PURM granted me a research opportunity this summer that introduced me to the Beidas Lab, which is part of the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. Dr. Rinad Beidas and her team are a leading force in the rising field of implementation science, which aims to ameliorate the use of evidence-based practices in the community mental health settings. The project for which I initially applied to and was accepted into is PACTS 2.0 (Philadelphia Alliance for Child Trauma Services 2.0: Reaching the Most Vulnerable Youth). What drew me to PACTS 2.0 was the project’s participants and its aims to better understand and optimize TF-CBT (trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy) for those participants. However, my research experience at this lab that I now consider a safe space was not limited to just one cool project. I was also exposed to all the other projects going on in the lab such as P2I (Policy to Implementation), FACTS (Fidelity Accuracy: Comparing Three Strategies), and ASPIRE (Adolescent Suicide Prevention in Routine Clinical Encounters). By just reading the protocol for these projects, I learned more about community mental health and the progress research was making in this field. The access to data and the chance to enter it and even run my own analysis enhanced my learning experience.
While there are always more articles to be found to conduct literature reviews or even for my own awareness and enlightenment, what I am most appreciative about PURM and my educational experience was my discovery of a second home, a place where I enjoy coming in to work, surrounded by people who are passionate about the work and care for not only quality worth ethics but also our own progress as students, researchers, and individuals. I am continuing to work at the Beidas Lab in the school year and cannot wait to jump back in.