Waleed Y. Sami

Ph.D. Student, School of Education
Expected Graduation: Spring 2022
Program Area: Counselor Education

Headshot of Waleed Sami, VCU Holmes Scholar and VCU SOE doctoral student.


  • Ph.D. (expected Spring 2022) in Education: Counselor Education and Supervision, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • M.A. in Counseling, Wake Forest University
  • B.S. in Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Line of Research

Social and political determinants as barriers and facilitators of health, mental health and equity. My goal is to examine systemic contributors to health and well-being such as political economy, income inequality, religious affiliation/culture (specifically in the Muslim-American community), and family/relational dynamics (specifically the developmental role of rough and tumble play in aggression).

Selected Research and Scholarship

Sami, W. Y., & Jeter, C. (2021). The political economy and inequality’s impact on mental health. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 43(3), 212–227. https://doi.org/10.17744/mehc.43.3.04

Sami, W. Y., Waters, J. M., Liadis, A., Lambert, A., & Conley, A. H. (2021). Disenchantment, buffering, and spiritual reductionism: A pedagogy of secularism for counseling and psychotherapy. Religions, 12(8), 612. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080612

*Wheeler, N. J., Carlson, R. G., Sami, W. Y., & Hipp, C. (2021). Adverse childhood experiences as predictors of differences in intimate justice, conflict, control, and power in intimate relationships. Journal of Family Violencehttps://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-021-00288-z

Sami, W. Y. & Lambert, Aliza (In-Press): Antisemitism and islamophobia: History and best practices. Accepted for: Developing Anti-Racist Practices in the Helping Professions: Inclusive Theory, Pedagogy, and Application. Palgrave MacMillan.

Invited Speaker

Sami, Y. Waleed. (2021, November 19th). The Political Economy of Mental Health [Moderated Panel Discussion). Global Mental Health: Agents of Change, Generation Mental Health, Virtual Conference (Sponsored by University of Michigan). https://www.generationmentalhealth.org/conference-program


Waleed Sami is a third-year doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Counselor Education program. His past clinical experiences involve acute care settings, locked residential facilities, group homes, and correctional settings for adolescents and their families. He is interested in looking at how inequality and the political economy impact mental health. He also is developing novel interventions through Rough and Tumble Play theory to help manage aggression in adolescents and children. Lastly, he is interested in improving mental health professionals' ability to work with Muslim-American clients within counseling. His dissertation examines the impact and decline of labor unions on mental health outcomes.

What does the Holmes Scholars Program mean to you?

The Holmes Scholars Program allows me to forge a community with like-minded researchers and faculty. The program’s emphasis on developing the skills and the scholarship of underrepresented minorities in higher education speaks deeply to the social inequities and historic challenges in our country. It is humbling and gratifying to be working with excellent scholars who are working hard to develop new research that addresses some of the most challenging generational problems in our communities.

Curriculum Vitae