David I. K. Moniz-Lewis, BA, Sierra Nevada University
Ikela graduated summa cum lade with a B.A. in Psychology from Sierra Nevada University (formerly Sierra Nevada College) in 2019. During his undergraduate training, Ikela was involved with multiple grant-funded research projects and independently designed, conducted, and published a study that investigated physiological correlates for self-reported stress using auditory entrainment via his membership in the Honor’s College. During this time, Ikela also founded the Sierra Nevada College Meditation Sangha which aimed to share the practices of mindfulness meditation throughout the local community.
After graduating, Ikela accepted a position as a Nevada Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern at a non-profit Level 1 Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) – Opioid Treatment Program in Northern Nevada. In this role, he worked primarily with individuals who met DSM-5 criteria for severe opioid use disorder within a harm reduction treatment model.
Ikela entered the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of New Mexico in 2021 under the guidance of Dr. Katie Witkiewitz. His primary research interests include the utilization of mindfulness-based interventions and medications for opioid use disorder in the treatment of substance use disorders in marginalized populations with comorbid disorders. He is also passionate about how the harm reduction model can be implemented and improved within the systems that most impact individuals with addiction to foster more compassionate opportunities for healing, as well as to emphasize the diverse and unique pathways to recovery that are possible for each individual.