Mona M. Amer is an associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology at The American University of Cairo. In 2011, she received the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award. She was also awarded the Best Faculty-NGO Partnership Award, as well as the Innovative Teaching Award by the AUC's Center for Learning and Teaching.
Amer received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Toledo, Ohio, in 2005. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Connecticut Mental Health Center and The Consultation Center at the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine. She then pursued a two-year postdoctoral specialization in ethnic/racial behavioral health disparities at the Program for Recovery and Community Health, also housed at the Yale Department of Psychiatry. She taught as an adjunct professor for the community psychology master’s program at the University of New Haven. This was followed by an assistant clinical professor position at the Yale Department of Psychiatry that overlapped with her arrival to AUC. Amer is a licensed psychologist in the state of Connecticut.
Amer’s clinical, research, and policy interests are in minority mental health, with a specialization in the Arab and Muslim American minorities. In 2006, she was awarded the annual American Psychological Association’s (APA) Award for Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology "For her outstanding and innovative leadership in addressing the mental health needs of Muslim and Arab Americans". She was also awarded as the sole recipient the 2005-7 APA Minority Fellowship Program’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. In 2016 her co-edited book Handbook of Arab American Psychology received the Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award at the Annual American Book Awards by the Arab American National Museum (a Smithsonian affiliate). Amer’s work has been featured in numerous media including APA’s Monitor on Psychology, gradPSYCH, and a USA Today cover story.
"Mona M. Amer: APA/APAGS Award for Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology". American Psychologist, 2006, 61(8), pp. 898-900.
"Living Community Psychology featuring Mona Amer" by Gloria Levin. The Community Psychologist, 2007, 40(1), pp. 21-24.
Ahmed, S.R., Amer, M. M., & Killawi, A. (2017). The ecosystems perspective in social work: implications for culturally competent practice with American Muslims. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 36(1-2), 48-72.
Amer, M. M. and G. H. Awad (2016), Handbook of Arab American Psychology. New York, USA: Routledge.
Ibrahim, M. M., Rosenheim, M. R., & Amer, M. M., & Larson, H. A. (2016). From Minnesota to Cairo: Student perceptions of community-based learning. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 11(3), 258-273.
Amer, M. M., El-Sayeh, S., Fayad, Y., & Khoury, B. (2015). Community psychology and civil society: Opportunities for growth in Egypt and Lebanon. Journal of Community Psychology, 43, 49-62.
Amer, M. M. (2014). Arab American acculturation and ethnic identity across the lifespan: Sociodemographic correlates and psychological outcomes. In S. C. Nassar-McMillan, K. J. Ajrouch, & J. Hakim-Larson (Eds.), Biopsychosocial Perspectives on Arab Americans: Culture, Development, and Health (pp. 153-173). New York: Springer.
Kira, A.F., Amer, M. M., & Wrobel, N. H. (2014). Arab refugees: Trauma, resilience, and recovery. In S. C. Nassar-McMillan, K. J. Ajrouch, & J. Hakim-Larson (Eds.), Biopsychosocial Perspectives on Arab Americans: Culture, Development, and Health (pp. 175-195). New York: Springer.
Amer, M. M., Awad, G. H., & Hovey, J. D. (2014). Evaluation of the CES-D scale factor structure in a sample of second generation Arab-Americans. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 7(1), 46-58.
Amer, M. M. & Bagasra, A. (2013). Psychological research with Muslim Americans in the age of Islamophobia: Trends, challenges, and recommendations. American Psychologist, 68(3), 134-144.
Amer, M.M. (2013). Counseling and psychotherapy in Egypt: Ambiguous identity of a regional leader. In R. Moodley, U. P. Gielen, & R. Wu, (Eds.), Handbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy in an International Context (pp. 19-29). New York: Routledge.
Ahmed, S., & Amer, M. M. (Eds.). (2012). Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions . New York: Routledge.
Amer, M.M., & Hovey, J.D. (2012). Anxiety and depression in a post-September 11 sample of Arabs in the USA. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47 (3), 409-418.
Family Therapy Models
Community Assessment and Program Evaluation
Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Treatment
Amer’s primary research program focuses on minority mental health; in particular racial/ethnic disparities in behavioral health. Disparities include poorer mental health status, reduced service access, poorer quality of care, and poorer service outcomes for minority groups. She is interested in how immigration experiences, acculturation stressors, discrimination/ stigma, and minority status contribute to these disparities, and the roles of culturally competent services and community-based programming in eliminating the inequalities. Within this framework, her specialization is in the much-ignored Muslim American and Arab American populations, particularly in the hostile post-9/11 socio-political context. From 2007 to 2010, she served as the editor-in-chief for the Taylor & Francis Journal of Muslim Mental Health. Moreover, as a consequence of the paucity of psychometrically sound instruments for use in minority research, she developed an interest in measure development, particularly Rasch rating scale analysis.
Amer is interested in applications of research to clinical work, community interventions, and mental health policy. For the past 15 years she worked on developing cultural competence training programs for practitioners serving Muslim clients that have been administered in the U.S. and U.K. She previously served as a Steward Group Member of the National Network to Eliminate Disparities, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prior to that, she served as a member of the Connecticut State’s Mental Health Transformation Workgroup focused on the identification and elimination of disparities in mental health services. She also participated in a listening session by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/ SAMSHA focused on Arab American and American Muslim Youth Behavioral Health and Well-being.
In addition to the above, she has an interest in community psychology, including research on civic engagement among university students and faculty. She previously served as the associate editor of APA Division 27’s The Community Psychologist and Chair of the International Committee. In 2008, she launched the CAMPUS project, an interdisciplinary collaborative aimed at exploring AUC’s move from Tahrir Square to New Cairo, which attracted contributions from over 30 faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Information about this project including conference presentations and brief reports can be found here. Mentoring students is an important component of her research work. Undergraduate students have been primary authors and co-authors on publications produced from her research. Her students and research assistants have presented papers at national and international conferences including the annual convention of the American Psychological Association and the biennial conference of the APA Division 27 Society for Community Research and Action.
Recent Research Projects
Acculturation and mental health of adult Arab Americans
Double burden of mental illness stigma and racial/ethnic stigma on mental health symptoms for Latino American and African American minorities
Culturally competent psychotherapy and counseling for Muslims
Identity development and mental health of Arab Muslim American youth
Using Rasch modeling to develop psychometrically sound measures for Arab Americans
University civic engagement, including effectiveness of community based learning courses and volunteer student community service