Kristen Choi, PhD, MS, RN

Kristen Choi, PhD, RN, MS


PhD  University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI
MS – Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA

Biography: Dr. Kristen Choi, registered nurse and PhD, focuses her work on improving service delivery systems for survivors of trauma, especially in the areas of child maltreatment trauma, and trauma-related mental illness. Her research also aims to reduce interpersonal violence in communities by developing a long-term program of action-oriented research and advocating for policy change. 

As a scholar, Dr. Choi partnered with Dr. Karen Coleman from Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) and Dr. MarySue Heilemann (UCLA) on a community project entitled “Service Engagement for Children & Adolescents with Autism and Autism Insurance Mandates.”  This project aimed to provide clinicians with new information about how their patients utilize referrals and services with the KPSC contracted autism services organization and suggest areas of patient need for service engagement. 

Dr. Choi’s main research project was entitled “Impact of mass shootings on nurses and other healthcare providers,” in collaboration with mentor Dr. Melissa Brymer at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress at UCLA.  The overall purpose of this research study was to explore the impact of two recent community mass shootings—the San Bernardino Department of Public Health shooting in 2015 and the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in 2017—on nurses and other healthcare providers at responding healthcare facilities.  This research study engaged an interdisciplinary, nurse-led research team of experts in mass disasters, trauma, media and social media, and psychiatry, and used a qualitative approach to understand how healthcare teams, environments, and patient care were impacted by a mass shooting event.  The study also aimed to identify how institutional, local, state, or federal policy could better support healthcare providers affected by mass shooting events.  Dr. Choi was awarded $5000 from the Hillman Scholar Program in Nursing Innovation for this work. 

Dr. Choi also served as the lead for the NCSP 2017-2019 Cohort group project that involved firearm policy review, and used a quantitative analysis of suicide and homicide outcomes with mentor Fred Zimmerman from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.  

Dr. Choi was very productive during her two-year fellowship.  Other projects that Dr. Choi led include: 1) “LACDMH Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Evaluation,” a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the impact of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy on participating children and adolescents with mentors Drs. Sheryl Kataoka and Elizabeth Bromley; 2) “Trauma clusters, community violence, & behavioral health among youth receiving integrated primary care services at FQHCs in Chicago,” with mentor Dr. Bonnie Zima; 3) “Trauma-informed organizational assessment instrument development,” with mentors Drs. Jane Halladay at  UCLA NCCTS and Carrie Purbeck Trunzo at the Duke NCCTS; 4) “Psychiatric rapid response team development and implementation,” with mentors Dr. Anna Omery, Kaiser and  Anne Marie Watkins, Kaiser San Diego Zion Medical Center; and 5) “Comorbid depression/anxiety in Community Partners in Care,” with mentors Drs. Ken Wells and Cathy Sherbourne. 

Dr. Choi published over ten papers during her time as an NCSP fellow, many of which she first-authored. Select publications include “A Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Depression Collaborative Care: Subanalysis of Comorbid Anxiety,” featured in Western Journal of Nursing Research (2019) and co-authored by mentors Drs. Ken Wells and Cathy Sherbourne; “Intervention Models for Increasing Access to Behavioral Health Services Among Youth: A Systematic Review,” published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (2018) with co-author and co-NCSP fellow Dr. Molly Easterlin; and “Validation of the Traumatic Events Screening Inventory for ACEs” in Pediatrics (2019) and co-authored by her mentor team including Dr. Bonnie Zima. 

Dr. Choi is an Assistant Professor in the UCLA School of Nursing. Her research continues to focus on health system and policy solutions to trauma, violence, and mental illness among children and vulnerable communities. She was awarded a career development K award to continue her work on treatment for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at Kaiser Permanente Southern California through the UCLA Stakeholder-Partnered Implementation Research and Innovation Translation (SPIRIT) K12 Program. Dr. Choi continues her fellowship projects on screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the impact of trauma/vicarious trauma on healthcare providers. She remains involved with the UCLA NCSP as an Associate Director.