Dr. Chanel Kealoha, Psy.D.
Dr. Chanel Kealoha is a licensed clinical psychologist who has dedicated her career to improving the lives of children and families. She brings more than 12 years of experience in comprehensive psychological evaluation/testing; family crisis intervention; clinical program and policy development; and evidence-based child therapy.
Originally from the island of Oahu, Dr. Kealoha has always been an over-achiever; excelling in math and sciences while simultaneously competing nationally in hula dance and high school basketball. When it came time for college, she received a full academic scholarship to the University of Southern California where she was one of only two female students in USC’s engineering program. After completing an undergraduate internship in aerospace engineering, Dr. Kealoha recognized a deep longing for more interpersonal connectedness in her future work. Her analytical abilities had always served a social goal– helping her to lead her basketball team to victory, or– by memorizing the intricate movements of hula– enabling her to participate in a cultural tradition alongside friends with whom she had danced since early childhood. So, during her junior year of college, Dr. Kealoha decided to combine her analytic ability with her care for others, and she changed her course of study to Psychology with a minor in Business Management.
After USC, Dr. Kealoha went on to obtain a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University where she conducted dissertation research on cultural influences on children’s academic success. She completed Doctoral Internships in child therapy and assessment at the UCLA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) in Los Angeles; before completing a Post‑Doctoral Fellowship at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu. While there, she obtained specialized training in the assessment and treatment of childhood trauma.
Today, Dr. Kealoha is licensed to practice psychology in California, Washington, and Hawai’i, and is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University. She has more than 12 years of experience providing therapy and testing services to children, adolescents and adults with various emotional, behavioral, and developmental concerns. Notably, Dr. Kealoha previously served as the lead psychologist for the Developmental Disability Division for the State of Hawai’i’s Department of Health, where she headed state-wide crisis interventions and wrote new state policies to reduce the use of restrictive interventions with individuals diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability. Dr. Kealoha also carries her strengths-based approach to the therapy room where she emphasizes the unique interests and abilities of each child – as opposed to focusing solely on symptom reduction. She regularly participates in IEP/IEE and academic programming; and develops positive behavioral support plans for use in school, home, medical, and other settings.
Being born and raised in Hawaii has had a tremendous impact on Dr. Kealoha’s personal and professional interests. Professionally, she has an ardent interest in culturally appropriate and client‑centered care. Through her research, she has sought to improve the relevance of mental health care and education for the Native Hawaiian community. She also places immense importance on interpersonal relationships and giving back to her community, both personally and professionally. In her free time, Dr. Kealoha has coached high school basketball, and she continues to teach individuals of all ages to express themselves through the art of hula and Polynesian dance.