Minority Fellowship Program Advisory Committee - 2015-16 Program Year

Advisory Committee members assist the MFP is achieving its objectives of expanding the delivery of culturally competent mental health and substance abuse services to undeserved minority populations, and to increasing the number of doctoral level culturally competent ethnic minority Marriage and Family therapists.

They do this through the provision of programmatic and professional guidance in the growth and development of the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program, from a variety of perspectives. Advisory Committee members provide guidance on program related policy matters. Advisory Committee members lend their experience and expertise to the establishment of criteria for application review, Fellow selection, and expansion of the MFP. If you are interested in becoming an MFP Advisory Committee member and want to learn more about the application process please visit the MFP AC Application page.

Anibal Torres-Bernal, PhD - MFP Advisory Committee Chair

Anibal Torres Bernal is an assistant professor of psychology in the mental health counseling program at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC). He holds a B.A. in psychology from Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico: Recinto de San German and an M.A. and Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University. He has held academic appointments at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), Drake University, State University of New York: Empire State College, Syracuse University and Fairfield University.  His teaching interests include research methodology, issues in professional development and theories of psychotherapy. His scholarly endeavors have focused on exploring issues of accessibility, sustainability, diversity and social justice within the mental health professions and educational programs. Currently his research agenda includes projects that critically analyze and evaluate the delivery of mental health services / training while addressing questions of access and cost within these contexts. He has published and presented his work in multiple venues. Amongst these are ten publications in refereed journals and close to thirty presentations.

Anibal’s expansive clinical experience has provided him with the opportunity to serve in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics providing systemic therapeutic services to families dealing with mental illness, and a psychiatric hospital providing psychiatric services to adolescents with acute psychiatric crises. He has also extensively worked with varied and diverse populations, including Spanish-speaking immigrants. He has worked as both a direct provider and a clinical supervisor having supervised therapist assistants, mental health workers, family therapy clinical trainees, mental health counselor trainees, pre licensure marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health professionals.        

Christine Beliard, PhD

Dr. Christine Beliard is the Director of Doctoral Programs (PhD and DMFT) in the Department of Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She has also served the President-Elect of the Florida Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.  Dr. Beliard earned her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Florida State University. She received her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The University of Houston-Clear Lake, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Spelman College.

Dr. Beliard came to NSU in the fall of 2011, and served in the capacity of a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Family Therapy Department. She enthusiastically decided to continue as a permanent faculty member in the department beginning in 2012. Dr. Beliard teaches Diversity, Ethics, Supervision, Group, Couples, Doctoral Seminar, Quantitative Research courses, and Narrative Therapy in the Masters and Doctoral programs. She also serves on dissertation committees, and is the former faculty advisor for the college’s Graduate Student Government Association.

Dr. Beliard is currently using the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997(NLSY97), which includes nearly 10,000 participants, to study relational processes during the period of emerging adulthood. Her program of research centers on healthy relationship processes for those most at risk for encountering high conflict and violent relationships. Her primary interest is in the study of relationships over the course of emerging adulthood, when intervention may help to counter social and family risk factors that oftentimes lead to dysfunctional patterns in later adulthood. Dr. Beliard is committed to social justice and the provision of relevant mental health services to minority families through best practices in training and service delivery. She is an alumna of the SAMHSA/AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program, and has served as a mentor for the program.

Manijeh Daneshpour, PhD

Dr. Manijeh Daneshpour is a full professor and chair of the department of Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy at St. Cloud state University. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and an AAMFT Approved supervisor. She teaches marriage and family therapy graduate courses and provides family therapy for individuals and families in her private practice in Minnesota. Dr. Daneshpour has served on the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy and as the chair of the election committee for the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapist. She is from Iran and identifies herself as a postmodern feminist. Her research interests, presentations, and publications are in the areas of multicultural family therapy, gender relations, social justice, and third wave feminism.

Darren Moore, PhD

Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., LMFT, is an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He teaches in the Masters’ program in Marriage and Family Therapy where he trains graduate students and medical students in systemic approaches to therapy and collaborative health. Dr. Moore also engages in clinical work at Mercer Medicine, where he works with individuals, couples, and families regarding a variety of mental health and relational concerns. Dr. Moore’s research, teaching, and clinical interests include Bariatric Medicine, Eating Disorders, and Addictions. Dr. Moore was a recipient of the AAMFT/SAMHSA Minority Fellowship while a student at Virginia Tech, as well as has received a number of other accolades. Dr. Moore currently is involved in a number of writing projects to include scholarly publications as well as material for a mainstream audience. Dr. Moore is currently working on his first book, “Less is Moore” where he will be detailing his personal experience of losing 185 pounds. Likewise, Dr. Moore has written for a variety of newspapers, has appeared on numerous radio shows, has served as mental health consultant for season 2 and season 4 of INSIGHT2HEALTH (reality based fitness challenge,) has appeared on MBTV, NBC, and FOX networks, and will soon be doing some things for local/national news. Dr. Moore also conducts continuing education workshop training programs for mental health and allied health professionals, as well as conducts personal development training programs for individuals, couples, families, and organizations in the community. Dr. Moore received his B.A. in African American Studies at the University of Minnesota, M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Valdosta State University, Ph.D. in Human Development: Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech, and currently working on a M.S. in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Development and Change at Mercer University.  Dr. Moore currently serves as the Chair of the Multicultural Issues Committee for the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as an editorial board member for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, as an associate board member for the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates, as board member for the Southeast Region Scholar Advisory Committee for the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars program, and served as a MFP mentor for the last two years.

Megan Oka, PhD

Megan Oka, Ph.D., LMFT, is an assistant professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Consumer and Human Development and Utah State University. She teaches classes in cultural diversity, play therapy, addictions, and violence, as well as supervision practicum. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brigham Young University, and her doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University. She was part of the inaugural group of AAMFT Minority Fellows. Her research interests include intimate partner violence, gender, clinical outcomes, and process research. She is currently partnering with researchers at Brigham Young University, the University of Connecticut, and Auburn University to examine mechanisms related to change and client outcomes in university-based and community clinics. Additionally, she is currently examining therapist interruptions of clients in therapy relative to gender and client outcomes. She is a clinical member of AAMFT and an approved supervisor. Her clinical interests include children, couples, and survivors of abuse.  

Ruben Parra-Cardona, PhD

Dr. Parra-Cardona is an Associate Professor in the program of couple and family therapy at Michigan State University (MSU). He is also Associate Director of the MSU Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. His current research is focused on the cultural adaptation of evidence-based parenting interventions for Latino populations. He is the principal investigator of a R34 study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The primary goal of this investigation is to compare and contrast the differential treatment efficacy and cultural relevance of two culturally adapted versions of an evidence-based parenting intervention. His violence research focuses on the evaluation of cultural relevance of services for Latina survivors as well as Latino men who batter and abuse.  Dr. Parra-Cardona serves on the editorial boards of three leading journals in the fields of family therapy and family studies (i.e., Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Family Process, and Family Relations). Dr. Parra-Cardona’s clinical experience has included the provision of services to Latino street children engaged in drug trafficking and prostitution, child and adult victims of sexual abuse and violence, federal adult probationers convicted for drug trafficking, Latino parents, and Latino youth involved in the justice system.  

Dr. Parra-Cardona is a member of the board of directors of a leading family therapy institute in Mexico and Latin America (Centro de Investigación Familiar A.C; CIFAC) and adjunct clinical faculty and researcher in a leading family therapy institute in northern Mexico (Instituto Regional de Estudios de la Familia, IREFAM). He supports the state of Chihuahua in the implementation of parenting prevention programs as well as services for intimate partner violence (IPV). Most recently, Dr. Parra-Cardona was awarded the 2013 early career award by the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA), based on his innovative work on cultural adaptation research. 

Arnold Woodruff


Arnold Woodruff, currently the program manager for a series of community based programs in the Central Virginia region for individuals with serious mental illness, has been a Clinical Member of AAMFT since 1982. Nearly his entire professional career has been in public mental health and child welfare agencies with a couple of ventures into full-time or part-time private practice. Arnold received his M.S. degree from the COAMFTE approved program at Northern Illinois University and is also an Approved Supervisor. He has also served on the divisional boards in both Virginia and Illinois and is a Past President of the Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Bonnie Atwood, Public Member

Bonnie Atwood is no stranger to Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the topics it covers. She negotiated her son through the special education system for many years, and also stepped up as a family caregiver for her parents. Her mother lived with her at home until the age of 102. Atwood is a lobbyist, having represented VAMFT, and now represents the Virginia Retired Teachers of Virginia. She is also an award-winning professional writer. She writes about family, health, and human rights. She started out as a chorus girl in the Ice Capades, took a few detours, including four years as a reporter for a daily newspaper, earning a law degree, and started her own lobbying and freelance writing firm. She is a feminist, a family caregiver, a cancer survivor, a promoter, and a positive thinker, working at the intersection of humor, social justice, and extreme etiquette. Her business is called Tall Poppies Freelance Writing LLC, and it is state certified as a Small Women or Minority Owned Business. She is immediate past president of Virginia Professional Communicators, formerly known as Virginia Press Women.

Adrienne Mills, Public Member


Ms. Adrienne Mills holds a baccalaureate degree in Marketing and International Business from The American University.  Her diverse professional background includes working on membership campaigns, marketing plans, and communication efforts, with marketing firms, trade associations and currently, in the retail industry as the Manager for the Neiman Marcus Group. Ms. Mills believes in giving back to the community and has demonstrated her commitment through service as a volunteer at the Crisis Link in Northern Virginia.  Crisis Link is a non-profit regional provider for national and Virginia crisis hotlines, providing suicide prevention and crisis de-escalation 24 hours a day.   
Through her service at the Crisis Link, Ms. Mills became further aware of the tremendous need for culturally sensitive mental health services for underrepresented and minority groups. She hopes to lend her voice and skills to the MFP Advisory Committee to support the mission of the Minority Fellowship Program to train culturally competent marriage and family therapists who can provide the much needed service to underserved and minority populations.