Health and the Legal System Lab

Melissa J. Zielinski, Ph.D. – HEALS Lab Director

Lab Mission


Melissa Zielinski, Ph.D.

HEALS Lab conducts rigorous, person-oriented research that can contribute to improving emotional and behavioral health for those who are involved in the legal system. Our primary goals are to:

  1. Help prisons, jails, courts, and other legal settings identify and meet the mental health and substance use service needs of their respective population(s).
  2. Inform the development, adaptation, implementation, and dissemination of interventions for trauma-related sequela in legal settings.
  3. Advocate for and directly facilitate the provision of services that meet the needs of incarcerated women and women reentering the community from incarceration.

The research conducted by HEALS Lab is intentionally broad in scope; health is complex and influenced by individual and contextual contributors that cannot be examined through one method or lens alone.

Dr. Zielinski maintains a smaller line of research related to more general psychopathology and emotion-related processes that can inform understanding of trauma-related psychopathology and its treatment (e.g., emotion invalidation, emotion dysregulation, distress intolerance, rejection sensitivity). She has particular interests in processes related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD).


We are located on the first floor of the Psychiatric Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Contact information:

Melissa J. Zielinski, Ph.D.
HEALS Lab Director