Jennifer Esala, Ph.D. | Center for Victims of Torture

Jennifer Esala, Ph.D.

Research Associate


Jennifer Esala provides program evaluation and research support for CVT’s direct service programs in the United States. She also supports advocacy evaluation capacity building initiatives with the New Tactics program. She has been a research associate with CVT since 2013. Her research addresses a range of topics, including:

  • Identifying effective approaches to integrated care for refugees and asylum seekers
  • Assessing the effectiveness of mental health interventions in diverse populations and across cultures
  • Measuring the influence of race and ethnicity in mental health access and subsequent outcomes
  • Developing usable evaluation resources for human right activists in the Global South
  • Assessing treatment outcomes (and mediating factors) in CVT’s domestic programs
  • Measuring development for refugees and asylum seeker populations and for mental health organizations (stand-alone and integrated)

Jennifer received her Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of New Hampshire. Her dissertation traced the life course of anxiety disorders, from initial symptomology to ongoing treatment and recovery. She held previous research positions at the Carsey School of Public Policy (formerly the Carsey Institute), the OMNI Institute, and The University of Colorado’s Clinical Translational Science Institute.

Select Publications

Jennifer J. Esala and Jared Del Rosso. 2019. “Emotions into Disorder: Anxiety Disorders and The Social Meaning of Fear.” Symbolic Interaction. 43(2), 235–256.
Vanderminden, Jennifer, & Esala, Jennifer J. 2019. “Beyond Symptoms: Race and Gender Predict Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis.” Society and Mental Health. 9(1), 111–125.
Jennifer J. Esala, Leora Hudak, Alyce Eaton and Maria Vukovich. 2018. “Integrated Behavioral Health Care for Karen Refugees: A Qualitative Exploration of Active Ingredients.” International Journal of Migration, Health, and Social Care. 14(2):133–145.
Jennifer J. Esala, Maria Vukovich, Ashley Hanbury, Shraddha Kashyap, and Amelia Joscelyne. 2018. “Integrated Care for Refugees and Torture Survivors: A Review of the Research Literature.” Traumatology. 30(1): 1 – 19.
Jennifer J. Esala and Taing, Sopheap. 2017. “Testimony Therapy with Ritual: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Traumatic Stress. 30 (1): 1 – 5.

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