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.

Graduate Students

Jenesse Kaitz, MS

I received a B.S. in Sociology from Northeastern University and a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling from UMass Boston. My clinical and research interests are in applying a relational and systems perspective to providing culturally sensitive care for diverse and underserved populations. My early research project, "Relational Dynamics and Psychological Correlates of Body Image Issues and Maladaptive Eating Patterns Among Young Adults" examined relational factors as well as women's experiences discussing eating and body image issues with their primary care providers. My dissertation project focuses on providers' (psychologists and primary care physicians) perspectives on women's health care. During my doctoral coursework, I also worked as the Service Learning and Community Partnerships Graduate Fellow at the Suffolk University Center for Community Engagement.

Research Interests: Women's health, health disparities, inter-professional relationships, patient-provider relationships, integrated health care, qualitative/mixed methods

Dissertation Title: Providers' Perspectives on Women's Integrated Healthcare: An Exploratory study

ERP Title: Relational Dynamics and Psychological Correlates of Body Image Issues and Maladaptive Eating Patterns Among Young Adults

Publications:

Cosgrove, L., Krimsky, S., Wheeler, E. E., Kaitz, J.E., Greenspan, S. B., & DiPentima, N. L. (2014). Tripartite conflicts of interest and high stakes patent extensions in the DSM 5. Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83, 106-113. DOI: 10.1159/000357499

Presentations:

Kaitz, J.E., Ray, S., Cole, C. (2017, August). Barriers in Addressing Body Image Issues in Primary Care: An Overview of Women's Narratives. Poster presented at American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35), Washington, D.C.

Kaitz, J.E., Ramanayake, N.P., Ray, S., Randazzo, S. (2016, October). Embracing a Feminist Approach to Teaching and Training in Psychology. Poster presented at Northeast Conference for Teachers of Psychology, Worchester, Massachusetts.

Kaitz, J.E., Ray, S., Randazzo, S. (2016, August). Peer Teasing and Psychological Correlates of Maladaptive Eating Patterns Among Young Adult Women. Poster presented at American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35), Denver, Colorado.

Athineos, C., Kaitz, J.E., Kozak, K., Harkins, D., & Ray, S. (2016, March)."One Size Fits All": A Student-Led Discussion on Intersectionality in Feminism. Structured discussion presented at the Association for Women in Psychology Conference, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Kaitz, J.E., Athineos, C., Harkins, D., Ray, S., (2015, June). Service Learning in Psychology: A Graduate Student Perspective. Poster presented at Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action (Division 27 of the American Psychological Association), Lowell, Massachusetts.

Natasha Ramanayak, MA

My name is Natasha Ramanayake and I am a third-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 planning my dissertation focusing on structural barriers to mental health care.

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

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

Publications:

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

Presentations:

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

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

Kaitz, J.E., Ramanayake, N. P., Ray, S., & Randazzo, S. (2016, September). 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.

Kylie Steinhilber, BS

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