02/26/24 - BOSTON, MA - Idia Binitie Thurston, Professor of Health Sciences and Applied Psychology and Associate Director of the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, Affiliate Professor of Africana Studies, poses for a portrait in the Behrakis Health Sciences Center on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Idia Binitie Thurston


Professor of Health Sciences and Applied Psychology & Associate Director of the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice

Applied Psychology

Research Interests

  • Adolescents
    • Culturally-responsive Interventions for Minoritized Adolescents & Young Adults
    • Youth Engaged and Participatory Research
  • Health Inequity
    • Structural and Systemic approaches to addressing inequities
    • Community-Based Participatory Research 
  • Protective Factors
    • Biopsychosocial and Cultural Risk and Protective factors
    • Resilience in Children Exposed to Maternal Syndemics
  • Weight Stigma
    • Weight Misperception and Body Image
    • Stress, Stigma, & Resilience in Youth with High Body Weights
  • HIV
    • Co-occurring Syndemic Adversities of HIV, Substance Use, & Violence in Mothers 
    • Strengths-based approaches to wellness          


Dr. Thurston (she/her) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor of health sciences and applied psychology, Affiliate Professor of Africana Studies, and Associate Director of the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research at Northeastern University. Her research explores how race, ethnicity, social class, gender, size, and sexuality intersect and influence health outcomes, inequities, and well-being in youth and families. She directs the CHANGE lab, where she collaborates with scholars, youth, and community organizations to develop and disseminate strengths-based, culturally-responsive tools that reduce stigma, enhance wellness, and promote resilience. She is passionate about mentoring, dismantling structural and systemic barriers, and promoting career pathways for individuals underrepresented in health sciences and psychology.

Selected Publications

  • ^Alegria, M., ^Thurston, I. B., Cheng, M., Herrera, C., Markle, S., O’Malley, I., Porter, D. V., Estrada, R., & Giraldo Santiago, N. (2024). A learning assessment to increase diversity in academic health sciences. JAMA Health Forum, 5(2):e235412. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.5412
  • Thurston, I. B., Alegria, M., Hood, K. B., Miller, G., Wilton, L., & Holden, K. (2023). How Psychologists Can Help Achieve Equity in Heath Care– Advancing Innovative Partnerships and Models of Care Delivery: Introduction to the Special Issue. American Psychologist, 78, 73–81. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0001153
  • Buchanan, N., Perez, M., Prinstein, M. J., & Thurston, I. B. (2021). Upending Racism in Psychological Science: Strategies to Change How Our Science is Conducted, Reported, Reviewed & Disseminated. American Psychologist, 76, 1097-1112. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000905
  • Thurston, I. B., Howell, K. H., Kaufman, C. C., Mandell, J. E., & Decker, K. M. (2021). Parenting in Matched-Pairs of Women of Color Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence living with and without HIV. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 34, 1005-1015. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22737
  • Thurston, I. B., Decker, K. M., Kamody, R. C., Kaufman, C. C., Maye, C. E., Richmond, T. K., & Sonneville, K. R. (2021). The Scale Matters: Assessing Body Size with Figure Rating Scales in a Diverse Sample of Young Adults. Eating and Weight Disorders – Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-021-01166-9