Different & Diverse

with Melina Foden, PsyD and Atira Roberson

Different & Diverse

Episode 13, Season 3 | February 1, 2023

Show Notes

Navigating learning and mental health challenges is difficult; adding racial and ethnic diversity to the mix can magnify the inequities and complexities of the journey. In today’s podcast episode we talk with Dr. Melina Foden, licensed clinical psychologist at CHC’s Catherine T. Harvey Center for Clinical Services and Atira Roberson, a full-time learning disabilities advocate who proudly proclaims, “I’m black, I’m female, and I have a learning disability.” Our guest host is my CHC colleague, Natalie Tamburello, who has dyslexia and has invested the past several years advocating for young adults with learning differences. The conversation delves into diagnosis, accommodations, stigma and resilience.

Guest Info
Melina Foden headshot

Dr. Melina Foden (she/her/ella) is a bilingual, bicultural licensed psychologist. She has received training in multiple evidence-based therapies including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Parent Management Training (PMT), and behavioral approaches. Dr. Foden uses an integrated and strengths-based approach to meet the unique needs of her clients and families. She has worked with youth presenting with a wide range of clinical concerns, including depression, anxiety, autism, trauma, self-harm, suicidality, inattention, hyperactivity and difficulties with emotion regulation. She also has extensive training in working with parents to help support their child. She takes pride in working collaboratively with her clients and families to create safe spaces and nurture their mental health. Dr. Foden is passionate about serving diverse and marginalized youth and families, and increasing accessibility to mental health services. She incorporates a culturally humble approach with all her clients.


Dr. Foden received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Following her work in the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program, she began her graduate training across the street within the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium where she earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Foden completed her APA-accredited internship at the USC UCEDD at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). There she provided individual, family, and group therapy to children and adolescents, conducted comprehensive psychological evaluations, and served as a psychology consultant within a multidisciplinary treatment team. At her APA-accredited postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Foden served as the Child and Adolescent fellow within the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She provided individual and family therapy services and served as a group facilitator within the comprehensive adolescent DBT program.


In her time outside the office, she listens to podcasts, searches for the best chocolate cake recipe, and teaches her cat tricks (and is proud to say it’s going rather well!).

Atira Roberson headshot

Atira Roberson is from Hot Springs, AR and received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Henderson State University. She is currently wrapping up her Masters degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is currently serving as a Community School Coordinator for Little Rock School District. She is a passionate advocate for people like her who struggle with navigating life having learning and attention issues. Over the past 3 years she has served on the young adult leadership council with the National Center for Learning Disabilities, done remote freelance writing for Understood.org, and has done several podcast interviews sharing and owning her story of being a black woman with learning disabilities. Any opportunity available to help someone she will take it because she is about seeing the big picture.