Lab Mission

HEALS Lab conducts rigorous, person-oriented research that can contribute to improving emotional and behavioral health for those who are underserved, marginalized, and/or stigmatized.  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.

Current areas of emphasis include:
  1. The overlap between trauma and involvement in the criminal justice system, including investigations related to mental health and substance abuse disorders and treatments for trauma within criminal justice settings.
  2. Social determinants of emotional wellbeing and disorder, with a particular emphasis on emotion invalidation and forms of interpersonal rejection.
About the Lab Director

ZielinskiMelissa J. Zielinski, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and clinical psychologist in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her program of research focuses on the intersections between trauma, mental illness, addiction, and the legal system. Most of her work has focused on justice-involved women, many of whom are survivors of sexual and domestic violence. However, her work on treatments for PTSD within legally relevant contexts (e.g., community corrections centers, drug treatment courts) have included both women and men.

Dr. Zielinski’s clinical expertise is in evidence-based therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Dr. Zielinski is particularly interested in merging science with clinical practice and policy to improve health outcomes among people who are incarcerated or otherwise involved in the legal system.

Where are we located?

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.     MJZielinski@uams.edu
HEALS Lab Director
Psychiatric Research Institute (PRI)
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 W. Markham Street, Slot 755
Little Rock, AR 72205
Office: 501-526-8229