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Peace and Human Rights Lab

Peace and Human Rights Lab

The Peace and Human Rights Lab at Palo Alto University functions in partnership with the Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Program at Stanford University. Peace and Human Rights Lab members work with an interdisciplinary team at Stanford that includes psychology, psychiatry, law, medicine, and sociology. The overarching goal of the lab is to collect and present data on the mental health effects of human rights violations. To achieve this goal, lab members work collaboratively to develop and write reports on human rights and mental health that are used to promote accountability, inform justice processes, and advocate for the survivors of human rights abuses. Specifically, the lab supports justice efforts, broadly defined, for survivors through legal avenues by:

  • Expert testimonials and consult reports 
  • Program evaluations and system consultation
  • Training and resource development for partner agencies

Efforts focus on identifying the impact on human psychology of various forms of mass trauma, including genocide, mass killings, rape, and torture. The lab advocates for the survivors’ human rights and access to mental health services in a range of settings, including criminal trials, civil suits for money damages, asylum proceedings, and policy advocacy. The lab participates in these transitional justice processes in a range of ways, such as expert testimony and reports as well as consulting with legal teams who are investigating abuses, prosecuting perpetrators, or representing victims.

Peace and Human Rights Lab students often have opportunities to travel nationally and internationally to assist with activities that include, but are not limited to, data collection and training focused on human rights and mental health. Lab members also have the possibility of engaging in clinically–oriented work with individual survivors of human rights violations. Data collected from these and other ongoing endeavors may be used for dissertation research. The Lab focuses on the science of the psychological changes and mental health pathology caused by trauma on individuals, their families, and their communities, over time and between generations.

Student papers, presentations, and professional development:  All Peace and Human Rights Lab members are working on independent writing and research projects as pre-dissertation training experiences. Lab members work collaboratively with each other and with Drs. Brown and Reichterter on new and existing projects. The training goals of the Peace and Human Rights Lab are to foster a) knowledge of human rights and mental health, b) research competency c) writing proficiency, d) presentation skills, e) proficiency in interdisciplinary collaboration, and f) professional development.

The Peace and Human Rights Lab will be of particular interest to students who are fluent (i.e., able to speak, read, and write with proficiency) in one or more languages and are interested in human rights, social justice, legal, and humanitarian issues nationally and internationally.

Research can be focused on forensics, neuropsychology, global mental health, child and/or adult trauma (e.g., screening, diagnosis, treatment), or resilience. Students who have strong writing abilities and solid statistical skills will benefit most from membership in the Peace and Human Rights Lab.

Openings:  One to three students will be invited to join the Peace and Human Rights Lab each year.

Apply: Interested students are invited to submit the following documents for consideration for lab membership by 5 PM on the uniform research group application deadline established by PAU:

1.     Current PAU unofficial transcript sent to: lbrown@paloaltou.edu

2.     CV and brief essay sent as a single pdf to: peaceandhumanrightslab@paloaltou.edu

Brief essay instructions:  Write a 300-word (minimum) to 400-word (maximum) essay describing your foreign language proficiency, interest in peace and human rights, past research experience, unique qualifications (e.g., statistical skills, writing ability, etc.), and career interests (e.g., type of internship placement desired, ideal employment goal – academic, nonprofit organization, etc.). This is an opportunity to present yourself as a professional, showcase your writing skills, and make a solid argument as to why you are a good fit with our lab based on your skills and your short and long-term career goals.

Based on your application materials, Dr. Brown, Dr. Reichterter and current research lab members will interview a select group of applicants. The interview is an opportunity to learn if the Peace and Human Rights Lab is a good fit for the student and the lab.

 
 
 
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