Dr Ramon Del CastilloChicano Studies
Rectory, room #104
Personal Biography Statement
I am Professor and Chair of the Chicana/o Studies Department. My role as an instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver began in the Sociology Department in 1984 as affiliate faculty. I transferred into the Chicana/o Studies in 1995.
I possess a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Sociology and Mexican American Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. My Master's Degrees are in Social Science and Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) and my Ph.D. is from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the same university. My Master's research was on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Chicano Viet Nam Veterans and my doctoral dissertation, examined Curanderismo, a traditional approach to holistic and spiritual healing, using theories of innovation to critique the institutionalization process within a publicly funded mental health agency.
I am an activist scholar with professional experience in the fields of mental health, community/economic development and education. I am a published poet and recently was invited to recite at the Taos Poetry Festival. I have written and recited poetry for 4 decades at many venues locally, statewide and nationally. I am also a musician, playing congas and percussion instruments. Shooting pool is one of my hobbies.
My professional history includes 13 years of mental health administration for the Mental Health Corporation of Denver including Centro de las Familias, which included institutionalizing Curanderismo, an indigenous holistic approach to healing, into the repertoire of services in the clinic. I was a Head Start Consultant for 10 years. I have been a member of the National Association of Chicana/o Studies (NACCS) for 25 years. I have sat on several Boards of Directors for nonprofit organizations, which included CLEO Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting System and Radio KUVO, 89.3 FM.
My professional publications include: "Institutionalizing Curanderismo in Colorado's Community Mental Health System," in "Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of Colorado" (2011); "Institutionalizing Curanderismo into a Mainstream Healing System: Boundary Spanners and Innovation in Action,” in Hispanics in the Southwest: Issues of Education, Immigration, Health, and Public Policy (2011; and "The Life History of Diana Velazquez: La Curandera Total," in La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado (1998).
Students are not empty vessals, walking into classrooms ready to be filled with knowledge; they are human beings seeking growth and development in becoming fully humanized. Students entering my educational domain are encouraged to share their experience with their peers through critical dialogue. I believe that students possess knowledge by virtue of living life, and need to understand the power they already possess. Through the creation of gracious space in the classroom, students feel comfortable sharing as they become teachers and learners. I am both a teacher and a learner in the process of teaching. Respect is a cornerstone value in my classroom as student's engage with each other and are transformed into active participants in creating knowledge. As a life-long learner, I challenge students to engage in courageous conversations about the many issues they encounter in our society so that together we can create a more just world. I recently created a class entitled, "Social Justice and Activism in the Chicana/o Community," which is offered in the Honor's Program.
My most recent research includes the continued struggle of "Stigma in Mental Health," as I faciliated focus groups with the 4 major ethnic groups in society for the Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC corporation. I also participated in research for the Adelante de la Salud Program on "Latinos and Obamacare: Myths and Realities."
Current Semester Schedule