Meet the Team: Ari Acosta, Behavioral Health Equity Specialist
I’m Ari Acosta, the new Behavioral Health Equity Specialist for the South Southwest MHTTC. My main job involves the coordination of training and technical assistance to behavioral health, health, and social service providers on culturally and linguistically appropriate services, addressing behavioral health disparities, and promoting health equity to our communities. I have a passion for this work because it implies a continuous learning journey of multicultural humility -- to listen and understand different perspectives and to share empathy, awareness, and empowerment in order to provide mental health services properly, respectfully, and fairly to everyone.
I moved from Venezuela to the U.S. a year and a half ago and I’ve been in this position for five weeks now. My background is focused on human rights education, gender studies, and clinical psychology. I was an associate professor of women psychology, sexology, and qualitative research for graduate and undergraduate programs at Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado, Barquisimeto, Venezuela. I also, worked as a human rights activist and specialist for international NGO organizations such as Amnesty International Venezuelan Section, leading projects and trainings about equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. I had the privilege to work and share experiences with many activists around the world about ending human rights violations, promoting equity, and celebrating multicultural diversity.
I’m really excited to be part of the South Southwest MHTTC and to work with such an incredible team. There's a wonder about being able to help others and learning about yourself in the process. I'm looking forward to our projects next year and for new experiences to share. As Manuelita Saenz said, "If a single word can change the course of history, another word, in the dark, defeats the storm."
I'm on board, let's sail together!