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Minority Fellowship Program Advisory Committee

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Meet the Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee members assist the MFP is achieving its objectives of expanding the delivery of culturally competent mental health and substance abuse services to undeserved minority populations, and to increasing the number of doctoral level culturally competent ethnic minority Marriage and Family therapists.

They do this through the provision of programmatic and professional guidance in the growth and development of the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program, from a variety of perspectives. Advisory Committee members provide guidance on program related policy matters. Advisory Committee members lend their experience and expertise to the establishment of criteria for application review, Fellow selection, and expansion of the MFP. If you are interested in becoming an MFP Advisory Committee member and want to learn more about the application process please visit the MFP AC Application page.


J. Ruben Parra-Cardona, PhD - MFP Advisory Committee Chair

Dr. Parra-Cardona is an Associate Professor in the program of couple and family therapy at Michigan State University (MSU). He is also Associate Director of the MSU Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. His current research is focused on the cultural adaptation of evidence-based parenting interventions for Latino populations. He is the principal investigator of a R34 study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The primary goal of this investigation is to compare and contrast the differential treatment efficacy and cultural relevance of two culturally adapted versions of an evidence-based parenting intervention. His violence research focuses on the evaluation of cultural relevance of services for Latina survivors as well as Latino men who batter and abuse.
Dr. Parra-Cardona serves on the editorial boards of three leading journals in the fields of family therapy and family studies (i.e., Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Family Process, and Family Relations). Dr. Parra-Cardona’s clinical experience has included the provision of services to Latino street children engaged in drug trafficking and prostitution, child and adult victims of sexual abuse and violence, federal adult probationers convicted for drug trafficking, Latino parents, and Latino youth involved in the justice system. 
Dr. Parra-Cardona is a member of the board of directors of a leading family therapy institute in Mexico and Latin America (Centro de Investigación Familiar A.C; CIFAC) and adjunct clinical faculty and researcher in a leading family therapy institute in northern Mexico (Instituto Regional de Estudios de la Familia, IREFAM). He supports the state of Chihuahua in the implementation of parenting prevention programs as well as services for intimate partner violence (IPV). Most recently, Dr. Parra-Cardona was awarded the 2013 early career award by the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA), based on his innovative work on cultural adaptation research.

Suzanne Midora Hanna, PhD

Dr. Suzanne Hanna has been a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years.  She is a Clinical Member (1981) and Approved Supervisor (1984) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).  She began her professional career in 1977,  at a hospital outpatient psychiatric center with adults and adolescents.  Other clinical work has taken her to two marriage and family counseling clinics, a residential facility for adolescent boys, full-time private practice, mental health collaborations with medicine and home-based family therapy for those with Alzheimer’s Disease, HIV/AIDS and other chronic health conditions. Her current focus is upon consultation, training and research with non-profit agencies who wish to provide evidence-based family therapy services for underserved groups.
In the 1980's, these experiences began her extensive work with mind-body issues in mental health, and more recently, the neurobiological elements of evidence-based and cutting edge family therapy.  Her recent specialization in integrative trauma treatment has led to state-wide collaborations with the African American community in California and to projects with family therapy graduate students researching PTSD in military families.  She is author of The Practice of Family Therapy:  Key Elements Across Models, fourth edition (2007)and coedited The Aging Family: New Visions in Theory, Practice and Reality, (Hargrave and Hanna,1997).  Other research includes the neurocybernetics of  birth order and interpersonal communication, smoking cessation and substance abuse treatment for African American women, and mental health disparities for African Americans in California.  Other publications include various book chapters on family interventions and family therapy training.
She is a former professor of Counseling and Family Sciences at Loma Linda University, associate professor and program director of the Family Therapy Program at the University of Louisville, instructor at Edgewood College, Madison, WI and is currently a professor for Amridge University’s School of Human Services.
Dr. Hanna’s personal model of intervention is an intersection of mind, body, spirit and relationships within developmental, strategic and narrative models of family therapy.  She credits the influence of gender, race, culture, class, sibling position and Milton Erickson upon her own integrative model of family therapy. She received specialized training in couples therapy from the Marriage and Family Counseling Service in Rock Island, IL and has received training in three models of evidence-based family therapy from NIH-funded project teams and in the neurobiology of trauma treatment

Manijeh Daneshpour, PhD

Dr. Manijeh Daneshpour is a full professor and chair of the department of Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy at St. Cloud state University. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and an AAMFT Approved supervisor. She teaches marriage and family therapy graduate courses and provides family therapy for individuals and families in her private practice in Minnesota. Dr. Daneshpour has served on the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy and as the chair of the election committee for the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapist. She is from Iran and identifies herself as a postmodern feminist. Her research interests, presentations, and publications are in the areas of multicultural family therapy, gender relations, social justice, and third wave feminism.

Jennifer Cates, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Cates is an associate professor and chair of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed professional counselor, and an AAMFT Approved supervisor. She teaches marriage and family therapy graduate courses, provides pro bono family therapy at the Regis Center for Counseling and Family Therapy, and provides supervision to individuals pursuing licensure as marriage and family therapists. Dr. Cates has training in Emotionally Focused Therapy and has an emphasis on cultural context in her teaching, therapy, and supervision. Her research interests, presentations, and publications are in the areas of social justice, cultural competence for trainees, white racial identity development, and MFT program evaluation.

Darren Moore, PhD

Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., LMFT, is an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He teaches in the Masters’ program in Marriage and Family Therapy where he trains graduate students and medical students in systemic approaches to therapy and collaborative health. Dr. Moore also engages in clinical work at Mercer Medicine, where he works with individuals, couples, and families regarding a variety of mental health and relational concerns. Dr. Moore’s research, teaching, and clinical interests include Bariatric Medicine, Eating Disorders, and Addictions. Dr. Moore was a recipient of the AAMFT/SAMHSA Minority Fellowship while a student at Virginia Tech, as well as has received a number of other accolades. Dr. Moore currently is involved in a number of writing projects to include scholarly publications as well as material for a mainstream audience. Dr. Moore is currently working on his first book, “Less is Moore” where he will be detailing his personal experience of losing 185 pounds. Likewise, Dr. Moore has written for a variety of newspapers, has appeared on numerous radio shows, has served as mental health consultant for season 2 and season 4 of INSIGHT2HEALTH (reality based fitness challenge,) has appeared on MBTV, NBC, and FOX networks, and will soon be doing some things for local/national news. Dr. Moore also conducts continuing education workshop training programs for mental health and allied health professionals, as well as conducts personal development training programs for individuals, couples, families, and organizations in the community. Dr. Moore received his B.A. in African American Studies at the University of Minnesota, M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Valdosta State University, Ph.D. in Human Development: Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech, and currently working on a M.S. in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Development and Change at Mercer University.  Dr. Moore currently serves as the Chair of the Multicultural Issues Committee for the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as an editorial board member for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, as an associate board member for the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates, as board member for the Southeast Region Scholar Advisory Committee for the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars program, and served as a MFP mentor for the last two years.

Tim Nelson, PhD

Tim Nelson is a Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy with the Friends University Master of Science in Family Therapy Graduate Program in Lenexa, Kansas.  Dr. Nelson graduated from Purdue University, is a licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist, and an Approved Supervisor with the AAMFT.  He is passionate about issues of justice.  He seeks to work with those who have privilege, like himself, to attain justice in the lives of others.  His research interests include identity development, the intersection of faith and practice, and therapeutic effectiveness.  Dr. Nelson also loves to spend time with his wonderful wife and three children.        


Megan Oka, PhD

Megan Oka, Ph.D., LMFT, is an assistant professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Consumer and Human Development and Utah State University. She teaches classes in cultural diversity, play therapy, addictions, and violence, as well as supervision practicum. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brigham Young University, and her doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University. She was part of the inaugural group of AAMFT Minority Fellows.
Her research interests include intimate partner violence, gender, clinical outcomes, and process research. She is currently partnering with researchers at Brigham Young University, the University of Connecticut, and Auburn University to examine mechanisms related to change and client outcomes in university-based and community clinics. Additionally, she is currently examining therapist interruptions of clients in therapy relative to gender and client outcomes.
She is a clinical member of AAMFT and an approved supervisor. Her clinical interests include children, couples, and survivors of abuse.  


Anibal Torres-Bernal, PhD

Anibal Torres Bernal is an assistant professor of psychology in the mental health counseling program at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC). He holds a B.A. in psychology from Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico: Recinto de San German and an M.A. and Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University. He has held academic appointments at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), Drake University, State University of New York: Empire State College, Syracuse University and Fairfield University.
His teaching interests include research methodology, issues in professional development and theories of psychotherapy. His scholarly endeavors have focused on exploring issues of accessibility, sustainability, diversity and social justice within the mental health professions and educational programs. Currently his research agenda includes projects that critically analyze and evaluate the delivery of mental health services / training while addressing questions of access and cost within these contexts. He has published and presented his work in multiple venues. Amongst these are ten publications in refereed journals and close to thirty presentations.
Anibal’s expansive clinical experience has provided him with the opportunity to serve in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics providing systemic therapeutic services to families dealing with mental illness, and a psychiatric hospital providing psychiatric services to adolescents with acute psychiatric crises. He has also extensively worked with varied and diverse populations, including Spanish-speaking immigrants. He has worked as both a direct provider and a clinical supervisor having supervised therapist assistants, mental health workers, family therapy clinical trainees, mental health counselor trainees, pre licensure marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health professionals.        

Adrienne Mills - Public Member

Ms. Adrienne Mills holds a baccalaureate degree in Marketing and International Business from The American University.  Her diverse professional background includes working on membership campaigns, marketing plans, and communication efforts, with marketing firms, trade associations and currently, in the retail industry as the Manager for the Neiman Marcus Group.
Ms. Mills believes in giving back to the community and has demonstrated her commitment through service as a volunteer at the Crisis Link in Northern Virginia.  Crisis Link is a non-profit regional provider for national and Virginia crisis hotlines, providing suicide prevention and crisis de-escalation 24 hours a day.   
Through her service at the Crisis Link, Ms. Mills became further aware of the tremendous need for culturally sensitive mental health services for underrepresented and minority groups. She hopes to lend her voice and skills to the MFP Advisory Committee to support the mission of the Minority Fellowship Program to train culturally competent marriage and family therapists who can provide the much needed service to underserved and minority populations.

Katherine Buchman - Public Member

Katherine Buchman, MPH, has a background in behavioral and community health sciences with a focus in qualitative research methods.  She received her master's degree in public health and a certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health and Wellness from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, as well as the award for "Best Master's Thesis" by Delta Omega Omicron for her work: "The Effect of Discrimination and Stigma on Health Care Access: Qualitative Research with Transgender Tennesseans."  She has presented papers based on this research at conferences for the American Public Health Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.  Katherine received her undergraduate degree from Boston University.
Since 2012 Katherine has made annual funding recommendations and managed the federal Housing and Urban Development Authority Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program for Macon-Bibb County, GA.  Through this position she has acquired intimate knowledge of diverse CDBG-funded social service programs which address the needs of homeless individuals, victims of sexual assault/IPV, youth, and elderly individuals, as well as mental health and other health services for low income individuals, families, and neighborhoods.  This program and prior work, including development for an AIDS service organization and as a Peace Corps Community Health Volunteer in Madagascar have affirmed the need for a strong and constant vigilance on the mental health of individuals and communities and its correlation to their ability to live healthy and fruitful lives.  As a grateful recipient of individual therapy for the better part of a decade, she can attest from personal experience that therapists are most effective when they understand how one's cultural and ethnic background may impact their mental health and the way in which they receive mental health services.
Katherine hopes to bring to the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Advisory Committee not only experiences with the mental health care system but also a broader perspective on the public health impact of mental health and therapeutic services.  She looks forward to serving this program and her colleagues with earnestness and gusto.

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MFP Staff

Meet the members of the Minority Fellowship Program's Staff.

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