Students

 Noelle Mendezn.mendez with dog photo

Growing up in Miami, I have always been surrounded by diversity as well as disparities. Once I started college, I soon realized that I can have an impact within the communities I care about, including my own, and that these disparities will continue to exist until people organize to overcome them. I am lucky to have turned my passion for equity into a job, where I do research that directly impacts the well-being of sexual and gender minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and other communities affected by HIV.


Rachelle ReidRachelle Reid

I am a first-year graduate student in the Health Track of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Miami and a member of the Strengthening Health with INnovation and Engagement (SHINE) Research lab under the mentorship of Dr. Sannisha Dale. My strong interest in raising awareness about the experiences of diverse groups is influenced not only by my status as an immigrant from Jamaica, but also from my longstanding desire to understand the experiences of diverse and marginalized communities. I have had the opportunity to work with members of the LGBTQ community, children with special needs, homeless individuals, psychiatric patients and black women living with HIV. This experience has only increased my desire to share what I have learned and help create safe spaces for discussions that counter stigma, discrimination and lead to more inclusion. I am excited about being a part of the DEC as its mandate is one that I believe in wholeheartedly.


Rachel VerhagenRachel Verhagen

I was drawn to the DEC because it stood out among graduate programs as an opportunity to be an advocate for underrepresented individuals. I feel that as a student from a diverse background, it is my responsibility to advocate for equity among all people and further promote inclusion in the field of psychology. I have found a home in the DEC and enjoy that we celebrate and promote people's individual experiences in a way that is inclusive to everybody.


Satya SatyaranyaSatya Satyanarayana

I joined the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) in 2017 because I was interested in working on issues of diversity and equity within our department and the field of psychology more generally. Since that time, I have not been disappointed. I’ve been impressed with the group’s efforts in launching a number of initiatives that have fostered a greater sense of community and have created spaces where individuals from diverse backgrounds can have more of a voice within the department and university. I’ve also found a community with whom I can work on creating solutions that can improve and enrich the experiences of graduate students in the program. Being a member of the DEC renews my sense of purpose in how we can make spaces, structures, and communities more equitable and inclusive, and it has given me a platform by which to put that purpose into action.


 

Elliot WeinsteinElliott Weinstein

I was drawn to the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) because of my desire to celebrate the cultural differences and similarities that make members of the UM community so special. Throughout my time on the DEC, I have appreciated the opportunity to develop additional skills to best honor the populations I hope to support in my research and practice. Learning from my fellow DEC members has made me a better person and has continually renewed my interest in advocating for social justice reform, lifting up the voices of individuals who have consistently been overlooked, silenced, and ignored, and supporting programming that emphasizes advancing DEI practices more broadly.


 

Nikki PuccettiNikki Puccetti

I joined the DEC in 2018 with hopes to advocate for and support underrepresented groups in science. I wanted to help address issues within our department as well as encourage a dialogue about issues affecting the field as a whole. I continue to learn and grow as a member on the committee and look forward to upcoming projects.


 

 

Amelia DevAmelia Dev

I joined the DEC because I am passionate about enhancing diversity and equity both within our programs and within our science. I believe scientific incentives (publish or perish) and power structures interact with, and contribute to, discrimination and oppression within our field. The DEC presents an opportunity to work towards greater equity and inclusion in our graduate program, and to advocate for individuals who are not always able to advocate for themselves. It also is a wonderful community of caring, dedicated people, whom I have learned a lot from and will hopefully continue to learn from!


Thomas TsaiThomas Tsai

I joined the DEC because of my interest in raising awareness and promoting inclusion for diverse persons in the department as well as the greater Miami community. The DEC has given me opportunities to grow and learn from others and serve alongside those who are dedicated to promoting change for underrepresented groups. I am proud of the work that this committee has done and look forward to continuing to play a role in new initiatives to come.


 

 

Katie DillonKatie Dillon

I joined the DEC to better connect with the students, staff, and faculty in our department and to work to continuously improve culture and conditions for all members of our department (and psychology in general). I’m so appreciative of the ongoing efforts to create a more equitable space and look forward to continuing this work!


 

 

Faculty

Roger McIntoshRoger McIntosh, Ph.D. (Chair)

What drew me to the DEC is the opportunity to learn more about the diverse community that makes up our graduate students, staff and faculty here at the Department of Psychology. It's clear that we all have unique backgrounds that have helped to shape who we are and the type of work that we do. I think taking the perspective of others is a great exercise that allows us to learn how we are 'U'nited by our differences.


Sanesha Dale

Sannisha Dale, Ph.D. (Founding Chair, 2017-2022)

As an individual at the intersection of many socialized and often oppressed identities - Black, woman, immigrant, etc. - speaking, facilitating, and leading discussions and changes to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion are actions that I long ago discovered was essential to my existence and survival across spaces be it within academia, research, or social settings. Hence, being the founding chair of this committee was important when I joined UM and continue to be important as I lead my research program, mentor, and teach at the University of Miami.


Amanda Jensen-Doss photoAmanda Jensen-Doss, Ph.D.

I view the ultimate goal of my research program as addressing issues of inequity, by ensuring that all children have access to high quality mental health services. My goals in joining the DEC were to learn from others in the department about how to ensure those values carry through to the work I do as a faculty member and to lend my perspective and voice to the important work it does.


Kiara Timpano photoKiara Timpano, Ph.D.

I am delighted to join the Diversity and Equity committee and to help support our efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding and to foster under-represented members of our community. I was drawn to the DEC as I believe strongly that addressing issues of equity and inclusion for all members of our diverse department is important for improving the overall climate. We all have the responsibility to advocate and promote the priorities championed by the DEC, which will allow the diverse voices that reflect the Department of Psychology--across staff, students, and faculty--to be heard and doing so will allow our group to grow in important ways.


Michael Alessandri photoMichael Alessandri, Ph.D.

My interest in the DEC is guided by my own personal journey as a gay man, but also by my nearly 35 year career studying neurodiversity in the context of autism and related developmental disabilities. More recently, our research team has embarked upon a series of NIH studies aimed at promoting greater equity in early autism diagnosis and treatment as there continue to be significant disparities in access to quality care and services for minority families.


Steve Safren photoSteven Safren, Ph.D.

I decided to join the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) as part of an effort to “act locally” regarding the critical need to increase the diversity of scholars in our field, and do what I can to insure that those from racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, or other minority backgrounds feel welcome and supported in our department.


Jill May photoJill Ehrenreich-May, Ph.D.

I am very pleased to join the Department's Diversity and Equity Committee beginning the 2020-2021 academic year. I am passionate about women's rights and have been particularly active in advocating for women and mothers in academia throughout my career at UM. As the current Chair of the Faculty Senate's Standing Committee on Equity and Inclusion Committee and an ex-officio member of the University's Standing Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I hope to aid the DEC by sharing the progress and priorities of these companion committees at the University of Miami. I also plan to advocate for undergraduate and graduate student DEC priorities in concert with my role as the Department's Assistant Chair for Academic Affairs and Research, as we work together to create a more just and equitable University and Departmental environment that lifts up and respects diverse voices at all levels.

Staff

 Brittney GonzalezBrittney Gonzalez

I was initially drawn to the DEC after attending one of their “Our Stories” events. Hearing and paying witness to people sharing their experiences was incredibly moving and I knew from that moment I had to be a part of that effort. Joining the DEC meant I had the chance to be a part of the work that let everyone have a seat at the table.


 

Vandana SookdeoVandana Sookdeo, MD, EMBA

I joined the Diversity and Equity family because I believe the committee's goals parallel my own personal goals. Improving the climate for current students and faculty from underrepresented groups ensures that these individuals are given the tools to succeed in their respective discipline. Being a part of this committee gives me the platform to be a role model to minority women; whom I can relate to their story, encourage the exchange of ideas and open the barriers of communication in a University environment.


 

Costanza AlessioCostanza Alessio

I joined the DEC because of my desire to enhance our departmental culture and support an environment marked by diversity, equity, and inclusion for all. I am grateful for the DEC as it offers an opportunity to advocate for social justice reform and be an ally for individuals from underrepresented groups both in our immediate community as well as in the scientific field. Working alongside my DEC fellows has been an incredibly rewarding experience that has provided me with an array of skills and a broader understanding that will accompany in my future work and will hopefully support my future DEI efforts.

Alumni

 

Zabin PatelZabin Patel, MPH, MS

Zabin is a predoctoral psychology intern at the UCLA Semel Institute, in the general track and will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the Northwestern University Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science after graduation. She hopes to continue centering equity in her research and clinical practice as a provider focused on increasing access to mental health care for youth.


 Kaitlyn BrodarKaitlyn Brodar
Kaitlyn is currently completing her internship in pediatric psychology at Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC. Beginning in September 2022, she will be completing her post-doctoral fellowship with Children's National's Whole Bear Care program, which promotes greater access to mental health services for children and adolescents by locating psychologists within the pediatric primary care setting. Kaitlyn also continues DEI-related efforts through work with the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children's National.


Estefany Saes-Flores ClarkeEstefany Saes-Flores Clarke, Ph.D.
I graduated from the University of Miami’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program in August 2021 with a specialization in Pediatric Health and a concentration in Quantitative Psychology. I completed her pre-doctoral internship in Pediatric Psychology and Neuropsychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. My primary research focus is to target disparities in health, health-related quality of life, and neurocognitive functioning by improving access to evidence-based assessments & interventions for underserved, culturally- and linguistically- diverse populations. Currently, I am currently an NCI T32 postdoc in Cancer Control Training in Disparities and Equity (C-TIDE) at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through the CTIDE T32 position, I am working with Dr. Michael Antoni on his transdisciplinary research testing cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM), a transdiagnostic intervention to improve psychosocial adaptation, quality of life, and health outcomes in cancer patients.


 

 Daisy LopezDaisy Lopez

Daisy is currently at UCLA's Semel Institute in the adolescent serious mental illness track for her internship year. She continues her DEI work in various ways. For example, she serves as the co-chair for ABCT's Oppression and Resilience: Minoritized Mental Health Special Interest Group.