Una Conversación con Las Madrinas
March 24, 2022
Authors from the best-selling book Latinx in Social Work came together for a panel discussion hosted by NYU Silver alumnx Erica Sandoval, LCSW and Laudy Burgos, LCSW-R.
Las Madrinas, or Godmothers in English, engaged in a panel discussion about their experiences as underrepresented professional women of color in their field, life as immigrants or children of immigrants, and what drew them to social work. The authors, who took part in penning chapters for Latinx in Social Work, also covered the importance of mentorship for underrepresented groups and how their mentors shaped and inspired their work.
Erica P. Sandoval, LCSW, SIFI
Erica is a passionate licensed clinical therapist who is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She is committed to amplifying the voices and businesses of incredible Latinx social work leaders, who are healing and inspiring communities. She partners with organizations, universities, health care facilities, medical and corporate professionals to provide access to resources to advance teams and help employees and students thrive. Most recently, she co-founded Employee Network Allyance, a space for allyship for today and tomorrow’s employee network leaders who help each other succeed. Erica holds a Post Master’s in Clinical Adolescent Psychology and a Masters in Social Work from New York University, Silver School of Social Work. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for National Association of Social Workers NYC, the largest organization for professional social workers worldwide. She helped launch B.O.L.D, Building Organizing and Leading with Diversity. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of behavioral health, social disparities, trauma, and human development. She serves as Advisor for Latino Social Work Coalition and Prospanica NY. Her successful career earned her numerous awards. She is regularly invited to be a guest speaker, moderator and panelist by well-known organizations. Her greatest pride is raising her 21-year-old daughter, Isabella, as a single mother, who she considers her biggest teacher. As a proud immigrant from Ecuador, her passion is fueled in supporting the community she is a part of and their children. She has released her first book, Latinx in Social Work, quickly becoming a #1 Best Seller and Hot New Release under Social Work on Amazon.
Laudy Burgos, LCSW is a social work manager in the Women’s and Children’s Division at Mount Sinai Hospital. In this capacity, she supervises social work staff in the outpatient clinic, inpatient units, and the faculty practice in the OB/GYN Department. Her specialty area is the treatment of perinatal mood disorders. She is also a New York co-coordinator for Postpartum Support International and is a board member for The Perinatal Mental Health of Alliance for People of Color.
She has presented at various national and international social work conferences and is the author of “Screening for Perinatal Depression in an Inner-City Prenatal Setting” and co author of “Postpartum mood among universally screened high and low socioeconomic status patients during COVID 19 social restrictions in New York City” and “Early pregnancy mood before and during COVID-19 community restrictions among women of low socioeconomic status in New York City: a preliminary study." She also works as a consultant for several foster care agencies in New York City.
Laudy is currently on faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Columbia University School of Social Work, and NYU Silver School of Social Work. She is a graduate of the New York University Silver School of Social Work.
Maria Elena Girone, MSW
Maria Girone has dedicated 50 years of her professional life to realize the above stated mission. She obtained her academic degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in social work. Prior to her master’s program, she worked as a director of a public welfare office in her hometown in Puerto Rico, managing its public assistance and child welfare programs.
In 1965, she relocated to New York City, where she joined The Puerto Rican Family Institute, a very small, developing nonprofit. The Institute provided the perfect platform for the initiation and realization of her vision. Her entire career was therefore closely linked to the development of the Institute, which under her leadership became a premier, culturally competent human and health family-oriented organization. In 1982, she became regional director, and in 1986, president and CEO.
Still cognizant of her vision to create Latino based institutions, she established the Hope for Families Foundation in 1989, which aimed to become a fund development supportive organization for the Institute, thus providing a vehicle for financial stability and capital investments.
All in all, the Institute enjoyed tremendous expansion, and prosperity during her tenure. She retired at the end of 2014, leaving at her departure two solid financially strong organizations with a financial base in excess of $100 million, between capital and grants.
Investing in her profession has been a cause very close to her heart. Therefore in 2001, with the able partnership of the Social Work Association New York City Chapter the present Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund Inc was founded. In addition to the founding partners, several schools of social work and other nonprofits gave themselves the task to address the shortage of culturally competent Latino social workers in New York Social and Health systems of care. The Coalition has become a major provider of scholarships funds, thus increasing the number of social work graduates mainstreaming in our service systems.
Rosa M. Gil, DSW
Dr. Rosa M. Gil, Comunilife’s Founder, President, and CEO, has had a distinguished career in New York City’s health, mental health, supportive housing, social service, and higher education sectors. Since Comunilife opened in 1989, she has centered the work on the intersection between health and housing, with the goal of addressing the critical social determinants of health and enhancing the health outcomes of New York City’s underserved communities.
Under Dr. Gil’s stewardship, Comunilife has developed more than 2,678 units of affordable and supportive housing for the city’s hardest to reach residents, the homeless, mentally ill, and people living with HIV/AIDS and other health conditions. Under her leadership, Comunilife created Life is Precious™, a nationally recognized program for Latina teen at risk of suicide and also created the New York City’s premiere Medical Respite Program.
Dr. Gil has recently been appointed to the NYS Vaccine Equity Task Force, as well as numerous other federal, state, and city commissions and boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (deputy chair), The NYS Suicide Prevention Council, The Board of Health (NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), NYS Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, The Commission of Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century (The Berger Commission), and the Minority Women Panel on Health Experts (U.S. Public Health Services). Dr. Gil is a member of the President Carter Mental Health Task Force and the Board of Trustees of EmblemHealth.
Dr. Rosa Gil is one of the founders of the Urban Institute for Behavioral Health of New York City, Latino Commission on AIDS, the Association of Hispanic Mental Health Professionals, and 100 Hispanic Women. She has published numerous articles on mental health, ethnicity, child welfare, and gender issues. She is the co-author of the Maria Paradox, the first authoritative book on self-esteem and Hispanic women.
Dr. Linda Lausell Bryant, PhD, MSW
Dr. Linda Lausell Bryant is Clinical Associate Professor, Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work program, and the Katherine and Howard Aibel Executive-in-Residence at NYU Silver. She is devoted to developing the leadership capacities of social workers for impact on the pressing social issues of our time, the intersection of race, ethnicity, and social justice, child welfare issues, and macro social work practice. Dr. Lausell Bryant’s career spans thirty-five years in youth services in both the private and public sectors. She has launched an Adaptive Leadership in Human Services Institute at NYU Silver, served as the executive director of Inwood House, a nonprofit youth agency from 2005-2014, and served as associate commissioner for the Office of Youth Development at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services. She served on the NYC Panel for Education Policy and currently serves as the president of the board of the National Crittenton Foundation, which seeks to empower young women and girls. She received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latino Social Work Coalition and has received the Distinguished Contribution to Student Engagement Award at NYU Silver. She is the co-author of A Guide for Sustaining Conversations on Racism, Identity and Our Mutual Humanity and Social Work: A Call to Action.
Maria Lizardo, LMSW
Maria Lizardo is a proud Dominican-American who serves her community as executive director of Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), leading a team of nearly 150 attorneys, educators, social workers, counselors, organizers, advocates, and volunteers. Under her leadership, NMIC serves over 14,000 low-income immigrant community members each year, with programs to address their housing, immigration, benefits/finance, health, education/career, and holistic needs.
Her passion and talent for organizing broadens her impact; she is a leading advocate in our community, and ensures our collective voice extends to the city, state, and national level. For example, she is a founding driver of the Brides’ March to address domestic violence in the Latinx community, which has been a local rallying point for two decades, and expanded as far as Florida and the Dominican Republic.
Maria has been service-oriented her entire life, having worked at PROMESA, Inc. before joining NMIC in 1998, where she implemented numerous tenant, youth, open space, and safety programs. She earned her master of social work degree from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and pairs her education with her lived experiences as a Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights native. She serves as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of our immigrant community members.
Rosa Maria Bramble Caballero, LCSW-R
Rosa Maria Bramble Caballero is a bilingual licensed clinical social worker who serves as founder and president of Caballero Counseling and Consulting Services. With over fifteen years of clinical experience, Rosa has specialized in the psychosocial assessment and trauma-informed treatment of immigrant populations.
She earned her master’s degree in social work from Hunter College and has completed post graduate training in family therapy, advanced trauma studies, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Internal Family Systems, where she is a currently a member of the IFS Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Advanced Training Program with the goal to bring the model to the Latinx community. Rosa conducts forensic biopsychosocial evaluations for asylum and immigration cases, and she provides expert testimony on trauma and impact of deportation on children and families. She is frequently sought after for consultation and collaboration in legal and advocacy services, maternal health, gender-based violence, unaccompanied minors, and trauma informed care.
Rosa served as the president of the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Social Workers (NAPRHSW), and she was appointed to the New York City HIV Planning Council (2002-2004) by the Office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Rosa is an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work, where she teaches several advanced clinical and practical courses, including a course on trauma-informed treatment for asylum seekers and immigrants. She also serves as board member of the Project ICI participatory community research board at Columbia University and the University of Michigan, where she helps study collaboration among HIV service providers. She founded the Venezuelan Community Support Center, Inc., to address the needs of Venezuelan refugees and Latinx survivors of trauma at all stages of migration. Rosa is frequently invited to speak and facilitate workshops at academic institutions as well as national and international conferences. She recently was a guest at the Jorge Ramos special coverage of the 20th Remembrance of 9/11, where she discussed her advocacy for the undocumented workers of Ground Zero. She has several peer-reviewed publications spanning language interpretation, trauma-informed care, HIV, program development, community violence intervention, vicarious trauma, and resilience.
Rosa has been awarded numerous honors, including the Union Square Award and the Latino Social Work Taskforce Community Service Award. She is the proud mother of two amazing adult children, Jacqueline and John, who bring joy, inspiration, and life lessons. She enjoys music, working out, travel, dance, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Laura Quiros, PhD, LMSW
Laura Quiros, PhD., LMSW has been an associate professor of social work at Adelphi University for the past twelve years. She teaches social work practice at the doctoral and master’s level. Her research and scholarly interests focus on the trauma informed care from a social justice lens. The common thread in her consulting, teaching, and scholarship is elevating complexity and furthering the mission of social justice, including diversity and inclusion.
She coaches, trains and facilitates dialogues with executive- level staff across higher education, corporate, and nonprofits to dig deep and sincerely connect to diversity and inclusion. Some of this work involves gently pushing the boundaries of overcoming the resistance to talking candidly about whiteness and unpacking diversity and inclusion work. Much of this has been accomplished through relationship building. She uses her relationship building and clinical skills as a way to foster connection, inclusion and empathic accountability. The intersection for her is clear, as a woman of color from a very multicultural background, she could only survive through relationship building. Negotiating her identity required her to create safe enough and brave spaces in order to survive and thrive. Her practice is one of liberation, love, and generosity.
About Latinx in Social Work
Created by NYU Silver Alumna Erica Sandoval, LCSW, Latinx in Social Work is a collection of personal narratives that amplifies and highlights the voices of Latinx social workers healing, leading, and inspiring while sharing their challenges and successes navigating their careers.
Latinx in Social Work is a book is about space. The space Latinx social workers take up, the spaces they create and nurture, and the spaces that have yet to exist, but are so crucial to the growth and development of Latinx social workers, mental health practitioners, executives, and professionals in all industries in this country, and beyond.