Minority Fellowship Program Advisory Committee 2019-20 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

Aníbal Torres Bernal is the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Sciences and Society at SUNY Morrisville. He is also a tenured professor at SUNY Morrisville. He earned his B.A. in psychology from Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico and his M.A. and Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University. Aníbal has held academic, administrative and clinical appointments at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Drake University, Empire State College, Syracuse University, Fairfield University, Indiana University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Christian Theological Seminary, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus and Regis University. He is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy, a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). He also serves as a site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), a director at large in the International Family Therapy Association’s (IFTA) Board of Directors, and has chaired the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program Advisory Committee. Anibal's scholarship has focused exclusively on how to infuse social justice concepts into different contexts, especially as it relates to underserved and marginalized populations, and the different ways in which practice, education, academic leadership and theoretical conceptualizations can become increasingly accessible, inclusive and sustainable.

Deanna Harris-Mckoy, PhD

Dr. DeAnna Harris-McKoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University Central Texas. She received her undergraduate education at the University of Maryland College Park, Masters of Family Therapy from Drexel University, and Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Florida State University. She has presented research at various local, regional, national, and international conferences concerning adolescents, Black mental health, and social justice with the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a former AAMFT Minority Fellow and has received multiple awards for her community service and leadership.

Mona Mittal, PhD

Mona Mittal is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University and a Masters in Clinical Investigation from the University of Rochester. As a clinical researcher, Dr. Mittal is engaged in prevention and intervention research aimed at improving health outcomes of women with experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV). Her research interests include physical, emotional, and sexual health of women with a specific focus on psychological trauma, interruption of the intergenerational cycle of violence, and physiological mechanisms linking IPV and adverse health outcomes across the lifespan. She is the recipient of a K01 Research Scientist Career Development Award funded by NIMH aimed at developing and testing an integrated HIV-IPV risk reduction intervention for women with experiences of IPV. Most recently, she has received NIH funding to extend the focus of her research to include couples. In her new project, Dr. Mittal is addressing the synergistic interactions between substance use, violence, and HIV/AIDS (SAVA syndemic) that have been closely linked with HIV acquisition in the African American population.

Corey Yeager, PhD

Corey Yeager is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, at the doctoral level, focusing his therapeutic practice on primarily serving the African American community, from which he comes. Yeager holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University, a Masters of Art degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University and a PhD from the University of Minnesota.. His research emphasis centers on better understanding the plight of African American relationships, while educating service providers to utilize the family system context while facilitating meaningful change in the lives of their clients. Corey has engaged a wide-range of clientele in his therapeutic endeavors. As a school-based mental health provider, Yeager worked tirelessly as a therapist in the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention center, through the Minneapolis Public Schools. In this work Yeager employed an eclectic style of therapeutic orientations, as to cater his therapy to the unique needs of students and families. His cornerstone mode of therapy is steeped in Trauma-based/informed care. Allowing the students and the families from which they come to remain the experts in their lives. Corey operates his organization, Harmony Road, LLC, within a number of Minneapolis Public School sites as well as a burgeoning practice in the St. Paul Public School system. In his current role as the Educational Equity Coordinator, for the Office of Black Male Student Achievement, within the Minneapolis Public Schools, Yeager is unwavering in his assault on the “perceived” achievement gap for African American males. He believes that African American males do not face an achievement gap but rather a relationship and opportunity. Yeager continues to broaden his research interest by working to develop and support teachers through professional development and the support of educators in their development and maintenance of culturally relevant pedagogy. Corey sees this two-pronged approach of working both individually and through group therapeutic settings with students and families. Finally, Corey works diligently to facilitate the advancement of meaningful dialogue surrounding the subject of race and racism. It is in this culminating work that he finds his passion. Yeager has done a vast array of facilitating these “courageous conversations” across the country, finding his way from Albany, New York to NYU to Fridley, Minnesota working in school systems to assess and address the climate and culture of these large systemic spaces. To this end, Yeager has begun to expand his therapeutic practice into the professional athletic realm. In his role as the team psychotherapist for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, Yeager focuses on the development of “Athletic Amnesia”, Role Clarity and athletic Self-Talk, with players, coaches and the organizations front office.          

Damir Utrzan, PhD

Dr. Damir S. Utrzan is treatment director of an Intensive Residential Treatment Services facility operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Board-Approved Clinical Supervisor (LADC, LMFT, LPC, LPCC). Dr. Utrzan was born in the former Yugoslavia and lived in Germany for ten years with his parents before being deported and applying for asylum to the United States. He completed fellowship training on the intersection of psychological trauma and human rights in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Utrzan has a doctorate in family social science; couple and family therapy specialization with a human rights minor, from the University of Minnesota. He completed advanced doctoral training on co-occurring disorder treatment in traditionally marginalized groups through the Minority Fellowship Program in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; in addition to, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Dr. Utrzan has a master’s degree in marital and family therapy from Northwestern University. He also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology; with double-minors in human development and philosophy, from Rockford University. Dr. Utrzan serves as a consulting scientist and grant reviewer to the Office of Refugee Resettlement with Administration for Children and Families in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. He has authored peer-refereed journal articles and book chapters while also presenting at professional organizations, such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Dr. Utrzan has gained a well-earned reputation for conducting sensitive and thorough evaluations of children seeking asylum in the United States. The Advocates for Human Rights, University of Minnesota Law School, and Children’s Law Center of California are among the organizations for whom he served as an expert witness.

Monique Willis, PhD

Dr. Monique Willis is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in the Marital and Family therapy department.  She is a graduate of Loma Linda University, with both an M.S. and Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy with an emphasis on medical family therapy. During her time at Loma Linda University, she was an AAMFT minority fellow. Dr. Willis is a licensed clinician and maintains an active private practice.  She retains membership with both AAMFT and CAMFT and is an AAMFT approved supervisor. Her work and research centers on supporting individuals and caregivers of persons diagnosed with chronic health conditions. Her current research, presentations, and publications bridges her clinical interest and encompasses matters of chronic diseases, health disparities, power, culture, family, caregivers, and intimate relationships.  Dr. Willis strives to ensure that marriage and family therapists and other professional counselors aid in providing culturally sensitive therapy for minority and underprivileged families.