Carmen Valdez, Ph.D., leads a collective of Latinx mental health and community research studies with an interdisciplinary team of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and cross-sector community collaborators. Collectively, the studies aim to understand (a) the mental health burden experienced by Latinx children, young adults and families, (b) the family relational, community, social and sociopolitical context promoting and inhibiting Latinx individuals’ lives, and (c) strategies and interventions that are language-, culture-, and developmentally tailored to improve well-being and access to quality mental health services.
The studies draw on community-based participatory methods to forge partnerships with community organizations, government agencies and other key stakeholders (families and advocates) in identifying the issues that matter most to the Latinx community in Central Texas and beyond.
Current Studies & Programs
Latinx Young Adult Mental Health & Wellness
The Mental Health and Wellness Study examines the mental health and well-being of Latinx young adults in Central Texas and the day-to-day experiences that contribute to their mental health and well-being. This project also examines strategies for recruiting Latinx young adults in mental health research and engaging them in mental health services.
Frontline Partnerships for Sustainable Climate Action
A Planet Texas 2050 flagship project, Frontline Partnerships for Sustainable Climate Action is a collaboration with municipal and non-profit organizations in urban and rural communities in Texas to learn how youth from hard-hit communities experience environmental hazards, as well as the solutions they envision toward environmental justice. The project draws on photovoice and coalition building.
Lives of Immigrant Families Study
The Lives of Immigrant Families Study is a longitudinal case study of Mexican families that uses repeated interviews with parents, youths and other community stakeholders to understand ways in which families navigate and endure immigration policy and enforcement.
Fortalezas Familiares (Family Strengths) Program
Fortalezas Familiares is a clinical intervention developed for Latinx women with depression, their partners, extended family members and their children ages 9-17. It is a 12-week program aimed to (a) co-learn with family members about depression and the context of their lives, (b) build parenting competence and confidence, (c) promote child coping and competence to assert their needs within the family and with peers, (d) discover personal and family opportunities for joy, hope and resistance within a restrictive social context and (e) enhance family unity via positive activities, stable routines and shared goals and communication.
Community Interventions & Social Care to Support Latinx Families
The Mental Health Promotion Model seeks to provide screening and referral to appropriate mental health services for Latinx community members who are not already connected to mental health services during the pandemic. The Mental Health Promotion Model involves a collaboration with the Migrant Clinicians Network, researchers from Santa Clara University and the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.
Additionally, the Promotores Outreach, Training and Engagement (PromOTE) Hub aims to increase the workforce of community health workers in Central Texas. Carmen Valdez, Ph.D., examines the effects of community health workers and the implementation of community health worker interventions in different settings on population health outcomes.