Anna Marie Moya Garcia Dinallo MA, LMHC

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies Doctoral Student
Biography 

Anna Dinallo has been an educator for over 10 years, and she has experience in qualitative community driven research and mental health policy. She has worked in curriculum development and instructed seminars for Collaborative Learning Methods at the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS) at UNM. She continues to instruct classes on Emotional Literacy, develop a consulting firm, and produce research related to parent engagement and social emotional literacy in school settings.

Anna graduated with honors in Psychology and a second bachelors in Spanish from the University of New Mexico. During her undergraduate years, she studied at The Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain, where she taught English to pre-school aged children. In 2014 she completed her Master’s in Counseling from UNM with a focus on attachment therapy, yoga, and nurturing approaches to parent education. Anna has additional training in Alternative therapies such as yoga, mindfulness, and folk medicine that have supported her work counseling children from diverse backgrounds. 

Anna has worked as a licensed mental health care counselor in Albuquerque Public Schools through New Day and as a research assistant for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy project titled, Center for Health Policy on the Considerations for the Development of a System to Distribute Tax Revenues Earmarked for Behavioral Health. Additionally, Anna worked as research assistant for the Center for Educational Policy Research (CEPR) with Dr. Meriah Heredia-Griego and Dr. Tom Dauphine to offer program evaluations.

Anna’s focus in mental health equity is rooted in her research experiences studying emotional resiliency among post-civil war communities in El Salvador (2009-2011). Her experience witnessing the devastating impacts of globalization, militarization, and genocide have shaped her lens of equity and parent-engagement research in Latino communities.

Research Interests 

Emotional Literacy, Family Education, and Alternative Medicine as Prevention

Anna’s research aims to understand pathways to alleviate mental health issues in school settings. Specifically, she assesses emotional literacy curriculums for parents. Anna’s research moves away from a counselor-client behavioral health lens into prevention-based curriculums that are rooted in developing parent funds of knowledge.

Through a Community Based Participatory Action (CBPR) framework, she continues to study parent-engaged education. Her dissertation is a narrative study that documents the experiences of seven Latina community educators through focus group, interview, and artifact data. Given disproportionately high rates of child mental health issues and academic gaps that affect Latino families (Child Trends report, 2013), it is key to develop parent-led emotional literacy interventions. Community centered approaches are highlighted in the Mental Health in Schools Act of 2015, H.R.1211, as a tool to promote culturally relevant health interventions. In response to H.R.1211 and Latino low utilization gaps of mental health services, the researcher and participants developed narratives based on topics within emotional literacy models (Stiener, 1997, Goleman, 2006), critical consciousness (Brown, 2007), and counseling research (Brown, 2006; McLaren, 2010). Narratives across the seven women reveled a need to focus on family emotional learning by identifying inter-partner violence.

More recently, Anna has begun to study Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the state of New Mexico. Given her background in counseling and yoga instruction and other alternative therapies, she aims to bridge alternative medicinal practices with her teaching, counseling, and research. Anna’s research contributes to studies in the field of family emotional literacy, alternative medicine, and curriculum development.

Recent Accomplishments 

Last year Anna received the William B. and Roberta V. Castetter Educational Fellowship in her college. She is currently working on a conference to training medical providers on experiential learning within Complementary and Alternative Medicine.