Minority Fellowship Program Advisory Committee  

MFP Advisory Committee members assist the MFP in 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. The MFP Advisory Committee, through the provision of programmatic and professional guidance, help the MFP meet its goals, and through critical thought provide innovative ideas for the growth and development of the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program, from a variety of perspectives. The MFP Advisory Committee provides guidance on program related policy matters. The MFP 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.

Monique Willis, PhD, LMFT MFP Advisory Committee Chairperson

Dr. Monique Willis is an Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University's School of Behavioral Health in the Counseling and Family Science and Marriage and Family Therapy Departments. Previously, Dr. Willis held an appointment at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in the Marital and Family therapy department.  Dr. Willis 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 MFP Doctoral Fellow in the inaugural cohort. 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.

Dr. Monique Willis has over 15 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families.  Her work and research centers on supporting individuals and caregivers of persons diagnosed with chronic health conditions. Her current research, presentations, and publications bridge her clinical interest and encompass matters of chronic diseases, health disparities, power, culture, family, caregivers, and intimate relationships.  She endeavors to address socio-cultural issues that impact overall well-being. She employs a holistic approach to therapy that incorporates all aspects of an individual- body, mind, spirit, and social connections.  In her free time, Dr. Willis enjoys her family, yoga, meditation, and running to achieve wellness and balance. Dr. Willis is an MFP Alumni of 2009 - 2011 cohorts.

Past MFP Presentations: The Intentional Practitioner 

Ashley Landers, PhD, LMFT-S


Ashley L. Landers, PhD, LMFT is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Science Program’s Couple and Family Therapy specialization in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. Ashley is an AAMFT Clinical Fellow, Approved Supervisor, and Minority Fellow. She has extensive clinical and research experience in the impact of trauma on couples and families. As a community-engaged scholar, Ashley’s research and clinical interests focuses on families in child welfare, more specifically marginalized underserved minority families such as American Indian families involved with the child welfare system. In her work, Ashley examines what happens to children and families following maltreatment (e.g., foster care, adoption, reunification) and how these children and families fare (e.g., maltreatment recurrence, mental health problems, school engagement). Ashley’s areas of clinical specialization include child welfare, complex trauma, trauma-focused treatments, family reunification, and structural family therapy. She has published over 25 articles on trauma, family separation, and reunification, as well as presented at over 25 local, national and international conferences. She was the MFP Mentor of the year in 2018. Dr. Landers is an MFP Alumni of 2014-2016 cohorts.

Past MFP Presentations: Translating Research to Practice in Indigenous Communities; Family Therapy with LGBTQIA+ Youth in Foster Care or Family Therapy with Maltreated Youth and Their Families; Trauma & Law Enforcement Spouses and Couples

Candice Cooper-Lovett, PhD

Dr. Cooper-Lovett is a native of Buffalo, NY and moved to Atlanta in 2014. Dr. Cooper-Lovett has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, from the University at Buffalo a masters in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University, and a PhD in couples and family therapy from Drexel University. Dr. Cooper-Lovett currently has been in the field for over 15 years. She has a private practice; A New Creation Psychotherapy Services LLC in the south metro Atlanta area and has been there since 2015. She specializes in trauma therapy as it relates to domestic violence, sexual abuse/assault, relationship trauma, infidelity recovery, sexuality and sexual issues, and women’s self-identity and discovery. Dr. Cooper-Lovett serves a reviewer for the journal of interpersonal violence and the journal of family violence. Dr. Cooper-Lovett's expertise has contributed to peer-reviewed journals, blogs, and online magazines, and articles such as the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships, Survive, Transform, Soar online magazine, Madam Noire, Bustle, Sheen magazine, just to name a few.  Dr. Cooper-Lovett has been speaking for 15 years and has presented at many national conferences since her undergraduate career. Over the years she has also been on radio shows, podcasts, television, panels, workshops and keynotes surrounding topics around violence, marriage and relationships, sexuality and relationships/marriage, infidelity recovery, women’s self-identity and discovery, clinical implications in working with African American youth witnesses to IPV (intimate partner violence), and mental health awareness in African American communities.  Dr. Cooper-Lovett has a focus of post-traumatic growth and social justice. 

Past MFP Presentations: From PhD to Confident CEO: The Road to Becoming an Entrepreneur After PhD

Jamie West, PhD, LMFT-S

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Jamie West graduated from Virginia Tech’s PhD Marriage and Family Therapy Program in 2017. She was an AAMFT Minority Fellow from 2013 to 2015. She received an M.S. degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Colorado State University and a B.S. degree in Psychology and Family Studies from Central Michigan University. Between graduate programs, she lived abroad in Romania, South Korea, Mexico and Mongolia for over two years. She enjoys full cultural immersion. Because of her interest in trauma-informed care and working with diverse populations, she has become a member of Green Cross Academy of Traumatology and is training to become a Master Traumatologist.  Dr. West is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Therapy at Nova Southwestern University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (Virginia and Florida), a Certified ARISE Interventionist- Level 1, and an AAMFT Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor. Her research focus has been on substance abuse prevention and intervention, resilience and protective factors within relationships, and identity development. Dr. West has experience providing therapy services and developing parenting processing groups for those involved in the criminal justice system. Dr. West is passionate about training and mentoring new therapists. Dr. West is an MFP Alumni of 2013 - 2015 cohorts.

 

Leslie Anderson, PhD, LMFT


Dr. Leslie Anderson is an assistant professor of Child and Family Sciences and Marriage and Family Therapy at The University of Southern Mississippi. She is also the founder of Live Purposefully
Counseling & Consulting, LLC. Her research and clinical approaches center the experiences of Black youths and families, and particularly their processes of racial socialization, resilience, and resistance
within their sociocultural contexts. She has published her research in numerous prominent peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Family Theory and Review, the Journal of Black
Psychology, and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and others. The cornerstone of Dr. Anderson’s scholarship involves deliberate actions towards amplifying the voices of the
underserved and underrepresented and centering the experiences of those who live on the margins. Dr. Anderson is an MFP Alumni of 2016 - 2019 cohorts.

Past MFP Presentations: R.I.S.E.

Maxine Notice, PhD, LMFT-S


Dr. Maxine Notice is an assistant professor in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Central Missouri. Dr. Maxine received her doctorate in Applied Psychology with a specification in Marriage and Family Therapy from Antioch University New England and a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from CUNY City College. Dr. Notice is an AAMFT Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor, as well as an alumni of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). Dr. Notice is currently licensed as a marriage and family therapist in Missouri, and as a mental health counselor in the states of New York, New Hampshire, and Nebraska. Prior to her current role, Dr. Notice completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she focused on teaching and practicing medical family therapy. Dr. Notice is passionate about the education and training of marriage and family therapists and hopes to grow the field towards higher levels of cultural competency. Dr. Notice's current research interests include evaluating therapy with interracial couples and multiracial families; multicultural supervision; medical family therapy; and clinician training and development. Dr. Notice is an MFP Alumni of 2018-2019 cohort.

Natira Staats, PhD, LMFT

Dr. Natira Staats (Mullet) is an MFP Alumni 2019-2020 cohot. Bio coming soon.

Past MFP Presentations: Assessment and Treatment of Trauma and Substance Use: Understanding the Importance of Historical Trauma for Lakota Families (Natira Mullet, PhD, Leon Leader Charge, Ramona Herrington, Katie Edwards, PhD); Utilizing Advisory Boards: Representation in Research with Marginalized and Underserved Communities (Dr. Natria Staats, MFP Alum, and Lindsey Hawkins),

Zain Shamoon, PhD, LMFT


Dr. Zain Shamoon is an Antioch University core faculty member in the CFT program. Dr. Shamoon is dedicated to the creation of spaces where people can tell their personal stories en route to their own wellness. Dr. Shamoon currently practices therapy online at Northwest Relationships in Tacoma, and is also the host and founder of the Narratives of Pain storytelling showcase. Dr. Zain received his Ph.D. in human development and family studies, as well as his Master's degree in Couple and Family Therapy from Michigan State University. Dr. Shamoon's research focuses on domestic violence in South Asian communities and how survivors’ personal stories help address service needs. In 2019 and 2021, he received the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT) Educator of the Year award, recognizing his contributions to the advancement of the CFT field and mentorship of CFT students. Dr. Shamoon is an MFP Alumni from 2010-2012.

Past MFP Presentations: Person of the Therapist Sociocultural Attunement


Previous Members

David Hegarty, PhD

David Hegarty, joined Hope For Youth in 1982 and was appointed Executive Director in 1989. At the time of his appointment, Hope For Youth operated a group home program serving adolescents. Under his leadership, Hope For Youth has grown into a diverse, regional provider of residential care, foster care, preventive and out-patient programs. With over 180 staff and an operating budget of $13,500,000, Hope For Youth has developed a reputation for providing innovative, integrated services for troubled youth and families.  Presently, Hope For Youth operates Diagnostic and Emergency residential programs serving children and youth six months of age to twenty one, Therapeutic Group Homes serving adolescent males and females, Therapeutic Foster Boarding homes serving children and youth ages seven to twenty one and Preventive Services for families involved with Child Protective Services. Hope For Youth also operates a New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services licensed Out-Patient Clinic program which provides traditional substance abuse treatment services as well as an evidence based Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy Program which provides home and community based clinical and case management services to youth involved with probation and the family court. Other specialized services for the juvenile justice system include PINS Diversion for Nassau County and Suffolk County, PINS Clinical, the Supervision & Treatment preventive program and JD Adjustment Services. The Hope For Youth Adolescent Diagnostic facility functions as the leading provider of non-hospital diagnostic assessments for the Suffolk Family Court. In 2019, HFY added a federally funded specialized Child Parent Psychotherapy program serving the Suffolk County Family Court working with substance abusing parents and children up to age 5. Dr. Hegarty holds a Ph.D. in Community Psychology and is a New York State Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. He has served as a member or officer of the boards of directors of the New York State Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies and the Long Island Health and Welfare Council and is a former member and president of the Massapequa Board of Education. Dr. Hegarty has been an invited speaker or panelist at conferences for the NYS Association of Substance Abuse Providers, Child and Family Services Association, National Community Sentencing Association, the Child Welfare League of America and Adelphi University.   

Damir Utrzan, PhD, LMFT, DAAETS


As manager of mental health services at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation headquarters, Dr. Damir S. Utrzan provides oversight of assessment and diagnosis; in addition to, treatment and clinical management. He was previously treatment director of an Intensive Residential Treatment Services facility operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Dr. Utrzan is a licensed marriage and family therapist and board-approved clinical supervisor (i.e., LADC, LMFT, LPC, LPCC). He was born in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and lived in Germany for ten years with his parents before being deported and applying for asylum to the United States (U.S). Dr. Utrzan completed fellowship training on the intersection of psychological trauma and human rights in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School. He has a doctorate in family social science; couple and family therapy specialization with a human rights minor, also from the UMN. Dr. Utrzan 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. He has a master’s degree in marital and family therapy from Northwestern University. Additionally, Dr. Utrzan also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology; with double-minors in human development and philosophy, from Rockford University. He serves as a consulting scientist and grant reviewer to the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Utrzan has authored peer-refereed journal articles and book chapters while also presenting at professional organizations, such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Pennsylvania DHS. He has gained a well-earned reputation for conducting sensitive and thorough evaluations of children seeking asylum in the U.S. The Advocates for Human Rights, UMN Law School, and Children’s Law Center of California are among the organizations for whom he served as an expert witness. Dr. Utrzan is an MFP Alumni of 2015 - 2017 cohorts.

Past MFP Presentations: Journey from PhD and MDP to Now-Lessons Learned 

Aníbal Torres Bernal, PhD, LMFT

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.

Past MFP Presentations: What Does It Mean to Provide Social Justice Leadership: Implications for Self, Clients and Communities.