David I. K. Moniz-Lewis, BA, Sierra Nevada University
Ikela graduated summa cum lade with a B.A. in Psychology from Sierra Nevada College in 2019. After graduating, he worked as a substance use counselor at a non-profit Level 1 Medication-Assisted Opioid Treatment Program in Northern Nevada. While in this role he developed a passion for the harm reduction treatment model and an appreciation for the many pathways to recovery that exist beyond just abstinence. It was the resiliency and dedication of the clients that he had the privilege to work with that inspired him to further his education.
Ikela entered the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of New Mexico in 2021 under the guidance of Dr. Katie Witkiewitz. While constantly growing and refining, his primary research interests include the utilization of mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of substance use disorders, particularly for historically marginalized and underserved populations. He also has a growing interest in the social and economic determinants of addiction, and how community-based research can inform the development and implementation of evidence-based treatments within community settings. He is also very interested in studying the mechanisms which lead to recovery, and how a nuanced understanding of these mechanisms can support a strengths-based model of treatment. It is his highest aspiration to use the opportunities available to him to advance the field of addiction treatment in the direction of greater compassion, equity, and efficacy – both in communities of which he is a part and beyond.