LBHI is dedicated to enhancing behavioral health services to the Latino community in America. We believe that education empowers consumers, families, providers, administrators and all other stakeholders of behavioral health. LBHI conducts a number of learning opportunities to those groups listed above. Collaboration with others interested in Latino behavioral health is critical to our mission.

Our Board of Directors participation in various organizations affirms this commitment. This includes:

Board Members

Alex Kopelowicz, M.D., President of LBHI is Medical Director of the San Fernando Mental Health Center, a community mental health center located in Los Angeles County. He is also Assistant Professor of Psychology at UCLA School of Medicine. He is also on the board of the National Hispanic Science Network (NHSN). The NHSN is under the leadership of Jose Szapocznik, Ph.D. of Florida, and promises to be a rich source of information on Latino behavioral health care. Dr. Kopelowicz is also a member of The Executive Board of Director’s of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry (ASHP). He has written a number of articles and book chapters on biobehavioral treatment and psychiatric rehabilitation, and is a frequent lecturer on these subjects at the local, state and national levels.

MaJose Carrasc, MPAis the director of the Multicultural Action Center (MAC) at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where she oversees the organization’s internal diversity and cultural competence efforts as well as its public initiatives to address disparities in mental healthcare and increase mental health awareness and education for diverse communities.Ms. Carrasco is co-author, with Dr. Annelle Primm of the American Psychiatric Association, of In Living Color: Depression Treatment in Primary Care Settings, a three-hour education program for primary healthcare providers. Additionally, she has co-authored several multicultural guides and reports.In addition to her work at NAMI, Ms. Carrasco also serves on numerous boards and committees including the board of directors for the Latino Behavioral Health Institute (LBHI) and the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA) where she currently serves as Secretary; the Steward Group of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Network to Eliminate Disparities (NNED), the External Workgroup of the Center for Mental Health Services’ (CMHS) Eliminating Mental Health Disparities Initiative; and the advisory boards of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research and the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health.Ms. Carrasco is the recipient of the 2007 Award for Mental Health Advocacy for the Association of Hispanic Mental Health Professionals and the 2009 Award for Excellence in Hispanic Advocacy and Leadership, National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Truman State University and her Master’s degree in Public Administration, Nonprofit Management from George Mason University.

Javier I. Escobar, M.D. is Professor and Chairman at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.
Dr. Escobar has had a number of relevant national and international assignments.

  • Member of the search committee that selected the new director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
  • Member of NIMH’s National Advisory Mental Health Council, and led the council workgroup that prepared NIMH’s report on Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Research Training and Health Disparities Research in 2001.
  • Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva and Co-Director of the North American WHO Collaborating Centers at Farmington and St. Louis.
  • Member of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Advisory Committee on Psychiatric Drugs in Washington DC, and also in Washington, he has served as standing member in several National Institute of Health (NIMH, NIDA, NIA) and Veterans Administration’s research review committees and other national task forces.
  • He is currently President Elect of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry.

Dr. Escobar has been an active researcher in the areas of clinical psychopharmacology, psychiatric epidemiology, psychiatric diagnosis and cross-cultural medicine and psychiatry. Currently he is the Principal Investigator of several projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in the areas of Treatment of Somatoform Disorders, Epidemiology of Mental Disorders and development and mentoring of new psychiatric researchers.

Ed Viramontes Ed Viramontes Is currently an independent business consultant and was the Executive Director of El Centro de Amistad, with over thirty-five years of service in building strong kids, strong families and strong communities throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. He has a bachelor’s degree in education and a secondary provisional teaching credential from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington, where he attended school on a football scholarship. Mr. Viramontes also attended the University of LaCross, Wisconsin where he received an Exercise Fitness Specialist Certification on behalf of the Westside Family YMCA. He was a young professional abroad for the International YMCA. His assignment was to develop fitness education and cardiac rehabilitation for the YMCA of Santiago, Chile in 1976. Upon his return Mr. Viramontes, along with his local YMCA duties, was a Western Regional Trainer for Youth and Seniors.

Larry Gasco, Ph.D. is currently the Project Director of the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse’s (NAPAFASA) Problem Gambling Prevention Technical Assistance and Training project and is the Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission. Prior to this he served as the Director of the Roybal Family Mental Health Center in East Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County American Indian Counseling Center (AICC). He is an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation. In addition to extensive experience in administering mental health programs, Dr. Gasco worked for ten years with the Los Angels County Drug Abuse Office specializing in drug abuse planning and contract administration and contract program monitoring. Prior to being Director of AICC, Dr. Gasco worked for ten years in the Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Program and Policy where he served in various capacities including establishing the contract monitoring system and managing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pilot Prevention Grant. Dr. Gasco is currently a member of the Boards of Directors for the Center for Health Policy Development in San Antonio, Texas and the Alcohol and Drug Problems Association of North America in addition to serving on boards of local agencies.

CEO & Founder

Ambrose Rodriguez, MPA, is a first generation American and was born in Pueblo, Colorado. His mother and father were from Zacatecas and Guanajuato, Mexico respectively. Mr. Rodriguez is married, has five grown children and seven grandchildren. He holds an R.N. license, B.A in Sociology from Southern Colorado State College, an M.S.W. from the University of Denver, an M.P.A. from Cal State Fullerton, and has completed extensive post graduate work at Denver University, Chicago University and the University of Colorado. Ambrose has worked in various clinical capacities as a psychiatric technician, R.N., and social worker in the private and public sectors. He has supervised a number of behavioral health programs providing services to children, adolescents, adults and older adults. In addition, Ambrose has been the Director of Colorado State Veterans Center, Colorado Division of Mental Health, El Centro Mental Health Center in East Los Angeles, Colorado Office of Human Resources and the Pueblo Manpower Administration. He retired as assistant Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Ambrose has belonged to numerous organizations and is the Director and Founder of the Latino Behavioral Health Institute.