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FOCUSing on Strengthening Military Families from a Family Systems Perspective

January 1, 2020 @ 7:00 am CST

Dr. Patricia Lester pic

About this Episode

In this episode, Dr. Patricia Lester shares about her work and research that has focused on developing and disseminating preventive interventions, practices, and policies that support child and family resilience in the context of trauma and adversity. As part of our conversation, we focus particularly on resilience and adversity in military children and their families.

Guest Bio

Dr. Patricia Lester  is the Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry, Director Dr. Patricia Lester picof the Division of Population Behavioral Health and the Nathanson Family Resilience Center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. A board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Lester’s research has been dedicated to the development, evaluation, and implementation of family-centered prevention and treatment for children and families facing adversities. She co-developed the family-centered preventive intervention Families OverComing Under Stress (FOCUS) which was designed to promote resilience and mitigate stress in children and families facing adversities such as community-based trauma, medical illness, and military wartime deployments.

Over the last 11 years, Dr. Lester has led the successful large-scale implementation of FOCUS as a public health continuum of preventive services to support military families facing transitions for the Department of Defense. Her research with military children and families includes an NICHD funded assessment of the impact of wartime deployment on military children and families and a randomized control trial of FOCUS for families with young children as telehealth delivery platform. She is well versed in the scientific and programmatic issues facing military children and families, and serves as a research advisor on the needs of military children and families across military, university and non-profit agencies, including the Millennium Family Cohort Study. 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, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and multiple foundations.

Facebook –
Twitter –  @UCLA_NFRC

Additional materials

Online Resources

1. Families Overcoming Under Stress (FOCUS)
2. Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
3. National Military Family Association
4. Military Family Research Institute
5. Sesame Street for Military Families
6. Military OneSource

Recent Journal Articles

1. Bursch, B., Mulligan, C., Keener, A. M., Aralis, H., Lloyd, J., Mogil, C., … & Lester, P. (2019). Education Research: Evaluation of curriculum to teach resilience skills to neurology residents. Neurology, 92(11), 538-541.
2. Cozza, S. J., & Lester, P. (2019). Promoting well-being in children facing adversity: What can U.S. military children teach us?. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 58(10), S347-S348.
3. Ijadi-Maghsoodi, R., Quan, M., Horton, J., Ryan, G. W., Kataoka, S., Lester, P., … & Gelberg, L. (2019). Youth growing up in families experiencing parental substance use disorders and homelessness: A high-risk population. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.


This material is based on work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense Award Number 2015-48770-24368.



January 1, 2020
7:00 am CST
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Resilience Series