"Collaborative Approaches to the Care of Unaccompanied Youth: A Multi-Disciplinary Panel Discussion" 

Sponsored by the Collaborate Care Committee, 
co-chaired by George Alvarado, MD; Annie Li, MD; Meri Weiss, MD;
Susan Yeung, MD; and Carolina Zerrate, MD

Thursday, March 10, 2016, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Roberto Clemente Center, 540 E. 13th Street, New York, NY

A one-hour presentation by Dr. Cristina Muniz de la Pena, Terra Firma Mental Health Director, and Brett Stark, Terra Firma Legal Director. They will share their experience developing this innovative medical legal partnership that offers not only collaborative care between pediatrics and mental health but also advocacy and legal representation to meet the needs of one of the most undeserved U.S. populations: unaccompanied minors. 

Objectives: 1) To increase awareness of the needs and current status of unaccompanied youth in the U.S.; and 2) To learn about an innovative collaborative care model that incorporates the legal system to fully meet the needs of an undeserved population. 


Cristina Muñiz de la Peña, PhD

Cristina is the Mental Health Director and co-founder of Terra Firma at Montefiore Medical Center and the Children's Health Fund, where she provides mental health services to unaccompanied immigrant children, with a focus on adolescence, complex trauma, family-systems therapy, and acculturation. Cristina has worked with immigrant children and families in Spain and in the U.S. She is co-author of “Terra Firma: Medical-Legal Care for Unaccompanied Immigrant Garifuna Children,” Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy (2015) and “How Do Therapists Ally With Adolescents in Family Therapy? An Examination of Relational Control Communication in Early Sessions,” Journal of Counseling Psychology (2011). Cristina earned her doctoral degree from the State University of New York at Albany and her expert certificate in family-systems therapy from the Unidad de Investigación en Intervención y Cuidado Familiar at the Universidad de A Coruña in Spain.

Brett Stark, Esq
Brett is the Legal Director and co-founder of Terra Firma at Catholic Charities New York, where he represents unaccompanied immigrant children in federal and state litigation, specializing in asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile cases. A former Equal Justice Works fellow, Brett has worked in refugee resettlement in Kenya, on human rights in Israel, and was a 2008 Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan. Brett is the co-author of “Terra Firma: Medical-Legal Care for Unaccompanied Immigrant Garifuna Children,” Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy (2015), and “Playing Solomon: Federalism, Equitable Discretion, and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction,” Roger Williams Law Review (2014). Brett is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Rochester, and is admitted to the New York Bar and the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.
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