Medical Director, Family Star Clinic, Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles; Psychiatrist, Director of Nathanson Family Resilience Center
Patricia Lester, MD, is the Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She serves as the Director of the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health, Director of Nathanson Family Resilience Center, and Medical Director of the UCLA Family STAR (Stress, Trauma And Resilience) Clinic at the David Geffen School of Medicine. A Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Dr. Lester received her medical degree and residency training at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and her child psychiatry fellowship training at UCLA. For the past 15 years, her work has been dedicated to the development, evaluation, and dissemination of family-centered prevention and treatment for families facing the impact of serious medical illness, traumatic events, and parental loss. She is the co-developer of FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress), a trauma-informed, family resilience intervention designed to mitigate stress and promote well-being in children and families facing adversity. Over the last 8 years, she has led the successful large-scale implementation of FOCUS for United States military families and children facing the challenges of wartime deployments and parental post-traumatic stress. Dr. Lester oversees the online FOCUS learning center and evaluation programming, which utilizes web-based technologies to support program implementation at scale, including the development and implementation of a mobile app for Foster Youth and their families based on the FOCUS model. She serves as a consultant on the needs of youth and children facing adversity and trauma for multiple organizations including Zero to Three, Sesame Street, Purdue University Military Family Research Institute, Millennium Family Cohort Study, and Uniformed Armed Services University Center for Traumatic Stress. Dr. Lester is the Principal Investigator on an NICHD randomized trial of the FOCUS intervention adapted for early childhood, and delivered as a virtual home visiting (teletherapy) model, as well as the Co-principal investigator on a grant from the McCormick Foundation to develop the UCLA Welcome Back Veterans Family Resilience Center, which includes research trials on family-centered preventive and treatment models for Veterans and National Guard and their families. Her work has been supported by the Department of Defense, the US Department of Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, National Institute for Mental Health, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.