Carmela Alcántara, Ph.D.

Carmela Alcántara is a Kellogg Health Scholars Program postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. She received her doctorate in Psychology (Clinical) from the University of Michigan. She also completed a full-time clinical internship at New York University-Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City and earned an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Latina/o Studies from Cornell University.

Research Interests and Projects

Dr. Alcántara’s professional career has been devoted to working with underserved and disenfranchised communities in both research and clinical contexts. Dr. Alcántara’s research interests include: social determinants and correlates of anxiety disorders and co-occurring conditions; disparities in access, use, and quality of mental health care; cross-cultural equivalence/relevance of psychiatric categories; application of mixed methods; mental health service and policy, and immigrant mental health. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is particularly interested in exploring pathways to disordered anxiety among Latina mothers with a focus on identifying structural and community risk factors, and developing quantitative indices of immigration context that impact maternal mental health status.

Dr. Alcántara received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health to complete her dissertation, which integrated quantitative and qualitative methods to examine: (1) the relationships between acculturative stress, U.S. American/Latino acculturation, anxious predispositions, psychological distress, and lifetime history of ataque de nervios (ATQ)and padecer de nervios (PNRV); and (2) the qualitative meanings of ATQ and PNRV among Mexican immigrant mothers.

She is the author of several publications on disparities in mental health care among American Indian and Alaska Native communities, diversity issues in clinical psychology, and has forthcoming publications on anxiety and Latina/os. She also has received teaching accolades from the University of Michigan for her demonstrated excellence in the classroom.

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Gone, J.P., & Alcántara, C. (2007) Effective mental health interventions for American Indians and Alaska Natives: A review of the literature. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13, 356-363.

Alcántara, C., & Gone, J.P. (2007) Reviewing suicide in Native American communities: Situating risk and protective factors within a transactional-ecological framework. Death Studies, 31, 457-477.

Alcántara, C. (2010) Do ataque de nervios and padecer de nervios function as culture-bound syndromes and markers of distress among Mexican immigrant mothers? A mixed-method analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan.