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Liberation Now Podcast

Feb 2, 2022

This episode is the second in a two-part series on cumulative racial-ethnic trauma and healing for MENA Americans. In this episode, Amir Maghsoodi sits down again with pioneering Arab/MENA psychologists Drs. Mona Amer, Maryam Kia-Keating, and Germine “Gigi” Awad, to discuss their paper in the American Psychologist titled “A model of cumulative racial-ethnic trauma among Americans of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) descent.” They discuss how the authors’ model relates to healing and liberation for MENA Americans and other BIPOC groups. As three of the founding members of AMENA-Psy (American Arab, Middle Eastern & North African Psychological Association), our guests also discuss the formation of the organization and how it relates to the struggle for liberation.

Link to download the paper for free:


Germine “Gigi” Awad, Ph.D., (website) (Twitter: @Dr_GigiAwad) is an Associate Professor in the College of Education Department of Educational Psychology and a Louise Spence Griffeth Fellow. Her scholarship is characterized by three interrelated areas of inquiry: prejudice and discrimination, identity and acculturation, and more recently, body image among women of color. She has also written in the area of multicultural research methodology. The majority of her research is guided by the questions "What factors lead to discrimination against ethnic minorities?" and "What impacts perceptions of experienced discrimination?"

The two populations that she has primarily focused on are Arab/Middle Eastern Americans and African Americans. Although overt discrimination towards ethnic minorities has decreased over the years, the practice of more covert, subtle forms of prejudice remains. The events of September 11, 2001, however, reintroduced more explicit forms of prejudice towards Arab/Middle Eastern Americans, and those perceived to be Muslim, complicating the dialogue on discrimination in the United States. Awad is concerned with how prejudicial attitudes and ideology impact attitudes towards ethnic minorities generally and within specific domains such as the workplace and higher education. In addition, she examines how racial/ethnic identity and acculturation impact ethnic minorities' perception of discrimination. Most recently, she has expanded her identity and acculturation research to the study of body image concerns among women of color.

Awad received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and  B.S. in Psychology from John Carroll University.

Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D., (website) (Twitter: @drkiakeating) is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the UCSB Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and founder of Power of Drishti, providing meditations and music for changemakers, first responders, clinicians, frontline workers, activists, and other people on-the-go. She oversees the Trauma & Adversity, Resilience & Prevention (TARP) research program at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. After attending Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Boston University, Dr. Kia-Keating completed her post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Diego, and served as the Clinical Director of a secondary prevention school-based program for adolescents. Dr. Kia-Keating's scholarship is focused on resilience in the context of experiences of trauma, adversity, and toxic stress for diverse communities, including refugees and immigrants from around the globe. She uses participatory and human-centered design approaches, working in partnership with communities to find innovative solutions to complex needs. Her community co-designed HEROES program for parents and children teaches mindfulness, parent-child attunement, and restorative communication to support resilience, and mitigate the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). She was appointed to the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force on refugees resettled in the United States. Dr. Kia-Keating’s research has been funded by the NIH, and her articles have been published in high-impact academic journals. Her research and interviews have been featured in various outlets including The Washington Post, ABC News, Conde Nast Traveler, Self-Magazine, and CNN. She provides consultation on child development, mental health, and authentic representation for childrens' media, and writes for Psychology Today

Mona M. Amer, Ph.D., (website) is a Professor of clinical and community psychology and founding chair of the Department of Psychology at the American University in Cairo. She co-founded and served as first elected president of the American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African Psychological Association (AMENA-Psy). Dr. Amer’s research and policy interests focus on racial/ethnic disparities in behavioral health, with specializations in the Arab and Muslim minorities. She is interested in how immigration experiences, acculturation stressors, discrimination, and minority status contribute to disparities, and ways to eliminate inequities through culturally competent services, community-based programming, and social policy. Dr. Amer’s nearly 50 publications include two articles in the American Psychological Association’s flagship journal American Psychologist and the landmark co-edited book Handbook of Arab American Psychology which was awarded the annual nonfiction award by the Arab American National Museum. In 2020 she received the AMENA-Psy Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Scholarship.


Dr. Awad Select Publications:

Arab American Psychology

Amer, M. & Awad, G. H. (Eds.) (2016) The Handbook of Arab American Psychology. New York: Routledge.

Awad, G. H., Amayreh, W. & Reilly, E. D. (2017) Contemporary Arab American Psychology. In Social Issues In Living Color: Challenges And Solutions From The Perspective Of Ethnic Minority Psychology. Blume, A. (Ed.): Praeger Books.

Prejudice & Discrimination

Awad, G. H. & Amayreh, W. (2016). Discrimination: Heightened Prejudice Post 9/11 and Psychological Outcomes. In M. M. Amer, & G. H. Awad (Eds.), Handbook of Arab American psychology. New York: Routledge.

Neville, H. A., Awad, G. H., *Brooks, J., *Flores, M., & *Bluemel, J. (2013). Color-Blind Racial Ideology: Theory, Training, and Measurement Implications in Psychology. The American Psychologist, 68(6), 455-466.

Awad, G. H. (2013).  Does Policy Name Matter? The Effect of Framing on the Evaluations of African American Applicants. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, 379-387. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12026

Brown, L. M., Awad, G. H., *Preas, E. J., *Allen, V., *Kenney, J., *Roberts, S.*Lusk, B. L. (2013). Investigating Prejudice towards Men Perceived to be Muslim: Cues of Foreignness versus Phenotype. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, 237-245. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12015

Awad, G. H. & *Hall-Clark, B. (2009). Impact of Religiosity and Right Wing Authoritarianism on Prejudice towards Middle Easterners.  Beliefs and Values: Understanding the Global Implications of Human Nature, 1(2), 183-192.

Awad, G. H., Cokley, K., & *Ravitch, J. (2005). Attitudes toward affirmative action: A comparison of color-blind versus modern racist attitudes. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, 35(7), 1384-1399. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2005.tb02175.x

Identity & Acculturation

Awad, G. H. (2010). The impact of acculturation and religious identification on perceived discrimination for Arab/Middle Eastern Americans. Cultural Diversity And Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16(1), 59-67. doi:10.1037/a0016675

Awad, G. H. (2007). The role of racial identity, academic self-concept, and self-esteem in the prediction of academic outcomes for African American students. Journal Of Black Psychology, 33(2), 188-207. doi:10.1177/0095798407299513

Multicultural Research Methodology

Awad, G. H., Patall, E. A., *Rackley, K. R. & *Reilly, E. D. (2016). Recommendations for Culturally Sensitive Research Methods.  Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 26, (3). DOI: 10.1080/10474412.2015.1046600

Cokley, K. O & Awad, G. H. (2013). In Defense of Quantitative Methods: Using the “Master’s Tools” to Promote Social Justice.  Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 5(2), 26-41.

Awad, G. H., & Cokley, K. O. (2010). Designing and interpreting quantitative research in multicultural counseling. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, C. M. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (3rd ed.) (pp. 385-396). Thousand Oaks, CA US: Sage Publications, Inc.

Cokley, K. O., & Awad, G. H. (2008).  Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Multicultural Research. In Heppner, P. P., Kivlighan, D. M., & Wampold, B. E.  (Eds.). Research Design in Counseling (3rd Ed.) (pp. 366-384).  California: Wadsworth.

Body Image

Awad, G. H., Norwood, C.R., *Taylor, D., *Martinez, M., *McClain, S., *Jones, B., *Holman, A., & *Chapman-Hilliard, C. (2015). Beauty and Body Image Concerns Among African American College Women.  Journal of Black Psychology, 41, 540-564. DOI: 10.1177/0095798414550864

Mintz, L. B., Awad, G. H., *Stinson, R. D., *Bledman, R. A., Coker, A. D.,Kashubeck-West, S., & *Connelly, K. (2013). Weighing and body monitoring among college women: The scale number as an emotional barometer. Journal Of College Student Psychotherapy, 27(1), 78-91.doi:10.1080/87568225.2013.739039

Kashubeck-West, S., Coker, A. D., Awad, G. H., Stinson, R. D., Bledman, R., & Mintz, L. (2013). Do measures commonly used in body image research perform adequately with African American college women?. Cultural Diversity And Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19(3), 357-368. doi:10.1037/a0031905

Mental Health

Amer, M. M., Awad, G. H., & Hovey, J. D. (2014). Evaluation of the CES-D Scale factor structure in a sample of second-generation Arab-Americans. InternationalJournal Of Culture And Mental Health, 7(1), 46-58. doi:10.1080/17542863.2012.693514

Awad, G. H., *Martinez, M. S. & Amer, M.M. (2013). Considerations for Psychotherapy with Immigrant Women of Middle Eastern/Arab Descent. Women and Therapy, 36, 163-175.

Dr. Kia-Keating Select Publications:

Kia-Keating, M., & Juang, L. (2022). Participatory science as a decolonizing methodology: Leveraging collective knowledge from partnerships with refugee and immigrant communitiesCultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000514

Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Kia-Keating, M., & Jackson, T. (2021). Navigating participation and ethics with immigrant communitiesQualitative Psychology. doi: 10.1037/qup0000216

Awad, G., Ikizler, A., Abdel-Salem, L., Kia-Keating, M., Amini, B., & El-Ghoroury, N. (2021). Foundations for an Arab/MENA psychologyJournal of Humanistic Psychology, 1-23. doi: 10.1177/00221678211060974

Awad, G., Kia-Keating, M., & Amer, M. (2019). A model of cumulative racial/ethnic trauma among Americans of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) descent.  American Psychologist, 74 (1)76-87. doi: 10.1037/amp0000344

Kia-Keating, M., Liu, S., & Sims, G. (2018)Between the devil and the deep blue sea: Refugee youth in resettlementEmerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. doi: 10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0460

Modir, S., & Kia-Keating, M. (2018). Exploring the Middle Eastern American college student experience: Discrimination, adjustment, and coping. Journal of College Student Development, 59, 563-578. doi: 10.1353/csd.2018.0053

Kia-Keating, M., Ahmed, S.R., & Modir, S. (2016). Refugees and Forced Migrants: Seeking Asylum and Acceptance. In Amer, M., & Abdo., G. (Eds.), Handbook of Arab American Psychology (pp 160-172). Routledge. New York.

Kia-Keating, M. (2012). Ethical issues in research with refugee communities.  In U. A. Segal & D. Elliott (Eds.), Refugees Worldwide. Volume 4: Law, Policy, and Programs, (pp. 235-257). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Ahmed, S. R., Kia-Keating, M., & Tsai, K. H. (2011).  A structural model of racial discrimination, acculturative stress, and cultural resources among Arab American adolescents.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 48, 181-192.

Porterfield, K. (chair), Akinsulure-Smith, A., Benson, M., Betancourt, T., Ellis, H., Kia-Keating, M., & Miller, K. (2010).  Resilience and recovery after war: Refugee children and families in the United States.  Report of the APA Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States.  Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Dr. Amer Select Publications:

Amer, M. M. (2021). Measures of Muslim religiousness constructs and a multidimensional scale. In A. L. Ai, P. Wink, R. F. Paloutzian, & K. A. Harris (Eds.). Assessing spirituality in a diverse world (pp. 299-331). Switzerland: Springer.

Awad, G. H., Kia-Keating, M., & Amer, M. M. (2019). A model of cumulative racial/ ethnic trauma among Americans of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) descent. American Psychologist, 74, 76-87.

Ahmed, S. R., Amer, M. M., & Killawi, A. (2017). The ecosystems perspective in social work: Implications for culturally competent practice with American Muslims. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 36(1-2), 48-72.

Amer, M. M., & Awad, G. H. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of Arab American psychology. New York: Routledge.

Amer, M. M. (2014). Arab American acculturation and ethnic identity across the lifespan: Sociodemographic correlates and psychological outcomes. In S. C. Nassar-McMillan, K. J. Ajrouch, & J. Hakim-Larson (Eds.), Biopsychosocial perspectives on Arab Americans: Culture, development, and health (pp. 153-173). New York: Springer.

Amer, M. M. & Bagasra, A. (2013). Psychological research with Muslim Americans in the age of Islamophobia: Trends, challenges, and recommendations. American Psychologist, 68(3), 134-144.

Ahmed, S., & Amer, M. M. (Eds.). (2012). Counseling Muslims: Handbook of mental health issues and interventions. New York: Routledge.

Amer, M. M., & Hovey, J. D. (2012). Anxiety and depression in a post-September 11 sample of Arabs in the USA. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(3), 409-418.

American Arab, Middle Eastern, & North African Psychological Association (AMENA-Psy):

Link to The Thoughtful Counselor podcast interview with Dr. Awad:

Email: | Instagram & Twitter: @liberationlab_   

Music: Amir Maghsoodi and Briana Williams
Podcast Artwork: B. Andi Lee & Amir Maghsoodi
Episode intro/outro: Mahogany Monette
Episode Editing: Amir Maghsoodi