2019-2020 Executive Board

Ricardo Martinez, PhD, President

Dr. Ricardo Martinez is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of perpetrators and survivors of sexual abuse, combat veterans, and other trauma survivors. He holds an MA in Psychology with a Latina/o Mental Health focus from Montclair State University and MS and PhD degrees in clinical/forensic psychology from Fordham University.  His areas of research and training include the standardized evaluation of risk for sexual re-offense, cross disciplinary treatment of trauma, mindfulness based psychotherapy, forensic psychology, personality disorders, and Latino Mental health. Dr. Martinez has provided mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults struggling with a broad spectrum of psychological conditions since 1991. Currently, he holds clinical positions in New Jersey, at the Department of Veteran Affairs Bloomfield Vet Center and at Hoboken University Medical Center. Dr. Martinez also provides consultation services to clinical teams serving or managing individuals with personality and conduct disorders, sexually abusive behaviors, and risk of violence



Dr. Milton Fuentes, PsyD, Past-President
Dr. Milton A. Fuentes received his MA in Psychology with a Latina/o Psychology focus from Montclair State University and his Psy.D. in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. He completed a pre-doctoral fellowship in clinical and community psychology at Yale University and secured post-doctoral training in epidemiology at Columbia University. He is the 2012 President of the National Latina/o Psychological Association; a former member of the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs; and a current ethnic minority delegate to APA’s Council of Representatives.  Dr. Fuentes’s research interests are in the areas of Latina/o and multicultural psychology, child/ family psychology, pedagogy and motivational interviewing. He serves as a consultant to several programs, including the Violence Prevention Office of the American Psychological Association, where he serves as a Coordinator and Master Trainer for the ACT Raising Safe Kids program. Dr. Fuentes is currently a professor in the psychology department, director of the Research Academy for University Learning at Montclair State University, and is licensed to practice psychology in New Jersey and New York.
                                             Jesselly De La Cruz, DSW, President-Elect Membership Chair                                                          

Dr. De La Cruz, BA in Political Science (Rider University), MSW (Rutgers University), and DSW (Rutgers University), is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in NJ. She completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy at The Multicultural Family Institute, Inc. in Highland Park, NJ. Having originated from an underprivileged background and being a child of an immigrant family herself, Dr. De La Cruz’s education and work has been motivated by her desire to support traditionally underserved populations. Towards that overarching goal, she has worked with Latino advocacy nonprofit agencies. She currently serves as Executive Director for the Latino Action Network Foundation. Her clinical experience includes providing emergency screening of persons in mental health crisis at an inner city hospital, outpatient and in-home child and family therapy, and clinical consultation for nursing homes with primarily Spanish-speaking residents. In addition, she has extensive experience working in the prevention of child sexual abuse by conducting forensic evaluations, individual, group and family therapy at an intensive outpatient program for court mandated youth who have sexually abused and/or have fire setting behaviors. Currently, Dr. De La Cruz coordinates the psychological treatment of child sexual abuse survivors and their non-offending families in Hudson County, NJ. As a Practitioner Scholar, her research interests focus on systemic approaches to the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse, and the healing of intergenerational trauma in families through the use of mindfulness based psychotherapies, play therapy, multi-systemic family therapy, as well as the political empowerment of Latinos in NJ.


                                                               Sueli Petry, PhD, Treasurer                                                                                                    

Dr. Sueli Petry is a psychologist and family therapist. She is a clinician and supervisor in the clinical psychology internship program at Rutgers University in Newark, on the faculty of the Multicultural Family Institute in Highland Park, and in private practice. In her clinical practice, she works with children, adolescents and families in Newark and Highland Park. Many of her clients are Latino immigrants. She has published on Brazilian families, bereavement issues for Latinos, spirituality, and is a co-author of Genograms: Assessment and Interventions (3rd Edition, 2008).  Dr. Petry is a past-president and long-standing member of LPANJ.

                                                                         Angela P. Vargas, PhD, Board Secretary                                                                            

Dr. Vargas is a Licensed Psychologist in the States of New Jersey and of New York.  Dr. Vargas graduated from Fordham University with a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology.  She completed a Pre-Doctoral Clinical Internship at Lincoln Hospital (Bronx, NY) and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House, Hackensack University Medical Center (Hackensack, NJ).  Throughout her trajectory in the psychology field, Dr. Vargas has also been actively involved in research and writing that has sought to understand the interplay between various cultural factors and individual development.  At present and in addition to private practice work, Dr. Vargas practices in a NYC hospital where she engages in clinical services and supervision/teaching for psychology trainees. Dr. Vargas has extensive education, training, and experience in the field of mental health across the lifespan, with communities of diverse backgrounds and resources, and within inpatient and outpatient settings.  Specialty areas include treatment of mood disorders and trauma via individual, group, and family therapies, as well as psychological assessment (cognitive, academic, forensic, and personality) and comprehensive evaluations.  Dr. Vargas particularly enjoys working with adolescents and individuals navigating major life transitions and issues surrounding one’s identity (racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation). 

 Juan Rios, LCSW, DSW

Juan Rios holds a Bachelor of Social Work (Southern Connecticut State University) and Masters of Social Work (Rutgers University), and a Doctorate degree in Social Work (Rutgers University).  He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Offender treatment specialist, Certified Hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist and TEAM CBT therapist. Dr. Rios is currently pursuing his CADC/LCADC. Dr. Rios is currently a full time faculty professor at Seton Hall University. He previously was a part time lecturer at Rutgers University and New York University. He has facilitated research intervention projects by implementing mindfulness techniques with migrant children in schools in China and written various publications on the positive effects of holistic interventions in classroom. He has also served as a research fellow at the Huamin Foundation at Rutgers University and provided trainings and lectures nationally and internationally on philanthropy, men and masculinity and mindfulness. His research has studied the traumatic effects of migration and issues surrounding masculinity and depression. He is a field instructor for various Social Work University Masters programs including: Fordham University, New York University, Rutgers University, City University and Richard Stockton University. He has provided clinical consultation to community outpatient programs and on the Board of Directors for the Family Support Organization of Hudson County. He is the founder of Rios and Associates Therapeutic Solutions, LLC and a fellow member of the New Jersey Society for Clinical Social Workers.   He has extensive experience in both private mental health and government agencies. He utilizes a person-centered approach to therapy and his philosophy is that healing comes from unapologetic integration. His clinical modalities range from Existential, Psychodynamic, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psycho-educational, Bowen family systems and Holistic well-ness integration. Dr. Rios in an immigrant, first generation college graduate who was raised in an inner city community that was plagued with substance abuse and violent crime. He has first hand experience on many social problems including extreme poverty, addiction, incarceration, discrimination, crime and intergenerational learned trauma. He has spent his career servicing individuals and families move through the process of change and he is committed into healing communities through innovative therapeutic approaches and emphasizing on the power of the essential self. 

                             Carlos Flores, MA Student Representative                              

Carlos A. Flores, MA, is currently a doctoral student pursuing a PhD in Counseling at Montclair State University. He also works as a Career Development Specialist, providing career counseling to undergraduate and graduate students at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Carlos received an M.A in Counseling, with a concentration in Higher Education/Student Affairs from Montclair State University, and a B.A in Sociology from the University of South Florida. Carlos has experience supporting college students in a variety of settings such as mediation services, student counseling, advising, and career counseling. Carlos’s research interests include: understanding the intersection of Latinx and LGBTQ identity, social justice and advocacy in counseling, and understanding the experiences of marginalized groups through a lens of intersectionality.