Meet Our Team

~Lab Director~

Shinye Kim, Ph.D.

I am an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a licensed psychologist. I completed my doctoral training in Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (APA-accredited) with a minor in Educational Statistics and Measurement in 2016 and an APA-accredited internship at NYC Health + Hospitals|Kings County, part of the largest public health care system in the United States. In addition, I previously completed a Master’s Degree in Prevention Science and Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Busan National University of Education in South Korea.

 My primary focus of my research examines cultural, psychological and social aspects of chronic pain and opioid use. As a scientist-practitioner, I developed a research interest in pain during my advanced health psychology clinical training (pain management & consultation-liaison psychiatry) where I witnessed how chronic pain patients are marginalized, ignored, and blamed for their pain conditions. Many pain patients are marginalized by health care professionals, as well as their own social circles. My view on pain is grounded in two key values: 1) it is strength-based. I examine the influence of chronic pain on both absence of illness and the presence of human thriving (Kim et al., 2019); and 2) it is context-driven. Using social cognitive theory as a conceptual underpinning contributes to the current biopsychosocial understanding of chronic pain, which often fails to consider the importance of contextual factors such as cultural orientation, language barriers and work-family management. To date, my research has demonstrated chronic pain’s influence on eudaimonic and subjective wellbeing (Kim, et al., 2020), the roles of various types of social support (e.g., family, friends, coworkers, and supervisor) on chronic pain comorbidities (Kim, Lee, & Boone, 2022) and work-family enrichment as a protective factor in pain outcome (Kim et al., under review). I have also examined the relations among pain specific social supports on pain experience and opioid use in the context of cultural orientation of individualism and collectivism (Kim, et al., 2022). My research embraces an ecological systems perspective, where family--as a key microsystem--is considered a critical factor in exacerbating (Boone & Kim, 2019) or buffering (Nguyen, Kim et al., 2020) the stress associated with having chronic pain.

Using my recent NSF grant, my research team interviewed more than one hundred health care providers and chronic pain patients in order to examine the cultural and socio-cognitive factors influencing how members of ethnic and linguistic minority groups experiencing chronic pain communicate with their healthcare providers (as well as the experience of healthcare providers working with these populations). I am using the results from these interviews to develop a digital health technology for chronic pain patients with ethnic and linguistic minority backgrounds; the purpose of which is to substantially improve pain communication with their healthcare providers by incorporating cultural and linguistic norms and patterns that affect the pain experience. The ultimate goal of my research is to better analyze and form policies that will improve not only our understanding, but also improve equity in the delivery of pain health care. 

My clinical work has focused on serving underserved and underrepresented individuals with histories of severe mental health issues as well as chronic pain conditions through a psychodynamic orientation. My doctoral clinical training was completed at academic medical centers, public and community hospitals in three different cities in Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Madison and Racine. My master’s clinical training was at an urban high school in Boston.  Additional work fundamental to my identity as a clinician is the four years of psychoanalytic training at the Wisconsin and Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute during my doctoral training. I am excited to bring the depth and breadth of my clinical experience to the next generations of psychologists.

Beyond my work as an instructor, mentoring students has become extremely important to me. I run an active research team consisting of several doctoral and undergraduate students, who have broad aspirations, including becoming psychologists, pathologists, oncologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists, dentists and health care researchers. I am proud to say that this is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my job. I feel strongly about the importance of collaborating with students as well as scholars in diverse disciplines. I involve graduate students in research early in their training using both the “apprentice model” and “junior colleague model” based on their developmental level. I have received excellent mentorship, understand its importance, and I am committed to “paying it forward.”

Outside of Academia, I love being in nature, from small adventures exploring local parks to longer voyages to state and national parks. Recently, I have gotten back into playing piano and enjoy listening to the works of Chopin and Rachmaninoff, whose work impresses me every time I hear it. The intersection of quantum physics, psychotherapy and Buddhism is also an subject of my musings, and I hope to write a piece on this subject when I get closer to retirement. I practice Seon Meditation and love reading and discussing anything about it.

 ~ Graduate Team Members ~

Jyotsna (Joy) Dhar M.A., NCC

I am a 1.5-generation Kashmiri American currently in my first year in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an aspiring scientist-practitioner-advocate, my goal is to use my clinical and research skills to work alongside minoritized communities for healing, collective liberation, and social justice. My experience as a child of displaced migrants and a South Asian woman in America drives my desire to research and uplift anti-oppressive therapeutic, community-level, and policy-based initiatives that center BIPOC, immigrants, refugees, and displaced persons. I am particularly excited to be in the Kim Lab to learn and work alongside team members passionate about highlighting and mitigating pain-related health disparities in the Asian American community. 

I hope to utilize my experiences in grassroots community organizing alongside her clinical skills to aid in the decolonization of healing practices for minoritized individuals in America and the global majority. I am a former NBCC Minority Fellowship recipient who earned her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northwestern University and B.A. in International Affairs at George Washington University. In my free time, you can find me doing yoga, listening to podcasts on 1.25x speed, or spamming group chats with memes.

Min Xu

Min Xu is an international student from China. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Demonstrating dedication to her academic and professional aspirations, Min is committed to advocating for the holistic well-being of individuals with disabilities through the application of her clinical expertise and research endeavors. Min's research primarily centered around comprehending the complexities of social adjustment among Asians with disabilities. The overarching objective of her work is to effectuate a tangible enhancement in the overall quality of life for Asians with disabilities. Min is concerned with cultural disparities in research and clinical work. She aspires to promote culturally sensitive and equitable mental health and medical services for Asians through her multifaceted approach encompassing research, clinical interventions, and advocacy efforts. Min earned her B.S. degree in Psychology at Utah Valley University. 

Patrina Wong

Patrina Wong is an international student from Hong Kong who is currently pursuing her M.S in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the course of her studies, her interest in mental health and its intersection with one’s sociocultural background continues to grow, especially when she realizes how much of psychology’s foundations are built upon traditionally white, Euro- or US-centric perspectives. Patrina is particularly interested in understanding how Asian’s understanding of shame may impact their various health-related experiences, whether that be health-seeking behaviors, pain, illness trajectory, or seeking social support. Patrina’s clinical interests lie in collaborating with individuals diagnosed with terminal illnesses and those experiencing bereavement; she hopes to incorporate her research experiences into her clinical practice, bringing forth a more culturally aware and person-centered approach to her clients. Patrina earned her undergraduate degree in Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. 

~ Undergraduate Team Members ~

Chao Xiong

I am Chao Xiong, and I'm from Milwaukee, WI. I'm a 4th year student at UW-Madison, majoring in Global Health with a certificate in Entrepreneurship. My ultimate goal is to work in the healthcare & health system business and policy side, focusing on making healthcare more affordable and accessible. To pursue this passion, I co-founded a Non-Profit organization called Health Entrepreneurs and Leaders (HEAL) with some colleagues. HEAL aims to support and serve all students who are on the pre-health track. I am proud to be a founding member of the Bridging Wisconsin Project, initiated as a Wisconsin Idea fellowship project via the UW-Madison Morgridge Center for Public Services. Our mission is to offer resources, exposure, and exploration opportunities to Wisconsin scholars starting from elementary and high school through college with an emphasis on the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am committed to serving the Wisconsin community through leadership, public service, and education.