Dr. Kiara L. Moore Awarded NIMH Diversity Research Supplement

Dr. Kiara L. Moore
Dr. Kiara L. Moore

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor Kiara L. Moore a $192,000 Diversity Research Supplement to Professor Michelle R. Munson’s R34 study “Engaging Young Adults in Their Mental Health Care Through a Brief Empirically-Based Meta-Intervention.” With the funding from the supplement award and mentorship from Dr. Munson, Dr. Moore is investigating “Ethnic Identity and Mental Health Service Use among Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions.”

Dr. Moore is a postdoctoral research associate on Dr. Munson study, which is enrolling 200 marginalized young adults with mental health challenges in a randomized controlled trial of a novel engagement intervention called “Just Do You.” The brief intervention is aimed at helping young adults develop a positive mental health narrative, feel less discrimination, experience more hope, and ultimately decide to continue a mental health treatment plan that works for them. The specific focus of Dr. Moore’s study is the role that identity and identity development play in ethnic minority young adults’ decision to maintain their mental health treatment.

“What I am adding to the study,” Dr. Moore explained, “are quantitative and qualitative measures of participants’ ethnic identity. I am interested in how strongly connected they feel to their ethnicity, what it means to them, and the extent to which ethnic affiliation is an indicator of service use. Young adulthood is a time when people are sorting out questions of who they are, where they fit in, and how the culture in which they were raised translates into their adult choices. I am interested in how they see aspects of their ethnic culture, and their own relationships to their culture, making it easier or harder for them to engage with treatment.”

Dr. Moore thanked Dr. Munson for giving her the opportunity to pursue this mentored research project. “Dr. Munson is an incredibly skilled and generous mentor whose research is closely aligned with my interests. The data pool for her Just Do You study is ideal for exploring the relationship between young adults’ ethnic identity and their mental health service use, and her expertise will be invaluable to my work in this relatively new field.”

The NIMH’s Diversity Research Supplement, formally known as the Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research Program, is designed to increase the ranks of mentored scientists from underrepresented communities. Dr. Munson said, “Dr. Moore is an extremely talented, young investigator. I am excited to support her professional development and provide guidance on this study, which promises to make a significant contribution to our understanding of identity as a factor in young adults’ engagement in mental health care. It is important to also note that Dr. Moore is a contributor on the parent study, providing mentoring to doctoral students, master’s students and employees working on the project.”