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Meet The Team

We are always looking for individuals and organizations who share our commitment to social justice and our dedication to enhancing cultural identities and promoting health and wellbeing amongst ethnic minority and immigrant individuals and communities.

Guerda Nicolas

Dr. Guerda Nicolas is a Professor in the Educational and Psychological Studies department at the University of Miami, School of Education and Human Development. She obtained her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Boston University. She completed her pre-doctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center and her postdoctoral training the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University, Department of Child Psychiatry.As a multicultural (Haitian American) and multilingual psychologist (Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole), her research is reflective of her background and interests.Her current research focus on the integration of race and culture and well-being for ethnically diverse and immigrant communities. Some of the projects that she is currently working on includes: promoting academic excellence among ethnically diverse youth, identify development of Black youths, and empowering ethnically diverse parents to be effective parents. In addition, she conducts research on social support networks of Caribbean populations with a specific focus on Haitians.She has published several articles and book chapters and delivered numerous invited presentations at the national and international conferences in the areas of women issues, depression and intervention among Haitians, social support networks of ethnic minorities, and spirituality.

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Her recent books includes:

Esprene Liddell-Quintyn

Esprene Liddell-Quintyn is a fourth year doctoral candiadatein the Community Well-Being program at the University of Miami. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Guyana and her Master’s degree at Penn StateHarrisburg. Before joining, the CRECER team,Esprene provided compassionate care and assistance to women with mental health challengesandsupportedresearch andorganizational development initiatives at non-governmental organizations.

Her research focuses on examining intimate partner violence (IPV) within the Caribbeanand among Caribbean immigrant women.She aims to use her research to design prevention and interventionprograms,buildcommunity social capital andfoster individual efficacyto combat IPV.Esprene is also interested in examining the acculturation and mental health experiences ofCaribbean immigrant women. As a member of the CRECER team, Esprene will serve as the coordinator of Day of Dialogueand co-chair of the CRCP 2020 Early Scholars Committee.

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Monique McKenny

Monique McKenny is a fourth-year PhD student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Miami. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA. Moniqueearned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Counseling and Mental Health Services and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The George Washington University.

Monique is interested inthe content and process of racial coping practices among Black youth and families. She studieshow experiences with racial discrimination relate to both psychological and neurobiological outcomes for Black youth as well as how methods of racial coping, specifically, racial socialization, can mitigate deleterious outcomes from these incidents. During her time at UM, Moniquehas beenawarded the Spouses Education Scholarship from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and received Honorable Mention from the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship program.She has completed an advanced doctoral practicum at the Mailman Center for Child Development in the Miller School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and is now a psychology trainee at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. This year, Monique will be working on her dissertation, which investigates the protective capacity of racial socialization practices in the health of Black adolescents.She is passionate about drawing on the strengths of Black families to promote the health and well-being of Black youth in the face of inequitable systems.In her free time, you can find Monique in a spin class, cooking, or headed to brunch.

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Melissa Gutierrez

Melissa Gutierrez is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Miami. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Miami with a major in biology and minor in psychology. After diving into research on early childhood social-emotional readiness at the University of Miami psychology department, Melissa completed her Master of Science in Education at the University of Miami majoring in Mental Health Counseling.

Melissa has joined the CRECER team this year and is looking forward to participating in different projects. She is also currently serving on Dr. Mena and Dr. Santisteban’s team as a therapist in the Culturally Informed Flexible Family Based Treatment for Adolescents (CIFFTA) program and a project coordinator for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) project in Miami Gardens. Her primary research interests focus on researching interventions that would be effective in equipping parents with skills to develop and maintain positive self-esteem for children and adolescents in high risk environments. She is particularly interested in the development of interventions to build and maintain high self-esteem for adolescents in minority groups, specifically Hispanic families.

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“Maxie” Ashley Maxie-Moreman

Maxie is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Miami (UM). She served as a program co-coordinator for the Kulula Mentoring program from 2016-2019, co-chair on the Early Scholars Committee for the Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology from 2017-2019, and as co-chair on the Student Engagement Committee for the Intergroup Dialogue Working Group at UM from 2018-2019. Maxie is currently completing advanced practica at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and at Academia Antonia Alonso Charter School. She also serves as an editor on the Student Editorial Board for the Collaborations Journal at UM and is a recipient of the John C. Mitchell Dissertation Fellowship. Lastly, Maxie is co-owner of Adventures of Bray Bray LLC, a children’s picture book series, which centers Black children and promotes ethnic and racial identity development.

Maxie earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida and her M.Ed. and M.A. in Psychological Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University.

She is interested in research examining the interaction between ethnic-racial identity and academic outcomes for Black and Latino adolescents in the US. She is also interested in intergroup dialogue with regard to social identities.

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Gabrielle M del Rey

Gabrielle is a second-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Miami. She completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology with a minor in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She then completed her master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Southern California where she practiced as a therapist at a local Los Angeles high school for under privileged, high achieving Latino adolescents. Gabrielle’s broad research interests center around Black and Latino adolescents and family systems. Most recently, Gabrielle has been working on projects focusing on self-harm and other suicidal behaviors in Black and Latino adolescents. Gabrielle is currently serving as a co-coordinator for the Strong Roots program.

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Natacha Janac

Natacha earned her master’s in Nashville TN, at Tennessee State University and is a clinician who enjoys working with children and families. Currently, she provides mental health therapy through Devereux Advance Behavioral Foster Care Agency. Natacha joined the CRECER team in Spring 2014. She serves as the Chair of the policy council of Miami-Dade County Community Action & and Human Service Head Start/Early Head Start program; aiming to fight the war on poverty by providing comprehensive child-development, nutrition, education, and social services for children and parents. She is a member of the (CAA) Community Action Agency board of directors, who over-see all the programs and services provided by the Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department (CAHSD).

Natacha is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.; an organization that provide services to the community and helps educated young women to understand their worth. Natacha’s research interests include working with families and communities and mental health issues in Haiti. Natacha is one of the founding Haiti Community Trust Board Members. She aims to focus her research on the strengths of marginalized individuals and their communities. She believes her work has the potential to make a transformative impact through empowerment and by promoting well-being.

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Marisol Meyer

Marisol is a third-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Miami. She completed her undergraduate studies at Dartmouth college in 2018, where majored in both Psychology and in Anthropology.

She is excited to be a part of the CRECER team and serve currently as the co-coordinator in the Strong Roots Caregiver project and previously as the co-coordinator in the Kulula Project. Currently, her primary research interest is exploringculturally responsive social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence, and exploring how these fields can be used to promote equity. Additionally, Marisol is interested in research focusing on the creation and implementation of community-based intervention programs to promote positive mental health outcomes for multicultural, ethnically diverse, and immigrant populations. She is also passionate about working towards closing the research to practice gap and works towards making information gained via research accessible to all individuals.Please visit here for more information about Marisol’s research.

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Ceewin N. Louder

Ceewinis a second-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Miami. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a dual-major in Psychology and Biology. After two years working as a missionary for the United Methodist Church and one year working as a bookseller, she decided to go back to school for psychology. She completed her master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University in May 2019 and began working with CRECER in August 2019. Broadly, Ceewin's research interests center around emotion, race-based traumatic stress, and community-based interventions. Specifically, she is interested in Afro-centric coping techniques utilized by Black folks, and the mental and physiological effects of various coping strategies. In CRECER, she is a co-coordinator for the Kulula Project with Alexis.

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Sidney Coupet

Sidney Coupet is an Internal Medicine physician with over 10 years of experience providing primary care to ethnically and linguistically diverse patients using an innovative membership model called Direct Primary Care (DPC). The model is comprehensive and consist of primary & preventative care, chronic disease management, behavioral health services, and wellness. Dr. Coupet is also the founder of SPARK Health, an organization that supports clinics to deliver a comprehensive community health model nationally and internationally. Dr. Coupet is the Chief physician for Coupet Quality Clinic, the flagship center for SPARK Health which is located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL., where he provides quality healthcare services to hundreds of ethnically diverse patients. Dr. Coupet is also serving as the primary care advisor for Santé Nou, a US healthcare logistics company that provides emergency care for people traveling to Haiti, while simultaneously delivering primary & preventive care for those residing in Haiti.

Dr. Coupet has received numerous awards and distinctions throughout his career. In 2005, he was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship which he used to develop and facilitate health workshops for previously incarcerated men in Pittsburgh, PA. In light of his various experiences, leadership and his commitment to the healthcare profession, he was awarded the Black Achievers Award in Medicine in 2008. Dr. Coupet was featured in South Florida Hospital News for his leadership in bringing the DPC model to Broward County and his practice was recognized in the Florida Sun Sentinel News as an alternative model to cost effective primary and preventative healthcare services. While Dr. Coupet is actively communicating and educating the public about the pandemic via social media, radio, and publications, he is also providing critical information to other community health clinics around the country in order to effectively participate in reducing and flattening the curve for the Coronavirus.

Dr. Coupet obtained his medical degree at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and received a Master of Public Health in Health Policy Management at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. Dr. Coupet went on to do a fellowship at the University of Michigan as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar where he received a Master in Health Services. Dr. Coupet has delivered multiple presentations at local and national health conferences and published numerous peer-reviewed scholarly papers focusing on global health.

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Alexis Franklin

Alexis Franklin is a first year PhD student at the University of Miami within the School of Education and Human Development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee in 2018. Alexis spent the last two years learning and researching as a Psychology Intern at George Washington University’s Clinical Psychology clinic and as a Psychology Research Fellow at the National Cancer Institute within the National Institute of Health.

Alexis is excited to join to the CRECER team this fall. In CRECER, she is a co-coordinator for the Kulula Project. Currently, her primary research interests are to research the negative mental health outcomes that disproportionately affect marginalized populations, the systemic and social mechanisms behind these disparities, and the kinds of interventions that can effectively address these problems. Ultimately, she is interested in researching culturally-informed interventions aimed at promoting positive mental health outcomes for marginalized populations, specifically Black individuals.

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Kyle Self

Kyle Self entered the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Miami in 2020. He has a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Spanish from High Point University. Since graduating in 2014, Kyle has worked in psychology research and research management for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) and was a Research Coordinator at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Health Care System(SFVAHCS). While at the SFVAHCS, his research focused on women's health psychology and motivational interviewing treatment fidelity for a pain and opioid study. He has also worked internationally in Nicaragua for a nonprofit organization focusing on nutrition and health education programs for rural communities.

Kyle's current research interests include understanding interactions between healthcare providers and Latino clients, developing culturally tailored treatments and assessments, and contributing to community-based participatory research programs to increase opportunities to access care.His goal for clinical training is to provide therapy in Spanish for clients in the Miami area. Kyle can be reached at

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Yasmeen HA

Yasmeen H.A. is a research assistant in the CRECER lab at the University of Miami. She completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Maryland at College Park. She is looking to continue her education and receive a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology. Yasmeen is currently a co-coordinator for the Kulula Mentoring Program and was previously one of the mentors in the program.

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Past Team Members

Kimberly Ho Misiaszek

Vanessa Thomas

Amina Simmons

Anna Wheatley

Brian Malcolm

Jordan Ainsley

Darren Bernal

Billie Schwartz

Lauren Smith

Casta Guillaume

Lien Tran

Katherine Zambrana

Chrismerli Rodriguez

Dorothy Addae

Noris Rios