Psychologist speaks at United Nations

April 29, 2015 3:15 PM

Barri Bronston

Bonnie Nastasi, a psychology professor at Tulane University, has traveled the world to promote the psychological well-being of children, teens and families. She has spent time in Sri Lanka and India, often drawing from her work in New Orleans to help local stakeholders develop school and community-based programs.
logo for United Nations Psychology Day

On Thursday (April 30), she takes her experience and knowledge to the United Nations in New York City, where as part of the Eighth Annual Psychology Day, she will share the role of psychology in addressing concerns of global importance.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Reducing Health Inequalities Within and Among Countries: Psychological Contributions to the United Nations Post-2015 Global Agenda.” The conference will feature presentations from psychologists, government policymakers and UN representatives that address the science and practice of psychology in advancing health equity.

“The purpose of Psychology Day at the UN is to inform UN delegates about the potential role of psychologists in facilitating international development,” Nastasi said. “For me, this is an opportunity to discuss my international and local research and development work.”

Her work includes facilitating long-term recovery from natural disasters, including parts of Sri Lanka devastated by the 2004 tsunami; developing programs that address the psychological well-being and sexual health among adolescent females in urban India; creating school-based stress and coping programs for teens in Sri Lanka; and developing a healing curriculum at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

In addition, Nastasi was the lead partner on an international study of psychological well-being, with partners at 14 sites (including New Orleans) in 12 countries.

“The study represented an opportunity to involve children and adolescents in helping us to understand stress and coping from their perspectives,” she said.

The conference, which takes place April 30 beginning at 3 p.m., will be streamed live on UNWEBTV.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu