Our Team

ACCESS for Mental Health

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Tara G. Mehta PhD

  • Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology
  • Director of Psychology Training
Dr. Mehta is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Psychology Training in the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The central theme of Dr. Mehta’s work is to reduce the persistent disparities in access to mental health services for ethnic minority children and families. Dr. Mehta's work is based in an ecological public health model and she conducts community-based collaborative research focused on (1) developing culturally responsive, alternative models of mental health services for children and youth and (2) workforce development to enhance the capacity of community organizations to sustain accessible, effective services that enhance children’s and youth's well-being and promote mental health. Dr. Mehta is part of a team that has developed new mental health service models that promote children’s mental health and increase the accessibility, effectiveness, and sustainability of children’s mental health services.  Her specific interests include leveraging natural resources (teachers, staff) in settings critical to children’s development and mental health (school, after-school), activating paraprofessionals to promote and enhance services, and enhancing organizational factors that are crucial to maintain and sustain effective practices. Dr. Mehta has collaborated with multiple partners in Chicago, including the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District, community mental health centers, and non-profit organizations.

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Jessica Arias

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
Jessica Arias is a current undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. She is also a current Research Assistant at ACCESS at UIC Department of Psychiatry; access and development to mental health services in vulnerable communities. Is a part of the Erie Neighborhood House community as a mentor for (Tutoring to Educate for Aims and Motivation) TEAM to a middle schooler. She is also a Psychology Undergraduate Research Readiness (PURR) member where she develops professional relationships with peers and graduate student mentors; she attends informational sessions to understand the different fields of research.

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Steve Gonzalez BA

  • Volunteer Research Assistant
Steve was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He obtained his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. He will begin his Master’s in in Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) at Roosevelt University this upcoming fall. He is a volunteer research assistant in the ACCESS for Mental Health Lab. He currently works as a Post-Baccalaureate in the UIC Psychology Department as a Teaching Assistant for Abnormal Psychology course. He is also a research assistant in the CHAT Lab and in the Trauma Informed Chicago Project. His interests revolve around mental disorders, substance abuse disorders, trauma, and working with underrepresented populations.

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Jacqueline Moses PhD

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Jacqueline (Jackie) Moses, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Institute for Juvenile Research and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Moses earned her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at Florida International University. She completed her predoctoral internship at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Leo Perez MS

  • Research Specialist- Social Sciences
Leo Perez is the project manager working on the Patient Navigators for Children’s Community Mental Health Services in High Poverty Urban Communities Project alongside Dr. Mehta and Dr. Atkins. Before arriving at UIC, Leo worked as a marriage and family therapist and engaged in research relevant to increasing mental health access for minority populations.

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Gabriela Torres

  • Volunteer Research Assistant
Gabriela Torres is a Psychology student at the University of Illinois with a minor in Anthropology. She is a research assistant at Access for Mental Health Labs. Gabriela wants to specialize in child psychology and has long term goals of having her own private practice. Gabriela is interested in history with a focus in Mesoamerican societies.

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Melanie Tran BA

  • Psychiatry Volunteer
Melanie Tran is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Broadly, her research aims to reduce disparities in access to mental health services for marginalized communities and to utilize a community-based, public health approach to promote youth mental health and resilience. Her specific research interests include enhancing youth mental health and positive development in settings natural and accessible to children and families, such as schools, recreational programs, and community organizations; building capacity in youth-serving organizations and workforces to sustainably deliver effective services; and promoting mental health in ethnic minority and immigrant communities through culturally responsive practices.

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Viviana Uribe BA

  • Research Associate
Viviana Uribe is a Research Associate in the ACCESS for Mental Health Lab where she assists on data collection for the research on Patient Navigators for Children’s Community Mental Health Services in High Poverty Urban Communities. Prior to joining the ACCESS for Mental Health team, Viviana worked as a Post- baccalaureate in the Psychology department at UIC as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate psychology courses and a research assistant in the CHAT Lab. She also volunteered in the ART Lab. She received a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she majored in Psychology and minored in Latin American and Latino Studies and Gender and Women Studies.

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