Cheryl Grills

Cheryl Grills, Ph.D.
Professor, Loyola Marymount University
Member, California Reparations Task Force

Dr. Cheryl Grills is a Clinical Psychologist with a current emphasis in Community Psychology. A tenured, Full Professor in the Psychology Department, she has been on the faculty of LMU for 34 years and is Director of its Psychology Applied Research Center. A national Past President of the Association of Black Psychologists, Dr. Grills also founded Imoyase Community Support Services, a 30-year non-profit organization providing action research, program evaluation and strategic technical assistance to social justice and social service community-based organizations.

In addition to leading large interdisciplinary research studies, Dr. Grills also has experience working within systems and public policy. She currently serves as a Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Sybil Brand Commission which addresses conditions and practices within LA County adult jails. She was Co-Executive Director of the County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection which led to important changes in the LA County child welfare system. In her leadership in the Association of Black Psychologists, she was a founding member of the Alliance of National Psychological Associations for Racial and Ethnic Equity and she co-designed the Emotional Emancipation (EE) Circles community self-help model established by The Community Healing Network and implemented in partnership with the Association of Black Psychologists. She serves as the lead of the EE Circles Training Team which is international in scope. Dr. Grills trains people of African ancestry around the world to facilitate healing circles that address the stress and trauma associated with anti-Black racism. At the request of an L.A. City Councilman, she created and led a community-based healing circle effort to disrupt violence in South Los Angeles.

Dr. Grills’ research interests, publications, and projects include African Psychology, prevention and treatment in mental health with African Americans, community mental health, and applied research with community-based organizations engaged in community organizing on a host of social justice issues including education, health, land use, and criminal justice reform. Among others, she is the principle investigator leading a) the national COVID-19 needs assessment examining COVID’s impact on communities of color; b) the California Reducing Disparities Project— a statewide 36 site mental health disparities demonstration project; c) the LA County Ready to Rise initiative—a 49 site Los Angeles County youth positive development community demonstration project for the LA County Probation Department; d) the CalCRG Community Reinvestment Project—focused on reentry, workforce development and community engagement/organizing; e) the Weingart Foundation Youth Community Organizing Capacity Building Study—examining organization capacity building efforts focused on youth community organizing; and f) the Tobacco Control Policy Research study—which investigates what she refers to as the trifecta—the impact of the co-location of liquor stores, smoke shops, and marijuana dispensaries on Black and Brown communities’ health and quality of life.

Dr. Grills is regularly called upon as a keynote speaker, trainer, or technical consultant within the mental and behavioral health field.

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