Gala True, PhD

   Associate Professor

   Section of Community and Population Medicine


   Phone: 504-568-5091






Gala True, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Section on Community and Population Medicine at Louisiana State University School of Medicine and Core Investigator with the South Central Mental Illness Research and Education Center (MIRECC) at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVCHS). With a background in folklore and anthropology, Dr. True’s research focuses on improving access to care and the health of individuals and communities through patient-centered and community-engaged research approaches. She recently completed a 3-year study using participatory action research methods (i.e. photovoice) to collaborate with Veterans, military families, and other key stakeholders on identifying barriers to post-deployment care and proposing solutions for improving community reintegration after separation from military service. Dr. True is Co-PI (with Dr. Joseph Constans as Co-PI and Dr. Amanda Raines as Co-I) on a recent award from the Department of Veterans Affairs that will engage key community stakeholders in identifying common goals and acceptable interventions to promote gun safety and reduce suicide by firearm among Veterans.


University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Bachelor of Arts with High Honors

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Master of Arts, Folklore and Folklife

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
PhD, Folklore and Folklife


Research Interests:

  • Community-engaged research
  • Suicide prevention
  • Firearm safety
  • Community mental health
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Informal (family) caregivers
  • Photovoice methods
  • Mixed methods research


  1. Abraham, T., Ono, S., Moriarty, H., Winter, L., Bender, R., Facundo, R., True, G. (Accepted for publication). Revealing the Invisible Emotion Work of Caregivers: A Photovoice Exploration of Informal Care Provided by Family Caregivers for Post-9/11 Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries. Journal of Health Trauma Rehabilitation.
  2. Rattray, N., Miech, E., True, G., Natividad, D., laws, B., Frankel, R. & Kukla, M. (Accepted for publication). A Multimethod Configurational Approach to Understanding Veteran Community Reintegration. Field Methods.
  3. True, G., Facundo, R., Urbina, C., Sheldon, S., Southall, J. & Ono, S. (Accepted for publication). “If You Don’t Name the Dragon, you Can’t Begin to Slay It:” Increasing Awareness about Traumatic Brain Injury through Participatory Action Research and Military Caregivers. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.
  4. Montgomery, A., Byrne, T., Cusack, M., Chhabra, M., Dichter, M & True, G. (Accepted for publication). Patients Perspectives on Elements of Stable Housing and Threats to Housing Stability. Journal of the Society for Social Work.
  5. Wyse, J., Ono, S., Kabat, M., True, G. (2020) Supporting Family Caregivers of Veterans: Participant Perceptions of a Federally-Mandated Caregiver Support Program. Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hjdsi.2020.100441
  6. Dichter, M., Makaroun, L., Tuepker, A., True, G. Montgomery, A.E., Iverson, K. (2020) Middle-aged Women’s Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Disclosure: “It’s a Private Matter. It’s an Embarrassing Situation.” Journal of General Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-05947-3
  7. Luger, T., Hamilton, A. & True, G. (2020). Measuring Community-Engaged Research Contexts, Processes, and Outcomes: A Mapping Review. The Milbank Quarterly. Pp. 1-61. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12458
  8. Sorrentino, A., Iverson., K., Tuepker, A., True, G., Cusack, M., Newell, S., & Dichter, M. (2020) Mental health care in the context of intimate partner violence: Survivor perspectives. Psychological Services. doi: 10.1037/ser0000427
  9. Montgomery, A., Rahman, A., Chhabra, M., Cusack, M. & True, G. (2020). The Importance of Context: Linking Veteran Outpatients Screening Positive for Housing Instability with Responsive Interventions. Administration and Policy in Mental Health Services Research.  DOI: 10.1007/s10488-020-01028-z
  10. Cusack, M., Montgomery, A., Sorrentino, A., Dichter, M., Chhabra. & True, G. (2019). Journey to Home: Development of a Conceptual Model to Describe Veterans’ Experiences with Resolving Housing Instability. Housing Studies, 35(2):310-322.
  11. Yu, B., Montgomery, A., True, G., Cusack, M., Sorrentino, A., Chhabra, M. & Dichter, M. (2020). The intersection of interpersonal violence and housing instability: Perspectives from women Veterans. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(1):63-69.
  12. Byrne, T., Cusack, M., True, G., Montgomery, A.M., & Smith, M. (2020) “You Don’t See Them on the Streets of Your Town”: Challenges and Strategies for Serving Unstably Housed Veterans in Rural Areas, Housing Policy Debate, 30:3, 409-430.
  13. Abraham, T., Deen, T., Hamilton, M., True, G., O’Neil, M., Blanchard, J. & Uddo, M. (2020). Analyzing free-text survey responses: An accessible strategy for developing patient-centered programs and program evaluation. Evaluation and Program Planning, 78.
  14. Everett, A., Sugarman, O., Wennerstrom, A., Pollock, M., True, G., Haywood, C., Meyers, D., Raines, A., Wells, K., Johnson, A., Arevian, A., Sato, J. & Springgate, B. (2019). Community-informed strategies to address trauma and enhance resilience in climate-affected communities. Traumatology, 25(4).
  15. Pollock, M., Wennerstrom, A., True, G., Everett, A., Sugarman, O., Haywood, C., Johnson, A., Meyers, D., Sato, J., Wells, K., Arevian, A., Massimi, M., Berry, J., Riefberg, L., Onyewuenyi, N. & Springgate, B. (2019). Preparedness and Community Resilience in Disaster-Prone Areas: Cross-Sectoral Collaborations in South Louisiana, 2018. American Journal of Public Health, 109(S4), S309-15.   
  16. Luger, T., Hamilton, A. & True, G. (Accepted for publication). Measuring Community-Engaged Research Contexts, Processes, and Outcomes: A Mapping Review. The Milbank Quarterly.
  17. Rattray, N., True, G., Natividad, D., Salyers, M., Frankel, R. & Kukla, M. (2019). The long and winding road to postsecondary education for U.S. veterans with invisible injuries. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. 42(3), 284-95 doi:10.1037/prj0000375
  18. Cusack, M., Montgomery, A., Hunt-Johnson, N., Dichter, M. & True, G. (2019) Making Connections: Understanding how Screening, Triage, and Referral can Promote Housing Stability. Social Work in Public Health, 34(6), 483-91. doi:10.1080/19371918.2019.1629143
  19. Montgomery, A., Byrne, T., Cusak, M., Chhabra, M., Dichter, M & True, G. (Accepted for publication) Patients Perspectives on Elements of Stable Housing and Threats to Housing Stability. Journal of the Society for Social Work. 
  20. Dichter, M., Sorrentino, A., Haywood, T., Tuepker, A., Newell, S., Cusak, M. & True, G. (In press). Women’s participation in research on intimate partner violence: Findings on recruitment, retention, and participants’ experiences. Women’s Health Issue
  21. Cusack, M., Montgomery, A., Sorrentino, A., Dichter, M., Chhabra. & True, G. (2019) Journey to Home: Development of a Conceptual Model to Describe Veterans’ Experiences with Resolving Housing Instability. Housing Studies. 35(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/02673037.2019.1598551 
  22. Rodriguez, K., Broyles, L., Mitchell, M., Wieland, M & True, G. (2019). “Build a Bridge So You Can Cross It:” A Photo-Elicitation Study of Health and Wellness Among Homeless and Marginally Housed Veterans. The Qualitative Report. 24(2), 371-94. 
  23. True, G., Davidson, L., Facundo, R., Meyer, D., Urbina, S. & Ono, S. (Accepted for publication). ‘Institutions Don’t Hug People:’ A Roadmap for Building Trust, Connectedness and Purpose through Photovoice Collaboration. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.  
  24. Chhabra, M., Sorrentino, A., Cusack, M., Dichter, M., Montgomery, A., & True, G. (2019). Screening for housing instability: Providers’ reflections on addressing a social determinant of health. Journal of General Internal Medicine
  25. Raines, A., Oglesby, M., Walton, J., & True, G. Franklin, C. (2019). Intolerance of uncertainty and DSM-5 PTSD symptoms: Associations among a treatment seeking veteran sample. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 62, 61-67. 
  26. Yu, B., Montgomery, A., True, G., Cusack, M., Sorrentino, A., Chhabra, M. & Dichter, M. (2018). The intersection of interpersonal violence and housing instability: Perspectives from women Veterans. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 
  27. Littman, A., True, G., Ashmore, E., Wellens, T. & Smith, N. (2018). How can we get Iraq- and Afghanistan-deployed US Veterans to participate in health-related research? Findings from a national focus group. BMC Medical Research Methodology.18(1), 88 
  28. Mengeling, M., Zickmund, S., True, G., Burkitt, K., Ono, S. & Sadler, A. (2018). Sexual Trauma Screening for Men and Women: Construct Validity of a Two Item Screen Violence and Victims. Violence and Victims. 34(1). 
  29. Moriarty, H., True, G., Winter, L., & Short, T. (2018). Exploration of Factors Related to Depressive Symptomatology in Family Members of Military Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Family Nursing. 24(2) 184-216. 
  30. Dichter, M., Wagner, C., & True, G. (2018). Women Veteran’s Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence and Non-Partner Sexual Assault in the Context of Military Service: Implications for supporting women’s health and well-being. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(6), 843-64.  
  31. True, G., Cullen, S., Frasso, R., Hermann, R., Marcus, S. (2017). Adverse Events in Veterans Affairs Inpatient Psychiatric Units: Staff Perspectives on Contributing and Protective Factors. General Hospital Psychiatry, 48: 65-71.  
  32. Raines, A., Capron, D., Stentz, L., Walton, J., Allan, N., McManus, E., Uddo, M., True, G., & Franklin, C. (2017). Posttraumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation, plans, and impulses: The mediating role of anxiety sensitivity cognitive concerns among veterans. Journal of Affective Disorders, 222, 57-62. 
  33. Miller, R., Goldstein, K., Michener, J., Yang, P., Groce-Martin, J., & True, G., Johnson, J. (2017) Impact of a Community Based Service Learning Experience in Geriatrics on Internal Medicine Residents and Community Partners. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(9): E130-E134. 
  34. True, G., Alexander, L., & Fisher, C. (2017) Supporting the role of community members employed as research staff: Perspectives of community researchers working in addiction Research. Social Science & Medicine. 187, 67-75. 
  35. Metraux, S., Cusack, M., Byrne, T. H., Hunt-Johnson, N., & True, G. (2017) Pathways into Homelessness among Post-9/11 Era Veterans. Psychological Services, 14(2) 229-237. 
  36. Moriarty, H. J., Winter, L., True, G., Robinson, K., & Short, T. H. (2016) Depressive Symptomatology Mediates Associations with Community Reintegration in Veterans with TBI. Military Psychology, doi:10.1037/mil0000122. 
  37. Mitchell, M. A., Hedyati, D. O., Rodriguez, K. L., True, G., Balable, S. N., Gordon, A. J., Conley, J. W., & Boyles L. M. (2016). Logistical Lessons Learned in Designing and Executing a Photo- Elicitation Study in the Veterans Health Administration. The Qualitative Report, 21(7), 1303- 1315. 
  38. Moriarty, H., Winter, L., Robinson, K., Piersol, K. V., Vause-Erland, T., Iacovone, D., Newhart, B., True, G., Fishman, D., Hodgson, N., & Gitlin, L. (2016). A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Veterans’ In-home Program for Military Families with Traumatic Brain Injury and Their Families: Report on Impact for Family Members. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 8(6), 495-509. 
  39. Fields, B., McCloskey, S., Richardson, D., True, G., & Kuna S. (2016). Remote Ambulatory Management of Veterans with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. SLEEP, 39(3), 501-509. 
  40. Johnson, J., Hayden, T., & True, G. (2016). The Impact of Faith Beliefs on Perceptions of End-of-Life Care and Decision-making Among African American Church Members. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 19(2), 143-148.  
  41. Dichter, M., Wagner, C., & True, G. (2015). Timing of Intimate Partner Violence in Relationship to Military Service among Women Veterans Military Medicine. Military Medicine, 180(11), 1124-1127. 
  42. Richman, K., Alexander, L., & True, G. (2015). How do Street-Level Research Workers Think about the Ethics of Doing Research "On the Ground" with Marginalized Target Populations? American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research, 6(2), 1-11. 
  43. True, G., Rigg, K., & Butler, A. (2015). Understanding Barriers to Mental Health Care for Recent War Veterans through Photovoice. Qualitative Health Research 25(10), 1443-1455. 
  44. Moriarty, H., Winter, L., Robinson, K., True, G., Piersol, C., Vause-Earland, T., Iacovone, D. B., Holbert, L., Newhart, B., Fishman, D., & Short T. H. (2015). Exploration of Individual and Family Factors Related to Community Reintegration in Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 21(3), 195-211.  
  45. Smith, R. T., & True, G. (2014). Warring Identities: Identity Conflict and the Mental Distress of American Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Society and Mental Health, 4(2), 147-161.  
  46. Werner, R., Canamucio, A., Shea, J., & True, G. (2014). The Medical Home Transformation in the Veterans Health Administration: An Evaluation of Early Changes in Primary Care Delivery. Health Services Research, 49(4), 1329-1347. 
  47. Butler, A., Canamucio, A., Macpherson, D., Skoko, J., & True, G. (2014). Primary Care Staff Perspectives on a Virtual Collaborative to Support Medical Home Implementation. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 29(2), 579-588.  
  48. Bugos, E., Frasso, R.., FitzGerald, E., True, G., Adachi-Mejia, A. M., Cannuscio, C. (2014). Practical Guidance and Ethical Considerations for Studies Using Photo-Elicitation Interviews. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11(E189), 1-9. 
  49. True, G., Stewart, G., Lampman, M., Pelak, M., & Solimeo, S., (2014). Teamwork and Delegation in Medical Homes: Primary Care Staff Perspectives in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 29(2), 632-639.  
  50. Dichter, M., & True, G. (2014). "This is the story of why my military career ended before it should have:" Premature Separation from Military Service among U.S. Women Veterans. AFFILIA: Journal of Women and Social Work, 30(2); 187-199. 
  51. Corcoran, A. M., & True, G., Charles, N., & Margo, K. L. Geriatric Palliative Care. (2013). Do Medical Student Narrative Reflections after a Hospice Clinical Experience Link to Geriatric Competencies? Gerontology and Geriatrics Education Page, DOI: 10.1080/02701960.2013.815180, 2013. 
  52. Fisher, C. B., True, G., Alexander, L. B., & Fried, A. L. (2013). Moral Stress, Moral Practice, and Ethical Climate in Community-Based Drug Use Research: Views from the Front Line. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research, 4(3), 27-38. 
  53. Dichter, M, True, G, Marcus, S, Gerlock, A, Yano, E. (2013). Documentation of Intimate Partner Violence in Women Veterans' Medical Records: An In-Depth Analysis. Military Behavioral Health, 1(2): 114-120. 
  54. True, G., Butler, A., Lamparska, B., Lempa, M., Shea, J., Asch, D., & Werner, R. (2013). Open Access in the Patient-Centered Medical Home: Lessons from the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of General Internal Medicine,28(4), 539-545. 
  55. Crowley-Matoka, M., & True, G. (2012). No One Wants to be the Candyman: Ambivalent Medicalization and Clinician Subjectivity in Pain Management. Cultural Anthropology, 27(4), 689-712. 
  56. Richman, K., Alexander, L., & True, G. (2012). Proximity, Ethical Dilemmas, and Community Research Workers. American Journal of Bioethics: Primary Research, 3(4), 19-29. 
  57. True, G., Alexander, L. B., & Richman, R. (2011). Misbehaviors of Front-Line Research Personnel and the Integrity of Community-Based Research. JERHRE: Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 6(2), 3-12. 
  58. True, G., Bartlett, M., Fink, R., Linebarger, M., & Schwartz, M. (2010). Perspectives of Persons with Aphasia on use of SentenceShaper To Go: A Qualitative Study. Aphasiology, 24(9), 1032-1050. 
  59. Phipps, E., Harris, D., Braitman, L., Tester, W., & Madison-Thompson, N. True G. (2005). Who Enrolls in End of Life Research? Report from the Cultural Variations in Approaches to End of Life Study. Palliative Medicine 22(4): 133-140, 2005. 
  60. True, G., Phipps, E., Braitman, L., Harralson, T., Harris, D., & Tester, W. (2005). Treatment Preferences and Advance Care Planning at End of Life: The Role of Ethnicity and Spiritual Coping in Cancer Patients. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 30(2), 174-179. 
  61. Miles P, True G. (2003). Reiki-Review of a Biofield Therapy: History, Theory, Research, and Practice. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9(2), 62-72. 
  62. Phipps E, Braitman LE, True G, Harris D, Tester W. (2003). Family Caregiving for Patients at Life's End: Report from the Cultural Variations Study. Palliative and Supportive Care, 1, 165-170. 
  63. Phipps E, True G, Harris D, Chong U, Tester W, Chavin SI, Braitman LE. (2003). Approaching the End of Life: A Comparative Study of Behaviors and Attitudes of African American and White Patients and Their Family Caregivers. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 21(3), 549-554. 
  64. Phipps, E,. True, G., & Murray G. (2003). Community Perspectives on Advance Care Planning: Report from the Community Ethics Program. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 10(4), 118-123. 
  65. True G., & Phipps E. (1999). The Place of Narrative in Rehabilitation. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 14(5): 505-507, 1999. 
  66. True G. (1998). Introducing the Patient's Voice: An Applied Folklore Approach to Autonomy in Adolescent Health Care. Journal of Folklore Research, 35(3): 223-39. 
  67. True G. (1997). ‘My Soul Will Come Back to Trouble You': Cultural and Ethical Issues in the Coerced Treatment of a Hmong Adolescent. Southern Folklore, 54(1), 101-113.