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Rebecca Rodriguez – January 2012 Scholar of the Month

2011 CHCI-United Health Foundation Scholar Intern

Hometown: Decatur, GA

School: Georgia State University

Degree: Doctorate of Psychology

I am a graduate student in the Community Psychology program at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. I have received a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Toledo in Ohio. I currently work with Dr. Julia Perilla at Georgia State University in the Violence Research and Action Lab examining domestic violence in minority communities. My current master’s thesis examines how discrimination impacts mental health in migrant and seasonal farm workers and the social support characteristics that may protect against negative physiological and psychological health. One of my ultimate goals is to understand the factors of resilience that can inform primary care providers with conducting culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs to promote healthy coping behaviors for minority populations living under suboptimal conditions.

Another goal of mine is to continue working with and mentoring Latino young adults. Currently, I volunteer as a group co- facilitator, at Caminar Latino Inc., for immigrant adolescents who have been affected by domestic violence. This work is unique in that while providing traditional group support we also support participatory action research. This method of research empowers our youth to examine interests important to them and present them to various government officials and community organizations. Both my work in the Violence, Research and Action Lab and in the domestic violence program allow me opportunities to grow as a mentor to Latino youth.

I aspire to make use of the privilege that advanced education brings to conduct research and to apply this research in a way that will directly benefit the Latino community. Ultimately, I see myself as a researcher and policy advocate addressing the systems that lead to disparities in healthcare access, mental health, and poverty. Along with being a recipient of the CHCI Scholarship, I have received awards and grants from: the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at Georgia State University, the National Latino Psychological Association, Diamante Image Latino award, and the Georgina Miranda Bentley scholarship from the University of Toledo. I have been selected as an Urban Health Fellow for the Center for Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth in Atlanta, GA and as a student representative of the Southeast Region of the Society for Community Research and Action. I have served on various advisory boards and committees as a student member on issues surrounding feminist women’s health and diversity.