Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center

Program Staff

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Carmen Ortiz, PhD, Founder/Executive Director

Carmen Ortiz, PhD, a psychologist and breast cancer survivor, is considered a pioneer in the field of Spanish-language cancer psychosocial support. She is founder and Executive Director of the Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center, the first successful Spanish-language support program in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Ortiz specializes in Spanish-language support group development and community outreach planning. She developed and implemented a hospital based support program for newly diagnosed Latinas at San Francisco General Hospital, and an in-home support program for Latinos in the terminal phase of their illness. Dr. Ortiz’s support group model has been the impetus for the development of other Spanish-language support groups in five Bay Area cities. She has won numerous awards, including the Jefferson Award in 2006, and in June of 2008, Dr. Ortiz was profiled on ABC’s Channel 7 (KRO-TV) Profile of Excellence. Dr. Ortiz has provided in-depth training for providers and has written two manuals on culturally competent and appropriate support for Latina cancer patients. “A Guide to Developing and Sustaining Spanish-Speaking Support Groups for Latinas who have Breast Cancer,” and “A Peer Support Program for Latinas with Breast Cancer: Las Angelitas Model.” Dr. Ortiz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988. She was 39 years old. Email: carmen@circulodevida.org.

Dimas Moncada, Jr., LCSW, Clinical Director

Dimas Moncada oversees the clinical program and provides consultation and supervision to Círculo de Vida staff. He also provides individual and family therapy to Círculo clients. Mr. Moncada has fifteen years of experience working with the chronically ill, and worked for over seven years with children, adolescents and families dealing with issues of abuse and parenting at La Clínica de la Raza in Oakland. In addition to his work with Círculo de Vida, he works for the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Mission Mental Health Center to assess children with learning disabilities in order to minimize negative impact of mental health issues on a child's learning.

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