HEART Lab

Suffolk University’s HEART Lab seeks to better understand these topics: health disparities and minority communities, eating problems and correlates across ethnic groups, Asian mental health and alternative healthcare, relational dynamics and empowerment, and trauma and positive adaptations.

The HEART Lab seeks to better understand these topics and understand how people adapt, with a focus on ethnic groups and certain issues.

  • Health disparities and minority communities
  • Eating problems and correlates across ethnic groups
  • Asian mental health and alternative healthcare
  • Relational dynamics and empowerment
  • Trauma and positive adaptations

Led by Dr. Sukanya Ray, who has over 20 years experience at Suffolk University as a principal investigator, this lab maintains a strong sense of community and team building.

Dr. Sukanya Ray

To learn more about Dr. Sukanya Ray and her work, please visit her faculty page.

Current Graduate Students

My name is Natasha Ramanayake and I am a fourth-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Suffolk University. I have a BA in Psychology from Boston University, an MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College Columbia University and an MA in Clinical Psychology (Health Emphasis) from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. My early research project examined perceived barriers to mental health care and the use of complementary and alternative services. I am currently working on my dissertation focusing on organizational cultural responsiveness.

Research Interests: My research interests lie in the field of mental health disparities, especially among the Asian community.

ERP: Perceived Barriers and Utilization of Mental Health Services among Asians

Dissertation: Health Care Leaders' Role in Organizational Cultural Responsiveness

Selected Publications and Presentations

Ramanayake, N.P., Ray, S., Harkins, D., Driscoll, B., Ozit, S. (2019). Cultural competence in health care: a multilevel approach. Manuscript submitted for publication. 

Driscoll, B. & Ramanayake, N. (2019). A design for the study of disparities in health care for LGBTQ+ persons. Poster presented at Q-Med: Building LGBTQI+ Leaders in Health Care Conference, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

Warren, L., Sullivan, L., Ramanayake, N., Sandstrom, H., Greenberg, E., Adelstein, S., Lou, C. (2019). Evaluation of Maine’s preschool expansion grant. Paper presented at the 2019 Society for Research in Child Development Biennaial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.

Driscoll, B. & Ramanayake, N. (2019). Barriers to healthcare for trans women. Poster presented to the 2019 Association for Women in Psychology Annual Conference, Newport, RI.

Dennis, C., Ray, S., Ramanayake, N., Driscoll, B., Cole, C., & Liu, Y. (2019). Together we can break the wall: a feminist approach. Rountable discussion at the 2019 Association for Women in Psychology Annual Conference, Newport, RI.

Steinhilber, K., Grenier, L., Shea, L., & Ramanayake, N. (2019). Developing a contextual model of feminist mentorship in academia: using feminist journeys to guide empowering mentorship. Roundtable discussion to the 2019 Association for Women in Psychology Annual Conference, Newport, RI. 

Godon-Decoteau, D., Kaitz, J. Ramanayake, N., Steinhilber, K., Xiu, Z., & Phan, T. (2018). Reflections on clinical training, supervision and mentorship. Panel discussant at the inaugural conference of Integrative and Holistic Approaches to Mental Health Care for Asians; Newton, MA: September 2018.

Ramanayake, N., Ray, S., Sienkewicz, M., & Ozit, S. (2018). Why should we study Asian women’s body image issues? Poster presented at the 2018 American Psychological Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA: August 2018.

Suchday, S., Santoro, A. F., Ramanayake, N., Lewin, H., Almeida, M. (2018). Religion, spirituality, and globalization reflected in life beliefs among urban Asian Indian youth. Psychology of Religion & Spirituality.

Ramanayake, N.P., Ray, S. & Toth, I. O. (2017). Do Asians prefer complementary and alternative medicine? A meta-analysis approach. Poster presented at the 2017 American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Washington, D.C: August 2017.

Ray, S., Ramanayake, N. P., Cole, C. L., & Lee, J. J. (2017). Peer teasing and body image issues among diverse ethnic women. Poster presented at the 2017 American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Washington, D.C.: August 2017.

Kaitz, J.E., Ramanayake, N. P., Ray, S., & Randazzo, S. (2016). Embracing a feminist approach to teaching and training in psychology. Poster presented at the 2016 Northeast Conference for Teachers of Psychology Annual Meeting, Worcester, Massachusetts; September 2016. 

Alvarez, K., Wang, Y., Alegria, M., Ault-Brutus, A., Ramanayake, N., Yeh, Y. H., ... & Shrout, P. E. (2016). Psychometrics of shared decision making and communication as patient centered measures for two language groups.Psychological Assessment, 28(9), 1074.

Santoro, A.F., Suchday, S., Benkhoukha, A.B., Ramanayake, N.P., & Kapur, S. (2016). Adverse childhood experiences and religiosity/spirituality in emerging adolescents in India. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 8(3), 185-194.

Suchday, S., Ramanayake, N.P., Benkhoukha, A., Santoro, A.F., Marquez, C., & Nakao, G. (2014). Ayurveda: An alternative in the United States. In Gurung, R. A. R. (Ed.) Multicultural Approaches to Health and Wellness: Key Issues and Medical Systems (Vol. 1). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC

I am a first year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at Suffolk. Originally from the Boston area, I received my BA in Psychology from Binghamton University in New York. After undergrad, I spent two years working as a research assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where I studied long term outcomes and quality of life in patients with neuroendocrine disease.

Research interests: women's health, chronic illness, biopsychosocial perspectives, alternative healthcare, patient provider relationships, trauma and health outcomes

Publications

Robins H, Perron V, Heathcote L.C, Simons LE. Pain Neuroscience Education: State of the Art and Application in Pediatrics. Children 2016, 3, 43.

Presentations

Shea J, Robins H, Martino E, Jadid A, Freno A, Elliot K, Wilson J, Westerman D. The Effect of Images on Recognition Memory. Poster presented at the Binghamton University Psi Chi Honors Society Annual Research Fair; 2017 April 28; Binghamton, NY.

Lewandowski-Holley A, Smith AM, Wilson A, Basch MC, Robins H, Perlo S, Broman E, Simons LE. Assessing Psychosocial Risk in Parents of Children with Chronic Pain: Development of the PRISM Screening Tool. Poster presented at the Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference; 2016 April 14—16; Atlanta, GA.

Becker A, Ryan M, Robins H, Hsu C, Perlo S, Simons LE. Impact of Precipitating Events on Chronic Pain Recovery. Poster presented at the Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference; 2016 April 14—16; Atlanta, GA.

Hsu C, Randall E, Perlo S, Smith K, Robins H, Broman E, Ludwig M, Simons LE. Chronic pain in young athletes: the impact of athletic identity on pain-related distress and functioning. Poster presented at the Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference; 2016 April 14—16; Atlanta, GA.

I am a second-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Suffolk University. I received my BA in Psychology from Boston University, where I did an honors thesis on the parent-child relationship and body image and eating issues. My Early Research Project continues this line of research by examining power dynamics in the father-daughter dyad as a predictor of body image dissatisfaction and maladaptive eating patterns. This research uses a feminist perspective to study empowerment as a protective barrier against mental health risk.

Research Interests: Women's mental health, family systems, body image, maladaptive eating, feminism, empowerment, women's health disparities, power inequity