Dr. Lai's research focuses on how children and families respond to disasters and other traumatic stressors. Her recent work has focused on children's mental health symptoms, physical health symptoms, and school functioning following large scale disasters (e.g., Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Charley, bushfires in Australia). Her work also examines how advanced statistical modeling strategies may be applied to better understand how to minimize the effects of disasters on children’s functioning. Dr. Lai has a forthcoming book from Princeton University Press on grant writing.
Dr. Lai's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Lai was a Fellow in the Next Generation of Hazard and Disasters Researchers Program, a National Scholar for the Academy on Violence and Abuse, and an Early Career Research Fellow in the Gulf Research Program. Her work has been recognized with an Early Career Award from Division 56, the Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association, an Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth, and Families, and the Diane J. Willis Early Career Award from the American Psychological Foundation/Division 37.