Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Gaska is a trained clinical and community psychologist, public health professional, and social worker. She completed her PhD in Clinical and Community Psychology at Georgia State University, her MSW at Howard University with a macro practice in healthcare settings concentration, and her BA in Psychology and Ethnic Studies at Brown University.
Dr. Gaska’s doctoral research, teaching, and psychotherapy focused on multicultural psychology, culturally informed interventions, health equity, and social justice. She spent 3 years on an NIH funded study of a culturally informed intervention designed to assist mothers living with HIV disclose their status to their young children. Additionally, she published on emancipatory education for Black students and the psychology of skin bleaching in east Africa. Her dissertation was a qualitative inquiry into the construct of school connectedness among first generation college students and she was awarded the prestigious Ford Foundation Pre-disseration Fellowship for her scholarship in this area.
Dr. Gaska completed her pre-doctoral internship at Palo Alto VA Health Care Services where she focused on evidenced based therapies for PTSD and primary care/mental health integration in a specialty clinic for women veterans. She paired this clinical training with scholarly research examining adverse childhood and military experiences among women veterans and subsequent diagnosed mental health conditions. Prior to joining the Ross faculty, she completed post-doctoral training at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she oversaw two national evaluations aimed at opioid overdose prevention.
Dr. Gaska spent several years in public health and in direct social work practice prior to her doctoral studies. She helped establish the Urban Male Health Initiative in Alameda County charged with preventing negative health outcomes for boys and men of color in the bay area of California. She was a co-author of Life and Death from Unnatural Causes, an innovative publication from the Alameda County Public Health Department centering the social determinants of health. She completed the Public Health Prevention Service Fellowship at the CDC and served in numerous direct service roles in youth serving programs around Washington, DC.
Dr. Gaska is a member of several professional organizations and has presented at numerous conferences. She is currently a member of Academy Health, the American Evaluation Association, APA Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, and Ethnicity and Race) and Division 27 (Society for Community Research and Action).