Faculty Mentors

United States, USC one-week seminar

Concepcion Barrio, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Social Work at USC, conducts research concerning serious mental illness. Three main lines of research include examining whether cultural constructs, specifically sociocentric values, are related to symptom expression in schizophrenia (e.g., Barrio, 2001); access to services, specifically for persons with schizophrenia who enrolled in public mental caseloads (Barrio et al., 2003); and the development and testing of an NIMH funded family intervention for persons with schizophrenia and their families with Mexican-American participants.  Professor Barrio’s research is grounded in her knowledge of rich clinical phenomena, gained throughout the course of over 20 years experience as a practicing licensed clinical social worker.  


Alex Kopelowicz, M.D.

Alex Kopelowicz is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, Medical Director of the San Fernando Mental Health Center (SFMHC), a community mental health center operated by the Department of Mental Health of Los Angeles County, and Chief of Psychiatry at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.  He studies biobehavioral treatment and psychiatric rehabilitation techniques, with particular interest in Latino populations (Kopelowicz et al. 2003), and has received several grants from the NIMH, one of which focuses on culturally adapting multifamily group treatment for Spanish-speaking Latinos (Kopelowicz et al. 2007).  Dr. Kopelowicz’s work reflects a commitment to carrying out research that has application to practice to improve the daily lives of people with serious mental illness.

Jodie Ullman, Ph.D.

Jodie UllmanProfessor of Psychology at California State University San Bernardino, has taught and held adjunct appointments at both USC and UCLA.  A quantitative psychologist, she has conducted research and carried out analysis in multiple domains, and has provided consultation for Dr. Lopez’s psychosis literacy project and family and schizophrenia project, both of which will serve as part of the current training program.  With a reputation as an excellent instructor, she has extensive experience teaching introduction to statistics for undergraduates and advanced courses in modeling for doctoral students in psychology.  Dr. Ullman will provide trainees with instruction and consultation in design and statistical analysis. 


William Vega, Ph.D.

Professor of Social Work at USC and arguably the most distinguished researcher in the general field of Latino Mental Health, has received numerous awards and honors for his scholarly achievements.   His past work has focused on mental health, substance use etiology, and health services utilization in which he has published over 160 articles, chapters, and books.  Recently, he has developed a strong interest in the study of psychosis, identifying psychotic symptomatology in large community samples of Latinos (e.g., Vega et al., 2006) and broadening his current NIMH funded project to study diagnostic accuracy in an ethnically diverse clinical sample of persons with serious mental illness. 



Puebla, Mexico, BUAP ten-week training

Steven Lopez, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Social Work at USC, Director of USC's Clinical Psychology Program, and MHIRT Program Director, has focused directly on reducing disparities in mental health care for Latinos over the last 25 years.  With NIMH support, Lopez and his colleagues have examined how family factors and possible sociocultural factors are associated with the course of schizophrenia for Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans (Lopez et al., 2004).  He has also examined how clinicians' considerations of culture might influence their clinical evaluations and treatment (Lopez, 1989), and has developed a model of cultural competence to improve mental health interventions (Lopez, 1997).  NIMH is currently funding the operationalization of this model and its evaluation.  In a third line of research Dr. Lopez, in collaboration with Drs. Lara and Kopelowicz, (Lopez et al., 2009) has developed a community education program that increases Spanish-speaking persons’ literacy with regard to psychosis.  Additionally, Dr. Lopez has served in several national leadership positions regarding Latino mental health.  For example, he was one of five science editors for the Surgeon General’s Supplemental Report on Mental Health: Cultural, Race and Ethnicity (DHHS, 2001), primarily responsible for writing the chapter on Latinos.  With considerable experience in research training over his 10 years at USC and his 16 years at UCLA, Dr. Lopez has received awards for his mentorship and teaching, including the UCLA psychology department’s distinguished teaching award.


María del Carmen Lara-MuñozM.D., Ph.D.

Carmen LaraA Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), plays leadership roles as researcher, administrator and educator.  She has received formal training in clinical psychiatry, psychology, and medical sciences, and received postdoctoral research training at Yale University from Alvan Feinstein, an epidemiologist and founder of the field of clinimetrics, the science of clinical measurement.  Her research covers many areas in psychiatry.  However, her main interest concerns the social functioning of persons with mental illness, specifically quality of life and disability.  In contrast to researchers who focus on clinical symptoms and clinical outcomes (relapse), since 1995 Dr. Lara-Muñoz has studied the social side of functioning (quality of life) beginning first with cancer patients (Lara Muñoz et al., 1995) and later extending to patients with major depression (Mendieta Cabrera, Lara-Muñoz , et al., 2007). Throughout her longstanding professional affiliation with the National Institute of Psychiatry in Mexico City, Dr. Lara-Muñoz has participated in numerous epidemiological projects.  The most notable is the National Mexican Survey of Mental Disorders, which provides the first national estimates of mental illness and mental health service use in Mexico.

Kristin Yarris, Ph.D.

Krisitn YarrisKristin Yarris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at the University of Oregon. A Medical Anthropologist with training in Public Health, Kristin’s research focuses on the social determinants and cultural meanings of health, mental health and emotional distress, and on transnational migration, family life, and intergenerational caregiving as a resource for family health and wellbeing in different cultural contexts. Kristin’s work has appeared in Ethos: The Journal of Psychological Anthropology; Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry; The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology; and International Migration. She teaches courses in Global Health and Development, Migration and Health, Medical and Psychological Anthropology, Research Methods and Research Design, Global Reproductive Health, and Gender and Transnational Migration. Kristin received her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from UCLA in 2011 and her MPH in Community Health Sciences and MA in Latin American Studies from UCLA in 2004.

  • Dr. Steven R. Lopez, Ph.D.
  • University of Southern California
  • Dornsife College, Psychology Department
  • 3620 McClintock Avenue, SGM 501
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061