María P. Aranda, Ph.D., MSW, MPA, LCSW, is a researcher, educator and consultant on psychosocial care for older persons and their caregivers. She is an associate professor with the School of Social Work and the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Aranda has served on several key studies addressing mental health interventions for geriatric and underrepresented populations, psychosocial care of late-life psychiatric disorders, sociocultural adaptations to evidence-based mental health care, and training of interventionists in evidence-based practice. An advocate for successful aging among older Americans, Dr. Aranda has trained thousands of professionals and graduate students in strengths-based, evidence-based practice for older adults and their family members. She has received awards for her mentoring efforts in higher education and for her long-standing efforts to improve community-based services for older Americans.
Dr. Aranda co-pioneered a state-of-the-art family support program for low-income Spanish-speaking families dealing with chronic illnesses ("El Portal"); it is a national model for family caregiving in hard-to-reach communities. She is currently testing a socioculturally tailored depression counseling program ("Programa Mano Amiga") for monolingual Spanish-speaking older adults with severe depression and multiple medical illnesses. Dr. Aranda is a bilingual, licensed clinical social worker and a certified trainer in both Problem Solving Therapy and chronic disease self-management programs. Dr. Aranda also served on the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Committee on the Mental Health Workforce for Geriatric Populations.