Steven R. Lopez is proud to be a fifth generation Tucsonan. In fact, two generations of his family were born under the Mexican flag. At Sahuaro High School he excelled in academics and sports. He was first team All-State in baseball. Despite his great affection for Tucson and his family he has now lived most of his life in the Los Angeles area. This first began after high school when he entered and subsequently graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1975. At CMC he continued to play baseball and was the team’s leading hitter his junior year and co-captain his senior year. In addition, in 1975 he was recognized as CMC’s outstanding student-athlete. He then returned to Tucson for one year to work at La Frontera Mental Health Center in South Tucson. But then California called him back. He worked at a research center at UCLA and then entered their graduate program in clinical psychology where he received his doctorate in 1983.
Steve entered his first faculty position as a member of the psychology department at the University of Southem California and was there from 1982 to 1991. In January of 1992, he returned to UCLA and has since become a professor of psychology and psychiatry. His general area of research concerns how sociocultural factors influence the psychopathology, assessment and intervention of Latinos and other ethnic minority groups. Much of his work has focused on operationalizing what it means for mental health professionals to be competent in providing mental health services to culturally diverse communities.
More recently, Steve has been has been examining how ethnicity (Mexican-American and Anglo-American) and family factors interrelate the course of schizophrenia. In addition to his research, he maintained a small clinical practice for several years in both public and private mental health facilities. He also has consulted to numerous mental health and health organizations on how to improve their staffs cultural competence. From 1994-1999 he directed an NIH-Fogarty summer research training program for U.S. minority students in Mexico City in collaboration with the ”Instituto Mexicano de Psiquiatria” and “La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.” Most recently he was one of the main writers of the Surgeon General’s Mental Health Report concerning culture, race and ethnicity. Throughout his professional career Steve has maintained a strong interest in training both researchers and practitioners to address the disparities in mental health care for ethnic minority communities.
On the personal side, Steve has been married to his wife, Leticia Cuecuecha-Lopez, for 25 years. They have four daughters, Vanesa 23, Jessica 21, Cristina 18, and Melisa 13. His passions include his family, his work, and the Boston Red Sox. His parents and several of his brothers and sisters still reside in Tucson. Steve says there was something special about entering a brand-new high school. ”I have the impression that SHS was able to attract some of the best teachers who were very committed to their profession. We all benefited from their passion.”