Guilamo-Ramos Speaks on State of Latinos in U.S.

Nearly 200 people filled Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center, to hear Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, PhD, MPH, LCSW, speak at the Gladys González-Ramos Second Memorial Lecture on October 2.

Dean Lynn Videka welcomed the group, which included members of the González-Ramos family, faculty, staff, students, and members of The Center for Latino Adolescent & Family Health (CLAFH) and the Latino Social Work Student Organization. Gladys’ legacy in focusing on health issues of importance to Latinos and her leadership on Latino issues in the School and in local and national communities were noted.

Guilamo-Ramos himself was introduced by Susan Gallego, MSSW, LCSW, HIV, Programs Coordinator at the Texas Department of State Health Services. She spoke about her own work with the Latino community in Texas and described her association with Guilamo-Ramos, highlighting their work together on the Texas Border Violence Prevention Project. She lauded him as an outstanding scholar, social worker, Latino, mentor, and friend.

Guilamo-Ramos talked about his own personal experience with Gladys González-Ramos and the state of Latinos in the United States — in New York City especially. Here the Latino population is diverse, large, and growing, he said. It has the highest birth rate in the U.S., and it’s expected to double by 2050. In numbers alone, Latino youth will have a dramatic impact on the future of New York, and they are at a turning point for preventive intervention. To combat some of the disadvantages that Latino youth face daily (school failure, poverty, sexual health challenges, violence, and mental health), Guilamo-Ramos encourages social workers to consider the multiple influences that shape Latino youth, especially the positive ones, such as family support.

Student presenters from the Latino Social Work Student Organization — Christina Ramirez, president, and Anahi T. Galante — spoke about the goals of that organization. They cited the Bronx, home to hundreds of thousands of Latinos, and detailed some of the major challenges the borough is facing, such as poverty, violence, staggeringly high school dropout rates, and lack of access to heath care. Ending on a hopeful note, student presenters pointed to recommendations for what schools of social work can do to get involved and help.