Project Director and Senior Research Associate
Heliana Ramirez, PhD, LISW is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience providing direct mental health services to individuals, groups, and communities; developing and managing programs with multidisciplinary teams; designing and facilitating evidence-informed trainings for clinicians and healthcare administrators; and program evaluation. Her work includes individual and group level clinical work, social science research, program management, and developing and disseminating health-related education. Dr. Ramirez has addressed a variety of clinical issues including Veteran post-deployment health, suicide prevention and postvention, psychosocial rehabilitation, LGBTQ minority stress and resilience, trauma-informed care with combat Veterans and survivors of sexual assault, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C prevention with injection drug users and sex workers, and substance abuse harm reduction efforts from abstinence to moderation management and overdose prevention.
Dr. Ramirez has worked in a variety of settings including community-based agencies, Universities, and federal health care systems. This work includes over a decade at the Veteran Affairs (VA) providing recovery-oriented community-based case management to Veterans living with serious and persistent mental illness, serving as Education Co-Coordinator of a Social Work Service, supervising Peer Support Specialists, and developing an LGBT employee resource group and LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator Program. Outside of the VA, Dr. Ramirez has conducted street-based outreach in homeless encampments, psycho-education groups in incarcerated facilities and needle exchange programs, crisis counseling on a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis line, and youth programming in an urban homeless youth shelter and summer camp on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. At the university level Dr. Ramirez served on several research projects, designed and taught graduate level courses, and published peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and educational resource manuals.