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Insights from the Pandemic: Advancing Collective Knowledge on Latinx Students’ Mental Health

Publication Date: Feb 16, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Latinx families and highlighted how preexisting health disparities increased mental health conditions. In addition, the pandemic resulted in the loss of family members, food insecurity, reduced access to mental health services, and housing instability among Latinx students. The unique challenges faced by Latinx families emphasize the critical need to translate best practices and apply them at the intersection of behavioral health, comprehensive school mental health systems, and culture.

The National Hispanic and Latino Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC), in collaboration with the Central East MHTTC, the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW, the National Center for School Mental Health, and the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, have organized a hybrid conference based on the fundamental premise that significant disparities exist, particularly for Latinx students in need of access to mental health services and behavioral health resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. and access to behavioral health resources This conference will serve as a forum where providers, researchers, educators, students, and stakeholders can share practical ideas and resources to address the disparities heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic among Hispanic and Latinx students. The conference will: 

  • Address the trauma, adversity, and adjustment faced by Latinx students and their families. 

  • Discuss the behavioral health needs of Latinx students and families and how mental health providers can address them.

  • Discuss recommendations and strategies for the school mental health workforce serving Latinx students and families.


Who should attend?

This event is designed for mental health providers, including psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, and graduate-level students in the mental health field or public health who are interested in learning about how economic, health, and social stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting mental health and school performance for Latinx students. 


You can register here.



*Subject to change 


Welcome and Introductions

Olga Acosta Price, PhD

Associate Professor

Department Prevention and Community Health

Milken Institute School of Public Health GW University

Advisory Board Member

National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC


Ibis S. Carrión-González, PsyD


National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC

Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine


Opening Statement

Dennis Romero, MA

Regional Administrator/ Region II: NJ, NY, PR, USVI,

and the Tribal Nations in the northeast

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

Administration / US Department of Health and Human Services


Latino Mental Health and Childhood Trauma: From Awareness to Action 

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH  

Professor and Chair, Population Health Sciences 

Director Institute for health Promotion Research 

UT Health San Antonio 


Adversity and the Adjustment of Today’s U.S. Latinx Adolescents: Evidence from the Caminos Longitudinal Cohort Study   

Kathleen M. Roche, MSW, PhD  

Prevention and Community Health Department 

Milken Institute School of Public Health GW University 



Panel Unaccompanied Children 

Luis H. Zayas, PhD (Lead Moderator)  

Dean and Professor 

Steve Hicks School of Social Work 

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 

Dell Medical School 

The University of Texas at Austin 

Advisory Board Member  

National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC 



Kerri Evans, PhD, LCSW  

Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work 

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) 


Robert G. Hasson III, PhD, LICSW  

Assistant Professor 

Social Work Department 

Providence College, RI 


Panel Sexual Health and Latinx Youth 

Estefanía Simich Muñoz, MA, NCC, LCPC-S, CST, PhD candidate (Lead Moderator)  



Eskayra Pagan, MS 

Housing Program Manager 

Latin American Youth Center 


Angie Castro Moreno, MSW 

Clinical Mental Health Manager  

La Clínica del Pueblo 


Silvia Peñate, BS 

Testing and Outreach Specialist 

Latin American Youth Center   


Panel Intergenerational Trauma   

Tiffany Beason, PhD (Lead Moderator) 

Clinical-Community Psychology 

Core Faculty & Assistant Professor of Psychiatry 

National Center for School Mental Health 

University of Maryland 



Victoria Daley, LMSW  

Bilingual School Mental Health Clinician 

University of Maryland School of Mental Health Program 


Donna Batkis, LCSW-C  

Bilingual Psychotherapist and Trauma Expert 

University of Maryland School of Social Work 


Marilyn Camacho, LCPC  

Hispanic/Latinx Trauma Specialist 

Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland 



¿Quiénes somos y de dónde venimos? A Historical Context to Inform Mental Health Services with Latinx Populations National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC 

Oscar Fernando Rojas Perez, PhD  

Postdoctoral Associate

Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

Trainer, National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC 


David G. Zelaya, PhD  

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Brown University School of Public Health

Harvard Medical School


Manuel Paris, PsyD  

Associate Professor of Psychiatry 

Yale School of Medicine 

Advisory Board Member, National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC 



Closing Remarks / Next Steps / Evaluation 

Olga Acosta Price, PhD 

Associate Professor 

Department Prevention and Community Health 

Milken Institute School of Public Health GW University 

Advisory Board Member  

National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC 




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Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, Chair and Professor of Population Health Sciences and Director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, is an internationally recognized health disparities researcher at UT Health San Antonio. She has 30 years of experience conducting behavioral and communications projects to reduce cancer, prove the efficacy of patient navigation for cancer patients, and improve healthy lifestyles among U.S. Latinos.


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Kathleen M. Roche, MSW, PhD

Dr. Kathleen Roche is a Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Her research focuses on families living in vulnerable communities and raising adolescent children. She is the Principal Investigator of "Pathways to Health / Caminos al Bienestar" - an NIH-funded project following roughly 550 Latinx youth and their mothers from the middle school years to the transition to adulthood. In this research, Dr. Roche and her colleagues are examining how adversities experienced during early adolescence shape family and biological stress processes and trajectories of mental health, school performance, and early adult roles. The team also is identifying protective factors that may help mitigate risks.



Luis H. Zayas, PhD

Dr. Zayas received an MS in social work and MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in developmental psychology from Columbia University. He began his social work career in New York City as a clinician in social service agencies, general and pediatric rehabilitation hospitals, and mental health and primary care clinics in the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Dr. Zayas has taught at Columbia University, Fordham University and held a faculty appointment in family medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Zayas was the inaugural Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor of Social Work and Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis Dean Zayas remains an active practitioner today through his evaluations of immigrant children and families facing deportation, and refugee and asylum-seeking mothers and children held in immigration detention centers. Dr Zayas is the author of Latinas Attempting Suicide: When Cultures, Families, and Daughters Collide (Oxford, 2011) and Forgotten Citizens: Deportation, Children, and the Making of American Exiles and Orphans (Oxford, 2015).



Robert G. Hasson III, PhD, LICSW 

Dr. Hasson is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Providence College. He holds a BA in Psychology from Saint Michael’s College, and a MSW and Ph.D. in Social Work from the Boston College School of Social Work. Robert’s research focuses on the intersection of child welfare and immigration. He is particularly interested in examining risk and protective factors for unaccompanied children who experience forced migration. In addition, a goal of Robert’s research is to inform the development of clinical interventions and policies that serve children and adolescents exposed to trauma as a result of forced migration.



Kerri Evans, PhD, LCSW 

Dr. Evans is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Evans earned her PhD from Boston College School of Social Work and her MSW from the University of Maryland Baltimore. Dr. Evans’ research stems from her eight years of social work experience at the intersection of immigration and child welfare. Using community partnerships, Dr. Evans works to answer the questions of service providers with the goal of improving service delivery and making policy recommendations. Topically, her research focuses on the well-being of unaccompanied and refugee children, and school welcome for immigrant students.



Estefanía Simich Muñoz, LCPC, CST

Estefanía is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Board Approved Supervisor in Maryland and an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and supervisor in training. Estefanía owns a bilingual sexuality practice in Baltimore, MD. She is passionate about supporting migrant populations who have experienced violence and sexual trauma. In the past, she has acted as an immigration court expert on gender violence cases involving Latin American migrant women. Also, she has acted as a Clinical Director in an Intimate Partner Violence, Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault non-profit, and she has been a consultant for the governmental and non-profit sectors in Peru, The Netherlands, and the US. Estefanía is also an academic and will soon be defending her PhD dissertation on the conceptualization of sexual citizenship of migrant Peruvian women living in the US.



Eskayra Pagan, MS 

Eskayra Pagan is the Safe Housing, Program Manager at the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, DC. She oversees the housing programs for homeless youth throughout the District of Columbia. She currently serves as co-chair of the D.C. Department of Human Services Youth Policy Working Group. She earned her dual bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Mass Communication from the University of South Florida. Prior to joining LAYC, Eskayra worked at Young Ladies of Tomorrow, as the Program Coordinator where she provided mentoring services to at-risk youth, oversaw contract with District of Columbia Superior courts and assisted in the development and expansion of youth programs.



Angie Castro Moreno, LICSW, LCSW-C

Angie is the Clinical Mental Health Manager at La Clínica del Pueblo. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience in providing trauma-informed mental health services to the Latinx community. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Social Work and Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Florida International University. Angie has worked as a crisis line counselor, case manager, with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and as a HIV grant coordinator for an LGBTQ program. Angie aims to reduce stigma toward mental health services among the Latinx community.



Silvia Peñate, BS

Silvia Peñate is the Testing and Outreach Specialist with the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, DC. She has a Bachelor’s in Public Health and is currently in the graduate program for Global Public Health at NYU. She is the lead Counseling, Testing, Referral, and Linking coordinator for the program. The program provides a safe, non-judgmental space for DC youth resources to prevent rapid pregnancies, STIs, and HIV. Before joining LAYC, she was a maternal/child health program coordinator assisting teen moms to prevent rapid secondary pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and creating life goals. Silvia has a passion for maternal and adolescent health.


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Tiffany Beason, PhD

Dr. Beason is a licensed clinical and community psychologist at the National Center for School Mental Health and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Beason has served as a school mental health clinician in the Baltimore City Public School System for several years, where she provided supports that promote positive mental health for all as well as early intervention and treatment services for youth experiencing mental health conditions. Dr. Beason serves as the director of Cultural Responsiveness, Anti-Racism and Equity within the National Center for Safe Supportive Schools. Dr. Beason is also a co-developer of national curriculums for school mental health clinicians and educators to promote trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and equitable mental health support in classrooms.  


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Victoria Daley, LMSW 

“As a School Mental Health Counselor placed at a Baltimore City Public School, many of the students with whom I work within a clinical setting have a trauma history. With one third of my school community being Hispanic/Latinx,  much of the grief that I see is related to the ordeals that come with relocating to the United States. I have had the opportunity to work with Hispanic/Latinx students from Kindergarten to 8th grade, in both individual and group settings. I plan to continue to use my expertise to bridge the gap between these families and access to mental health services.”


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Marilyn Camacho, LCPC

Marilyn Camacho is a licensed clinical professional counselor at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She implements evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment models to help children and families cope with complex traumatic stress, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(TF-CBT), Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and the Strengthening Family Coping Resources (SFCR) multi-family group modality. Marilyn has worked extensively with the Latinx community for nearly two decades. Her research and clinical efforts have focused on addressing the mental and health needs of the Latinx immigrant communities she serves. She is the coordinator for the center's Avanza! Clinic, which provides trauma-informed and culturally competent mental health treatment services to Latinx children and their families who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Prior to joining the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress, Marilyn was employed at the Johns Hopkins Center for Child and Community Health Research (CCHR) where she supported research efforts focused on improving pediatric primary care access and quality for Latinx children in Spanish-speaking families and served as the interim coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Center for Salud/Health and Opportunity for Latinos (Centro SOL). She also has experience working with Spanish-speaking survivors and perpetrators of intimate partner violence through her previous work at Adelante Familia, a program of House of Ruth Maryland. Marilyn received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Fordham University in 1999 and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland in 2009.


Manuel Paris, PsyD

Dr. Paris is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and Deputy Director of Hispanic Services for the Connecticut Mental Health Center. He also serves as Director of Training for the Latinx Track of the Yale Psychology Pre- and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program at the Hispanic Clinic. His professional contributions focus on the evaluation of cultural/linguistic adaptations of evidence-based interventions, multisite training, fidelity monitoring, workforce development, and public policy advocacy.



Oscar Fernando Rojas Perez, PhD

Dr. Rojas Perez is a Global Mental Health Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard School of Medicine – Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his PhD from the University of Missouri and completed his predoctoral internship at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Rojas Perez has experience working with trauma-exposed immigrants and refugees. He provides culturally responsive care through the use of Motivational Interviewing and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. His research and clinical focus include the linguistic and cultural adaptation of evidence-based measures and treatments.