Lab Director

Brian TaeHyuk Keum, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Welfare at Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California Los Angeles. Broadly, His research focuses on reducing health and mental health disparities among marginalized individuals and communities using an intersectional, contemporary, and digitally-relevant lens. Of note, he is committed to investigating discrimination and oppression as social determinants of health disparities for individuals and systemic inequalities. As a social justice-oriented scientist-practitioner, he also draws from his clinical experience to conduct research that improves mental health practice and informs advocacy for diverse communities. He has been providing therapy to a diverse community- and college-based clientele for the past 8 years. He received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Maryland-College Park and completed his American Psychological Association-Accredited Doctoral Health Service Psychology Internship at the University of Maryland Counseling Center. Prior to his doctoral education, he earned his M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Columbia University Teachers College and a B.S. in Anatomy and Cell Biology from McGill University. If you are interested in connecting or joining the lab, please do not hesitate to contact him at

Curriculum Vitae    |   Department Profile

The Team

Michele J. Wong, MSPH

Michele J. Wong is a doctoral student in the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She completed a Master of Science in Public Health in the Department of Community Health Sciences at UCLA and received her BA in Psychology at Ithaca College.

Broadly, Michele’s research is focused on the conceptualization and assessment of race and gender-based stressors among Asian American women in the U.S., particularly within the workplace.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family in Canada whenever possible, hiking, new food creations (kabocha squash banana bread?), and continuing to explore and get to know different parts of LA.

Emily Waters, MSW, MPH

Emily M. Waters is a first year Doctoral Student in the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and works as a Policy and Research Advisor at the Transgender Law Center.  Emily has extensive experience in conducting community-based research and policy advocacy on issues related to queer and trans rights, with a particular focus on domestic, sexual and hate-based violence. She focuses on developing and advocating for policy solutions that move power and resources into the community and challenge systemic oppression. She holds a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aside from her work, Emily spends the majority of her time attempting to train her very naughty dog, Milou, obsessing over her plants, and planning her next adventure.

Domonique Henderson, BS, MSW

Domonique Henderson (she/her) is a first year Doctoral Student in the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She completed her MSW with a specialty in the mental health of women and girls at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and earned a BS in psychology from Howard University.  She has worked with youth of color for seven years in community based/national non-profit organizations. In addition, she has worked in clinical/hospital settings focusing on mental health and wellness for communities of color. She has experience in quantitative research with international populations in Africa, incarcerated women and mental health, associations of pregnancy and substance misuse, along with the mental health of Black women and girls. Her research interests broadly include mental health of Black women and girls, the overlap between mental health and social contributions, intersectionality contributes to generational trauma related to adolescents, and psychosocial contributors to mental health struggles for people of color. Outside of her professional and academic endeavors, Domonique also enjoys watching romantic comedies and period films, community service, traveling, and eating more than cooking.

Maynard Hearns, BA

Maynard Hearns is a graduate student at USC earning his MA in Cinematic Arts, Games, and Health. He’s interested in studying and designing games and play experiences that promote self-compassion and grit. When he isn’t doing that, he likes to hike and explore the city.

Rangeena Salim-Eissa, MSW

Rangeena Salim-Eissa is a recent graduate of the Master of Social Welfare program at UCLA. Throughout her program, she gained experience in both qualitative and quantitative research studies while engaging in internships focused on mental health practice. Her research interests center around exploring issues related to the mental health and lived experiences of minorities, particularly of Asian Americans and of refugee populations. She has also had extensive training in trauma- and resiliency-informed community mental health practices. While at UCLA, she received a Certificate in Global Public Affairs, a Global Public Affairs Fellowship Award and interned with an international NGO. As a social worker, she applies social justice-oriented frameworks and resiliency-focused practices to community-based work, while being grounded in and guided by a global, socially-conscious perspective. Rangeena hopes to utilize her expertise to guide her future endeavors within social work practice.

Mary Nguyen, BA

Mary is currently attending UCLA for her Masters in Social Welfare and Public Policy. She has been focusing on Asian American/Immigrant communities and their experience with intimate partner violence and stigmas around mental health/mental illness. Activities that she participates in outside of school are photography, traveling, and roller-skating.

Lab Alumni

Pritha Agarwal, M.A., PhD student in Advertisement, Public Relations and Media Design at the University of Colorado