I began my journey as a social worker at a young age in a small, rural town in North Carolina. My mom and half-sisters who immigrated to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War were in dire need of mental health services. However, no such services existed to support my family’s transition to their new environment, and so my quest began to understand the macro-, mezzo-, and micro-level systems that impact people’s health and overall well-being.
My journey led me to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology followed by a Master in Public Health, with a concentration in Health Behavior and Health Education, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Go Tarheels! I always found myself drawn to teaching and educating others, especially under-served and marginalized populations. I, then, completed a 3-year fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta) in the field of tuberculosis (TB) research. I worked on several studies, my favorite being an ethnographic study focusing on perceptions of TB among foreign-born persons in the US, including Mexico, Somalia, Vietnam, Laos (Hmong), and China.
Although I LOVED living in Atlanta, I had a strong desire to explore the West Coast, particularly California. Once I landed in the Bay Area, I decided to pursue a Master in Social Welfare degree at the University of California at Berkeley. I once again concentrated in Health and completed a medical social work internship at Highland Hospital in Oakland. I also received psychotherapy training at the Center for Special Problems, a mental health clinic within the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Prior to joining BACA, I worked at Fred Finch Youth Center (FFYC), in which I provided community based mental health services to transitional age youth (16-25 years old) who were homeless and coping with mental health issues, substance abuse, and emotional disabilities. I became a Clinical Supervisor after earning my LCSW and offered weekly individual and group supervision to FFYC staff and interns.
Based on a foundation of several core values, including compassion, flexibility, respect, and a non-judgmental stance, I tailor my approach to fit the strengths and needs of each individual. I use a variety of methods incorporating motivational interviewing, trauma-informed therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, family systems, and solution-focused therapy.
Outside of work, I enjoy biking, dancing, watching basketball, especially the Tarheels and Warriors, playing Fantasy Football with my husband, and doing anything fun with my son that makes him laugh and giggle.
I am very excited and honored to become a part of the BACA-Oakland team.
I hope to be an instrument of change by leading individuals and families to a happier and healthier life.