Patricia Lester, MD

Vice Chair for Community Engagement

Director, Division of Population Behavioral Health

Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry

Professor In-Residence, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Patricia Lester, MD is the Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry, Director of FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) Program, Director of the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center, and the Medical Director of the Family Stress, Trauma and Resilience Clinic at UCLA. A board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Lester’s work has been dedicated to the development, evaluation, and implementation of family centered prevention and treatment for families facing the impact of military deployments, traumatic events, and parental illness. She co-developed the family-centered preventive intervention FOCUS which was designed to promote resilience and mitigate stress in families facing adversities such as natural disasters, medical illness, and military wartime deployments. Over the last 8 years, she has led the successful large-scale implementation of FOCUS for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, as well as piloting at Army and Air Force sites. Dr. Lester oversees the on-line FOCUS learning center and evaluation programming, which utilizes web-based technologies to support program implementation at scale. She is well versed in the scientific and programmatic issues facing service members and their families, and serves as an advisor on the needs of military children and families across military, university and non-profit agencies. She co-directs the Welcome Back Veteran’s Family Resilience Center, which includes research trials on family centered preventive and treatment models for Veterans and National Guard and their families, as well as community level education and capacity building to enhance resilience in OEF/OIF Veterans. She currently receives support from the Department of Defense, the US Department of Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the McCormick Foundation, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She has published more than 50 research articles and book chapters on the foregoing topics.