Skip to content

header logo_play [View Image]

Dr. Oswaldo Moreno

Director, La Esperanza Research Program

Oswaldo Moreno (he/him/his), Ph.D. is the director (i.e., principal investigator) of La Esperanza Research Program and an assistant professor in the counseling psychology program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He earned a B.S. in psychology with a minor in religious studies from Arizona State University, a  M.T.S. in religion and social science from Harvard University, as well as M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Clark University. Dr. Moreno also conducted pre-doctoral residency training at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology at Boston University School of Medicine and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Brown University School of Public Health. Broadly, his research involves understanding and addressing the health and healthcare disparities in the United States that affect individuals from low-income and racial/ethnic minority backgrounds, especially the Latinx communities. Dr. Moreno research program includes both applied and basic research that lie at the intersection of motivational interviewing theories, prevention/intervention science, and cultural and contextual approaches including psychology of religion and spirituality. His research projects have included evidenced-based practices, culturally sensitive interventions, prevention for Latinx youth and families, as well as substance use and mood disorders.

Dr. Moreno is a former fellow of the APA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), the National Hispanic Science Network’s Early Stage Career Mentoring for NIDA Research, as well as the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). He currently serves on the editorial board for The Counseling Psychologist, the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, as well as Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology.

 

Dr. Moreno posing for a photo that is black and white. [View Image]

Lisa Fuentes, M.A.

Graduate Research Assistant

Lisa Fuentes (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology’s doctoral program at VCU. Prior to VCU, Lisa received her bachelor's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University (BYU) and a masters degree in counseling psychology with an emphasis in clinical mental health counseling from the University of Denver. Her research interests are in the areas of mental health disparities among underserved populations, Latinx Psychology, healing historical trauma and mental health practices among indigenous populations. While at La Esperanza, Lisa has presented research at the National Conference on Health Disparities, National Latinx Psychology Association, Society for Cross-Cultural Research, and the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Theories. Overall, Lisa is invested in continuing to be part of the process of removing the stigma that is associated with mental health in Latinx communities and providing culturally appropriate services.

 

 

Lisa Fuentes, graduate student, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

Isis Garcia-Rodriguez, B.S.

Graduate Research Assistant

Isis Garcia-Rodriguez (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology’s doctoral program at VCU. Prior to VCU, Isis received her bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in sociology and health & society at Suffolk University. Her research interests are in the areas of: legal status, parent-child relationships, systemic factors (e.g., public policy), immigration, immigration trauma, and overall adolescent health in Latinx mixed-status families. While at La Esperanza, Isis has presented research at the National Latinx Psychology Association and has become a member of the executive board on the Latinx Graduate Student Association at VCU. Overall, Isis is invested in continuing to serve the Hispanic/Latinx community and contribute through interdisciplinary research, clinical practice, policy, and advocacy.

 

Isis Garcia-Rodriguez, graduate student, posing for a photo. [View Image]

Camila Tirado

Undergraduate Research Assistant, iCube Scholar

Camila Tirado (she/her/hers) is a psychology major with a pre-graduate concentration at VCU. Her research interests include mindfulness and contemplative practices in transgenerational trauma counseling, as well as multicultural and social justice counseling. While at La Esperanza, Camila has presented research at the National McNair Conference, the National Conference on Health Disparities, the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Summit, and the American Counseling Association Conference. After La Esperanza, Camila plans to pursue her doctorate in counseling psychology, where she hopes to accomplish an interdisciplinary approach with neuroscience to investigate trauma in underrepresented populations.

 

 

Camila Tirado, undergraduate student, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

Jennifer Rodriguez

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jennifer Rodriguez (she/her/hers) is a psychology major with a minor in political science at VCU. Her research interests are in the areas of trauma, ethnic-racial identity, social injustices, acculturation, child development within the minority communities, especially the Latinx communities. While at La Esperanza, Jennifer has presented research at the Diversity Challenge Conference. After La Esperanza, Jennifer plans to pursue her doctorate in counseling psychology and eventually move to El Salvador to help youth who have suffered from trauma in the prison system.

 

 

Jennifer Rodriguez, undergraduate student, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

Kyle Hernandez-Figueroa

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Kyle Hernandez-Figueroa (he/him/his) is a biology major with a minor in psychology at VCU. His research interests are in the areas of biological and ecological frameworks that inform overall disparities in the Latinx healthcare systems. After La Esperanza, Kyle plans to pursue a doctorate degree in medicine where he aims to provide culturally sensitive services to underrepresented communities.

 

Kyle Hernandez, undergraduate student, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

Jesus Carranza

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jesus Carranza (he/him/his) is a biology major with a minor in chemistry and psychology at VCU. His research interests are in the areas of biological, psychological and social-cultural frameworks that inform overall healthcare disparities in the Latinx communities. After La Esperanza, Jesus plans to pursue a doctorate degree in medicine in hopes of specializing in general surgery.

Photo credit: Luis E. Garcia

 

Jesus Carranza, undergraduate student, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]


 

Lab Alumni

 

 

Rafael Hernandez, B.A.

Ph.D. Student at George Mason University

Rafael Hernandez (he/him/his) graduated from VCU in 2019 with a double major in philosophy and psychology with a concentration in addiction studies. His research interests lie in the area of substance use and behavioral addictions within the Latinx community. While at La Esperanza, Rafael presented research at the National Hispanic Science Network Conference, the Society for Cross-Cultural Research Conference, and the Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Mid-Year Conference. Rafael is currently enrolled in a clinical psychology doctoral program at George Mason University where he aims to provide bilingual, culturally sensitive substance use and behavioral addiction services for Latinx communities.

 

Rafael Hernandez, post-bacc, posting for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

Miriam Ortiz, B.A.

Ph.D. Student at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Miriam Ortiz (she/her/hers) graduated from VCU in 2015 with a major in psychology and minor in criminal justice. Her research interests are in the areas of health and healthcare disparities that affect ethnic minorities and the influence of cultural values in mental health, especially the Latinx and immigrant communities. While at La Esperanza, Miriam presented research at the Association of Behavior and Cognitive Therapies Conference (ABCT), the National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA), the Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the Society for Cross-Cultural Research. Miriam is currently enrolled in a clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where she aims to provide culturally sensitive mental health services for Latinx communities.

 

Miriam Ortiz, post-bacc, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

Jennifer Argueta-Contreras

Graduate Student at Georgetown University

Jennifer Argueta-Contreras (she/her/hers) graduated from VCU in 2020 with a major in biology and a minor in psychology. Her research interests are in the areas of the bio-psycho-social frameworks, as well as policy, that inform health disparities within the the Latinx communities. While at La Esperanza, Jennifer presented research at the National Conference in Health Disparities. Jennifer is currently enrolled in a Master in Public Health and Public Interest program at Georgetown University. Jennifer's long-term plans are to pursue a doctorate degree in medicine and policy specializing in family medicine and population health to work within the Latinx community. 

 

Jennifer Argueta-Contreras, undergraduate student, posing for a photo in black and white. [View Image]

View graphic version