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Debra Kawahara
debra kawahara

Dr. Debra M. Kawahara earned her BA in Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with a focus on multicultural and community psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She is currently the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor at the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University. Dr. Kawahara is a feminist and multicultural scholar whose work centers on intersectionality, women of color, particularly Asian American women, and the application of feminist and multicultural values and social justice principles. She is widely published, and in 2018, she will become the Editor of Women & Therapy. She has served as chair for over 30 dissertations and enjoys mentoring many aspiring feminist and multicultural psychologists, particularly women and those of color. She is a Fellow of APA Divisions 35 and 45 and the Asian American Psychological Association. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the Shining Star Award at the National Multicultural Conference & Summit in 2017. In 2015, she received Division 45's Distinguished Career Contributions for Service Award, and in 2012, she received Division 35's Pioneer Award (Section 5, Asian Pacific Islander Women).

Professional Interests

Multicultural and community psychology; Asian American mental health; feminism and women's issues; family therapy and its processes; qualitative research methodology

Education and Certifications

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Multicultural/Community Emphasis, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles

Scholarship and Contributions to the Field

Kawahara, D. M. (2007). Diverse voices of Feminism. Chair of symposium at the National Multicultural Conference and Summit. Seattle, WA.


Kawahara, D. M. (2006). Redefining Feminism. Presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. New Orleans, LA.


Kawahara, D. M., & Jaye, J. J. (2004). Asian Americans in the workplace: Facing prejudice and discrimination in multiple contexts. In J. L. Chin (Ed.), The psychology of prejudice and discrimination: Ethnicity and multiracial identity (pp. 39-63). Westport, CN: Praeger


Kawahara, D. M., Esnil, E. M., & Hsu, J. (in press). Agency and empowerment in Asian American women leaders. In J. L. Chin, B. Lott, & J. Sanchez-Hucles (Eds.), Feminist visions and diverse voices: Leadership and collaboration.


Kawahara, D. M., & Espin, O. M. (Eds.) (in press). Feminist reflections on growth and transformation: Asian American women in therapy. New York: Haworth Press.