Anilena has an MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology (1:1) and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Manchester. After completing her PhD, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland (Australia) and as a researcher in INDICASAT (Panama) where she led a lab to prevent violence against children. She now works as a Monitoring & Evaluation Officer at UNICEF (Panama).
Her research so far has evaluated early childhood development, parenting programs and family-based interventions in low- and middle-income countries. She is also interested in understanding and preventing violence in urban and rural low-resource settings, particularly in Latin America. Her research focuses on testing and developing culturally-relevant and cost-effective preventive interventions for parents and children from high-risk vulnerable communities.
She has engaged in participatory research using visual anthropology techniques. In 2013 she produced a short documentary to showcase the life and resilience of the women in the high-risk Panamanian neighbourhood of San Joaquin, Central America. The idea was to give voice to unheard communities, increase their international visibility and promote action. You can watch the documentary here. Then in 2018, she produced another short documentary filmed and directed by children themselves. You can watch the documentary here.
2009, BSc Psychology (summa cum laude) - Universidad Catolica Santa Maria la Antigua, Panama
2010, MSc Clinical and Health Psychology (1:1) - The University of Manchester, United Kingdom
2014, PhD Clinical Psychology - The University of Manchester, United Kingdom