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Our CSPP San Francisco students and alumni continue to impact their industries and communities—check out some recent highlights!


CSPP San Francisco was in full force at this year’s APA Conference with over 40 presentations from students and alumni, such as:

  • Graham Danzer

Depressive Symptoms and Medication Non-Adherence for Inpatients with Psychotic Spectrum Disorders

African Americans’ Historical Trauma and Its Manifestations in Psychotherapy with White Psychologists

  • Jennifer Wu (co-authored with PhD faculty Davis Ja and PsyD faculty Randy Wyatt)

What Am I? Perceptions and Experiences of Ethnic Ambiguity Among Multi-Ethnic Individuals

Development and Validation Of The Unique Scale: An Ethnic Ambiguity Scale

  • James Issel (co-authored with PhD faculty Eduardo Morales)

Limited English Speakers: Issues in Using Interpreters Versus Being Bilingual

  • Rebecca French (co-authored with PhD faculty Quyen Tiet)

Telephone Support Augmenting Mobile App Intervention Among VA Primary Care Patients with PTSD

For a full list of the presentations given by CSPP students, faculty, and alumni, check our blog about it.


Since 2008, a standing memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding doctoral level research training has existed between the Research Unit of the Office of Quality Management (OQM), Community Programs, SF City and County Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University.

This collaboration is a unique opportunity for both CSPP Clinical Psychology (PhD) students and faculty members to become involved in research and evaluation with the primary research and evaluation unit (OQM) of the Department of Public Health, Community Programs. This collaboration offers three to four PhD students a full-year paid practicum opportunity in working with research psychologists and staff in a unique culturally oriented public health setting. The setting offers multiple possibilities in developing new research topics or towards working in on-going county funded projects that offers a potential storehouse of data for the first research project and/or a dissertation. The research unit at OQM collects data that captures unique perspectives of health, mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment, and policy transitions for a San Francisco based multicultural and diverse population of adults, youth, children and families.

Learn more about this opportunity here.



At CSPP San Francisco, we love to highlight our alumni that exemplify the thoughtful, compassionate care and community focus that we instill in each and every student, and Dr. Yani Leyva is one such alum.

Dr. Yani Leyva is an Army veteran, an alumnus of CSPP San Francisco, and is one of the most recent in our schools’ long history of graduates making an impact in their community. As a clinical psychologist with the Palo Alto, CA Veterans Affairs hospital, she has committed herself to serving a community that she is both a part of and understands intimately as both a psychologist and a veteran. We are proud to produce alumnae like Dr. Leyva, applaud her efforts in the Palo Alto community, and have for you a portion of an interview with Dr. Leyva where she details parts of her life, her education, and her work toward making her impact in the world around her with her Alliant education.

Q: What inspired your research career?

A: My research career began as an opportunity that presented itself at the right time. After I successfully defended my dissertation and completed the clinical psychology program at the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco, one of my mentors offered me a clinical research postdoctoral staff position at the Palo Alto VA. This proved to be a good match. The position enhanced my research experience and complemented my then budding clinical expertise.

Q: Did you have mentors who inspired you in life, the military, or your research career?

A: I’m fortunate to have had excellent mentors during graduate school and my post-doctoral work. They included clinical psychologist Dr. Quyen Tiet and epidemiologist Dr. Deborah Barnes. I also had a fine mentor during my days as an early career psychologist, clinical psychologist Dr. Timothy Ramsey. My mentors have been supportive, collaborative, and knowledgeable, all of which has helped shape my mindset as it relates to my clinical and research endeavors.

Q: Did your military experience inspire you to pursue a career as a VA researcher? Is your military experience connected in some way to your VA research?

A: My military experience did not directly inspire me to pursue a career as a VA researcher. However, my experience as a research associate volunteer at the San Francisco VA and my use of VA as a Veteran with a spinal cord injury that I experienced during military training triggered my passion for conducting research and being a clinician at VA.

Q: How do you feel about the possibility of making life better for Veterans through your research?

A: As health care providers, we aim to give the best quality of care to Veterans and their families, with the hope of providing a solid foundation of support and improving their quality of life. I’m honored to have been a part of research teams that conducted studies that were geared toward early detection and early intervention. I’m also grateful for the chance to be involved in outcome studies and program evaluation with HVRP. My hope is that we continue to enhance and improve the services that we provide to benefit those whom we serve.

Q: Does being a Veteran give you a greater emotional tie to the work you’re doing or more insight into Veterans’ needs?

A: As a Veteran with a disability, I’m greatly committed to providing Veterans with the best possible care. I’m also a big proponent of encouraging Veterans to actively engage in research studies that can improve the level of care they receive at VA.

Q: Based on your life experiences to date, what do you believe are the keys to success? What motivational tips would you share?

A: Support is critical if we are to succeed. We must be willing to support others but also accept support from others. Equally important is the passion to make a difference, to take the time to listen—to really listen—and to have the heart to empathize and not judge. Meeting the Veterans where they are and encouraging them to collaborate in their own treatment, as well as providing them with tools and resources to work with, may make Veterans more committed to improving their health and well-being. Hopefully, that will result in a better life for them and their families.


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