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  • May 08, 2019

HMS Honors CHA Latino Mental Health Program with Diversity Award

Pictured left to right - Joan Reede, MD, Dean for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, Silvia Halperin, PhD, Soledad Vera, PhD and George Daley, MD, PhD, Dean of Harvard Medical School.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Latino Mental Health Program at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), under the leadership of Silvia Halperin, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Soledad Vera, PhD, Instructor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at CHA, is a recipient of the 2019 Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award presented by Harvard Medical School (HMS). The award celebrates faculty (clinical, pre-clinical, research and administrative) of HMS who have made exceptional efforts and contributions in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion.

The Latino Mental Health Program at CHA was founded in 1983 and promotes diversity within HMS, in the state of Massachusetts, including the broader Cambridge community, and in the United States. It is a bilingual, multidisciplinary team consisting of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and pre- and postdoctoral trainees in these disciplines. The program treats a varied patient population of Latin American origin and/or heritage and strives to make access to care more equitable and inclusive for the diverse Latino community typically facing significant barriers to mental health care.

Parallel to this clinical service mission, the Latino Mental Health Program has been highly committed to training the next generation of bilingual and bicultural service providers. The team currently includes psychiatrists, Claudio Demb, MD, Michelle Heller, MD, Elissa Kleinman, MD; psychologists, Silvia Halperin, PhD, Sara Kleinberg, PsyD, Angela Radan, PhD, Soledad Vera, PhD; clinical social worker, Carmen Rojas-Milla, LICSW - and trainees, Claudia Gonzalez-Erigolla, MS, Marta Pagan-Ortiz, MS., Bernalyn Ruiz, MA, and David Zelaya, MEd.

In a nomination letter, a former psychiatry resident wrote: “The highlight of my adult psychiatry training was being part of the Latino Clinic during my fourth year of residency. Having the opportunity to work along with such brilliant, dedicated, and committed providers was a true gift. Even now I continue to reflect on this experience, admiring the degree of humanity they conveyed while providing excellent, culturally-minded care to our most vulnerable populations. They are my mentors and a gift to the Cambridge Health Alliance and beyond. I cannot imagine a group more deserving of this award.”

CHA is an academic community health system committed to providing high-quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.

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