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2024 James S. Jackson Award Winner: Anna Lau, Ph.D.

James Jackson Memorial Award

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is pleased to announce that Anna Lau, Ph.D., has been selected as the 2024 James S. Jackson Memorial Award winner. The NIMH James S. Jackson Memorial Award was established in 2021 to honor outstanding researchers who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in minority mental health and mental health disparities research, community engagement, and mentorship.

Headshot of 2024 James S. Jackson Award Winner, Anna Lau.

Dr. Anna Lau is a Professor of Psychology and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence in the Life Sciences. She is a faculty member in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and directs the Culture and Race/Ethnicity (CARE) in Youth Mental Health Lab. Dr. Lau trains students in evidence-based treatment for youth and teaches courses in Asian American Mental Health and the Psychology of Diversity.

Racial inequities in youth mental health are longstanding and persistent. Amid an ongoing youth mental health crisis, disparities in unmet need are likely to widen. Dr. Lau’s work spans services research, translational and prevention research, and implementation science focused on the needs of minoritized youth and the systems serving them. It’s easy to document care disparities and even to identify their drivers. But it is the challenge of our times to find solutions to advance equity. Together with her research team, collaborators, and community partners, Dr. Lau seeks to leverage and adapt evidence-based innovations to reduce disparities in youth mental health in community settings, including schools.

Dr. Lau came to this work as a first-generation student and daughter of immigrants, who was fortunate to have trailblazing mentors who invested in her. She is indebted to the late Dr. Stanley Sue, Dr. David Takeuchi, Dr. John Weisz, and Dr. John Landsverk for their invaluable support. Dr. Lau is now also recognized for her dedication to mentoring, and her former students are making their own brilliant impacts in building a more inclusive field.

Dr. Lau has authored more than 180 publications and her research is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from which she received a Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award in 2022. She is a Fellow of the Asian American Psychological Association and received their Distinguished Contributions to Research Award in 2017. Dr. Lau served as President of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology in 2022. The UCLA Academic Senate recently awarded her the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Faculty Award for Career Commitment to Diversity. She is dedicated to inclusive excellence in higher education and has served on the University of California Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools.