Dr Anilena Mejia MSc, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow

Full contact details
View graph of relations


Anilena is a Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Psychological Sciences and a full-time Monitoring & Evaluation Officer at UNICEF in Panama.  


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

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Society for Prevention Research (SPR)
  • Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD)
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD)
  • International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)
  • Sociedad Interamericana de Psicología (SIP)
  • International Association for Cross-cultural Psychology (IACCP)
  • International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP)

External positions

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, UNICEF Panama

8 Oct 2018 → …

Honorary Research Fellow, University of Queensland

1 Dec 2015 → …

Related information