Jennifer Shimako Abe is interim special assistant to the president for Intercultural Affairs, serving during the transition following the retirement of Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, Ph.D., inaugural vice president for Intercultural Affairs. In this capacity, she facilitates strong collaboration between university administrators and faculty and staff leaders to develop and implement programs, policies and procedures that create and sustain an institutional culture and climate characterized by diversity, inclusion, equity, and equity-mindedness across the campus community. Abe reports to the president.
Abe has served in various leadership capacities at LMU, including terms as associate dean (BCLA, 2005-2010), acting chair of Psychology (2018), and founding co-director for the Casa de la Mateada program. For this latter position, she and her family moved to Argentina to establish a mission-based study abroad program for LMU, living and working in the city of Córdoba for two years (2013-2015). Across these roles, Abe has consistently worked to foster an inclusive institutional climate in which all members of the campus community may thrive, with a particular focus on faculty of color and women faculty at LMU. Abe also completed the Ignatian Colleagues Program (2009-2011) and has long been committed to expressing values of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence in the context of Ignatian values and the university mission.
She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA (1992), where she trained with the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health. Abe's research addresses disparities in mental health service delivery to ethnically diverse populations and her teaching includes a course on Liberation Psychologies, based on the work of Fr. Ignacio Martin-Baró, S.J., one of the Jesuits killed in El Salvador in 1989. In her teaching and scholarship, Abe has worked to connect student learning to lived community realities outside the classroom, a reflection of the Ignatian ideal of a "well-educated solidarity." She is also a senior research associate at LMU's Psychology Applied Research Center (PARC), supporting university and community partners in the design and implementation of multi-year, multi-site evaluations with diverse populations using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework. Currently, Abe is part of PARC's statewide evaluation team for the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), a five-year initiative that includes 35 non-profit organizations representing African American, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Native American, and LGBTQ communities in the state of California.