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Dr. Deborah Wiebe

Deb received her PhD in Medical Psychology, as well as a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1988. She then joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, where she helped to develop a Health Psychology training program, and served as Graduate Director as well as Director of Clinical Training.  In 2006, she joined the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, with a secondary appointment in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).  While there, Dr. Wiebe served as Director of Research at UT Southwestern and on the executive board for the UTD Center for Children and Families.  In 2013, she joined the faculty in Psychological Sciences at UC Merced, where she is a member of the Health Psychology area and serves as Director of the UC Merced Health Sciences Research Institute. Dr. Wiebe’s research focuses on the social and developmental context of self-regulation and coping with chronic illness.  Much of her work has focused on understanding how children, families and physicians work together to manage type 1 diabetes across adolescence and into emerging adulthood. Most recently, she has examined how sociocultural factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, cultural beliefs, race/ethnicity) affect how young people and their families manage diabetes. Dr. Wiebe’s research has been funded primarily by grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).



Maria Ramirez Loyola

Maria earned a B.A. in Psychology at UC Riverside in 2016 and an M.A. in Psychological Sciences at UC Merced in 2018. Maria studies resilience processes associated with chronic stress, coping, and health among emerging adults and predominantly works with intensive multilevel (i.e., between- and within-person) data across time in order to better understand how these processes play out in daily life. She has also begun to extend her research into understanding the role of these resilience processes in sociocultural contexts by examining how perceived ethnic/racial discrimination (as a potential source of stress) may impact the daily health of Latino emerging adults. One fun fact about Maria is that she loves to read and happens to be a huge Harry Potter fan!


Avia Gray

Avia earned her B.S. in Psychology from Abilene Christian University in 2014 and her M.A. in Psychological Research from Texas State University. Her research specializes in identifying psychosocial factors that impede and disrupt chronic disease self-management and health outcomes in vulnerable populations. Currently, her research uses a methodically holistic approach to evaluate type 1 diabetes outcomes in emerging adults and in racial and ethnic minorities, utilizing structural equation modeling, qualitative methods, longitudinal designs, and psychometric analyses. 

Aislinn Beam

Aislinn completed her B.A. at the University of California, Irvine in Comparative Literature with a minor in Gender and Sexuality studies in 2015, and her M.A. in Psychological Sciences at UC Merced in 2020. She is interested in the intersection of chronic physical health conditions and mental health issues, specifically in the areas of depression and disordered eating. She is currently focusing on insulin omission in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Aislinn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes herself when she was 13 and has even been to “diabetes camp”! 

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Daniel Mello

Daniel completed his Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences at UC Merced in 2019, and now teaches in psychology. His courses include introductory topics, along with examining cultural processes and social inequity through a psychological lens. His research investigates how sociocultural and family processes contribute to the management of pediatric type 1 diabetes across developmental periods. He is also the co-founder of the Speed Diversity Dialogue workshop aimed at improving awareness and inclusivity for people from all walks of life.

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