Background: Second-generation Mexican American
Interests: Mental and behavioral health disparities; development of culturally competent evidence-based care for Latinx and other ethnic/racial minority populations
Focus: Mercedes Hernandez has focused her research on addressing disparities in mental and behavioral health treatment among Latinx individuals and their family members. Her interest in this area of research comes from her extensive clinical practice as a psychiatric social worker with multicultural populations in community public mental health settings. Her research has revealed the critical role that families have in treatment access and symptom management among Latinx individuals with schizophrenia. Most recently, she has expanded the focus of her work to include Latinas who are at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. She is interested in understanding the sociocultural factors involved in risky alcohol use and how these impact change processes in this vulnerable group.
Fun-fact: I was a sociology and Chicano Studies major in college. One of my favorite books was a textbook for my introduction to Chicano Studies class titled “Occupied America: A history of Chicanos” by Rodolfo Acuña.