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Health psychology work discussed

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Luci Martin, associate professor of psychology, speaks about her focus on health psychology during her lecture, “Health Psychology Lab Research,” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Martin’s research included formulating surveys on patient lifestyle and behaviors. She said she enjoys teaching students in an interactive environment. / photo by Katie Pyne

Luci Martin, associate professor of psychology, speaks about her focus on health psychology during her lecture, “Health Psychology Lab Research,” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Martin’s research included formulating surveys on patient lifestyle and behaviors. She said she enjoys teaching students in an interactive environment. / photo by Katie Pyne

Layla Abbas
Staff Writer

Luci Martin, associate professor of psychology, shared information about the health psychology lab and her research projects Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.

As a licensed clinical psychologist, whose focus is health psychology, Martin’s goal is to promote and maintain health.

Health psychology focuses on how biology, environment and behavior impact health and illness.

As part of the Psy. D. degree program, the health psychology lab at La Verne is American Psychological Association-accredited.

It takes approximately five years to complete, requires 120 credit hours, and 1,500 training hours, as well as an empirical dissertation and internship.

“We require them to do an empirical dissertation which makes us different from other programs who may just do literature review or a major research paper,” Martin said. “Our students have to collect data and analyze it.”

Amy Loebs, junior political science major, said she attended the lecture to learn more about the psychology department.

“I wanted to branch out and learn something different,” Loebs said.

Loebs researched the different types of psychology and methods used prior to Martin’s lecture. Evidence based practice is a method Martin uses to teach her students.

“Evidence based practice is what you see in just about everything,” Martin said. “It is the integration of expertise (and) judgment and how they form decisions. It is about the patients’ characteristics, including cultural values, preferences and what they find important.”

Martin said that for the students to make informed clinical decisions, it is critical they are comfortable with finding scholarly journal articles and locating/analyzing statistics. Her lab teaches research methods and how to analyze statistics.

Martin said the most intimidating part of the program is the competitive internship component during their final year. The students apply to 15 to 20 internships, trying match at least one. Often the students have to move across the country to complete their internship.

“It is the most scary part of the process, because it is out of our control,” Martin said. “We want to do everything we can to make them competitive, but we cannot always control the outcome.”

The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral Internship Centers, or APPIC, is an organization all students have to use to apply for and compete for internships. It is an online resource with a search engine of all the APPIC accredited internships in the country.

Jocelyn Castaneda, sophomore kinesiology major, attended the lecture because she is interested in future related research through the kinesiology program.

“The most interesting part of the lecture was the way they conduct surveys. You never know the validity of the surveys, but it is something that is still evolving.”

Martin’s slide show presentation included a montage of pictures from former students showing their gratitude toward Martin and the health psychology lab at La Verne.

Al Clark, professor of humanities and the organizer of the faculty lecture series, said he enjoyed seeing the relationships Martin builds with her students.

“They go all over the place as part of their activity,” Clark said. “The lab traveled to Big Bear, the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and Denali, Alaska. It is important to Martin to get the group together and do some physical activity.”

Martin said that although she has less time to devote to her personal research and publications, she enjoys watching her students succeed.

“I love how I am spending my time,” Martin said. “I am glad to be at a place where I can prioritize my work and students to fully live up to the teacher scholar model.”

Layla Abbas can be reached at layla.abbas@laverne.edu.

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