Cheryl Grills Portrait 2016

1 LMU Drive, UH 4753
Los Angeles, CA 90045
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Cheryl Tawede Grills, Ph.D.

Dr. Cheryl Grills is a Clinical Psychologist with a current emphasis in Community Psychology. A President’s Professor and Full Professor in the Department of Psychological Science, she has been on the faculty of LMU for 36 years and is Founder and Director of its Psychology Applied Research Center. She also founded Imoyase Community Support Services, a 33-year non-profit organization providing action research, program evaluation and strategic technical assistance to social justice and social service community-based organizations.

Dr. Grills is a national Past President of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). In her leadership role in the ABPsi, she was a founding member of the Alliance of National Psychological Associations for Racial and Ethnic Equity. She co-designed the racial stress and trauma Emotional Emancipation (EE) Circles—a community self-help model established by The Community Healing Network and implemented in partnership with the Association. As the lead of the EE Circles Training Team Dr. Grills has trained people of African ancestry around the world to facilitate healing circles that address the stress and trauma associated with anti-Black racism. In 2019, using community based participatory practice, she co-created and continues to support the South Los Angeles Healing Circles, a community-based healing circle effort designed for City Council District 8 to disrupt violence in South Los Angeles.

Dr. Grills served on the CA Reparations Taskforce, appointed by the Governor of CA (2021-2023) and is a commissioner on the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC). She also serves as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Sybil Brand Commission for Institutional Inspections, which focuses on conditions and practices within County jails and correctional facilities. She was Co-Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection whose work led to significant reforms in LA County’s approach to child welfare, including establishment of an Office of Child Protection. Most recently, Dr. Grills was appointed to the Governing Council of the Global Pan African Movement and is member of the International Planning Committee for the 8th Pan African Congress to be held in 2024. Dr. Grills has also recently been appointed as commissioner on the 400 Years of African American History Commission, a federal commission under the Department of the Interior.

Dr. Grills has served as the principal investigator on a number of large interdisciplinary, national, state, and county multi-site research studies focused on mental health disparities, social determinants of health, violence prevention, positive youth development, and COVID 19’s impact on communities of color nationally.

Dr. Grills’ research interests, publications, and projects include African Psychology, African Centered models of treatment engagement with African Americans; community psychology; community mental health; mental health disparities; community organizing as a public health strategy; community defined mental health intervention strategies; positive youth development; and program evaluation.

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