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Girija Kaimal

Girija Kaimal


Associate Professor


Assessment Fellow (Inaugural cohort), Drexel University

Creative Arts Therapies Department

215.262.8914 P
267.359.5579 F
Three Parkway, Room 220

Girijia Kaimal is an associate professor in the PhD program in Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University. In her Health, Arts, Learning and Evaluation (HALE) research lab, she examines the physiological and psychological health outcomes of visual and narrative self-expression. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, has led research and evaluation studies and has had continuous grant funding since 2008. Her research has been featured by NPR, CNN, The New York Times as well as a range of media outlets worldwide. She was listed among 100 women scientists leading research and also featured as one of the ten people whose research changed the world. Most recently, she was awarded the first qualitative research grant for studying aging and demographic differences in Gulf War Illness by the Department of Defense. She is also PI for two studies funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, examining outcomes of art therapy for military service members with traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress, and arts-based approaches to mitigate chronic stress among patients and caregivers in pediatric hematology/oncology units. Additional current studies include examining the therapeutic underpinnings of indigenous and traditional artforms and serving as a research advisor to Save the Children International on projects that examine the role of the arts in education and human development. Kaimal has also conducted multi-year evaluation studies on leadership development funded by Lehigh University (through grants from the U.S. Department of Education). As part of these mixed methods studies, she examined how participation in the arts could ignite learning transfer to leadership practices. Other prior research experiences in human development include conducting secondary analyses of qualitative data from a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) longitudinal study of depression in families; and;a multi-disciplinary study on the outcomes of genetic testing for hearing loss funded by the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).  Living out her research interests, she has been a lifelong visual artist and her art explores the intersection of identity and representation of emotion.  Her service commitments at present include being the president-elect of the American Art Therapy Association (a member organization of over 4,000 members) and faculty senate representative from CNHP.

Research Interests:

  • Stress and trauma
  • Neuroscience of visual self-expression
  • Oncology and survivorship (pediatric and adults)
  • Indigenous and traditional artforms
  • Virtual reality art therapy
  • Qualitative and mixed methods research approaches

Academic Distinctions:

  • International travel award, Drexel University, 2019
  • Best paper award, Canadian Art Therapy association Journal, 2018
  • 100 Women in Science, 2018
  • Faculty Summer Research Award, Drexel University, 2017
  • Assessment Fellow, Drexel University, Inaugural Cohort 2016-2017
  • American Art Therapy Association Research Award, 2015
  • Career Development Award, Drexel University, 2014
  • Alpha Eta Honors Society, Elected member, 2001
  • Advanced Doctoral Grant, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, 2005
  • Gender Studies Doctoral Research Award, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2003
  • Dean’s Award for doctoral students (2002), Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Sherry Jaspan Lyons Award for clinical excellence in therapy with children and adolescents, 2001 Drexel University

Professional Society:

American Art Therapy Association
Pennsylvania Art Therapy Association
American Evaluation Association