IJR Success Stories
Brian Mustanski, PhD, Assistant Professor; Associate Director, Healthy Youths Program
“I walked into a community organization for lesbian and gay teens we work with, and the kids needed such a range of services, from HIV tests to mental health treatment to medical or housing services, and even just a hot shower,” says Brian Mustanski, assistant professor. “I realized then just how much need there was?and the utter lack of resources to fill those needs.” His early career included an impressive body of research on how genes influence behavior and the genetics of sexual orientation. But in coming to IJR, he realized that he could apply his basic science background to help fill the need directly.
“When our study showed that one in seven young gay me age 16 to 24 are infected with HIV, it floored me,” he says. “You see that and you know you can’t stay in the lab examining just one small part of the problem.” Today Mustanski and his colleagues are designing the first long-term study to examine the multiple health risks and their influences that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth face. “Right now, there’s almost nothing for them, and that’s what makes me stick with it and do something about the problem,” he added. Read More
Jaleel Abdul-Adil, PhD, Associate Director, School Age Program IJR
What excites Jaleel Abdul-Adil about IJR beyond the intellectual challenge is that it brings all the power of proven interventions and innovations to families like that of a young boy and his aunt who showed up at IJR. They were desperate for help and had few options left. The boy, abused as a child, had bounced among foster homes and eventually landed with his aunt. He set fires, he pulled knives, he wanted to run away—and he was only seven.
IJR was committed to finding a strategy for this boy and his family. Abdul-Adil and his colleagues combined family therapy with individual therapy. They decreased the number of medications he was taking and used a more up-to-date and tailored regime. “It taught me the importance of an ecological approach—one that takes into account the home, family, and school. It’s the whole story that matters.” For Abdul-Adil, his work at IJR is more than just compassion, it’s about accountability. “I’m a participant provider. I have my own kids and I know how tough it is. I am part of the community I serve, part of the culture of the neighborhood. My reputation follows me.” Read More
Mani Pavluri, PhD, Director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program Associate Professor
Robert is a bipolar child. His family’s day is dictated by his wild mood swings. His parents’ nerves are brittle. They walk on eggshells, praying that something they do or say doesn’t set off another rage.
“Imagine trying to keep two six-year-old girls and a puppy silent until Robert is ready, worrying that one cry or bark will set him off, slamming doors, kicking things, threatening someone,” says his mother. “I cannot control everything." Read More