From Policy to Practice: Emerging Mental Health Issues Facing U.S. Latinos

Special Presentation & Networking at the Florida Aquarium – The Matilda García Latin American Research Scholar Exchange

Download handouts from these presentations:
[860kb pdf]

For the 20th Anniversary Conference, the Matilda García Initiative: Latin American Research Scholars Exchange was pleased to present Dr. Ken Martinez, Mental Health Resource Specialist at the Technical Assistance Partnership in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Luis Vargas, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Martinez discussed policy issues at state and federal levels affecting access to mental health services for Latino communities in the U.S.. Dr. Vargas discussed current issues regarding the availability of culturally and linguistically competent services for Latinos.

Matilda Garcia, the local activist and benefactor who funds the Research Exchange Initiative, which helps to supports such events during our annual conference, will be on-hand to meet with conference guests. For more information on the Matilda Garcia Initiative, please visit our website at Our special presentations will begin at 7 p.m.

Our Nationally Recognized Speakers

Ken Martinez, Psy.D.
Technical Assistance Partnership, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Martinez is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a national expert in several areas related to mental health. He currently serves as the Mental Health Resource Specialist for the Technical Assistance Partnership in Washington, D.C.

Formerly the State Children’s Behavioral Health Director in New Mexico, he served as immediate past Chair of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), Children, Youth and Families Division, where he represented the children’s mental health directors of the 50 U.S. states and territories. Dr. Martinez serves on a number of national committees and advisory boards, including the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and our own Research and Training Center.

Dr. Martinez has also authored and presented papers and articles in several areas, including cultural applications in child and family psychotherapy, cultural competence, evidence-based practices/practice-based evidence and financing strategies.

Luis A. Vargas, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico

Dr. Vargas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. He was previously the director of the psychology internship program for fourteen years. During these years, the internship program had a strong focus on training psychology interns to be culturally responsive and to serve culturally diverse patient populations within the public sector.

Dr. Vargas has written and edited a number of articles and books focused on providing culturally appropriate services to diverse children and adolescents, particularly in Latino communities. He is co-editor of "Working with Culture: Psychotherapeutic Interventions with Ethnic Minority Children and Adolescents" and a co-author of "Working with Latino Youth: Culture, Development, and Context," both published by Jossey-Bass. Dr. Vargas is past president of APA Division 37 (Child, Youth, and Family Services) and a fellow of Divisions 12 and 37.

About the Florida Aquarium Event

Guests attending this special evening were transported by Tampa Streetcar to the nearby Florida Aquarium, a magical setting for presentations and networking. The evening included light refreshments, an offering of beverages, and full access to the aquarium for a fascinating background to the evening’s presentations and networking session.

The mission of the Florida Aquarium: to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environments. Opened in March 1995, the 200,000 sq-ft aquarium tells Florida's unique water story as it follows a drop of water from its underground source to the open sea. Over 10,000 aquatic plants and animals both native to Florida and from all over the globe.

Explore Florida's freshwater environments, including springs, streams, marshes, rivers and mangrove forests. Come face-to-face with otters, spoonbills, gators and snakes. Climb to the top of the dome in the Wetlands Lookout!

Bays & Beaches
Discover sea life along Florida's coast, such as bonnethead sharks, seahorses, spiny lobsters, stingrays and a 150 lb. grouper!

Coral Reefs
Plunge 60 feet below the surface into a colorful coral grotto, without ever getting wet! Meet green moray eels, queen angelfish, rainbow parrotfish, more.

Sea Hunt
Encounter the world's most fascinating predators: sharks, a giant Pacific octopus, cuttlefish, lionfish, frogfish and more!

Visit the Florida Aquarium web site