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Webinar: Antiracism, Social Justice, and Mental Health

July 23, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Addressing racism is a mental health priority. The systemic inequities that permeate all our lives prevent any of us from achieving healthier minds—and they cannot be ignored.

Join us for the virtual event, where you’ll hear from Dr. Apryl Alexander, D.U. Graduate School of Professional Psychology; Jason Vitello, Denver Public Health; and Neva Martinez-Ortega, Servicios de La Raza.\


Some questions our speakers will discuss include:

  • How do systemic racism and cultural incompetence within systems of care affect Black, Indigenous, and People of Color?
  • What barriers prevent access to care and support for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color?
  • What structural changes are needed, and what resources are available to support healthier minds across the lifespan for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color?


Neva Martinez Ortega, MA, LPCC

Neva Martinez Ortega is behavioral health therapist at Servicios de la Raza who works with the reentry population in Denver, Colorado. Growing up, Neva was raised by two community activists and developed a strong sense of community, cultural pride, and responsibility to advocate for marginalized populations. As a youth to a young adult, Neva organized and presented for youth leadership conferences that focused on cultural identity and pride. Neva pursued education to achieve a career in counseling, but was frustrated with the lack of cultural competence incorporated in the psychology or counseling studies. Neva worked two years as Program Director for Servicios de la Raza’s Basic Emergency Services (BES) Program. Through this work and experience, Neva realized the needs and lack of resources for reentry populations that were seeking services from BES and wanted to work closer with this population. Currently, Neva works as a behavioral health therapist in the Transition from Jail to Community Collaborative Program with individuals pre and post release in the Denver City and County Jails. Neva continues to pursue cultural responsivity in her work with others and in systems that affect marginalized communities including reentry. She is a member of Denver’s Restorative Justice Advisory Council and the Enough Action Coalition.

Neva holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration on Multicultural Counseling. Neva is a certified Trauma Informed Care Practitioner, registered Psychotherapist, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate, and currently working towards addictions certifications.

Jason Vitello, Denver Public Health

How do we drive systems-level change? If you meet Jason Vitello, be prepared to answer this question. Jason is a public health professional, an academic and a community activist. He is also a national speaker on social justice, health equity, criminal justice reform, father engagement,  and male mental health. Prior to his career in public health, Jason was a social worker and therapist who provided advocacy, mentorship, case management and clinical care. It should be noted that before he was ever a provider of human services or family assistance – he was a recipient of them. His ultimate interest is in the betterment of the human condition through fierce compassion, difficult conversations, collaboration across struggles, the peaceful obliteration of structural inequalities and comprehensive paradigm transformation.

Dr. Apryl Alexander, D.U. Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Dr. Apryl Alexander (she/her) received a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech (2005) and a M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Radford University (2007). She received both an M.S. (2009) and Psy.D. (2012) in Clinical Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology, with concentrations in forensic psychology and child and family therapy. Dr. Alexander completed a pre-doctoral internship at Patton State Hospital. Her post-doctoral fellowship at Minnesota State Operated Forensic Services (MSOFS) provided her with advanced training in forensic psychology.

Dr. Alexander spent 3 years as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Auburn University. She supervised research and clinical work at the Accountability Based Sex Offender Program (ABSOP), an Alabama Department of Youth Services residential treatment program for adolescents adjudicated for illegal sexual behavior.

Currently, Dr. Alexander is an Associate Professor at the University of Denver. She primarily teaches in the Master’s of Forensic Psychology program in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and supervises students at the Denver Forensic Institute for Research, Service and Training (Denver FIRST). She serves as Director of Denver FIRST’s Outpatient Competency Restoration Program (OCRP), which provides outpatient competency education and restoration for low-risk, court-ordered adult defendants and juveniles. She is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Scrivner Institute for Public Policy. Dr. Alexander is the Co-Founder (with Dr. Ashley Hamilton and Rachael Zafer) and former Co-Director for the University of Denver’s Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI), which provides therapeutic, educational creative arts programming to incarcerated men and women in Colorado state prisons.

Dr. Alexander’s research has been published in leading journals including Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice; Criminal Justice Review; International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology; Child Maltreatment; Journal of Child Sexual Abuse; Journal of Sexual Aggression; and Sexual Abuse.



July 23, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm