Starla Simmons, LCSW, is a clinical assistant professor and field liaison in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. She is strongly rooted in social justice and racial equity, with a passion for supporting the vitality, resilience and collectivism of BIPOC communities. She is experienced in holistic practices such as eco-therapy and mindfulness. Starla facilitates training in Austin around the topics of racial equity, social justice, mindfulness and eco-therapy. She is the faculty liaison for the Environmental Justice/ Ecotherapy (EJET) student organization and Black Student Network at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.
Starla has over a decade of experience working as a school social worker, providing a range of direct care services to students, families, and staff. She worked as the liaison and coordinator for Austin ISD’s school mental health centers, providing consultation and operational support for school-based therapy services at 19 middle and high schools.
Currently, she serves as interim executive director for Black Mamas ATX, a maternal health organization that provides full-spectrum birth support and advocacy for Black women. Previously, Starla served as an Austin leader for the national non-profit Outdoor Afro, which celebrates and inspires Black leadership in nature. She also served as board chair for Mama Sana Vibrant Woman.
At home, Starla is Mama Bear to her two children Maya and Langston and spirited partner to her husband, Thomas. She loves exploring natural swimming holes, sitting under trees, camping and creative expression.
Social justice & liberation, addressing trauma in communities of color, ecotherapy and holistic social work interventions, group work with children and adolescents.