Academic Title
Major Area(s) of Study
Professor In Residence UCSD Behavioral Medicine / Experimental Psychopathology
Address 858-534-2670 Department of Psychiatry / University of California, San Diego / 9500 Gilman Drive, #9116-B / La Jolla, CA 92093

Graduate Institution

University of Nevada, Reno

Research Description

Dr. Afari is Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health at VA San Diego Healthcare System and Vice Chair of Veterans Affairs at the Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine. Her overarching research program focuses on the biopsychosocial understanding and treatment of chronic health conditions. She has expertise in examining the relationship between psychological trauma and health; using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for treatment of various conditions, such as chronic pain, obesity, and binge eating; and implementing eHealth technology for evidence-based screening and outcomes monitoring of mental health symptoms. Her research on the development and implementation of technology to improve evidence-based mental health care has led to the development of the VA eScreening program for veterans to directly report their health symptoms through a veteran-facing portal that communicates with the electronic medical records system. The VA eScreening program was selected as a 2016 Gold Status practice by the VA Undersecretary for Health for diffusion across the VHA. She has received grant funding from multiple NIH Institutes as well as the Veterans Affairs. In addition to numerous peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Afari has co-authored the highly popular “The Big Book of ACT Metaphors”. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno and completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral training at the University of Washington School of Medicine where she also was a faculty member.

Representative Publications
  • Afari N, Buchwald D, Clauw D, Hong B, Hou X, Krieger JN, Mullins C, Stephens-Shields AJ, Gasperi M, Williams DA. A MAPP Network Case-Control Study of Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Compared with Non-Urologic Pain Conditions. Clin J Pain. 2019 Sep 26. PMID: 31567428.

  • Dochat C, Godfrey KM, Golshan S, Cuneo JG, Afari N. Dietary restraint and weight loss in relation to disinhibited eating in obese Veterans following a behavioral weight loss intervention. Appetite. 2019 Sep 01; 140:98-104. PMID: 31078701.

  • Herbert MS, Malaktaris AL, Dochat C, Thomas ML, Wetherell JL, Afari N. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Pain: Does Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Influence Treatment Outcomes? Pain Med. 2019 Jan 02. PMID: 30602034.


Matthew Herbert, PhD; Julie Wetherell; James Pittman