From Surviving to Thriving: Carla Chugani

March 18, 2020

In 2016, Carla arrived at the University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral scholar.  As the daughter of academic parents, it’s no surprise that Carla decided to pursue a similar path.   Today, as an assistant professor, Carla is conducting research, teaching, and developing programs focused on mental health and suicide prevention.  She wasn’t initially interested in science or mental health though Carla first wanted to pursue a career in music.  And not just any music, opera. 

About Chugani

Carla Chugani, PhD, LPC is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health. Chugani completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh. She is both a Pain Research Challenge and a WORDOUT Community Research Dissemination Challenge awardee.


Key Highlights

  • 4:15 Transitioning from opera performance to mental health   
  • 7:00 Attending graduate school while having to think about hiding her history 
  • 7:45 Process of becoming a therapist and confronting her own experiences  
  • 9:45 Obtained a PhD and joined the University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral scholar 
  • 12:00 Working as a clinical scientist and implementing dialectical behavior training (DBT) programs   
  • 13:45 Carla elaborates on ongoing studies that she is doing at the college level  
  • 15:00 Embrace Pittsburgh and their range of initiatives  
  • 16:15 Starting a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh   
  • 17:45 Navigating academia as a new investigator and managing pressures that come with it 
  • 19:30 What does thriving mean to Carla in her current role?  
  • 22:30 Visiting thrift stores and finding valuable art and antiques 
  • 24:15 One word to describe herself  
  • 27:15 Being open and advocating for other people in her role