Principal Investigator

Adrian Aguilera, Ph.D. |

Associate Professor 

University of California, Berkeley

University of California San Francisco, Psychiatry

Director, Latino Mental Health Research Program 

Adrian Aguilera, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Francisco. He received his B.A, from Stanford University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from UCLA. Dr. Aguilera’s research has focused on studying the influence of culture, community and socioeconomic status on mental health along with developing interventions to address health disparities in low-income and minority populations. Dr. Aguilera’s current work has focused on utilizing mobile phone technology to improve mental health interventions in primary care settings with vulnerable populations. He has conducted research using text messaging as a companion to cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) for depression to increase engagement and improve outcomes. He is currently developing a personalized, machine learning based texting intervention to improve physical activity among people with comorbid diabetes and depression. He is committed to utilizing innovative technologies to reduce health disparities.

Publications on PubMed

Research Coordinator

Rosa Hernandez-Ramos, B.A. |

Rosa Hernandez-Ramos, B.A. is the Research Coordinator for the Digital Health Equity and Access Lab (dHEAL). Rosa received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Education Studies from UCLA in Spring 2018. During her time as an undergrad, Rosa worked as a Research Assistant for UCLA’s Department of Psychology where she studied the needs of underserved groups including children with anxiety disorders, Latinos, and rural populations. Within the Digital Health and Equity Lab, she organizes, manages, and implements a variety of different digital health interventions for patients with depression and diabetes. Rosa is passionate about reducing racial mental health disparities in terms of access, utilization, and quality of care. Her primary research interests include increasing mental health literacy in racial/ethnic minorities, increasing access to evidence based treatments for underserved populations, and ecological approaches to cultural humility in clinical settings. Rosa is a current prospective Clinical Psychology PhD applicant. 

Post-Doctoral Candidates

Caroline Figueroa, MD, Ph.D. |

Caroline Figueroa, MD, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare. She obtained her MD degree and Ph.D. degree at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. During her PhD, she spent 1,5 years at the University of Oxford for a research traineeship. Her research has focused on cognitive and neurobiological vulnerability factors for recurrence of depression in patients recovered from Major Depressive Disorder. Dr. Figueroa's current research interest is on digital interventions for depression, with an emphasis on developing cutting-edge innovations that tailor to the needs of underserved populations. She is involved in the analysis, testing, and implementation of digital applications for depression and diabetes in ethnic minority patients with a focus on Latinx patients. Through these innovative projects, she hopes to contribute to improving the impact and efficacy of digital interventions for Latinx communities.  

Graduate Students

Alein Y. Haro, MPH |

Alein Y. Haro, MPH, is a Ph.D. student in Health Policy, Population & Data Science program. Alein's research examines how social processes create social conditions that affect physical and mental health and create health inequities. She specifically studies the association between occupational and non-occupational exposures, like immigration policy vulnerability, and their effects on mental health outcomes among the most vulnerable workers, including immigrant day laborers.  Alein is an RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar and seeks to use her work to create and implement policies and culturally-relevant digital health interventions that advance equity and health. She earned her BA and MPH from UCLA. 

Claire Boone, MPH |

Claire Boone

Claire Boone is a third year PhD Student in the Health Policy, Health Economics program. She studies the impact of programs and policies to improve chronic disease management, and is particularly interested in health in Latin America. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from Berkeley in 2017. 

Volunteer Research Assistants

Vivian Yip |

Vivian Yip

Vivian Yip is a second-year undergraduate Molecular Environmental Biology major at UC Berkeley and is working as a research assistant. Vivian is passionate about being a part of shaping and improving healthcare coverage in the United States and addressing social determinants of health within her community. As a volunteer for Health Advocates and position as a peer counselor at UC Berkeley, she has seen how there are still limits to medicine and health disparities that need to be recognized in order to improve patient care. She hopes to understand the research that drives public and mental health in order to make health care services more accessible to low-income populations. As a research assistant, she is involved in a pilot project on mHealth intervention ethics and data privacy, which entails qualitative data collection and analysis.

Suchitra Sudarshan | 

Suchitra is a second year undergraduate studying Molecular and Cell Biology & Social Welfare at UC Berkeley. She is interested in studying how various stressors become biologically embedded in individuals, as well as how those biological imprints shape and predict physical and mental health outcomes, with a particular focus on depression.  Suchitra is also the Executive Director for the Undergraduate Journal of Psychology at Berkeley and enjoys teaching students how to review and edit original research manuscripts in order to publish scholarly writing. This, coupled with her experience as a Peer-Reviewer for Impulse: The Premiere Undergraduate Neuroscience Journal, has allowed Suchitra to see the ways in which scientific communication can inform the public. Because of this, she is also interested in the ways in which research  can be used to develop programs and inform policy audiences. As a Research Assistant, she is involved in data management and creating informative videos for participants.