UNM Health Policy Fellows

UNM Health Policy Doctoral Fellowship Program Fellows

Violette Cloud

Violette
Cloud
Psychology
Biography 

Violette Cloud grew up in a southwest rural community in Colorado and attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She graduated from FLC in 2013 double majoring in Philosophy and Psychology. After working at a reservation substance use treatment center for two years, she was accepted into the Clinical Psychology PhD program at the University of New Mexico. Violette’s research focus is on multicultural ethics in psychological research and clinical practice. She is especially interested in the translation of philosophical ethical though into the practical application of culturally appropriate treatments employed in the established regulatory bodies in health system organizations.  In addition to her research, Violette is a member of the Diversity Organization (DO!), and participates in two specialty clinics within the psychology department, the alcohol clinic (@UNM) and the Cultural Counseling Clinic (CCC). Finally, Violette has recently begun her practicum work at the Addiction and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), where she will continue to develop the clinical skills necessary to provide comprehensive substance abuse and mental health treatments. 

Research Interests 

Ethical research and clinical practice in Clinical Psychology.
Alcohol and Addiction in Native American populations.

Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga

Barbara
Gomez-Aguinaga
UNM Health Policy Fellow
Political Science
Biography 

Barbara is a doctoral student in political science and a Health Policy Doctoral Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, where she studies racial and health disparities of minority and immigrant populations in the United States.

Barbara served as research intern at the Migration Policy Institute, providing support for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program in issues such as immigration enforcement and deferred action. She also worked at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, doing research on immigration enforcement policies, unaccompanied minors and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); and the Cross Border Issues Group, studying migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States. Barbara served as research and legal assistant for several years, working with refugees from Congo and the Great Lake region of Africa, immigrant victims of crimes, young unauthorized immigrants and international students and scholars.

As a first generation student and as an immigrant herself, Barbara wants to create rights-based policy change to advance minority rights. 

Research Interests 

Barbara’s research interests focus on political participation and health disparities of minority and immigrant populations across the American states.

Brooke Abrams

Brooke
Abrams
Political Science Doctoral Student
Political Science
Biography 

Brooke is a first-year CHP doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy and a doctoral student in political science focusing on International Relations and Comparative Politics subfields. She obtained a double bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University in International Politics and Spanish. During her undergraduate career, Brooke completed the Ronald E. McNair scholars program. She has presented her McNair research on gender inequality and poverty in Latin America at the MPSA conference. Currently, her research interests broadly include the intersectionality between health inequities within African American communities, human rights violations, and how race and gender issues impact poverty in developing countries.

Justina Avila, M.A.

Justina
Avila
Psychology Doctoral Student
505 277-4121
Curriculum Vitae: 
Biography 

Justina is a first year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UNM. She received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology and B.A. in Psychology from California State University Northridge. Prior to attending UNM, she was involved in health disparities research as a scholar for the NIH-funded Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI), which prompted her interest in the relationship between lack of access to health and educational resources and cognitive health disparities in understudied minority groups. Justina currently works at the UNMH Center for Neuropsychological Services, providing cognitive assessment services to patients from diverse backgrounds. Her past and recent experiences continue to influence her interest in elucidating the role of cultural factors as determinants of cognitive health outcomes and the influence of culture on the measurement of these outcomes.

Research Interests 

Her current research interests involve examining culture and cognitive test performance in understudied minority groups and addressing health disparities through the development of culturally valid assessments and techniques. Using advanced statistical modeling techniques, she intends to assess the degree to which factors such as SES, quality of education, and acculturation influence test performance and cognitive outcomes. Her findings have the potential to impact the field of clinical neuropsychology, particularly in regard to test development and the training of providers working with diverse populations. Furthermore, she intends to explore the implications of her research regarding educational and health care policy.
 

Recent Accomplishments 

In 2013, after completing her Master’s thesis project, Justina received the Donald Butler Quantitative Research Award for completing outstanding graduate-level research utilizing advanced quantitative methods of data analysis. In 2015 Justina received the Jose Martin Rodriguez Travel Award, which is given to a psychology graduate student who has been selected to present at a national conference.

Mario Javier Chavez

Mario Javier
Chavez
Sociology Doctoral Student
Curriculum Vitae: 
Biography 

Mario is a first-year Ph.D. student of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. Mario received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso with department honors. While at The University of Texas at El Paso, Mario’s research examined the barriers that undocumented populations, such as day-laborers and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, experience when searching for employment. In addition, his research focused on unpacking the labor conditions these marginalized populations experienced once employed. Mario decided to shift his research agenda to focus on employment related physical and mental detriments and their resolution coupled with a focus on the health policies and coverages that either address, or fail to address, these possibly life-altering situations.

Research Interests 

Two questions guide Mario’s research: Why do Latinos do what they do to earn an income, and is this ultimately advantageous and safe? And: What are the effects of national policies, such as the Affordable Care Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, on marginalized populations found in the United States? With these questions in mind, Mario will research the disparities and barriers that first generation, 1.5, and second generation Latino/as face when accessing healthcare, education, and employment once in the United States. Specifically, Mario will use quantitative methods to measure these variables and their intersectionality along the U.S.-Mexico border and in contemporary immigrant receiving sites, with the ultimate goal of comparing Latino outcomes in cities known as traditional receiving Latinos and contemporary receiving sites. This research will contribute to the scholarly work focusing on race, immigration, health inequities, and the effects of national immigration and health policies.

Recent Accomplishments 

Southwestern Sociology Association Executive Board Member – Student Representative University of New Mexico Health Center Fellowship Recipient

Maria Livaudais

Maria
Livaudais
Political Science Doctoral Student
505 277-2711
Biography 

Maria is a doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy and a doctoral student in political science. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University in International Studies with minors in Economics and Biology. During her undergraduate career Maria completed the Ronald E. McNair scholar program and interned for Quantros, a health informatics company in Silicon Valley focused on patient safety.

Research Interests 

Maria is a doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy and a doctoral student in political science. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University in International Studies with minors in Economics and Biology. During her undergraduate career Maria completed the Ronald E. McNair scholar program and interned for Quantros, a health informatics company in Silicon Valley focused on patient safety.
Currently, Maria is working on several projects with multidisciplinary teams on Hispanics and the health insurance exchange and on electronic health records effects on physicians’ workflow. Her research interests include health disparities, health insurance exchanges, and health informatics policy.

Jeremiah Simmons

Jeremiah
Simmons
Psychology Doctoral Student
505 272-6238
Biography 

Jeremiah Simmons is a second-year doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy, and a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. He graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in Human Biology. Jeremiah, a native New Mexican, was raised in Mescalero, New Mexico, and while he associates himself with the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, his family originates from the Lakota and Navajo tribes.

His research activities are broadly focused on adolescent health disparities with an emphasis on mental and behavioral health, behavioral heath policy, and co-occuring disorders. Jeremiah is currently serving a 4-year term as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). He is also affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry's Division for Community Behavioral Health and works on SAMHSA related grants that serve children, youth, and families.

Research Interests 

Jeremiah Simmons is a second-year doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy, and a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. He graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in Human Biology. Jeremiah, a native New Mexican, was raised in Mescalero, New Mexico, and while he associates himself with the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, his family originates from the Lakota and Navajo tribes.

His research activities are broadly focused on adolescent health disparities with an emphasis on mental and behavioral health, behavioral heath policy, and co-occuring disorders. Jeremiah is currently serving a 4-year term as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). He is also affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry's Division for Community Behavioral Health and works on SAMHSA related grants that serve children, youth, and families.

In the years prior to matriculation at the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at UNM, Jeremiah coordinated a 4-year SAMHSA GLS Youth Suicide Prevention grant for the Mescalero community. To successfully reduce suicide rates, his team helped restore hope in his community through targeted interventions while promoting the idea that eliminating suicide was a "shared responsibility." They knew that they needed to take quick action and began looking at communication tools teens use every day. He began to use social media as a way to provide much needed support, reach out to teens in need, and create an emotional safety net for those who were not sure of where to turn.

Jeremiah continues to expand his knowledge of public health practice in suicide prevention. As a firm believer that there are not enough American Indian mental health professionals, he is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. In 2013, he was awarded a UNM Health Policy Fellowship affiliated with the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy, which will allow him to focus on adolescent health through behavioral health policy initiatives for American Indians.

 

Eric Griego

Eric
Griego
Political Science Doctoral Student
505 277-2711
Biography 

Eric Griego is a doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy where his research interests include the connections between economic development, human capital, healthy communities and social investment.

Research Interests 

For the past two decades Eric has worked as a researcher, analyst and policy maker at the local, state, national and international level on applied public policy issues ranging from economic development to early childhood education.
The first ten years of his career after receiving his Master’s Degree at the University of Maryland’s Public Policy School, he spent working on international economic issues at several agencies and on Capital Hill.
As an Albuquerque City Councilman, State Senator and senior appointed state official he worked on economic, social and tax policy issues from increasing the minimum wage to campaign finance reform.
He later ran the largest and most active anti-poverty advocacy, research and policy organization focusing on children and families, New Mexico Voices for Children.
Currently he is a doctoral fellow at the UNM Center for Health Policy where his research interests include the connections between economic development, human capital, healthy communities and social investment.