health programs in place, programs must be evaluated for culturally sensitivity. Until now, no research has examined current assessment and treatment methods for OCD, or if students from different ethnic groups are identified and treated at similar rates in the school setting.
The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, a national patient advocacy organization headquartered in New Haven, CT, is committed to finding and promoting research that could lead to the development of more effective treatments for people with OCD. The Foundation provides awards to persons involved in the research of the nature, etiology, and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and OC Spectrum Disorders. Funds for these awards are donated by members and friends of the Foundation. Winners are selected based on proposals submitted to the Foundation.
[Rene Staskal is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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