Speakers Bureau – Mental Health Action Team


Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition’s Mental Health Action Team is dedicated to improving the mental health of Milwaukee’s Latino community and individuals and achieving victory over mental illnesses through advocacy, information, education and support. The MLHC Mental Health Action Team Speakers Bureau supports this mission by educating the community about issues related to mental health and mental illness in the Latino community.

If you are interested, please see the speakers’ bios below and contact Martina Gollin-Graves at 414-336-7972 or e-mail martina@mhawisconsin.org or Luke Waldo at (414) 231-4920 or e-mail lwaldo@chw.org to make a request for a presentation.


Javier Acevedo-Baez is currently the Bilingual Case Manager/Educator for the UMOS-Latina Resource Center’s Healthy Marriage Initiative; a non-profit community based organization located on Milwaukee’s Southside. He possesses a High School education and has been awarded a number of state and federal grants for capacity building in a wide range of areas. He has worked for the past 6 years in the non-profit industry working with youth and adults in areas revolving around HIV/AIDS Prevention, HIV/AIDS Clinical trials, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexuality 101, AODA, Syringe Exchange, Domestic Violence, Gang Violence, Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, Harm Reduction, Career Development and has worked in Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Mexico, Washington D.C, Chicago, Illinois, and currently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Topics: HIV/AIDS Prevention; STD/STD Prevention; HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials; Domestic Violence; Sexual Assault; Job Readiness; Healthy Relationships; Teen Dating Violence

Jeanette Arellano has worked with non-profits for five years.  Her focus addresses community involvement with a hands-on approach, and she utilizes creative arts to inspire youth with an emphasis on education. As a result, she sought to identify the needs of the Latino Community incorporating available city resources to supplement her efforts and implement assistance. Jeanette is currently involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness as the Latino Outreach and Education Coordinator. Jeanette’s position at NAMI Greater Milwaukee enables her to assist and inform the Latino Community on strategies in avoiding the stigmas of mental illness. This method is delivered through a series of presentations and support groups for the Latino Community, while recognizing the importance of cultural awareness in the Spanish speaking community.

Topics: General Overview of Mental Illness: Signs and Symptoms; Severe Mental Health Disorders:  Signs and Symptoms; Holiday Stress and Depression; Statistics: Latinos and Mental Illness; Mental Illness and Stigma; Mental Health and Youth

Stephanie Calloway holds a Master’s Degree in Health Psychology with a focus on cultural and social influences on eating behaviors. She is an advocate for community gardens and markets as a way to build social capital and prioritize health. She is currently working at CORE/El Centro on Milwaukee’s near south side, supporting the growth and development of a healthy Latino community by working alongside health promoters in the development of community engagement projects. As Garden and Nutrition Coordinator, she has spearheaded the development of a rooftop production garden located atop a net-zero energy building. Her interests include nutrition, food justice and combining work around the social determinants of health and individual behavior change to create stronger communities. Stephanie recognizes the importance of connecting with cultural food traditions as a way to build healthy relationships to food and community.

Sylvia Cortez, LCSW, is a committed professional with years of extensive experience and training in the areas of child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, trauma and suicide intervention. During her 10 years as a psychotherapist, Mrs. Cortez provided individual and couples counseling. Mrs. Cortez also co-facilitated a Coping with Divorce Group, a program for divorcing parents with an emphasis on the needs of children during this time of change. In her current position, Mrs. Cortez provides crisis intervention/prevention services to the chronically mentally ill and to other individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Topics: Suicide Prevention/Intervention; Mental Health Disorders; Trauma; Domestic Violence

Leslie A. Davis, PhD, is a bilingual licensed psychologist (English-Spanish). She works at Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic located in Milwaukee on the near south side of Milwaukee in the Clock Shadow building. The health clinic’s mission is to provide care to individuals who are uninsured and who otherwise lack access to a health care home. At least 70 % of the clinic patients are Spanish language immigrants. Leslie’s services are restricted to Spanish language patients. Due to the nature of a primary care setting, she is a clinical generalist, serving all ages and offering both individual and couples/family therapy.  She is collaborating within the clinic on improving the integration of services. Leslie supervises trainees in pre-doctoral programs and trainees who hold Master degrees in counseling working toward hours for licensure. Leslie values collaborating with professionals and agencies working in Milwaukee’s Latino community in projects intended to improve and increase services for the community and she especially enjoys being an active participant on the Mental Health Action Team of the Coalition. As for public speaking, Leslie enjoys “sensitizing” professionals in health care and social service fields to issues related to mental health and Latino immigrants and she equally enjoys speaking with the Latino community about mental health, depression and self-care strategies.

Topics: Mental Health Disorders; Depression; Self-Care Strategies

Gabriela Diéguez Hurtado is a bilingual therapist.  She has been working at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center providing services to the inner city population in Milwaukee.  She is also a consultant for the Head Start program.  “I pursued the career of social work because I love to relate to people.  I enjoy being part of their process of growth, discovering their strengths and amplifying their community connections.”  Gabriela has also participated doing research on depression in adult Latinos and attention deficit problems in children. She has experience speaking on mental health issues.

Topics: Social Work in Community Health Clinic; Maternal and Infant Mental Health; Grief; Depression; Anxiety; General Mental Health, Stress, Emotional Development in children

Martina Gollin-Graves, MSW, is the Project and Outreach Manager with Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA).  Ms. Gollin-Graves manages all agency project objectives by planning and evaluating project activities; provides local and statewide mental health and suicide prevention presentations, conferences and training for businesses. She is a Mental Health Task Force steering committee member; assists in collaborative community projects; provides clinical support for the Strong Families Healthy Homes Program and coordinates the Survivors Helping Survivors support groups throughout the Milwaukee area.

Topics: General Mental Health; Depression; Anxiety Disorders; Bi-polar Disorder; Parenting with a Mental Illness.

Julia Lechuga is an assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Julia is interested in putting to practical use research findings to improve the lives of the Latino population. She is passionate about advocating for the Latino community and fostering strong collaborations with community based organizations. Julia volunteers for the American Psychological Association to provide assistance to community based organizations to seek funding and implement HIV/AIDS and primary mental health prevention interventions.

Topics: Behavioral interventions to prevent infectious disease and foster sexual and mental health.

Lindsey Schaaf is a Behavioral Health Therapist at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital.  She specializes in anxiety, depression and eating disorders. She also works at La Causa, Inc. as part of their Fund Development Team.  She joined the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition in order to become more involved in advocating for the Latino population in Milwaukee.

Topics: Eating Disorders

Trishla Shah works at Disability Rights Wisconsin-Milwaukee (DRW) Office as the intake and voter outreach coordinator.  Trishla also participates in outreach efforts and serves as a translator and interpreter for DRW staff.  Trishla has thirteen years of experience working in various areas of non-profit including: child welfare, adoption, W-2, domestic violence, at-risk youth, and disability related advocacy.  Trishla has traveled to three Latin American countries and has familiarity with their culture and linguistic dialects.  As part of her undergraduate studies, Trishla participated in a foreign study experience in the Dominican Republic.  Trishla has travelled to Mexico on mission’s trips with her church as well as to Puerto Rico on vacation.  Trishla maintains involvement with the Latino and Spanish-speaking population through work at DRW and participation in the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition’s Mental Health Action Team.  Currently, Trishla can speak on the advocacy services that are provided to individuals with disabilities by DRW as well as voter ID laws.  Trishla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Sociology and a Certificate in Latino Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Trishla also has a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Concordia University Wisconsin.

Topics: Services provided by Disability Rights Wisconsin; Voting Outreach (Disability-Focused); Issues Affecting Youth

Luke Waldo works at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as a Community Health Educator.  He has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector working in the domestic violence, homelessness, and education and prevention fields.  Prior to returning to his native Milwaukee in 2006, Luke lived and worked for six years in Barcelona, Spain and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia where he worked with youth.  Since returning to Milwaukee, he has maintained his involvement with the Latino population through his work as well as through his commitment to MLHC’s Mental Health Action Team where he has served as Co-Chair since 2010 and its Steering Committee since January 2011.  Luke has extensive public speaking experience with topics related to childhood trauma, abuse and neglect as well as the effects of domestic and sexual violence on adults.  Luke received a BA in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

Topics:  Domestic Violence; Effects of Domestic and Sexual Violence on Children and Adults; Childhood Trauma, Neglect and Abuse

Melissa Waldo received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  She is a bilingual (Spanish and English) licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center.  As a social worker, she works with clients of all ages and economic and cultural backgrounds to address a variety of issues such as: domestic violence; child, vulnerable adults, and elder abuse and neglect; homelessness and financial hardships; mental health; parenting concerns; teenage pregnancies and so on.

Topics: Issues Affecting Youth (Cutting, Parent Conflict, Self-Esteem); Issues Affecting LGBT Community; Depression; Anxiety; Emotional Wellness