B.A. California State University
I am currently a MSW graduate student at California State University, East Bay where I also received a BA in Human Development. I live in Oakland, California where my research pursuits emerged working or volunteering in agencies such as the California Department of Rehabilitation, a mental health agency, a substance abuse treatment program, and a nonmedical detoxification program. My passion for advancing the public health of Hispanics is rooted in my desire to improve substance use disorder treatment outcomes through evidence-based research and translational science. This is evident by the recognition of various scholarship foundations that support my future such as the California Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic Community Affairs Council, the National Association of Social Workers (Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship), the CalSWEC II mental health stipend award, and the Graduate Equity Fellowship Scholarship. Being further recognized by the White House receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award reinforces my passion and calling of becoming a social work professor and career researcher. However, it is the quality of world-class mentoring where my research endeavors have been shaped and will be further cultivated. I am truly grateful to Dr. Hortensia Amaro and the NHSN for seeing my potential. I will seek to emulate and pass on the same gift of values that my mentors have instilled.
My research career focuses on (a) substance use disorder (SUD) treatment (b) mental health treatment and (C) offender re-entry services for Hispanic urban men and women. Having worked and interned over the years with diverse Hispanic populations of urban men and women utilizing these services I have realized the role internal and external stressors play in SUD treatment retention, relapse, and treatment outcomes. Urban Hispanic men and women utilizing these services have an inordinate number of eco-systemic stressors such as homelessness, substance abuse, mental health disorders, trauma histories, criminal backgrounds, immigration, and poverty. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have shown to be an effective stress reduction intervention that can help Hispanics develop positive coping strategies necessary for SUD treatment retention, relapse prevention, and recovery. Additionally, stress associated with pre-release from jail or prison into homelessness, joblessness, and limited access to treatment services are potential indicators of substance use, mental health relapse, violating probation/parole, and potentially re-offending. One of my planned lines of research is to conduct randomized controlled trials of culturally adapted mindfulness-based interventions as an adjunct to SUD treatment and offender re-entry services for Hispanic urban women and men.