Kenneth J. Martínez is a clinical psychologist and principal researcher at AIR. Dr. Martinez, who is based in Corrales, NM and has been with AIR for nine years, leads an AIR initiative that addresses health inequities of vulnerable populations. He was lead author of the Blueprint for Using Data to Reduce Disparities/ Disproportionalities in Human Services and Behavioral Health Care, a framework and multistep process to reduce disparities and disproportionalities in communities and states. Dr. Martinez has worked with many communities and states in promoting and operationalizing cultural and linguistic competence and reducing disparities as well as promoting the public health approach, linking local and state initiatives. He is currently a resource specialist and lead disparities reduction resource with the National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention (Safe Schools/Healthy Students). He provides technical assistance to states and school districts on evidence informed practices that incorporate the public health approach, family driven and youth guided care as well as cultural and linguistic competence. Dr. Martinez has also assisted states and their communities/schools connect to promote coordination and integration of services.
Dr. Martinez is clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and was State Children’s Behavioral Health Director in New Mexico for seven years. In that capacity he was responsible for children’s mental health programs and accompanying state certification system, assisting in developing Medicaid regulations for children’s mental health services and a state budget for children’s mental health services as well as developing mental health screening/assessment and treatment programs for the state juvenile justice facility. He is past chair of the Children, Youth and Families Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, representing the 50 states and territories. He has served on the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Symposium Planning Committee at the Carter Center; and is recent past Vice President of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association, a member of the SAMHSA National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health Steward Group, and an advisor to the Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health at the University of South Florida. In December, 2014 Dr. Martinez was appointed by U.S. DHHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to the SAMHSA National Advisory Council.
Dr. Martinez has testified before Congress on the mental health needs of children and youth in the juvenile justice system, and presented at a Congressional Briefing with Dr. Jane Knitzer on the mental health needs of children and youth. He has developed products, authored articles and book chapters, and conducted numerous trainings/presentations on cultural and linguistic competence, reducing disparities, best practices, children’s mental health, and social issues. Dr. Martinez co-founded a grass-roots organization in New Mexico in 1992 to support the people of El Salvador post-civil war. This work includes the founding of a youth campesino theater group, Creaciones, that produced work reflecting the current struggles of youth and families in El Salvador.