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COVID-19 Town Hall

  • 25 Apr 2020
  • 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Webinar

Join DCPA COVID-19 Task Force as we host a virtual Town Hall to discuss various mental health topics relevant to our collective experience during this pandemic.  We will feature local psychologists who will discuss parenting tips, relationship tips, and anxiety and stress.


Samira Paul, Psy.D., Co-Chair of the District of Columbia Psychological Association Task Force on COVID-19, is a doctor of clinical psychology and an Assistant Professor at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology.  She obtained her doctorate in psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Argosy University.  She conducts psychotherapy and neuropsychological evaluations for English and Arabic speaking clients and is a consultant on culturally specific clinical interventions.  Dr. Paul's experience includes working in inpatient and outpatient settings’ at the District of Columbia Superior Court and St. Elizabeths Hospital.  She also conducted research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on multiple sclerosis in the Arab world  and collaborated on research on health behaviors and their impact on cognitive dysfunction in people with multiple sclerosis.  Dr. Paul adopts an integrative approach to psychotherapy with a culturally sensitive lens, incorporating religion and spirituality when appropriate.  She believes that people have an unlimited capacity to grow when they accept and celebrate their authentic self. 

Dr. Paul has taken on a number of roles to advocate and promote social justice and equality, to include  establishing the Diversity committee at the District of Columbia’s psychological association and co-founding DMV-Women of Color Psychologists . Prior to her career in psychology, Dr. Paul was a human rights advocate, and political consultant in the Middle East, serving as political adviser to the joint US-UK-Canadian Security Coordination Mission. She also holds a diploma in conflict resolution from Germany’s Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Dr. Jessica M. Smedley completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Riverside, and her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with Marriage and Family Therapy emphasis from University of San Francisco. She then went on to complete her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, where she also completed two additional Masters' Degrees in Christian Leadership and Clinical Psychology, respectively. Her research was focused in the areas of trauma and spirituality in urban communities. Dr. Smedley completed a significant portion of her clinical training in community mental health settings (i.e., residential, outpatient, community-based) as well as private practice settings, providing direct care and completing psychological evaluations for adults and children who have experienced complex trauma, chronic and severe mental illness, co-morbid diagnoses, and several family and environmental systemic issues.  Currently, Dr. Smedley continues to provide such services in the DC area.  She has also been invited as a presenter at various churches or professional events, providing general information about mental health and self-care.  

Dr. Smedley has engaged in several leadership and advocacy trainings and roles throughout her early career.  She has served in several leadership roles to include the Ohio Psychological Association as Diversity Committee Chair, American Psychological Association (APA) as Diversity Subcommittee Chair/Liaison for Committee of State Leaders, and APA Membership Board.  She currently serves as the Federal Advocacy Coordinator for the DC Psychological Association.  Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Smedley has a heart for the ‘underdog,’ and is very passionate about community service and making mental health visible to those who are impacted by health disparities.  

As a former Division-1 athlete and dancer, Dr. Smedley strong believes in the importance of self-care and often applies a holistic approach to wellness in her work.  She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Kosha Shah, Psy.D., is a doctor in clinical psychology that works with youth and adults at the Renewal Counseling Center in Perry Hall, MD.  She obtained her PsyD from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and holds a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University. Dr. Shah’s education and work experiences included working with children in an inpatient and outpatient settings, conducting therapy, assessment, and consultation-liaison services, such as at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children in Richmond, VA and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital in Baltimore, MD. 

Dr. Shah also has previous experience as a school-based therapist in Baltimore.  She enjoys working with youth and their families providing culturally sensitive treatments, while advocating for clients and supporting their parents.  Dr. Shah is passionate about immigrants’ mental health and eradicating the stigma of mental health in minority groups.  She is a dance teaching assistant at the Nrityalaya School of Indian Classical Odissi Dance and is honored to merge her two passions of mental health and dance to destigmatize and spread awareness through art.  Currently, Dr. Shah serves as a leader in the initiative to end the stigma against mental health through research and outreach for the latest production, HerStory.


Dr. Delishia M. Pittman is an Assistant Professor of Counseling in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She also directs the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program where she oversees the training of nearly 100 graduate counselor trainees a year. She is the first African American board-certified counseling psychologist in the District of Columbia, as well as a licensed professional counselor. Her clinical expertise is in diagnosis, assessment, and interventions with dually diagnosed populations and culturally responsive psychotherapy. 

Dr. Pittman is a behavioral scientist; her scholarly work is rooted in a commitment to addressing pressing public health concerns among Black emerging adults. To this end, she situates her health disparities research agenda at the intersections of psychological science and population health, to study behavioral and psychosocial processes that link adult health and disease risk to physical or social exposures during emerging adulthood in Black Americans.

Lastly, Dr. Pittman is passionate about training culturally responsive mental health practitioners and researchers from diverse backgrounds.

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The D.C. Psychological Association (DCPA) works to advance psychology as a source for the promotion of public welfare and human dignity.

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