Dr. Ruben Parra Cardona will present on his approach to community-engaged research, including focus on social justice. He will provide exemplars and future direction for his work, and applications for learnings to apply to their community-based research. Despite the impressive improvements in the field of mental health throughout the United States (US), relentless mental health disparities continue to impact the most vulnerable and diverse populations in the country. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrated the profound economic inequities, as well as health and mental health disparities experienced by disadvantaged diverse populations. In this presentation and focusing on Latinx immigrants as a case example, the presenter will discuss the ways in which historical legacies entrenched in the US, as well as socio-economic structures continue to have a negative impact on the mental health of the least privileged populations in the US. Specific suggestions will be offered to address mental health inequities by embracing community resources and strengths in communities exposed to continuous forms of contextual adversity and oppression.
Rubén Parra-Cardona, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. He was previously at Michigan State University, as an Associate Professor of Couple and Family Therapy in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. He was funded by NIMH to investigate the efficacy and relevance of evidence-based parenting interventions culturally adapted for Latinx families with young children. He is currently funded by NIDA to extend this research to Latinx families with adolescents. His work integrates cultural adaptation and implementation science. He has a wealth of experience with research collaborations across the U.S.-Mexico border, and is a clinical faculty member and researcher in the Instituto Regional de Estudios de la Familia.