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Girija Kaimal

Girija Kaimal


Assistant Professor

Creative Arts Therapies Department

267.359.5507 P
267.359.5579 F
1601 Cherry Street, Room 7109

Girija Kaimal, EdD has been full-time faculty in the creative arts therapies doctoral program since 2013. She has been principal investigator for several longitudinal research and evaluation studies including those funded by the US Department of Defense, US Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the School District of Philadelphia, Lehigh University, Drexel University, Oxfam America, the Foundation for Spirituality and Medicine and Temple University. Kaimal holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Master of the Arts in Art Therapy from Drexel University and Bachelor of Arts in Design from the National Institute of Design in India.

Research Interests:

Kaimal's research aims to understand the implications of autobiographical narratives and creative self-expression, especially among underrepresented and vulnerable populations, on health and well being. She is particularly interested in the role of creativity and self-expression in empowerment, health and learning about self and others. She is currently principal investigator on three federally funded research studies: Gulf War Illness, art therapy with cancer patients and caregivers and with Creative Forces (NEA Military Healing Arts Network).

Most recently, she completed two research studies on the links between neuroendocrine health and creative visual self-expression and differences in brain activation based on drawing tasks. Kaimal has also led several multi-year evaluation studies including leadership development funded by the US Department of Education and Lehigh University. As part of this study, the research team is examining how participation in the arts could ignite learning transfer to leadership practices.

Other prior research experiences include conducting secondary analyses of qualitative data from a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) longitudinal study of depression in families and managing a four-year National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) multi-disciplinary study at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia/ University of Pennsylvania on genetic testing for hearing loss.

Kaimal was the recipient of the Drexel University Career Development Award in 2014 and the American Art Therapy Association Research Award in 2015, was an inaugural assessment fellow for Drexel University from 2016-2018 and most recently was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Art Therapy Association. She serves as a research consultant on international development projects related to gender equity and arts-based psychosocial support for vulnerable children and adults in trauma zones around the world.

View Research Profile

Professional Society:

In addition to her teaching and research, Kaimal serves on the advisory boards of area educational foundations and nonprofits. She is a former chair of the American Art Therapy Association Research Committee, steering committee member for the first International Art Therapy conference and also serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of American Art Therapy Association, Arts in Psychotherapy and Urban Review. She is a practicing visual artist and published poet and her work explores the intersection of transnational identity and sustainable artistic practices.