PAU Alumnus Continues the outstanding work of the late Dr. Nigel Field in Cambodia

PAU alumnus, Dr. Edward Palmer, has been representing the university as a volunteer in Cambodia for the last 14 months and has seamlessly continued the work of the late Dr Nigel Field.

Dr. Palmer graduated from PAU at the start of 2015, was taught by Nigel Field during the course of his studies, and was well aware of the wonderful work which was being done at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Cambodia.

Dr. Palmer was finishing up his final dissertation submission when he was invited by Vice President of Community Development, Dr. Helena Ting, to the initial PAU meetings with representatives from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and the TPO Director, Dr. Sotheara Chhim at his center, Cambodia. He developed relationships which led to agreements to work voluntarily at RUPP as an Adjunct Professor and at TPO as Clinical Advisor.  His volunteer work in Cambodia largely continues the work of Dr. Field. At RUPP he has worked tirelessly to advise five Masters level psychology students to complete their thesis projects which examined several of the parenting style measures Dr. Field used in his research. He is currently in the process of completing a report which aims to validate two brief measures of child psychosocial distress and functional impairment. 

TPO Cambodia

At TPO, Dr. Palmer’s main responsibilities include clinical advising, program development, and research support. Currently, he is working on several projects including “Truth and Reconciliation toward a Shared Future” which involves facilitating dialogue between former Khmer Rouge cadres and their victim-survivors. He serves as clinical advisor on the project and assists the project manager on iterative changes to the protocol. 

Click the link below to watch a brief documentary on the invaluable work being done as part of this project. 

Watch the video

Dr. Palmer also serves as clinical advisor and as program developer on the “Mental Health and Psychosocial Intervention Project,” which provides mental health training to lay persons at the community level, and also provides home visits by nurses and social workers for individuals suffering from serious mental illness. Additionally, while at TPO, he provides assistance with proposal writing, the creation and editing of marketing materials, and co-supervises counsellors in the outpatient clinic. He also consults with the clinical manager on challenging or high-risk cases.

What’s Coming Next?

There are many immense challenges ahead in Cambodia.

Dr. Palmer is set to begin a qualitative study which aims to identify the idioms of distress, specific to survivors of gender-based sexual trauma, during and after the Khmer Rouge regime. He will initiate a follow-up study to Dr. Field’s Diamond Bridge Disaster work which will use growth mixture modeling to identify which variables are associated with protracted levels of prolonged grief symptoms.

We are very proud of our alumnus, Edward Palmer, for applying what he learned from the late Dr. Nigel Field to improve lives.


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