Dr. Cheryl Tawede Grills is a clinical psychologist but with a current emphasis in Community Psychology. She is Professor of Psychology at Loyola Marymount University, national past President of The Association of Black Psychologists, and founder and director of a non-profit program evaluation organization called Imoyase Community Support Services. Dr. Grills was the Co-Executive Director of the LA County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection. Representing the 2nd Supervisorial District, she serves as a Los Angeles County Commissioner appointed by the LA County Board of Supervisors (2010) to the Sybil Brand Commission for Institutional Inspections which focuses on conditions and practices within County jails, probation and correctional facilities and group homes for children. In 2016 she became Vice-Chair of the Commission. In 2015 she joined the Leadership Council of the national anti-racism organization, Within Our Lifetime.
Dr. Grills’ current work in the area of racial stress focuses on training associated with racism, racial stress, implicit bias and the development of community-based self-help models to address the negative effects of racism on people of African ancestry in the US and globally. She has conducted trainings in community-based settings, hospitals, Departments of Children and Family Services and Mental Health, Medical Schools, and a host of universities including Harvard University, Minnesota State University, San Diego State University, California State University at Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, and Fullerton among others.Dr. Grills was the leader of The Association of Black Psychologists team of
Dr. Grills was the leader of The Association of Black Psychologists team of psychologists who responded to The Community Healing Network’s call for professional expertise, technical assistance, and ongoing support in creating the Emotional Emancipation (EE) Circles process. She is also the leader of the EE Circles Training Team. EE Circles are safe spaces in which Black people can work together to overcome, heal from, and overturn the lie of Black inferiority: the root cause of the devaluing of Black lives in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York, across the country, and around the world. EE Circles are part of a multi-faceted set of strategies devised by Community Healing Network (CHN) to build a global grassroots movement for the emotional emancipation of Black people. She has led 2 trainings of community residents, activists, mental health professionals and organizers across California, New York, Baltimore, Ferguson, Miami, New Haven, Tuskegee, Virginia, Cuba, England, South Africa, Ghana and more.
Dr. Grills’ research interests, publications, and projects include African-centered models of treatment engagement with African Americans; substance abuse prevention and treatment, community psychology; community mental health, prevention, and action research and program evaluation services to community-based organizations engaged in social action, community change and prevention on a host of issues. She and her team at the Psychology Applied Research Center@LMU were recently awarded a multi-year $4 million grant to evaluate the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), Phase II. The central components of CRDP Phase 2 are the Implementation Pilot Projects (IPP) representing 5 target populations (African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American and LGBTQ communities). Approximately 35 groups will implement Community-Defined Evidence Projects (CDEP) that will provide culturally competent prevention and early intervention services to members of a CRDP target population. This project will help bring together community stakeholders and resources to increase awareness of mental health issues in impacted communities, address barriers to reducing mental health disparities, and inform local policy makers and administrators about issues impacting unserved, underserved and inappropriately served communities.
Dr. Grills recently completed a 6-year project on childhood obesity evaluating environmental change strategies to address obesity in communities of color. She is also the principal investigator on several social justice projects related to community health, education reform, mentoring African American youth, disproportionality in the child welfare system, homelessness and substance abuse prevention. She is currently principal investigator on a multi-year CDC REACH grant to reduce health disparities in predominantly African American and Latino communities in two South Los Angeles neighborhoods using community organizing and partnerships with health clinics and the Department of Public Health to educate and empower residents in the implementation of locally tailored strategies to increase public safety, physical activity, and linkages to quality health care services.
Dr. Grills consults nationally on a number of issues particularly regarding matters of cultural and social competence, multiculturalism and Africentric interventions. She has also studied under traditional medical practitioners in Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal and is a registered member of the Ghana National Association of Traditional Healers.