Charmaine Higa-McMillan, Ph.D.

Charmaine Headshot 2Dr. Charmaine Higa-McMillan is an Associate Professor of Psychology and an Affiliate Faculty Member in the Center for Rural Health Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Dr. Higa-McMillan is also the Director of the BEST (Bridging Evidence and Services Together) for Keiki Program, which examines ways to build better bridges between science and practice in youth mental health. She received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tulsa in 2004. Dr. Higa-McMillan is licensed to practice as a psychologist in the State of Hawaii. Dr. Higa-McMillan has 40 peer-reviewed scientific reports, book chapters, and technical reports. She also has close to 20 empirical papers under review or in progress and has presented more than 60 times at national and international conferences. In addition to having a very active research lab, Dr. Higa-McMillan is dedicated to mentoring student research – nearly half of her presentations and a third of her peer-reviewed publications have included students as first or co-authors. Broadly speaking, Dr. Higa-McMillan’s program of research is in the area of evidence-based practices for youth mental health. The first major goal of her research examines the nature of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents and the assessment of this psychopathology. Recently, Dr. Higa-McMillan and her colleagues were awarded a $2.66 Million multisite grant from the Department of Defense to study stress and psychosocial adjustment among children and spouses of deployed service members. The second major goal of Dr. Higa-McMillan’s research program examines mental health services for children and adolescents in public mental health systems and the dissemination and implementation of treatment programs with demonstrated efficacy into community and school-based service settings, with a growing emphasis on meeting the needs of rural mental health systems. Despite the fact that decades of research has established that some treatment programs produce better results than others, research has also demonstrated that these programs with empirical support are not widely used by providers who serve children. Dr. Higa-McMillan’s research examines the barriers of implementing such evidence-based programs as well as mental health services and practices already in place in community settings and compares these to the evidence-based literature.