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Erin  Ayala, Ph.D. - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN, US

Erin Ayala, Ph.D. Erin  Ayala, Ph.D.

Core Faculty, Doctor of Psychology | Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN, UNITED STATES

Expertise: Women’s Health and Sports Psychology.



Dr. Erin Ayala is a licensed psychologist and core faculty member in the counseling psychology doctoral program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She teaches courses in quantitative methods, sport psychology, cognitive assessment, and personality assessment. In addition to her work as a faculty member, Dr. Ayala is engaged in clinical work and assessments with athletes at Premier Sport Psychology, PLLC. She provides community training and outreach upon request.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Professional Development of Students and Early Career Professionals

Sport Psychology

Prevention and Health Promotion

Multiculturalism and Diversity

Accomplishments (2)

Editors' Choice Award

Each year, the Editors’ Choice selection process offers a welcome opportunity to reflect, as an Editorial Board, on what we value in medical education inquiry at Teaching and Learning in Medicine (TLM) and how we can maintain the journal’s alignment with what we hold dear.

Outstanding Faculty Award

University of Minnesota-Duluth: The Outstanding Faculty award is given to faculty members who have displayed outstanding abilities in the realm of teaching and instruction, calling attention to their contributions to the educational advancement of students, to the UMD community, and the general pursuit of knowledge by all.

Education (2)

University at Albany: Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, 2015

Albany Psychology Internship Consortium: Internship, Pre-Doctoral Internship 2015

Affiliations (1)

  • American Psychological Association, Society of Counseling Psychology

Recent Media Appearances (2)

Former Timberwolf Kevin Love dunks on mental health stigmas

Fox 9  online


“Athletes in general are taught to step outside of their comfort zone in order to get better and reach their peak performance, and this is another act of doing that,” said Dr. Erin Ayala, Premier Sport Psychology, PLLC.

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Advice for a med student's must-have—a sound night's sleep

Medical School Life  online


“Med students who don’t get enough good-quality sleep might find it difficult to focus on the complex information that they are learning for sustained amounts of time during their lectures, especially when it’s all didactic” during the first two years of medical school, Ayala said.

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Recent Articles (5)

Self-care of women enrolled in health service psychology programs: A concept mapping approach Professional Psychology Research and Practice

Erin Ayala, Amanda L. Almond


As increasing numbers of women pursue degrees in health service psychology, it is important to understand what they do to promote their wellness in light of the psychosocial stressors associated with doctoral studies. The purpose of this investigation was to identify and conceptualize a diverse range of health promotion behaviors through the application of a mixed methods concept mapping design. Twelve participants sorted qualitative responses from 390 women in health service psychology pertaining to their personal self-care behaviors, resulting in a list of 112 “moderately” to “extremely” important self-care behaviors. Six clusters of self-care activities emerged: physical wellness, relaxation and stress management, hobbies, interpersonal relations, self-compassion, and outdoor recreation. The concept map depicts the interrelatedness of self-care behaviors that were rated as important by women. Women in health service psychology programs can use these behaviors, some of which have not previously been included on self-care inventories and checklists, to promote their physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

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Prevalence, perceptions, and consequences of substance use in medical students Medical Education Online

Erin Ayala, Destiny Roseman, Jeffrey S. Winseman, Hyacinth R.C. Mason


Research regarding the health and wellness of medical students has led to ongoing concerns regarding patterns of alcohol and drug use that take place during medical education. Such research, however, is typically limited to single-institution studies or has been conducted over 25 years ago.

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Women in Health Service Psychology Programs: Stress, Self-Care, and Quality of Life Training and Education in Professional Psychology

Erin Ayala, Michael V. Ellis, Nicholas Grudev, Jennifer Cole


Due in part to gender roles and their socialization as caretakers, women in health service psychology (HSP) programs may be vulnerable to experiencing stressful events that negatively impact their professional and academic functioning. Two constructs are particularly germane to understanding the stress experienced by women in HSP programs: quality of life and self-care. However, scant literature exists on women in HSP programs, especially concerning the relations among stress, self-care, and quality of life. The purpose of our study was to address some of the conceptual–methodological deficiencies in the literature by empirically testing the application of the health promotion model to women in HSP doctoral programs. The investigation tested the extent to which self-care activities moderated the negative association between stress and quality of life (QL) in a sample of 558 women enrolled in HSP programs throughout the United States. The most salient findings were (a) women in HSP programs, compared to other populations, evidenced substantively higher stress levels and lower self-care and overall QL; (b) stress was uniquely and inversely, though modestly, related to QL, whereas self-care and its moderating effects were not; and (c) self-care and quality of life were best conceptualized and analyzed as multidimensional constructs. The findings suggest stress levels may have a significantly larger effect on QL than self-care for women in HSP doctoral programs. Results also suggest QL and self-care are multidimensional constructs and need to be analyzed as such. Implications for theory, practice, and research are discussed.

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What Do Medical Students Do for Self-Care? A Student-Centered Approach to Well-Being Teaching and Learning in Medicine

Erin Ayala, Aisha M. Omorodion, Dennis Nmecha, Hyacinth R.C. Mason


Using concept mapping methodology, the research team created a student-generated taxonomy of self-care behaviors taken from a national sample of medical students in response to a brainstorming prompt. The research team examined how students' conceptualizations of self-care may be organized into a framework suitable for use in programming and curricular change in medical education.

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A Cross-Sectional Snapshot of Sleep Quality and Quantity Among US Medical Students Academic Psychiatry

Erin Ayala, Rani Berry, Jeffrey S Winseman, Hyacinth RC Mason


Fatigue is a well-known risk factor for mood disturbances, decreased cognitive acuity, and impaired judgment. Sleep research in medical students typically focuses on sleep quantity, but less is known about the quality of a student's sleep. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the subjective sleep quality and quantity of US medical students and to identify differences in sleep characteristics across demographic groups.

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