Dr. Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, has been named a senior fellow of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Mays directs the NIH-funded UCLA Bridging Research, Innovation, Training and Education (BRITE) Center, which was created to support the innovative use of research, science, and policy development to help eliminate disparities in physical and mental health for communities that are traditionally underserved by academic research.
“I have had the honor of working alongside Dr. Mays for several years, through my partnership with her at the UCLA BRITE Center, and she has been and will continue to be a formidable force in the health equity research field,” said Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of FSPH’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR). “Dr. Mays will add invaluable expertise to our work on understanding and addressing health and mental health inequities among marginalized groups and minority populations.”
Mays also serves as a distinguished professor of psychology at UCLA’s College of Letters and Science and special advisor to the Chancellor, while at the BRITE Center for Science, Research and Policy, Mays brings academic and community members from many disciplines — psychology, law, public policy, medicine, sociology, and more — to study and address disparities. It supports graduate and undergraduate students and works with faculty from across the entire UCLA campus, and providers and community-based organizations throughout California. The center is currently focused on the intersection of the epidemics of racism, mental health, and COVID-19.
“I’m thrilled to join the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research to add even more evidence-based power to affect policy change aimed at reducing and eliminating health and mental health disparities among marginalized groups,” Mays said. “I know the Center has been doing excellent work around understanding health status across various racial and ethnic groups, and one of my first projects in this role involves teaming up with Dr. Ponce to conduct a statewide analysis to understand COVID-related risk and vulnerabilities to improve vaccination education for Black Californians. The CHIS data are a unique resource that allows us to make a difference for many different racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities in the state of California.”
Mays’ research expertise centers around mental and physical health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minority groups. She has extensive experience in research and policy development in the area of contextual factors that surround COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities. Additionally, Mays’ work also looks at topics such as the role of discrimination on mental and physical health outcomes, and the availability and access of mental health services for racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities.
Additionally, she served as the co-principal investigator of the Center’s California Quality of Life Survey, which studies a cohort of UCLA CHPR’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to understand the prevalence of mental health issues and the contextual factors related to them. This three-wave study of statewide mental health of over 7,000 Californians over several years of the CHIS assessed mental health disorders, experiences with hate crimes and victimization, everyday experiences with discrimination, and levels of social support and involvement.
by Elaiza Torralba