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uri-rachelHi there! My name is Rachel Uri and I’m a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina majoring in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. I am really interested in researching the influence of racial discrimination upon psychological and physiological health in people of color, as well as culturally specific coping strategies that may buffer negative health outcomes in communities of color. I am also fascinated by eating disorders and body image and their intersection with racial/ethic minority mental health. Last year, I worked in the Black Health Lab supervised by Dr. Vanessa Volpe, where I collected data for my honors thesis investigating the moderating effect of vagal tone on the relationship between racial discrimination distress and anxiety symptoms in African-American students.

This past semester, I had the incredible opportunity to serve as a Karen M. Gil intern at Veritas Collaborative in Durham, NC. Veritas Collaborative is an inpatient/residential hospital system for children and adolescents that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. It focuses on providing a safe, comfortable environment for young people struggling with an eating disorder by offering group and individual therapy in multiple settings. Veritas Collaborative believes in an integrative family-based approach that strongly involves parents and siblings in the recovery process; by treating the family unit and the family environment, recovery is increasingly achievable for the patient in the future. In addition to family programs, Veritas Collaborative also provides a fully equipped education site in which patients can keep up with their schoolwork while they are absent from their classes and are assisted by Education Coordinators from the Durham Public School System.

During my time at Veritas, I have been working closely with my mentor, Dr. Jennie Lacy, a clinical psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist. I have had the opportunity to observe dialectical behavioral therapy in both patient and parent groups, participated in social skills groups, and attended employee debriefing meetings to discuss the individual needs of each patient. I have had practice coaching patients through mealtimes and helped encourage them to participate in daily scheduled activities and therapy programs. While interning at Veritas, I have been able to learn how to best support adolescents struggling with eating disorders and help them achieve lasting recovery. I have also had the opportunity to gain clinical experience and further my knowledge of quality therapeutic care in a psychiatric hospital, primarily through the collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of specialists. My experiences at Veritas have given me countless skills that I will be able to implement not only in my future career as a mental health professional, but also as an ally to individuals struggling with eating disorders. I am truly looking forward to wrapping up my internship at Veritas Collaborative for the rest of the semester, and hope to possibly continue my work there as a therapeutic assistant after graduation.

#UNCGiller #UNCPsych  #ConfessionsOfAGiller #Fall2016

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