CLASS OF 2021 - National Hispanic and Latino Executive Leadership and Fellowship Program
NLBHA, the NHL ATTC and PTTC teams are proud and honored to present the 2021 National Hispanic and Latino Executive Leadership and Fellowship Program Graduates. We cannot wait to see the great things they will accomplish in their careers and the beautiful impact they will continue to bring to our communities.
Adriana Martí, PsyD
Adriana Martí is a Health Psychologist that works as a pain services specialist for Kaiser Permanente in Washington state. Born and raised in Havana, Cuba; Adriana experienced from an early age the challenges of poverty and lack of freedom of speech. That's when she realized that she wanted to use her voice and skills to make a profound impact in the world. Adriana left Cuba at the age of 12 and embarked on her journey to make a difference by choosing a career in the healthcare field. Coming from a family of physicians, Adriana learned the importance of addressing physical components to heal the body. She also noticed the weaknesses of the biomedical approaches and recognized the need of integrative models to help individuals shift from disease into ease. Adriana has used her bilingual and bicultural assets to positively influence various medical settings, program development, management, underserved populations, and has mentored countless students and medical personnel on the value of mind body approaches. Adriana is very passionate about making a difference in the community and spends her free time volunteering for Little Bit, a non-profit organization that uses hippotherapy to help children with various disabilities.
Ana L. Chavez-Mancillas, MSW
Ana L. Chavez-Mancillas is a Team Supervisor at Pacific Clinics. Ana first joined Pacific Clinics in 2003 where she began her work in mental health services and substance abuse. Ana came to the United States in 1985 from Guatemala, leaving her parents and family behind not speaking a word of English. Ana attended High School which was difficult due to the language barrier. Ana successfully learned the language and was able to go to a 4-year university after High School. Ana has lived in California since 1985. Life has not always been easy for Ana as she had a 10-year struggle with alcohol and drugs which lead her to pursue her certification in drug and alcohol counseling and later her MSW in an effort to help others recover. Ana has been in recovery for 21 years. Ana’s family is God fearing and believes that a sincere work ethic is necessary to be successful in anything she does. Ana believes on doing anything she does as if she is doing it for the Lord and doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Ana is happily married and has 2 children.
Alexis Aviña, EDD, MPH
With more than 18 years’ experience in public health promotion and disease prevention, Dr. Alexis (Munoz) Aviña found her way into public health after surviving young adult cancer. Her professional experiences have focused on improving access, quality, and equity to health for socioeconomically, ethnically, and geopolitically underserved populations. The populations she is most passionate about serving are people of color -- those from all walks of life considered “others,” those who are voiceless and at the highest risk of negative outcomes. Dr. Aviña is unique in that her experiences in the public health sector span across non-profit, research, academia (teaching), community, hospital and government settings. The breadth of her experience has helped her to understand and champion diverse values, beliefs and cultures, moral responsibility, and ethical practice - which protect and promote health for all. Additionally, Dr. Aviña believes in the importance of evaluation and outcomes research methodology to effectively assess, evaluate and provide recommendations for improved health strategies and policies. In her current role as the Live Well San Diego Program Manager, at the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Dr. Aviña is at the forefront of public health and human services practice in local government. She is transforming how the government facilitates population health and social wellness among 3.4 million residents. With each new project, she is innovatively serving her local community to strategize and facilitate opportunities to improve public welfare. She is also an adjunct professor at the San Diego State University, School of Public Health.
Brenda I. Quiñonez-Cortés, LCSW
Brenda I. Quiñonez-Cortés, LCSW is President of El Puente de Encuentros, a non-profit organization committed to generating change in the field of behavioral and mental health by fostering a culturally and linguistically diverse representation of professionals in the field. She received Bachelor Degrees in Sociology, Spanish, and Chicano Studies from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She later graduated with a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Brenda’s professional experience in the last 20 years extends to field counseling, medical social work, program management and various realms of non-profit work and clinical mental health settings, independent contract work in school-based therapy and more recently, training and consulting in cultural and linguistic proficiency, antiracism and anti-oppression. Placing value in family and community, Brenda is committed to change and equity for our comunidades of color.
Dolka Michelle Zelaya, CPS S
Dolka Michelle Zelaya is a Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) through the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia (PCCG), CPS, and is the Project Coordinator for the National Hispanic and Latino Prevention Technology Transfer Center. The NHL-PTTC is housed at the Latino Behavioral Health Association (wwwNLBHA.org), located in New Mexico. Zelaya’ has seventeen years of experience working in the prevention field with minorities and underserved populations, and this is vivid proof that prevention works! Zelaya has provided leadership for prevention programs at local, state, and now national levels. As a youth educator, Zelaya had done extensive work with alcohol, tobacco, substance abuse, HIV, hepatitis C, suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Zelaya had worked in various settings, including Elementary, Middle, High schools and universities, prevention clubhouses, summer camps, and those affected by suicide, the LGBTQ community, Latino communities, and military families.
Erika Zarco, M.A. MFC, CTHP, CMHIMP, CGSC, CAIMHP, and CCFP
My name is Erika Zarco, I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico. I am a bilingual, and bicultural Marriage & Family Therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is my passion to provide clinical services in the Spanish language, to monolingual Spanish speakers. I graduated from The Wright Institute, in 2010, with my Master's in Counseling Psychology. I was an Awardee of the 2010-2011 California Educational MFT Stipend Program; I provided clinical services in Spanish, to this traditionally under served population(s) in Alameda County. I have Post-Master's Certificates in: Narrative Therapy, Trauma-Informed Interventions, and in Psychological First Aid for Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons. I am employed as the part-time Counseling Director at Mujeres Unidas y Activas. I co-manage the mental health program, run trauma groups, and currently offer telehealth services to the Latina Immigrant populations of the Bay Area in Spanish. I have a part-time private practice, I provide therapy or psycho-social mental health evaluations for immigration related needs. My interests include: Latino culture, language access, collaborative therapies, behavioral health policies, a continued exploration of issues of equity and diversity, feminism, social justice, developing mentor relationships, and developing my leadership skills in Behavioral Health.
Francisco O Medrano Jr, MSW, ASW, CADAC-II
Francisco Medrano is a highly committed treatment specialist that has had a variety of different assignments within the non-profit and government sector working with justice populations in community and institutional settings for over 20 years. In his 20 years of experience, he has enjoyed working with populations which include adults, juveniles and families struggling with addiction and mental health. Mr. Medrano received his Bachelor’s in criminal justice from San Diego State University with the focus on Juvenile Justice. While earning his Bachelor’s in criminal justice Mr. Medrano developed an interest in the Addiction Recovery field which drove him to further pursue a Master’s in Social Work which he also earned at San Diego State University. Mr. Medrano is also a Certified Addiction Specialist and has provided recovery coaching services for the past 10 years. Mr. Medrano community involvement includes being a member of the boards of directors for National and Community non-profits. He enjoys trips with his family to Lake Tahoe and Fishing.
Irma Rosa Gonzalez, LCSW, MSG
Irma Rosa Gonzalez, LCSW, MSG is currently a Program Director at Pacific Clinics Centro Familiar, overseeing programs serving children and youth. She has more than 10 years of experience in community mental health, serving in various roles and programs that have given her extensive experience in working with chronic and severe mental illness, suicidality, and crisis intervention. Gonzalez has experience in working with different age groups from children to older adults. She has been able to provide clinical supervision to staff from various programs throughout the agency, empowering staff to grow both clinically as therapists and professionally as leaders. Gonzalez strives to build on staff growth by building on morale, clinical skills, and confidence. Her approach is driven by the idea that strong clinicians not only create positive client outcomes, but also shape the future of community mental health, as they are the leaders of tomorrow and it is up to us to recognize, shape, and enhance their unique contributions. Gonzalez earned her dual master’s degrees in social work and gerontology, as well as her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in public health from USC.
Lauren Henríquez-Bentiné, LCSW
Lauren Henríquez-Bentiné is a bilingual (Spanish/English) and bicultural Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is currently a Social Work Director for a community-based organization in a Bronx elementary school, where she supervises a social worker. Lauren has worked in School-Based settings since 2016, primarily with high school students. In school settings, Lauren has been able to cultivate strong, trusting relationships with both students and NYC Department of Education staff. Lauren currently serves on the Association of Social Work Boards’ Clinical Exam Committee, which enables her to play a role in creating more culturally competent Social Work licensing exams. Her areas of expertise include trauma, self-harm and depression, as well as providing services to undocumented immigrant populations. Lauren has worked at outpatient mental health clinics, a college Disability Services office, an HIV Case Management program and previously had a private practice. Lauren graduated from Fordham University’s Advanced Standing MSW program in 2005 and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Lehman College in 2004.
Marina Castillo-Augusto, M.S Counseling
Marina Castillo-Augusto is the Chief of the Community Development and Engagement Unit within the Office of Health Equity at the California Department of Public Health, where she oversees an innovative $60 million dollar statewide initiative, the California Reducing Disparities Project, a pilot program aimed at reducing mental health inequities for targeted racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ communities. With over 20 years working at the state level, Ms. Castillo-Augusto has a track record for reaching out and engaging diverse and hard to reach populations. Through culturally and linguistically responsive program design and implementation strategies, she effectively helps influence policy and systems change. This expertise adds organizational value, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic where Ms. Castillo-Augusto is serving on several workgroups to reach impacted populations. She has received numerous awards including being recognized by the Steinberg Institute as a Mental Health Champion, receiving the Public Health Acknowledging My Efforts Award for the launch of a statewide mental health prevention and early intervention project; the Office of the Attorney General Award for Teamwork, Leadership and a Commitment to Excellence on anti-human trafficking efforts; and a Governor's Office of Emergency Services Award for statewide work on violence prevention. Ms. Augusto received a BS in Criminal Justice and MS in School Counseling from California State University, Sacramento.
Nelson Isaac Báez, M.P.H., C.D.E.
Isaac joined Summa Health as their Primary Prevention and At-Risk Populations Manager at their Health Equity Center in May 2021. His responsibilities is working with Community Health Workers helping patients, especially minorities, with chronic diseases by getting support and resources they may need. He previously worked for the Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR) as their Engagement and Inclusion Coordinator. His responsibilities were centered on the improvement of Cultural and Linguistic Competency within StarkMHAR and its funded providers by addressing behavioral health equity through the National CLAS Standards. He has also received his Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) certificate through the Institute of Diversity Certification. He has conducted several trainings throughout Stark and Summit County including Cultural and Linguistic Competency, Cultural Humility, Language Access, and LGBTQ+ 101. His passion to work with those in need has been the reason why he pursed a career in Public Health. This has given him the opportunity to work with different groups such as: Akron Pride Steering Committee and Chair of the March, Akron-Canton Latino Committee, board member of Fair Housing Contact Service Inc, and board member of Plexus LGBT + Allied Chamber of Commerce. Isaac resides in Ohio with his spouse, Logan, and his two dogs, Charlie and Osito.
Nilda Delgado, MSW, LCSWA
Nilda is a licensed clinical social worker who has served the Hispanic and Latinx communities for over 6 years. She is excited to have recently joined the Department of Supportive Oncology at Levine Cancer Institute as the first and only Bilingual Clinical Social Worker. She provides resource navigation, supportive counseling, strength-based and solution focused therapy and coping strategies to individuals diagnosed with cancer.
Susie A. Villalobos, E.dD., M.Ed., CCTSI-I
Dr. Susie Villalobos is a Public Health professional working with non-profit organizations in the pursuit of health equity, advocacy and policy change. She is currently a National Covid-19 Resiliency Network Cultural Broker for the National Latino Behavioral Health Association, working along-side her peers and community professionals on a myriad of grant projects. Her professional background includes a 20-year career in public health focused on the mental and behavioral health disparities among Hispanics. She has a Masters in Educational Psychology with a minor in Community Counseling, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration also from UTEP. With this background and her professional experience, Dr. Villalobos is particularly passionate about tackling issues of health disparities across, age, race, gender and biographical location. She enjoys delivering lectures and providing outcomes on her research. Her academic research found unique risk-related variables for analysis among Texas adolescents ages 11-16 contemplating substance use of tobacco, alcohol or marijuana.
Valerie V. Quintana, MA, PTP
Valerie V. Quintana, MA, PTP is the Director of Community & Clinical Linkages at Community Health, with Presbyterian Healthcare Services (PHS). Her skills are proficient in the psychology of human interaction and human communication. They have been instrumental in the implementation of Change Theory within healthcare systems by strengthening and developing relationships, facilitating collaborations, ensuring clear communication, and building consensus. Valerie orchestrates linkages between Presbyterian, FQHCs, Community Health Workers, Peer Support Specialists, and community wellness programs to create a shared operations model that improves access to healthcare, behavioral healthcare, nutritious food and safer physical activity opportunities for Hispanic, Latin, and Native American residents of New Mexico. She is leading a team that is building out the Community Health Worker and Peer Support Specialist models, as Presbyterian strengthens how it addresses health related social needs and behavioral health in our communities. Valerie enjoys building collaborative relationship within healthcare systems, including providers and medical staff. Through those relationships, and by building a shared understanding, she crafts human habits and behaviors that lead to highly desired, yet unconventional means of connecting patients to resources that can enhance medical treatments for those with chronic disease, on a statewide level. She has built her career helping organizations change their systems, thinking and operations in order to best suit the people and communities they serve. Valerie was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree of Arts in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. She has fifteen years of experience in the field of behavioral health, and created her own business providing on-site wholistic care for social workers. Valerie is an award-winning Rosary Artist who is also Internationally Certified as a Polarity Therapy Professional. She also holds certifications in Herbalism, Essential Oils, Touch Therapy, Health Facilitation, and Cranial Sacral Therapy.
Yania Padilla Sierra, MS, CAS, MPM
Yania (she/ella) is a suicide prevention SME and project director with over 10 years of experience in various project and program development and management roles. A survivor of suicide loss, she is a well-known advocate for improved systems of mental health care for Latine and other global majority populations. Her advocacy has included serving as chair for the Connecticut chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, serving on the CT Suicide Advisory Board, and providing suicide prevention consulting services to regional nonprofits serving [un]documented, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ populations. Her current role as PI/PD on a SAMHSA funded grant educates health professions students in evidence-based suicide intervention practices and cultural humility. She is also a Cantomundo fellow, working with other Latine-identifying writers and poets at the intersection of arts/politics/organizing.
Yolanda Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Yolanda Rodriguez, Ph.D. is Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Behavioral Health Consultant. She is a first-generation Latina immigrant born in Mexico and raised in Texas. She earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Mississippi. Her work (both in research and clinical practice) has focused on identifying, reducing, and addressing gaps in health care in underserved populations. More specifically, Dr. Rodriguez has specialized her training in serving Black and Latinx populations by providing therapy services in English and Spanish, being an advocate for the community, building relationships across community agencies to improve services, and creating training programs to improve quality of services delivered to these populations. Dr. Rodriguez has also conducted and presented research locally, regionally, and nationally to raise awareness about social determinants of health, health inequities, cultural humility, and appropriate use of interpretation services. Dr. Rodriguez currently works at the Mountain Home VA Healthcare System in Knoxville, TN.
Yozaira León-Santiago, LPC
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico from a working-class family. I have two brothers and two nephews. In 1998 I graduated from high school from Colegio La Merced in PR. Later I obtained a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Puerto Rico. In 2003 I began to work as a community service worker in the PR Department of Housing, serving underprivileged communities in the island. In 2010 I began my graduate studies in counseling at the University of Phoenix PR campus. Also, in 2010 I traveled to Haiti on a humanitarian trip after the earthquake to provide mental health services. In 2013, I began to work as a Professional Counselor in Puerto Rico, serving youth in a university and high school settings. In 2017, I moved from Puerto Rico to Virginia looking for better job opportunities and quality of life. Currently I am a Bilingual (Spanish) mental health clinician in a detention center working with young immigrants. Also, I provide pro bono services to Latino families who have been separated at the border. Before that, I served as MST (Multisystemic) therapist in the community that dealt with juveniles with serious criminal offenses and are possibly abusing substances.