Entry Year


Major Area of Study

Behavioral Medicine


Vanessa Malcarne, PhD



Research Interests

Shadi’s research has broadly focused on psychosocial factors that impact coping with chronic illness and service access. Throughout her doctoral training, she been working primarily on research investigating psychosocial issues in systemic sclerosis (SSc), a rare and progressive rheumatic disease that can cause disfigurement in visible and socially relevant areas of the body. She has also been involved in research examining the assessment of psychological injury in forensic settings.

Shadi has been a student member of the Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN), an international consortium focused on improving quality of life in SSc. She is involved in the development of an internet-based intervention for patients experiencing body image distress. The self-guided online format of the intervention is aimed to fill a gap in service access, specifically the availability of evidence-based, disease-specific psychosocial interventions for patients with rare diseases. Additionally, she has collaborated with researchers with expertise in SSc on a number of manuscripts, including a first-authored chapter on managing body image distress that is geared toward clinicians. Drawing on her training in assessments and interest in service access issues, she is also involved in research examining the (mis)use of psychological assessments forensic settings.

As her work often involves collaborations with physicians and incorporates advanced statistical techniques and methodologies, Shadi concurrently pursued a doctorate in clinical psychology and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Her public health master’s thesis examined predictors of service connection, a variable associated with increased service access in Veterans. Shadi strive to incorporate cross-disciplinary knowledge and collaborations whenever relevant and appropriate in her research.

Representative Publications
  • Gholizadeh, S., Rooney, B., Merz, E.L., Malcarne, V.L., Safren, S., and Blashill, A.J. (Accepted). The role of body image dissatisfaction in high risk sexual behaviors in HIV positive men. AIDS and Behavior.

  • Gholizadeh, S., Mills, S. D., Fox, R. S., Malcarne, V. L., Roesch, S.C., Clements, P., Kafaja S., Khanna, D., & Furst, D. (Accepted). A psychometric evaluation of the Arthritis Helplessness Index (AHI) in systemic sclerosis (SSc). Journal of Rheumatology.

  • Gholizadeh, S., Fox, R. S., Mills, S. D., Jewett, L. R., Thombs, B. D., & Malcarne, V. L. (2017). Coping with the disfigurement of scleroderma: Facial, skin, and hand changes (pp 713-721). In F. M. Wigley (Ed.), Scleroderma: From pathogenesis to comprehensive management, 2nd ed. New York: Springer.

  • Gholizadeh, S., Malcarne, V.L., & Schatman, M. (2016). Functioning well in a dysfunctional system: Recommendations for clinical psychologists in workers’ compensation settings. Psychological Injury and Law, 9, 360-375.

  • Gholizadeh, S., & Malcarne, V. L. (2015). Professional and ethical challenges in determinations of causality of psychological disability. Psychological Injury and Law, 8, 334-347.

  • Gholizadeh, S., Malcarne, V. L., & Schatman, M. E. (2015). Ethical quandaries for psychologists in workers’ compensation settings: The GAF gaffe. Psychological Injury and Law, 8, 64-81.

  • Malcarne, V. L., Fox, R. S., Mills, S. D., & Gholizadeh, S. (2013). Psychosocial aspects of systemic sclerosis: Recent findings. Current Opinion in Rheumatology, 25, 707-713.

  • 2016 Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health, San Diego, CA
  • 2016 American Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) Graduate Student Recognition Award, Washington, DC
  • 2015 Inamori Fellow (given to the top ten graduate students at the university), San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • 2015 Gholizadeh, S. (PI). A Psychometric Analysis of the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS-6) in Systemic Sclerosis: Results from the Scleroderma Patient-Centered Intervention Network (SPIN) Cohort. Rheumatology Research Foundation: Health Professional Research Preceptorship, $5,000. June 2015 – July 2015.
Lab Website



Shadi Gholizadeh CV