Phentermine NLBHA - The National Latino Behavioral Health Association - Board of Directors and Staff



Robert Martinez

Robert Martinez is President of the Board of Director’s of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association. Robert was formerly a consultant specializing in program/planning in Behavioral Health programs with an emphasis on organizational cultural competence. He is former Director of the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS) Center for Multi-Cultural Development. Mr. Martinez no longer consults however he continues to be committed to developing strategies for reducing disparities and providing Best Practice tools for assisting Behavioral health Organizations to offer culturally relevant services.

Prior to working as director of the Center for Multi-Cultural Development, Mr. Martinez was Executive Director at Patton State Hospital. In addition, he was Mental Health Director in Santa Clara County where special efforts were made to provide culturally appropriate services to consumers in the mental health system. While he was the Mental Health Director in San Bernardino County he became president of the California Conference of Local Mental Health Directors and was active in statewide efforts to address the awareness of cultural competence in public programs. Robert Martinez has been a member of the NLBHA Board of Directors for three years.



Israel Martinez
Director of Multicultural Affairs

Born in Aibonito Puerto Rico & raised in the Bronx, New York City; Israel Martinez has been a practicing Social Work for almost 40 years in both New York and Connecticut. He has provided clinical services to a broad variety of client populations in specialty areas such as substance abuse, community social work, individual and family counseling, private practice, forensics, inpatient psychiatric care & administration.

Israel earned a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the Bernard M. Baruch College in New York City in 1974 and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University Of Connecticut School Of Social Work in 1981. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has made Connecticut his home since 1979. Israel is currently the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Connecticut Valley Hospital, DMHAS (Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services).

As Director of Multicultural Affairs Israel is responsible for securing language services throughout the hospital; he chairs the Multicultural Committee, coordinates various cultural events throughout the hospital setting and is responsible for carrying out the hospital’s Multicultural Action Plan in collaboration with administration. He provides consultation, interpretation and advocacy services to the Latino population in conjunction with the Department of Recovery and Consumer Affairs. He is an active member of the statewide Multicultural Advisory Council and a member of the hospital’s Operations Council, QWL committee, (Quality Work Life) and a trainer for the Multicultural Cohort program & staff development. In addition to his duties Israel is a trained mediator; he received his certification via the Connecticut Certificate Program from Quinnipiac University Center for Dispute Resolution in 2011. He received a certificate from the Georgetown University Leadership Academy in August of 2011 to address Disparities in Mental Health Care in Santa Fe New Mexico.



Lizett Gutierrez BS, RVT, MA

Born in Lima, Peru and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Lizett’s first encounter with Latino social justice projects occurred in the 1990’s through her exposure to Positive Force D.C. punk shows. The punk shows benefited projects like Justice for Janitors and were pivotal in awakening the ideology of Pa’lante. Perhaps one of the key inspirations for her current research interests, Lizett spent 18 years working as a veterinary technician. She accomplished her goal of learning to care for pets in a variety of specialty departments within animal hospital settings and in comparative animal research. Through her experiences as a veterinary nurse she recognized that by treating pet patients her interactions with their human handlers was just as important from the perspective of preventative education, empathy, and active listening. While on the veterinary nursing path Lizett refocused her attention towards helping the community of individuals with disabilities. Having grown up with a cousin who has an intellectual disability she witnessed the stigma of “othering” that community showed her cousin. The interactions that Lizett observed at a young age instilled a passion to quell the social and cultural shame of mental and developmental disabilities. That professional interest led Lizett to gain her M.A. in special education from the University of New Mexico. With her degree she proudly served students and their families in a Title 1 dual language (Spanish/English) community school in Albuquerque, NM. Always looking to build on how animals, humans, and the environment are interconnected in a One Health framework, Lizett is now working on earning a Master of Social Work degree with a certificate in Animal-Assisted Social Work (AASW) from the University of Denver. Currently, she holds the position of Secretary on the Board of Directors for the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA). Lizett is honored to support the NLBHA mission and will help the board expand its vision for the future: to uphold culturally and linguistically diverse and appropriate mental health services for the Latino community.



Dr. Luis Vargas

Luis A. Vargas is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He was previously the director of the clinical psychology internship program for fourteen years and served six years as the Chair of the New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners. His clinical and scholarly work has focused on providing culturally responsive services to diverse children, adolescents, and families in Latino communities. He is co-editor (with Joan D. Koss-Chioino) of "Working with Culture: Psychotherapeutic Interventions with Ethnic Minority Children and Adolescents" and a co- author (with Joan D. Koss-Chioino) of "Working with Latino Youth: Culture, Development, and Context," both published by Jossey-Bass. He is a past president of the Division of Child and Family Policy and Practice (Div. 37) of the American Psychological Association (APA), a past member of the APA Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest and the Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Div. 12, 37, & 45), and a Fellow of the Association of the State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).


Operations Manager

Fred Sandoval, MPA

Fred has over 27 years professional experience in health and human services. His experience in cultural and linguistic competency includes training, technical assistance, consultation, planning and evaluation of behavioral health services to diverse populations with a special emphasis on Hispanic populations in New Mexico. He is a former alternate to the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, served as the Lead on Cultural and Linguistic Competency for the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative and Children, Youth and Families Department Systems of Care. He served as New Mexico's Lead on the SAMHSA Eliminating Disparities Policy Academy is currently a member of the National Network to Eliminate Disparities and the State Coordinators Council of Cultural and Linguistic Competency.

He served in the National Latino Mental Health Congress during the President Clinton administration. Fred recently completed two terms as the President of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association, where he currently works as the Operations Manager. He served as First Vice President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Arlington, VA and presided over the development and policy initiatives for the NAMI National Multicultural Action Center's symposiums and summits. Fred met with and participated in President George W. Bush' announcement of the New Freedom Commission in Albuquerque, NM. He has advised SAMHSA on the development of cultural and linguistic standards and has served on multiple boards, councils, commissions and committees across the state include border initiatives, suicide prevention, crisis intervention and consumer & family support.

He received his Masters in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University in 1992 and his Bachelors of University Studies from the University of New Mexico in 1980. His sister was diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia and his oldest brother died of alcoholism.


George Adelo, Esq.
Owner - White Buffalo Music

George Adelo is an established professional working in the legal and entertainment fields. He is an entrepreneur, musician, innovator, comedian and fashion guru. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame Law School, George worked as a Counselor-at-Law for over 30 years. Most recently, he is the owner of White Buffalo Music. A member of the New Mexico Music Commission, his family ancestry dates back to Lebanese immigrants entering the New Mexico Territory.






Ever J. Flores

Ever Flores, M.P.P. is a Program Associate at American Councils for International Education focusing on teacher exchange programs and has 9 years of experience working with non-profit organizations. Mr. Flores previously led the organizational administration of NLBHA in collaboration with the Board of Directors. He facilitated events, meetings, and logistics for the Community Defined Evidence Project, Mental Health Interpreter Training, and Tenemos Voz programs. Inspired by the impact of these programs on Latino communities, Mr. Flores is eager to continue to support NLBHA's important advocacy efforts for effective behavioral health policy in the U.S.

Mr. Flores holds a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University and a B.A. in International Affairs from James Madison University. He is proud to be the son of hardworking Guatemalan immigrants.





Lizett Justa Gutierrez

I’m a Peruvian native, raised into a matriarchal family in the D.C. metropolitan area, and currently residing in the Western landscape. From a young age I witnessed the importance of self-determination, autonomy, and protecting those with diminished rights. Animal rights, respecting the voice of individuals with disabilities, and preservation of cultural stories are the areas of social justice that drive my community work. I was a practicing veterinary nurse for 18 years and received my veterinary technician license in 2009. In 2015 I received my M.A. in special education from UNM. I proudly served special education students and their families in an Albuquerque Title 1, dual language community school for two years. Currently, I am earning an MSW degree with a certificate in animal assisted therapies at the University of Denver. I look forward to serving this board, the Latino community, and for upholding NLBHA’s mission and vision for the future.





Cielo Mohapatra
Community Development Program Manager

Cielo Mohapatra, B.A. Clinical Psychology, has been in the in field of Mental and Behavioral Health for over 16 years. She is been with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) for the last nine years. Currently she is the Community Development Program Manager with the Bureau of Health Systems Development (HSD), Division of Public Health and Prevention Services.

Cielo’s background experience includes behavioral/mental health, prevention and primary care services, public health administration, program development, multi-cultural counseling, training and supervision, healthcare integration systems, and consultancy. She was leader in the development and implementation of the first cultural competency strategic plan and training curriculum at ADHS Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) in the state of Arizona.

Cielo’s priority is to create culturally competent integrated healthcare systems that embraces individual differences, and promotes respectful and meaningful access to health care services to all populations in the US. She had served in multiple organizations’ boards and advisory committees. Currently she is Advisory Board Member for the Southwestern School for Behavioral Health Studies, and the Arizona Rural Women Health Network (RWHN). Recently she joined the Board of Directors for the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA) to influence national behavioral health policy and improve the quality of services and treatment outcomes for Latino populations.

Cielo was born and raised in Sonora, Mexico and migrated to Phoenix, Arizona in 2000. Her multicultural background increases her values and commitment to promote cultural and diversity inclusion, and create opportunities to reduce health disparities; and facilitate health care access to underserved communities.



Antonio Lopez
Senior Financial Advisor-Vice President, Merrill Lynch

While the markets evolve and headlines sound alarms, Antonio Lopez enjoys serving as a voice of reason to assist clients prudently and proactively navigate the vast financial landscape. To help affluent individuals and their families uphold complete wealth management, he provides personalized, in-depth strategies guided by his experience as a long-distance runner: Enduring success depends on preparation, pacing and patience. By diligently listening to clients, Antonio provides sound financial advice for ongoing education, guidance and resources needed for all stages of life.

Motivation and a vision for success are the foundation of Antonio’s professional relationships. He first gained entrepreneurial experience as a teenager, when he built and managed a profitable lawn care service company. Later, as a student athlete with asthma, Antonio overcame the condition to become a 1999 Gatorade USA Track & Field All-American, with individual New Mexico State Championships in the 800 meters, Mile and Two Mile. After completing college, he then moved to New York City and studied playwriting at The Actor’s Studio Drama School, and had one of his plays produced Off-Broadway. While living in Manhattan, Antonio started his career in the financial services industry, subsequently returning to his home state of New Mexico where he joined Merrill Lynch.

Antonio attended Notre Dame University on an athletic scholarship and became a cross country Big East Champion. He later transferred to the University of San Diego and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in theatre arts. Antonio has run 14 marathons, with a best time of 2 hours and 32 minutes (San Diego 2007), winning the 2009 New Mexico Marathon, and running the Rio de Janiero Marathon in 2015! Antonio and his wife, Elizabeth Jaramillo-Lopez, are both excited for the upcoming birth of their son in October 2015 . . . WISH US LUCK!



Patricia Trujillo


BHIT Training Administrator

Maxine Henry

Maxine Henry is an MSW and MBA student with New Mexico Highlands University, focusing on Government Non-Profit Management and Leadership. For the past 4 years, she has also been the Program Director for Albuquerque Center for Hope & Recovery working on eliminating barriers to employment. Ms. Henry also organizes training and continuing education trainings for consumers and practitioners in the field of behavioral health. In working with the National Latino Behavioral Health Association, Ms. Henry hopes to advance opportunities for Latinos, as well as develop her skills and knowledge in non-profit leadership.  





Board Member Emeritus

Majosé Carrasco
Director- NAMI Multicultural Action Center

MaJosé Carrasco, M.P.A. is the director of the Multicultural Action Center (MAC) at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where she oversees the organization’s diversity and cultural competence efforts as well as its public initiatives to address disparities in mental healthcare and increase mental health awareness and education for diverse communities.

Ms. Carrasco is co-author, with Dr. Annelle Primm of the American Psychiatric Association, of In Living Color: Depression Treatment in Primary Care Settings, a two-hour education program for primary healthcare providers. Additionally, she has co-authored several multicultural guides and reports.

In addition to her work at NAMI, Ms. Carrasco also serves on numerous boards and committees including the board of directors for the Latino Behavioral Health Institute (LBHI) and the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA); the Steward Group of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Network to Eliminate Disparities (NNED), the External Workgroup of the Center for Mental Health Services' (CMHS) Eliminating Mental Health Disparities Initiative; and the advisory boards of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research and the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health.

Ms. Carrasco is the recipient of the 2007 Award for Mental Health Advocacy for the Association of Hispanic Mental Health Professionals and the 2009 Award for Excellence in Hispanic Advocacy and Leadership, National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Truman State University and her Master’s degree in Public Administration, Nonprofit Management from George Mason University.


Board Member Emeritus

Maria Rodriguez
President- Vanguard Communications
Maria Rodriguez is president and owner of Vanguard Communications, a full-service public relations firm committed exclusively to the marketing and promotion of social issues. Her vision is to challenge and inspire others to make a difference in the world through communications. Maria has managed many social change campaigns in areas such as mental health, women’s health, education, environmental protection and sustainable agriculture. In 2003, Vanguard Communications became the first Hispanic woman-owned firm to earn the highly coveted PR Week PR Agency of the Year Award. A native Washingtonian, Maria is a first generation American whose Spanish parents immigrated to the United States in 1957 from Venezuela.




Past President

Pierluigi Mancini, Ph.D., NCAC II
President- Multicultural Development Institute, Inc.

With over 30 years of experience in culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health treatment and prevention, Dr. Mancini is one of the most sought after national and international consultants and speakers on the subject of mental health and addiction, his area of expertise is immigrant behavioral health.  

Dr. Mancini founded Georgia’s only Latino behavioral health program in 1999 to serve the immigrant population by providing cultural and linguistically appropriate mental health and addiction treatment and prevention services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.  

A frequent guest of local, national and international media Dr. Mancini has been featured in U.S. News and World Report, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, WAGA-TV Channel 5 Atlanta, CNN en Español, Telemundo and Univision. Additionally, Dr. Mancini has been a favorite and frequent guest of Spanish language radio stations.  

As a national consultant, Dr. Mancini has provided expert content on immigrant behavioral health and cultural competency to clients at the local, state and federal level. Projects have included work on developing and implementing cultural competency plans, policies, procedures and training manuals. Training topics include the implementation of CLAS standards; developing cultural competence organizational assessments; developing cultural and linguistically appropriate programs; cultural competence in the strategic prevention framework and training staff on the importance of cultural competence among others.  

As an international consultant, Dr. Mancini has provided guidance, mentorship and internships to psychology students from the Universidad Anáhuac Mayab in Mérida, Mexico and has consulted in underage drinking prevention programs in Italy.  

Dr. Mancini’s public service announcement and documentaries addressing underage drinking, suicide and prescription drugs have won a combined six (6) EMMY ® awards. Dr. Mancini has been honored with the National Latina/o Psychological Association Star Vega Distinguished Service Award; the National Council of La Raza - Helen Rodríguez- Trías Award for Health; and the Mental Health America “Heroes in the Fight” Award among others.