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Mekel S. Harris

Mekel S Harris

Department Faculty
  • Associate Professor

    Clinical Psychology Department

  • The Chicago School Los Angeles
Department
Clinical Psychology
Address
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Office Location
Office Phone
On-campus Ext.
Email
mekelharris@thechicagoschool.edu
Website
www.mekelharrisphd.com
Biography

Mekel Harris, PhD, NCSP, Associate Professor, earned her doctorate in School Psychology at University of Houston, which included a pre-doctoral internship at top-ranked Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  Upon receipt of her PhD, she completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  Dr. Harris then accepted a full-time core faculty position at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology - Los Angeles.  Her areas of expertise include health psychology, child and family trauma, psychological and psychoeducational assessment, interdisciplinary consultation, spirituality, and grief and loss.  On campus, Dr. Harris leads an on-campus research group (Pediatric Health Research Group, PHRG), targeting projects aimed at addressing health disparities in children, school reintegration and social justice issues for children with chronic health conditions, pediatric obesity, and pediatric palliative care.  She also provides assessment supervision and mentorship to doctoral-level trainees. 

Dr. Harris has presented at over 25 national and international venues within the past few years, targeting child abuse, pediatric health, grief and loss, palliative care, and trauma.  Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, Dr. Harris traveled to Estonia, China, and The Netherlands, presenting health-related topics at international conferences. Throughout the summer 2015 semester, she will present at several national and international conferences, focused on pediatric medical trauma, grief and loss, and child health.  Finally, in November 2015, Dr. Harris will travel to Granada, Spain to present on grief therapy for children and families at the 8th International and 13th National Congress of Clinical Psychology.

Apart from teaching, Dr. Harris is a licensed psychologist (and certified health service provider) in private practice and volunteers at children’s camps dedicated to grief/loss and pediatric health.  From 2012 to 2014, she served on two committees, focused on children with disabilities and/or health conditions, as a grant reviewer for the National Institute of Mental Health.  She is a member of several divisions of the American Psychological Association (APA), in addition to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi), and National Scholars Honor Society (NSHS).  Dr. Harris is currently pursuing board certification in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).  

Since November 2014, Dr. Harris has appeared on several Blogtalk radio shows, podcasts, and webinars, dedicated to sharing stories of hope and inspiration, as well as educating the community in the areas of child and adult health, trauma, spirituality, and grief and loss.  In May 2015, Dr. Harris had the privilege of speaking at a TEDx event in Houston, Texas, where she shared her perspectives regarding individual differences in society.  She has authored a children’s book, targeting children’s grief, and her own memoir, “Relaxing into the Pain: My Journey into Grief and Beyond” is slated for publication in summer 2015.

Education
  • B.A., Psychology, Baylor University
  • M.A., Psychology, Houston Baptist University
  • Ph.D., School Psychology, University of Houston
Licensure(s)
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist - California
  • Nationally Certified School Psychologist
  • Certification, Health Service Provider, National Register of Health Service Psychologists
Areas Of Expertise

Select Presentations

  • Harris, M. (2015, November).  Coping with death: Grief therapy for children and families.  Paper to be presented at the 8th International and 13th National Congress of Clinical Psychology, Granada, Spain.

 

  • Harris, M., Belur, A., Brooks, J., Keeler, S., Norton, E., et al. (2015, August).   Experiential learning approaches: Integrating theory with clinical practice.  Symposium to be presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Toronto, Canada.

 

  • Negin, G., Negin, L., Canillas, G., & Harris, M. (2015, August).  Powerful or powerless? Dilemmas  ofusing PowerPoint in the classroom.  Symposium to be presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Toronto, Canada.

 

  • Harris, M., Meyer, M., Ulrich, L., Atkinson, M., Gorden, A., et al. (2015, August).  Exploring health outcomes, grief, & bereavement among children and families.  Paper to be presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Toronto, Canada.

 

  • Harris, M., & Canillas, G. (2015,  July).  Childhood and adolescent obesity: A community intervention strategy. Poster to be presented at the 2015 Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) conference. Las Vegas, NV.

 

  • Canillas, G., Harris, M., Canillas-Dufua, T., Canillas, E., McDonald, J. (2015, July).  Objective self-monitoring and community coaching to encourage lifestyle changes and stress reduction in African American women.  Symposium to be presented at the 2015 Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) conference.  Las Vegas, NV.

 

  • Harris, M. (2015, May).  Community-based engagement: Towards a new interaction in public health.  Poster presented at the 27th Association of Psychological Science (APS) Annual       Convention, New York , NY.

 

  • Harris, M. (2015, March).  Physical abuse & the medical milieu: Addressing multiple traumas.  Workshop presented at the 20th International Conference & Summit on Violence, Abuse, & Trauma,   (IVAT) Honolulu, HI.

 

  • Harris, M. (2015, March).  End-of-life considerations: Socioeconomic barriers & access to quality care.  Poster
  • presented at the 2015 International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

 

  • Canillas, G., & Harris, M. (2015, February).  Balm in Gilead: Addressing problematic eating behaviors among African-American women.  Symposium presented at the 2015 National Association of African-American Studies (NAAAS) conference, Baton Rouge, LA.

 

  • Harris, M. (2014, November).  Health outcomes, grief, & bereavement among children: Implications for Clinicians.  Workshop presented at the 2014 Psychology & Health Conference, Beijing, China.

 

  • Harris, M. (2014, August).  Quality of life & self-care among clinicians: Promotion as prevention.  Paper presented at the 15th annual European Symposium of Suicide & Suicidal Behavior (ESSSB)   conference, Tallinn, Estonia.

 

  • Harris, M., & Norton, E. (2014, August).  Addressing quality of life perspectives among individuals with life-limiting conditions.  Symposium presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Washington, DC.

 

  • Norton, E., & Harris, M. (2014, August).  Self-care and professional quality of life in pediatric palliative care.  Poster presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Washington, DC.

 

  • Arredondo, P., Michazawa, S., Harris, M., Canillas, G., Meyer, M., & Owens Shields, C. (2014, August).  Service learning &psychology graduate training: Opportunities & challenges.  Symposium presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Washington, DC.

 

  • Canillas, G., & Harris, M. (2014, July).  Leaning on the everlasting arm: Integrating church-affiliated and   mental health strategies to address grief and bereavement.  Workshop presented at the 2014 Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) conference.  Indianapolis, IN.

 

  • Harris, M. (2014, June).  Integrated grief therapy for children: Benefits & challenges.  Workshop    presented at the 2014 National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) Symposium, Atlanta, GA.

 

  • Meyer, M., & Harris, M. (2014, June).  From suspicion of abuse & neglect to reporting: Considerations for special populations.  Poster presentation presented at the 22nd annual American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) colloquium.  New Orleans, LA.

 

  • Harris, M. (2014, March).  Integrated grief therapy for children: Benefits & challenges.  Workshop presented at the annual Conference on Childhood Grief and Loss.  Pasadena, CA.

Manuscripts in Preparation

  • Harris, M., & Kohlman, S. Addressing self-care among pediatric palliative care psychologists. Manuscript in preparation.

  • Strauss, A. A., Lam, G., & Harris, M. Social justice issues and school-based mental health for children with chronic medical conditions. Manuscript in preparation.

  • Harris, M., & Ingman, K. Establishing palliative care practices within the school context: A case study. Manuscript in preparation.

Community Involvement

  • Healing Circle Leader/Volunteer/Regional Advisory Board Member, Comfort Zone Camp (California)
  • Grant Reviewer, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • Task Force Member, "Know the Signs" Suicide Prevention Campaign

Professional Memberships

  • American Psychological Association (APA) - Divisions 2, 12, 16, 35, and 54
  • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
  • Association of Black Psychologists
  • The National Scholars Honor Society
  • Los Angeles County Psychological Association

Q&A

Q: Please describe your teaching philosophy.

A: My teaching philosophy involves: (a) awareness and implementation of in-class experiences via immersion techniques; (b) demonstration of curiosity by participation in lifelong learning activities with faculty and students; and (c) encouragement of interpersonal skills.  By modeling these behaviors, I believe that my teaching reaches beyond the classroom, encourages critical thinking and creativity, and allows for my students to begin “painting the picture” of psychology in their own right.

Q: What advice would you give a student entering The Chicago School?

A: My best recommendation would be to (a) engage within the learning environment (e.g., connecting with existing students, participating in on-campus activities and groups); (b) be open to new and diverse learning experiences, teaching styles, and interactions with others; and (c) plan for self-care activities in advance.  Overall, enjoy the "wonderful, beautiful, and challenging" world of the doctoral program!