Meet our Program Director
Azara L. Santiago-Rivera, Ph.D., NCC.
Dr. Santiago-Rivera has been appointed as the Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program. Before joining the Merrimack community she served as a consultant and adjunct faculty, teaching for the Clinical Mental Counseling Program and the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at William James College.
She has held academic appointments at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) as the chair of the Counseling Department in August 2011 and became dean of academic affairs in August 2013 until 2015. Dr. Santiago-Rivera served as the associate dean of the School of Education, University at Albany (NY) from 2001-2004. Among outcomes of her work were initiatives to advance early career faculty with a focus on publishing, teaching strategies and tenure and promotion processes. Prior to joining TCSPP, she also held faculty positions as a professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2004-2011) and assistant and associate professor, University at Albany [NY] (1992-2004).
Dr. Santiago-Rivera earned a doctorate in Counseling from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and holds a National Certified Counselor credential with the National Board of Certified Counselors. Her publications and research interests include multicultural issues in the counseling profession, bilingual therapy, Latinos and depression, and the impact of environmental contamination on the biopsychosocial well-being of Native Americans.
She has presented on these topics at major conferences and has published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Journal of Counseling and Development, the Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Environment of Psychology, and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. She is a co-author of three books, nearly 50 articles, and has given over 100 presentations/workshops at local, national and international conferences, universities, and organizations. She has held numerous leadership positions in professional organizations such as the Vice-President of the Latino Interest Network of the Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD), and the President of Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) within the American Counseling Association. Currently, she is a past- President of the National Latino/a Psychological Association, an American Psychological Association (APA) affiliated association. She is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Latina/o Psychology (APA journal) and is a Fellow of Divisions 45 and 17 of APA. In 2014, Dr. Santiago-Rivera received the APA Presidential Citation for outstanding contribution to the profession.