A board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Lester’s research has been dedicated to the development, evaluation, and implementation of family-centered prevention and treatment for children and families facing adversities. She co-developed the family-centered preventive intervention Families OverComing Under Stress (FOCUS) which was designed to promote resilience and mitigate stress in children and families facing adversities such as community based trauma, medical illness, and military wartime deployments.
Over the last 11 years, she has led the successful large-scale implementation of FOCUS as a public health continuum of preventive services to support military families facing transitions for the Department of Defense. Her research with military children and families includes an NICHD funded assessment of the impact of wartime deployment on military children and families and a randomized control trial of FOCUS for families with young children as telehealth delivery platform. She is well versed in the scientific and programmatic issues facing military children and families, and serves as a research advisor on the needs of military children and families across military, university and non-profit agencies, including the Millennium Family Cohort Study. Her work has been supported by the Department of Defense, the US Department of Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, National Institute for Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and multiple foundations.