1. Profile
  2. Dana Rusch

Dana Rusch PhD

Dana Rusch
  • Assistant Professor in Clinical Psychiatry
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Institute for Juvenile Research, Department of Psychiatry
  • Director, Immigrant Family Mental Health Advocacy Program
Contact Information
  • drusch1 [at]
  • (312) 413-1708

Dr. Rusch is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of the Immigrant Family Mental Health Advocacy Program at the Institute for Juvenile Research. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed her pre-doctoral clinical training at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and post-doctoral training at the Institute for Juvenile Research at UIC.  She founded the Immigrant Family Mental Health Advocacy Program to focus on research-practice-policy partnerships that address the mental health needs of immigrant and refugee children and families through: (a) direct clinical services for immigrant children and families, UIC students coping with immigration-related stressors, and unaccompanied youth and asylum seekers; (b) undergraduate teaching and clinical education for trainees in child psychology, psychiatry, and social work; (c) community-engaged research that supports the work and mission of community-based organizations, and (d) active involvement in local and national advocacy and policy work. Her work is guided by an ecological public health framework to develop models of mental health promotion that elevate the unique contributions of non-specialty service settings and the critical role of non-traditional providers. Dr. Rusch actively participates in local advocacy efforts via several committee appointments and collaborative coalition work in support of immigrant communities. She is also a member of the Community Engagement and Collaboration Core for UIC’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

  • psychiatry
    • Mental health services research for children in urban poverty
    • Effective models of community-based mental health services for youth from Latino immigrant families
    • Immigrant family context, acculturative stress, and mental health 
    • Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to build models of mental health promotion for immigrant youth and families
  • Partners Achieving Student Success (PASS; PI: T. Mehta & D. Rusch)

  • Project NAFASI (PI: S. Frazier)

  • In Press

    Ford-Paz, R.E., DeCarlo Santiago, C., Coyne, C.A., Rivera, C., Guo. S., Rusch, D.,…Cicchetti, C. (in press). You Are Not Alone: A public health response to immigrant/refugee distress in the current sociopolitical context. Psychiatric Services. doi: 10.1037/ser000038.1

    Lakind, D., Cua, G., Mehta, T., Rusch, D., & Atkins, M. (in press). Trajectories of parent participation in early/prevention Services: The case for flexible paraprofessional-led services in high poverty urban communities. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

    Frazier, S.L., Rusch, D., Coxe, S., Stout, T.J., Helseth, S.A., Dirks, M.,…Bhaumik, R. (in press). After-school programs and children’s mental health: Organizational social context, program quality, and children’s social behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.



    Rusch, D., Walden, A.L., Gustafson, E., Lakind, D., & Atkins, M.S. (2019). A qualitative study to explore paraprofessionals’ role in school-based mental health prevention and early intervention services. Journal of Community Psychology, 47(2),272-290. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22120 Epub 2018 July 30

    Mehta, T., Lakind, D., Rusch, D., Walden, A., Cua, G., & Atkins, M.S. (2019). Collaboration with urban community stakeholders: Revising paraprofessional-led services to promote positive parenting. American Journal of Community Psychology [Special issue: Understanding and Strengthening the Child- and Youth-Serving Workforce in Low-Resource Communities], 63, 444-458. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12316 Epub 2019 Mar 1

    Gustafson, E., Atkins, M.S., & Rusch, D. (2018). Community health workers and social proximity: Implementation of a parenting program in urban poverty. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62 (3-4), 449-463. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12274. Epub 2018 Sept 17

    A Policy Statement by the Society for Community Research and Action: Division 27 of the American Psychological Associations (2018).  [Contributing authors: Langhout, R.D., Buckingham, S.L., Oberoi, A.K., Chávez, N.R., Rusch, D., Esposito, F. & Suarez-Balcazar, Y.] The effects of deportation and forced separations on immigrants, their families, and communities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62, 3-12. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12256 Epub 2018 July 31 

    Affrunti, N., Mehta, T.M., Rusch, D., & Frazier, S.L. (2018). Job demands, resources, and stress among staff in after school programs: Neighborhood characteristics influence the association between job demands and job stress. Children and Youth Services Review, 88, 366-374.doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.03.031

    Jacobs, R.H., Guo, S., Kaundinya, P., Lakind, D., Klein, J., Rusch, D., et al. (2017). A pilot study of mindfulness skills to reduce stress among a diverse paraprofessional workforce. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(9), 2579–2588. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22120  

    Atkins, M.S., Rusch, D., Mehta, T., & Lakind, D. (2016). Future directions for dissemination and implementation science: Aligning ecological theory and public health to close the research to practice gap. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 45(2),215-226. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2015.1050724

    Bustamante, E.E., Davis, C.L., Frazier, S.L., Rusch, D., Fogg, L., Atkins, M.S., Hellison, D.R., Marquez, D.X. (2016). Randomized controlled trial of exercise for ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(7), 139-1407. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000891

    Rusch, D., Frazier, S.L, & Atkins, M. (2015). Building capacity within community-based organizations: New directions for mental health promotion for Latino immigrant families in urban poverty.  Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 42(1), 1-5. doi: 10.1007/s10488-014-0549-1 

    Frazier, S. L., Dinizulu, S., Rusch, D., Boustani, M., Mehta, T., & Reitz, K. (2015). Building resilience in after school for early adolescents in urban poverty: Open trial of Leaders @ Play. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 42, 723-736. doi: 10.1007/s10488-014-0608-7 Epub 2014 Nov 26

    Rusch, D. & Reyes, K. (2013). Examining the effects of Mexican serial migration and family separations on acculturative stress, depression, and family functioning. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 35(2),139-158. doi: 10.1177/0739986312467292

    Dirks, M. A., Suor, J. H, Rusch, D., & Frazier, S. L. (2014). Children’s responses to hypothetical provocation by peers: Coordination of assertive and aggressive strategies. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(7), 1077-1087. doi: 10.1007/s10802-014-9862-0. Epub 2014 Mar 26.

    Rusch, D. & Reyes, K.  (2013). Examining the effects of Mexican serial migration and family separations on acculturative stress, depression, and family functioning. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 35(2), 139-158. doi: 10.1177/0739986312467292

    Frazier, S.L., Mehta, T., Hur, K., Atkins, M., & Rusch, D. (2013). Not just a walk in the park: Efficacy to effectiveness for after school programs in communities of concentrated urban poverty. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 40(5), 406-418. doi: 10.1007/s10488-012-0432-x

Title Description Investigator(s) Category Status
Patient Navigators for Children's Community Mental Health Services in High Poverty Urban Communities This study is a NIMH-funded R01 that examines the effectiveness of paraprofessionals as navigators for children’s mental health services, in contrast with case managers and waitlist without navigation. This study is in collaboration with three social service agencies serving children and families from high poverty Chicago neighborhoods. ACCESS for Mental Health On-going
Leaders @ Play Our team has been collaborating with the Chicago Park District for the past decade to develop and implement strategies that capitalize on the inherent opportunities present in recreation to support and promote children’s mental health. Leaders @ Play was a program designed to promote mental health for participating adolescents and support healthy behavioral, social, and emotional funct Community Based Children and Family Mental Health Services Research Program Completed
Partners Achieving School Success (PASS) PASS was a school based mental health prevention and early intervention program for children in pre-kindergarten through third grade.  Our team collaborated with four social service agencies on a school-based prevention and early intervention program for youth in K-3rd grade living in impoverished communities in Chicago (approximately n=700). Community Based Children and Family Mental Health Services Research Program Completed
Date Released Title Source
11/22/2021 Dr. Dana Rusch. (2021, October). The Intersection of Research, Practice and Policy Advocacy in Immigrant Mental Health Justice (2-day seminar)
11/22/2021 Dr. Dana Rusch presenter at the National Latinx Psychological Association Virtual Conference National Latinx Psychological Association
11/22/2021 Dr. Dana Rusch is the Invited Panelist, Disparities in Research and Practice Special Plenary. (2021, November)
11/22/2021 Dr. Dana Rusch, was the invited presenter at Navigating Higher Education in Illinois - Undocumented Immigrants & Mixed Status Households. (2021, October)
11/22/2021 Drs Dana Rusch and Tara Mehta presented at the APA Discussion: Giving Psychology Away. Considering Tensions in Public Interest Policy Advocacy
05/26/2021 Tara Mehta (Co-PI), Marc Atkins (Co-PI), and Dana Rusch (Co-PI) recently received a 5-year, NIMH R01 grant. National Institute of Mental Health
03/15/2021 Dr. Dana Rusch was invited to serve on Executive Advisory Board for the Immigrant and Refugee-Led Capacity Development Network of Illinois.
03/15/2021 Dr. Dana Rusch provided three guest lectures (Jan-March 2020) at non-UIC graduate training programs
12/18/2018 Immigration Edition Radio Bilingüe
09/18/2018 ‘Paraprofessionals’ An Important Mental Health Resource For U.S. School Children Living In Poverty Theravive
08/01/2018 Effects of deportation, forced separation extend beyond individuals, families UIC Today
06/27/2018 Cook County Board of Commissioners Press Release