Research in Psychology
Research is highly valued in the UH Hilo Department of Psychology. Our faculty are expected to write research grants, publish the results of their studies, and present their findings at national and international conferences. We also emphasize involving students in faculty research as research assistants and co-authors. Most faculty in the Department of Psychology have active research programs. Here's what some of them say about their scholarship.
Dr. Chris Frueh
I am a mental health services investigator. The focus of my work is improving mental health services for people, especially trauma survivors, in public-sector mental health agencies, including rural and racially/ethnically diverse populations. This has included projects to study the following: 1) treatment outcome evaluation of using information technology (i.e., "telepsychiatry") to provide mental health services; 2) treatment outcome evaluation of cognitive-behavioral therapy for people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia) in public-sector practice settings (i.e., community mental health centers); 3) the prevalence and impact of traumatic and harmful experiences occurring within public-sector psychiatric settings; and 4) the prevalence and recognition of PTSD in public-sector primary care clinics.
Dr. Charmaine Higa-McMillan
Director, Counseling Psychology Masters; Professor, Psychology
Broadly speaking, my program of research is in the area of evidence-based services for youth mental health. The goals of this research are to (a) investigate the psychopathology of internalizing disorders in children and adolescents; (b) develop and evaluate empirically-supported approaches for the assessment of childhood problems; (c) investigate the efficacy and effectiveness of evidence-based interventions for youth; (d) examine the dissemination and implementation of these interventions in community- and school-based settings; and (e) conduct mental health services research in large child and adolescent public mental health populations.
Dr. Bryan Kim
Chair, Social Sciences Division; Professor, Psychology
My research program focuses on multicultural counseling process and outcome, measurement of cultural constructs, counselor education and supervision, and adaptation experiences of Asian Americans and their psychological implications. My current research examines the effects of culture-specific counseling interventions and client enculturation/acculturation (e.g., cultural values) on counseling process and outcome. My interest in multicultural counseling psychology largely stems from my experiences growing up in Hawaiʻi as a 1.5-generation Asian American.
Dr. Adam Pack
Chair and Professor, Psychology
I have been conducting research with marine mammals since 1983. My research background is broad and includes scientific investigations of dolphin sensory perception, cognition, and communication, as well as long-term studies of the behavior and biology of humpback whales in Hawaiian waters. Over the past several years, my colleagues at The Dolphin Institute (a Hawaii-based non-profit organization) and I have been working with National Geographic’s Remote Imaging Department to investigate the mating system of humpback whales through “crittercam,” an animal-borne video and data logging tool. Aside from this collaboration, my research interests are in tracing the life histories of individual humpback whales, understanding their communication systems, studying the role that body size plays in humpback whale ecology, and describing the social behavior of humpback whales both at the surface and underwater. My research also involves studies of the behavior, communication systems, and movement patterns of spinner dolphins and other toothed whales.