Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos and Silver PhD Program Students to Receive Sage/CSWE 2015 Award for Innovative Teaching in Social Work Education

Clockwise from left: Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Armando Garcia, Gabriel Robles, and Jane Lee
Clockwise from left: Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Armando Garcia, Gabriel Robles, and Jane Lee

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) will honor NYU Latino Consortium Co-Directors Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos and Armando Garcia along with Silver doctoral students Jane Lee (NYU) and Gabriel Robles (NYU) with the 2015 CSWE Award for Innovative Teaching for their inter-professional course on migration in Puebla, Mexico. In 2015, Professor Ramos and his team introduced twenty-three students from universities in both the United States and Mexico to the complex and urgent health and social welfare issues facing unaccompanied minors (UMs). The NYU Silver/UPAEP course teaches students to critically analyze the migratory process and how the socio-political and economic environments of Central America and Mexico influence unaccompanied minors’ migration to Mexico and the United States. Many of the Mexican and Central American migrants, whose migratory destination is the New York City area, travel through or have origins in the State of Puebla. This program was co-funded by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico in support of two Presidential initiatives: 100,000 Strong in the Americas and the Bilateral Forum for Higher Education, Innovation and Research.

In recent years, the United States has experienced a surge in unaccompanied minors (UMs) from Mexico and Central America. In 2014, an estimated 66k UMs were detained at the border,* placing increased pressure on health and social welfare providers. Many UMs experience trauma in their home countries while travelling to and during their residence in the United States. Students worked with local groups providing health and social services to migrants, including a youth shelter. In La Preciosita, a community impacted by migration to the United States, residents formed a coalition aimed at addressing this issue. Participating students met with coalition members to deepen their understanding of the impact migration is having on life in Mexico.

The Complex Health and Social Welfare Issues: The Case Unaccompanied Minors in the U.S. course has both theoretical and applied components. Theories of migration, trauma, and real-life perspectives guide the course’s bi-national content. Students examined the local issues that are driving the increase in unaccompanied minors’ coming to the United States. For example, students prepared presentations on the migrant populations and health and social welfare issues facing their communities at home. Students compiled data on migrants, including health outcomes; and were able to pinpoint the contextual issues driving migratory patterns to their local community while also identifying policy and service delivery models to address their needs.

Professor Ramos and his colleagues plan to offer the program again in January 2016; interested students can visit the NYU Silver School website for more information. Professor Ramos and his team will lead a workshop entitled, “Designing Sustainable Global Social Welfare Programs: The Case of Unaccompanied Minors,” at the 2015 CSWE conference.

The Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) is a research center that investigates the role of the Latino family in shaping the development and well-being of Latino adolescents. CLAFH’s research addresses key issues that affect Latino families. For more information, visit or follow @clafhNYU on Twitter.

* U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (2014) CPB Addresses Humanitarian Challenges of Unaccompanied Minors. Retrieved from the Department of Homeland Security: