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Girija Kaimal

Girija Kaimal


Associate Professor

Creative Arts Therapies Department

267.359.5507 P
267.359.5579 F
1601 Cherry Street, Room 7109

Girija Kaimal, EdD, is a tenured research faculty in the PhD program in Creative Arts Therapies. She has been principal investigator for several longitudinal research and evaluation studies including those funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the School District of Philadelphia, Lehigh University, Drexel University, Oxfam America, Johns Hopkins University, 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 broadly examines the physiological and psychological outcomes of visual and narrative self-expression. Her Health, Arts, Learning and Evaluation (HALE) Lab team conducts research studies on the role of creativity and self-expression in empowerment, health, as well as learning about self and others. She is currently principal investigator on three federally funded research studies as well as a collaborative study with the International Arts+Mind lab on virtual reality artmaking. The research studies examine: 1) the links between brain activation and virtual reality based art making; 2) the role of art therapy in promoting well-being among patients and caregivers in pediatric hematology/oncology settings; 3) qualitative experiences of caring for and living with Gulf War Illness; and; 4) the impact of art therapy on military service members with traumatic brain injury and related psychological health conditions.

Kaimal has also led several multi-year evaluation studies including on leadership development funded by the U.S. Department of Education and Lehigh University. 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 has been the recipient of the Drexel University Career Development Award; the American Art therapy Association Research Award; global classroom and travel awards; best paper award from the Canadian Art Therapy association journal; as well as been inaugural assessment fellow for Drexel University. She also serves as a research consultant on international development projects related to gender equity and arts-based psychosocial support for vulnerable children and adults living in conditions of high adversity around the world.

View Research Profile

Professional Society:

In addition to her teaching and research, Kaimal was recently voted in as president-elect of the American Art Therapy Association. She also serves on the Faculty Senate of Drexel University and on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal, 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.