Research Staff

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 Project 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 interventions for patients with depression and diabetes. Rosa’s current research interests include analyzing the impact of socio-demographic factors in treatment adherence and the linguistic analysis of depressed populations. Rosa intends to pursue a PhD in the near future and focus on alleviating racial mental health disparities in underserved populations.

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. 

Doctoral Candidates

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. 

Graduate Students

Laura Gomez, B.A. |

Laura Gomez is a combined MSW/PhD student at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare. Laura obtained her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish, also from UC Berkeley. After college, she worked as a Program Director in a Berkeley-based community non-profit serving Latinx immigrants, and as a Product Manager at a nonprofit healthcare technology startup, where she performed extensive user research for the development of mobile health interventions for low-income patients. More recently, Laura worked for a government consulting firm, where she supported several research, data analysis and technical assistance projects in social and public health policy. Laura’s current research interests focus on digital mental health and on developing innovative mHealth interventions for marginalized populations. Through her research Laura hopes to work towards greater integration of technology into social work.

Volunteer Research Assistants 

Lizbeth Ortiz-Pivaral |

Lizbeth Ortiz-Pivaral is a third-year undergraduate Public Health major at UC Berkeley and has been working on the DIAMANTE project. Lizbeth has a genuine interest in improving the health outcomes of Latino communities worldwide. Being the child of Central American immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador, she wants to expand the mental-health resources available to low-income Latino communities, including individuals facing the additional challenges of having chronic illness (i.e. diabetes). As a research assistant, Lizbeth has aided in the static message control group development, with data management and in patient recruitment. 

Alexander Chavarria |

Alexander Chavarria received his B.A. in History with an emphasis in Latin American History and his Minor in Latino Studies from SFSU in Fall 2016. Alexander began working with underserved populations through Clinica Martin Baro, a student-run clinic offering free health care services to San Francisco’s Mission District community. Alexander’s interest in Psychology stemmed as a result of working with Latino migrants who suffered from migration-related health issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and diabetes. Alexander’s experience at Clinica Martin Baro ultimately shaped his desire to one day become a Mental Health Counselor to work with Latino populations. As a Research Assistant, Alexander assists the Project R Coordinator with the logistics of the DIAMANTE Study in an effort to expose himself to current research that can benefit his future work as a Mental Health Counselor. Alexander currently works for the English Department at CCSF where he mentors students.

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.