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NMSU's Luis Vazquez elected to national psychology board

LAS CRUCES - Luis Vazquez, associate dean of New Mexico State University's Graduate School, has been elected by the American Psychology Association members to a three-year term on the organization's 10-member Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest.

Luis Vazquez, associate dean of New Mexico State University's Graduate School, has been elected to the.American Psychology Association's Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. (NMSU Photo)

"This is a great honor," Vazquez said upon learning of the election results. "The board assures that psychology serves the public interest and advances social justice, health and well-being for all people. It accomplishes this goal through interaction with its reporting committees, other American Psychology Association (APA) boards, committees and divisions and through collaboration with like-minded external professional and interest groups."

The board's mission is to encourage the generation and application of psychology knowledge on issues important to human well-being. It has general concern for those aspects of psychology that involve solutions to the fundamental problems of human justice and that promote equitable and just treatment of all segments of society.

During Vazquez's career he has been dedicated and committed to mental health care and health care in general for minorities who don't have a voice. "I want people to get the best care they can. Not everyone has a strong voice and those of us who do, we need to be sure we take care of those who don't," he said.

In that role, Vazquez has spoken before the Minority Congressional Caucus in Washington, D.C., regarding health care issues and disparities as they pertain to Latinos across the country.

He has also served on the APA committee for rural health, which makes policy that impacts rural health care. His awards include a Presidential Citation from APA for visionary leadership in multiculturalism in psychology and a USDA Faculty Fellowship.

Vazquez is a Regents Professor and principal investigator for the Southern New Mexico ENLACE Collaborative, which develops community-based programs designed to improve academic success in elementary education, along with improving high school and university graduation rates for Latino students.

As a researcher he has focused on ethnically/racially diverse populations in education. He has published in the areas of acculturation, working with translators, and educational development, and has developed multicultural training videos used across the country in counseling and psychology programs. He often speaks at national conferences on issues related to the academic success of students of color.

Vazquez earned his doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Iowa in 1990, researching the effects of acculturation, acculturative stress and coping by successful Mexican American university students. He came to NMSU in 1995 after serving as a senior staff psychologist for the University Counseling Center and assistant professor in Rehabilitation Psychology and Substance Abuse at the University of Iowa.

He was head of the Counseling and Education Psychology Department in the College of Education prior to being appointed associate dean of the Graduate School in August 2007.