Our Team

Urban Youth Trauma Center

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  1. Research
  2. Urban Youth Trauma Center
  3. Our Team

Jaleel K. Abdul-Adil PhD

  • Co-Director of the Urban Youth Trauma Center
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry
Dr. Abdul-Adil's career interest is culturally-sensitive, ecologically-appropriate, and evidence-based practices for low-income urban youth and families. His current research focuses on family-focused interventions for youth with trauma and co-occurring disruptive behavior and community violence exposure that are provided through university-community partnerships, service system collaborations, and national provider networks. Dr. Abdul-Adil is also one of the originators and nationally-renowned experts on the use of modern Rap music and Hip-Hop culture to enrich psychosocial interventions for urban youth.

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Liza M. Suarez PhD

  • Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
  • Director, Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic
  • Co-Director, Urban Youth Trauma Center
Dr. Suarez’ interests focus on adolescent traumatic stress and substance abuse, treatment for anxiety disorders among urban youth, and empowering communities to address community violence and its impact on youth and families. Dr. Suarez has developed and is currently evaluating and disseminating an integrated intervention targeting traumatic stress and substance abuse problems in adolescents.

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Roberto Lopez-Tamayo PhD

  • Instructor of Clinical Psychiatry/Program Evaluator
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center
Roberto Lopez-Tamayo, PhD., is a licensed clinical psychologist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the program evaluator of the Urban Youth Trauma Center (UYTC). Dr. Lopez-Tamayo serves as instructor of clinical psychiatry, coordinates program evaluation efforts, including data collection, tracking, and management, for grant reporting and scholarly project activities. Dr. Lopez-Tamayo also participates in adapting program materials to address the needs of urban ethnic minority youth, religious minorities, and immigrant populations. Dr. Lopez-Tamayo obtained a B.A. in Philosophy from Universidad del Valle de Atemajac in his hometown Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, an M.A. in Clinical Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from DePaul University. His broad interests are diversity, cultural adaptation, acculturation, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, and substance abuse prevention. Dr. Lopez-Tamayo is interested in developing, implementing, and evaluating parent-based prevention/intervention programs to promote resilience and adaptive coping for low-income urban minority children and their families.

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Lynda Gibson PhD

  • Director, Psychological Services Center
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Lynda Gibson is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Psychological Services Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, and she received her M.S and Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Gibson completed her doctoral internship with the Dallas Independent School District's Department of Psychological and Social Services, and her postdoctoral residency was completed at the University of Chicago Medicine and Comer Children's Hospital—with a specialization in child trauma. Dr. Gibson's research and clinical work focus on risk and resiliency factors in African American and Latinx communities, barriers to treatment for underserved families, early exposure to trauma and community violence, and strategies for building trauma-informed schools. 

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Rachel Wax BA

  • Senior Research Associate
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center
Rachel Wax is the lead developer, trainer, and implementer of the Urban Youth Trauma Centers Youth Violence Prevention Engagement Curriculum (YVPE), a multi-tiered violence prevention program that applies evidence based practices to address the needs of communities impacted by violence, low socioeconomic status, and insufficient access to critical resources. The YVPE curriculum was developed to be facilitated in partnership with Law Enforcement to provide alternatives to traditional punishments for offending youth and to assist in the facilitation of connecting youth and families to resources through cross system collaborative efforts. YVPE has additionally been adapted for implementation in school-based settings. Ms. Wax is a Certified Forensic Interviewer and co-developer of the Adverse Childhood Critical Events and Safety Screener (ACCESS) and referral protocols.

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Jenna G Sims BS

  • Research Assistant
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center

Jenna is a Research Assistant in the Urban Youth Trauma Center. She received her B.S. in Psychology from The University of Alabama. Jenna spent three years collaborating on research projects and completed her undergraduate thesis at the Center for Youth Development and Intervention in Tuscaloosa.

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Alvin D. Farmer PhD

  • Psychiatry Volunteer
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center
Alvin Farmer, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology, Gerontology and African/African-American Studies at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). Dr. Farmer is a licensed clinical psychologist and has participated in STRONG Families program development, training and supervision of clinical interventions for urban youth and families within UYTC and the IJR Disruptive Behavior Clinic (DBC). His current research interests build upon my earlier research and clinical experiences by focusing on high-risk youth and the development of childhood psychopathology, more specifically disruptive behavior disorders.

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Yvonne Livingston BS

  • Research Associate II Social Science
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center
Ms. Yvonne Livingston is a dedicated research assistant at the Urban Youth Trauma Center, leveraging her interdisciplinary background in Black Studies and Psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago. Her academic journey is marked by prestigious accolades such as membership in Psi Chi honors society, Tau Sigma, and the receipt of the Honors College Scholarship, Grace Holt Memorial Award, and the Marie Nesbit Promise Prize. Drawing from her personal experiences as a community member and caregiver with a profound understanding of trauma and adversity, Ms. Livingston is a steadfast advocate for the needs of underserved populations.

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Mayra Gaona PhD

  • Clinical Research Coordinator, Intervention Study
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center
Mayra A. Gaona, PhD is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Urban Youth Trauma Center. Dr. Gaona earned a B.S. in Psychology from Dominican University, an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology, and Ph.D. in School Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Her research and clinical work focuses on trauma-informed schools, trauma professional development for school professionals, and the delivery of mental health interventions with newcomer immigrant youth.

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Viviana Patino BS

  • Clinical Research Coordinator, Urban Youth Trauma Center (UYTC)
  • Psychiatry Volunteer, Community Academic Partnerships to Accelerate Community Implementation of Treatments for Youth (CAPACITY) lab
Viviana is a clinical research coordinator at the Urban Youth Trauma Center. She joined the UYTC team spring 2023. Previously, she received her B.S. in Psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago, and she is an ongoing psychiatry volunteer at CAPACITY lab at UIC as well. Viviana’s role at UYTC includes coordination of research measures and participant recruitment in a clinic setting, assisting with data management procedures, study protocol development, outreach, and the collection of resources for research protocols, papers, and grants. Her academic goals include pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology to study suicide prevention practices in underserved and vulnerable communities, especially the Latinx community.

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Nyssa Snow-Hill PhD, MA

  • Senior Research Specialist
Nyssa Snow-Hill is a Senior Research Specialist in the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic within the Colbeth Clinic. She focuses on the supervision and delivery of evidence-based treatments to youth with posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety related conditions. She supports the Urban Youth Trauma Center in the dissemination of empirically supported treatments and trainings to community partners. Dr. Snow-Hill obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Miami University, a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from University of Dayton, and a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from University of South Carolina. She is interested in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based interventions for youth experiencing homelessness.

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Roxanna J. Flores Velasco MA

  • Extern, Department of Psychiatry
  • University of Illinois Chicago

Roxanna J. Flores Velasco, M.A. is a Psychology Extern at the Urban Youth Trauma Center and the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic (PSADC) in the Colbeth Child Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago. Ms. Flores Velasco earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University, an M.A.

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Evelyn Andrade

  • Research Assistant
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center
Evelyn Andrade is third year undergraduate student at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is working towards a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology and is volunteering at the Urban Youth and Trauma Center. Her future plans are to attend graduate school and become a clinical psychologist.

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Siobhan Broucek

  • Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center
  • Department of Psychiatry, UIC

Siobhan Broucek is fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is working towards a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology and is volunteering as a research assistant at the Urban Youth and Trauma Center (UYTC) and the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic (PSADC). Her future plans are to attend graduate school and become a school psychologist.

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Lily Carbajal

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center

Lily joined Dr. Gaona, School Psychologist, as a Research Assistant Volunteer in the Saliendo Adelante Project. She will complete her undergraduate degree at Loyola University Chicago in Psychology this Spring 2024 and will begin her journey in applying for graduate program in School Psychology.

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Andrea Donis BA

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center
Andrea is currently a second-year graduate student in the clinical psychology program at Loyola University Chicago. Broadly, she is interested in studying trauma exposure among Latine, immigrant, and asylum-seeking/refugee youth. She is interested in understanding the effects of trauma exposure among these populations and better ways to assess complex histories of trauma experienced by these youth.

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Sandra Franco MS

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center
Sandra is a volunteer research assistant at the Urban Youth Trauma Center. Sandra Franco has an M.S. in Information Management with an emphasis in Data Science and Analytics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Currently, she works as a Senior Data Assistant at Northwestern University and is a School Psychology student at Loyola University Chicago.

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Justyce Harris

  • Student Intern/ Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic
  • Safe First Steps program, Urban Youth Trauma Center

Justyce started her degree at Harold Washington and is now planning to graduate from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) with her Bachelor’s degree. She is a research assistant for the Safe First Steps program and Black Girl RISES (Relationships and Interactions with Staff in Educational Settings).

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Carmen Jager

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center

Carmen is currently a research assistant at the Urban Youth Trauma Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a third-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago graduating this Spring. She is interested in resilience psychology and is aiming to be a therapist or psychologist in the future.

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Giselle Lopez

  • Research Assistant at Urban Youth Trauma Center (UYTC)
Giselle Lopez is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is working towards obtaining her Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology whilst simultaneously minoring in French and Francophone Studies. Giselle is working at the Urban Youth Trauma Center (UTYC)  and Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic (PSADC) as an research assistant. Her future plans are to attend graduate school and become a clinical psychologist.

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Imani McDonald

  • Undergraduate Intern in the Urban Youth Trauma Center/Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorder Clinic

Imani McDonald is an Applied Psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is a member of the Honors College and a student employee in the office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement on campus. She has maintained a 3.7 GPA and is an active member of the Honors College Advisory Board, Her Campus Magazine, and Active Minds at UIC.

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Erica Murschel

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center

Erica began her studies at UIC in 2022 after transferring from the College of Lake County. As an undergraduate student at UIC, Erica was a research assistant to Dr. Sarah Ullman’s Womens Dyadic Study and has since joined the Urban Youth Trauma Center, co-directed by Dr. Liza Suarez, as a volunteer/research assistant.

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Sandra Paz Sosa

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, Urban Youth Trauma Center
Sandra is a senior Psychology student at Northeastern Illinois University. She is interested in clinical/school Psychology. She had been working at Haugan Elementary School alongside Dr. Gibson with her Safe First Steps program since the fall of 2022 as part of her capstone course. She is a first-generation student of Latinx descent, so she is interested in volunteering in the Saliendo Adelante program with Dr. Gaona.

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Hector Rodriguez BA

  • Volunteer at the Urban Youth Trauma Center

Hector is a volunteer through the Urban Youth Trauma Center. Hector has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a double minor in bioethics and society and sociology from DePaul University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

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