Psychology and Child Development

College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Bettergarcia receives CLA Early Career award for Achievement in Scholarship

Congratulations to Dr. Bettergarcia! 

This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in research and/or artistic creativity unusually early in their professional career. Dr. Jay Bettergarcia received this award as a result of their exceptional achievement in scholarship. 

Dr. Bettergarcia conducts community-based social justice action research that explores LGBTQ mental health, transgender affirming therapy practices, and best practices for evidence-based diversity trainings by doing research with the communities they study. They also investigate ways to train and support mental health providers to improve the structure and delivery of mental health services, while providing these high-caliber training opportunities to local communities. In Dr. Bettergarcia’s words, “My goal is to better understand the experiences of minoritized community members, especially those who are underserved and hold multiple marginalized identities. The goal is to utilize research and data as a tool and as a means for increasing access to care, making sure that care is culturally competent, and changing healthcare systems and policies.”

They have produced 14 peer-reviewed publication, several of which have been co-authored with undergraduate students. These include publications on LGBTQ diversity training with law enforcement personnel, affirming therapy with transgender clients, LGBTQ+ perceptions of sexual assault, and LGBTQ+ mental health and community connectedness in a semi-rural community, among others.

Dr. Bettergarcia is a deeply dedicated scholar who has demonstrated exemplary research accomplishments in their first five years as an assistant professor at Cal Poly. Not only have they secured ongoing funding and produced high quality research, but their program of research also creating real and long-lasting social change and community-centered wellness for underserved queer, transgender, and BIPOC communities. It is particularly impressive that Dr. Bettergarcia has made substantial progress on their community-focused research while maintaining their professional licensure as a psychologist, and while teaching in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in the department of Psychology and Child Development.


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