Tatiana Villarreal-Otálora is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia’s (UGA) School of Social Work. She holds a bachelor’s in political science degree from Georgia State University, as well as a Master of Social Work with highest honors from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. In 2013, Mrs. Villarreal-Otálora began her social work career in New York City at an alternative to incarceration program. Shortly after, in 2014, she moved to Georgia and began working at an outpatient mental health facility. Since then, she has been providing culturally responsive, bilingual, mental health services to Latinx youth that engage in suicidal behaviors, non-suicidal self-harm, and exhibit trauma-related symptoms. Additionally, she has completed intensive training in TF-CBT and DBT and delivered various educational workshops aimed at enhancing ethical service delivery with Latinx immigrants.
In 2016, she obtained her social work clinical license but felt her educational and work-experience knowledge were not enough to truly help the many Latinx adolescents who were seeking services due to suicidal behaviors. Thus, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in social work. Upon entering the Ph.D. program, she dove into research focusing on Latinx well-being. Specifically, she is interested in contributing to the development and enhancement of interventions and prevention programs targeting suicidal behaviors among Latinx youth. Her research related to Latinx youth suicidal behaviors is published in social work, child and adolescent health, health promotions, education, and addictive diseases’ journals.