Back to Our RHQ Family

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers;

Identities:
Nigerian-American
Gender non-conforming/ Masculine of Center Woman
Queer

Specialties:
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) – Couples Therapy
Race based stressors/Racial Trauma
LGBTQ Topics
Intensive Therapy

Languages:
English, Yoruba

Dr. Bukky Kolawole, PsyD

Therapist, Facilitator and Trainer

About Me
Since I decided to become a psychologist, I’ve never looked back. The privilege of being a psychologist, is the opportunity, daily, to be with clients as they arrive at the birthplace of change. I love my work so much and can’t imagine anything more rewarding.
I’m passionate about helping my clients feel accepted, important and loved in their relationships. I’m committed to helping you feel equipped with the skills you need in order to reach the people you care about and enjoy a more productive and fulfilling life."

My Training and Education
I completed my doctoral internship in clinical psychology at New York City’s infamous Bellevue Hospital and received my doctoral degree (PsyD) in clinical psychology from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus.

I’ve provided care in numerous inpatient and outpatient settings for adolescents and adults, including Long Island University’s Psychological Services Center, Bellevue Hospital, NYU Child Study Center, LIJ Schneider’s Children Hospital, and Long Island Center for Cognitive Therapy.

My Journey
I knew I wanted to become a clinical psychologist at the age of 12. At the time, I had recently moved to the United States from Nigeria and the school psychologist at my high school invited me to meet with her in order to ensure that I was adjusting well to her new environment. Led by natural curiosity, I inquired about why the psychologist valued spending so much time chatting with me instead of working. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that talking to people to improve well-being was, in fact, a profession. My mouth hit the floor when the school psychologist explained how talk therapy works and that it could be useful in supporting people during times of transitions, or helping them make change so they could fulfill their potential. I went home from school that day declaring that I no longer planned to become a pediatrician but, instead, a psychologist!

(Side note: You might be tickled to know that when I encountered difficult situations or intense emotions, one of the strategies I used to cope was engaging in self-talk with my future self, whom I then named “Dr. B.” I still have my journal entries from childhood that reveal this.)

My post graduate career began at NYU’s Child Study Center’s Institute for Prevention Science, where I was recruited to join Dr. Laurie Brotman’s team evaluating the efficacy of ParentCorps, the now evidence-based, universal prevention program for young children. As a senior clinician, I worked with school administrators, teachers and parents to increase their use of effective behavior management skills, promote young children’s socio-emotional development and increase family involvement. I left my mark as a lead designer and trainer of the professional development workshop series for early childhood educators and mental health professionals focused on a variety of topics, including the use of motivational interviewing with teachers and parents, and effective family engagement practices for school staff. By experimenting with experiential learning as a way of engaging adults, I discovered the power of this approach in making behavior change, and ultimately transformed the ParentCorps training series into a fun and evocative training program that inspires real change in its adult participants.

During this time, and while maintaining a small private practice, I encountered research that showed that it takes married couples seven years from when they know they need professional support to actually walk through the doors of a therapist. I knew this research to be true given the number of couples that had walked through the doors of my private practice as a last resort, often meaning that the relationship first required emotional CPR before being able to strengthen anything. I understood this delay to be the result of different factors such as cost/accessibility, the stigma that surrounds therapy including feelings of shame about needing support or seeking help, fears about being judged or blamed, and misunderstanding of the therapy process. Having experienced distress in my own relationships, I could not fathom that partners stayed in such states for seven years, especially given the availability of effective interventions, such as Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples. I was pained by this finding and decided to do something about it-- I would build a different type of psychology practice; one that would unbalance the status quo of the way psychology is practiced and ultimately change the way people view therapy, particularly couple’s therapy.

I decided to begin by creating a place where the needs of people of color and the LGBTQ community are not an afterthought but rather at the forefront. I wanted to design a place where all people, from all walks of life could feel safe, comfortable, accepted and valued; I wanted to provide a space that felt like your close friend’s home – offering all the typical comforts, including the option to remove your shoes.

With a clear formula in hand, and couples and relationships in mind, I left my role at ParentCorps to build that place, your place, Relationship HQ. I continue to maintain my faculty status as adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University’s Department of Population Health. I am also a contributing writer for Elixher, an online magazine for queer women.

My Passion and Commitment
Since I decided to become a psychologist, I have never looked back. I describe the privilege of being a psychologist as having the opportunity, daily, to be with clients as they arrive at the birthplace of change. I love my work so much that I can’t imagine anything more rewarding.

I am passionate about helping my clients feel accepted, important and loved in their relationships. I am committed to helping you feel equipped with the skills you need in order to reach the people you care about and enjoy a more productive and fulfilling life.

If pressed and being a psychologist were not an option for me, I would have been a drummer and a DJ. Be glad I chose psychology as I do not have a single musical bone in my body—in fact, I might be the only person who’s ever been kicked out of private voice lessons.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:
Black-American
Cisgender Female
Transracial Adoptee
Straight

Specialties:
Anxiety
Mood Disorders
Race Based Stress / Racial Trauma
Family and Relationship Issues
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Couples Therapy - inclduing premarital and discernment counseling

Languages:
English

Elisa Cameron-Niang

Therapist, Facilitator and Trainer

About Me
With my unique background and focus on cultural competence, I specialize in working with individuals and couples from inter-racial and bicultural families, families formed through adoption, those within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community, and individuals hoping to increase clarity and/or comfort around their various identities. Whether I'm helping clients proactively create a strong foundation through pre-marital counseling, or helping them navigate and resolve current tensions in their relationships through couples therapy, my focus on increasing my clients’ understanding of themselves, and their ability to relate to others helps clients achieve more meaningful, fulfilling, and sustainable relationships.

My Training and Education
I earned my Master of Education (EdM) in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University, where my focus was on cultural competence and social justice. I received her Masters of Public Administration (MPA) in Education Policy and Reform and her Bachelors of Business Administration from the George Washington University. I have specialized training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy through Behavioral Tech, LLC and experience providing trauma-focused therapy for adolescents and young adults. I am also a certified facilitator of True Colors for Personal Success, an interactive program designed to promote respect and appreciation of differences, increase self-esteem, and help individuals, families, and teams achieve stronger, more rewarding relationships. Currently, I am complelting my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at City College, CUNY.

My Journey

I began my professional career as an organizational development specialist, working in the corporate, not-for-profit, and higher education arenas. I spearheaded the design and delivery of programming focused on improving the effectiveness of individuals and teams within organizations. Whether I was providing standalone leadership training and communication workshops or developing competency models for entire organizations, I found joy in helping others reach their professional goals. With my demonstrated commitment to equipping others with the tools necessary to achieve their full potential in the work place, I quickly became a respected and sought out advisor for individuals at varying stages in their careers.

While I found my work to be rewarding, I felt it was incomplete. Although I was making a difference at individual, team, and organizational levels, I craved more. What exactly I craved, however, wasn’t immediately clear. While on a consulting project in New York, a family friend reached out asking for guidance for how to address her granddaughter’s struggle with being adopted. The request stopped me in my tracks. As a transracial adoptee, I knew this territory well; yet this was the first time my status as an adoptee proved to be an asset. This moment changed everything.

This moment clarified a way in which I could synthesize my professional experience with my social justice interests – the interests that encouraged me to join a social psychology research team focused on understanding how racial identity could impact an individual’s development process, that motivated me to provide programming for at-risk youth focused on creating and maintaining healthy relationships, that inspired me to continuously work towards helping others become agents of change, for themselves and for their communities. With a newly clarified direction, I returned to school to become a therapist committed to reducing distance and increasing understanding between people, focusing on gaining insight into the ways in which various identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, culture, age, religion) influence belief systems and affect the ways in which people relate and connect to one another.

My Passion and Commitment

I am committed to providing transformative experiences for individuals, couples, families, and organizations by encouraging individual exploration, promoting acceptance, broadening perspectives, and enabling growth.

If being a therapist weren’t an option, I would have loved living life as an artist. While I have a great eye for color and design, my drawing abilities are far from acceptable -- even when it comes to drawing stick figures people often ask “What’s that?” I glad to have chosen psychology, as I get to channel my creativity into my work with clients.

Gender Pronouns:
He, Him, His

Identities:

Latinx
Multiracial: Brown Latin, Indigenous, White and Asian
Gay
Cisgender Male

Specialties:
LGBTQ Topics
Couples Therapy, incl. Infidelity Issues
Childhood Trauma
Male-identified Issues*

Languages:
English, Yoruba

Specialties:
LGBTQ Topics
Couples Therapy, incl. Infidelity Issues
Childhood Trauma
Male-identified Issues

Languages:
English

Danny Gomez, LMSW

Therapist

About Me
I specialize in working with individuals and families impacted by trauma, anxiety and acculturations issues. I also work with couples to help them communicate better and feel more emotionally connected. I am also experienced in helping families better understand the behavior of their young children (0 to 6 years old).

My Training and Education
I earned my Masters in Social Work from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, where my focus was early childhood development and family practice and earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts from East Carolina University. I have received specialized training in Emotionally Focused Family Therapy and have provided care in many settings including, Roberto Clemente’s Family Guidance Center, LaGuardia Community College’s Wellness and Counseling Center and New York City Public Schools.

My Journey
My journey to become a therapist started in 2008 working for a Drama Therapy organization that matched professional actors with Licensed Drama Therapists to provide care to adolescents with behavioral problems. I loved getting to know the teens and families I worked with and particularly enjoyed facilitating the parent workshops provided to the families. Wanting to have a deeper impact in the lives of the families I worked with, I returned to school to become a therapist. Feeling I had a good grasp on therapeutic interventions for teens I focused on early childhood and family practice. What I learned regarding childhood adversity and the lifetime health implications it has on individuals that have experienced early childhood adversity had a profound effect on me. Since then I have devoted my life’s work to improving the lives of children and families. In addition to providing therapy at Relationship HQ, I also provides mental health consultation to numerous preschools across the city.

My Passion and Commitment
Everything you need is already within you!” I believe in empowering clients with what’s already inside of them. I believes that people already carry with them the ingredients for change. With this in mind I am committed to establishing a collaborative relationship based on empathy, trust and respect where clients feel safe to explore their strengths and make the changes they desire.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:
Black
West Indian
Cisgender Female
Mother
Straight
Specialties:
Race Based Stress / Racial Trauma
Trauma
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Solution Focused Therapy

Languages:
English

Andi Sutherland-Johnson, LMSW

Therapist

About Me
I have a unique and extraordinary ability to deeply empathize with people. In fact, I was recruited to join the Relationship HQ team because of this remarkable characteristic. I specialize in: 1) supporting the healing of individuals, couples and families whose lives have been impacted by trauma, including racial trauma; 2) strengthening the emotional connection and communication between couples experiencing conflict and/or distance in their intimate relationship; and 3) helping parents of young children, including those with special needs (i.e., cognitive delays, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, social-emotional and behavioral delays), balance attending to the needs of their children with caring for themselves and their relationships. I am dedicated to the service of all people, with a special interest in strengthening black and brown couples and families.

My Training and Education
I earned my Masters in Social Work (MSW) at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work, where my focus was on clinical work with children and families. I have ample experience working with adults, families and young children ages 2-5 in early childhood education settings. My work with couples is informed by the attachment-based model, Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. I have specialized training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and am a New York State Department of Health approved provider of early intervention, special instruction and social work services for infants/toddlers and families.

My Journey
In the context of my role as a case manager in a non-profit residential treatment program for adults with severe mental health disorders, I realized how gratifying it was for me to build relationships with clients and support them in attaining their goals. I then decided to attend graduate school to become a social worker.

Given my deep interest in strengthening families, I kicked off my clinical career engaging in early intervention and capacity building with parents and their infants and toddlers with special needs. This experience shaped my fundamental beliefs about the human capacity for growth and connection. As a parent myself, I viscerally understood my clients’ desires to give their children the support and tools they needed in order to reach their maximum potential. There, I also gained insight into some of the unique challenges faced by families of children with special needs.

Dedicated to strengthening outcomes for all children and families, my path ultimately led me to serve as a social worker in NYC DOE’s Division of Early Childhood Education, where I offer consultation to early childhood education programs. In this role, I support behavior change in teachers, leaders and parents, and build their capacity to attend to the social emotional needs of young children. My wealth of experience with parents in the context of my work with families inspired my interest in working with couples; I ultimately chose Emotionally Focused Therapy as the best approach to helping couples strengthen their bond. Dr. Bukky met me while providing a training to 150 social workers and was blown away by the depth of my empathy for human beings. My rare ability to feel people deeply, combined with my wisdom and dedication to families that know the pain of marginalization made it clear that I am a one-of-a-kind clinician. By the end of the training, Dr. Bukky begged me to join the RHQ team and the rest is history.

My Passion and Commitment
I am committed to practicing from a framework that is culturally relevant, mindful and harnessing of the strengths already within my clients. Whether I am working with an individual, a couple, or the entire family system, I am focused on increasing my clients’ self-efficacy, ability to express and cope with difficult emotions, and capacity for healing and building lasting and fulfilling relationships.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:

Latinx
Dominican - American
First Generation American
Queer
Cisgender Female

Specialties:

Anxiety
Trauma
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) - Couples Therapy
Depression

Languages:
English, Spanish

Denise Ramirez, LMSW

Therapist, Facilitator and Trainer

About Me
I am a bicultural (Dominican-American), bilingual therapist that specializes in working with individuals and families impacted by trauma, depression, anxiety and immigration-related issues (e.g., family unit separation, adaptation and adjustment while holding onto one’s own culture). I also work with couples in inter-racial/inter-cultural relationships to increase their ability to have conversations about race, and navigate cultural differences in their relationships.

I use a holistic approach that considers the interaction between my clients’ psychological and physical health, spirituality, race, culture, day-to-day experiences, and relationships. I engage my clients in a warm, relatable and compassionate manner. I offer a practical style that balances helping my clients gain insight with finding the skills to effectively manage their concerns. I aim to support my clients in increasing their confidence in navigating life’s challenges and their relationships.

My Training and Education
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Rutgers University and a Master of Social Work from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. I am experienced in providing psychotherapy, trauma-focused therapy, family therapy, crisis intervention, stress reduction, and mindfulness techniques.

My Journey
My journey to becoming a therapist was incited by the separation that is common for immigrant families. Before I was born, my parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, leaving behind their two young daughters (my older sisters) in search of a better future. While in the U.S., they had me and, when I was about six years old, their hard work paid off and they were able to reunite my sisters with our family. This separation to my family unit caused undeniable pain and confusion, and impacted all of us in different ways.

As a child, I was aware of feeling deep sadness for my sisters, who had spent most of their early childhood without our parents. I was also keenly aware of the pain (sadness and guilt) that my parents carried for the many special moments and milestones they had missed in my sisters’ young lives. With the hope of lessening the pain of my family, I found myself in the role of trying to help my family communicate better and strive for understanding. This experience influenced my desire to become a therapist and laid the groundwork for what would become my life’s passion: helping others work through their own difficult experiences.

My Passion and Commitment
Inspired by the power of therapy to heal and transform lives, I am committed to cultivating my own self-care and personal growth so that I can show up, ready and present, for my clients and help them attend to their own care.

I am invested in accepting you wherever you are and guiding our therapeutic work at a pace that is tailored to you and your needs. I am dedicated to being present with you, showing you acceptance while also challenging you with love. It will be a privilege for me to be a witness for you and the richness of your inner life.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:
Black
Southern raised
Cisgender Female
Straight

Specialties:
Life Transitions
Family and Relationship Issues
Black Male-identified Stressors
Trauma

Languages:
English

Briana Scott, LMSW

Therapist, Facilitator and Trainer

About Me
I specialize in helping individuals, couples and families communicate better. I use a holistic approach to work with individuals, couples, and families of color, impacted by trauma, expected and unexpected life transitions, anxiety, and/or depression. My aim is to help my clients feel more empowered, accepting of themselves, and in control of their life. I work with couples navigating transitions, cultural differences, and conflict, supporting them to identify the patterns that are in their way and explore healthy and effective ways to communicate and strengthen their emotional bond with each other. I also provide coaching and/or family therapy to help parents and children communicate better so they can feel more emotionally connected to each other.

My Training and Education
I hold a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Fordham University, which was focused on client-centered care. I received specialized training and have extensive experience in providing trauma-informed care to people of various ages including children, adolescents, adults and families.

My Journey
I grew up in the South with the richness of southern black culture, in the care of my paternal grandparents. My family’s culture was one that prioritized education, the church, and success. Though I felt very supported by my grandparents, my family culture was also one that devalued emotion, which left me with lots of unanswered questions, especially in the face of major transitions. My father was trained as a social worker and, at some point, he became more willing to communicate more openly with me, including setting up protected time to talk about life, our feelings and the underlying reasons for decisions. This was deeply empowering for me and critical for my wellbeing. Even more, it strengthened my bond with my father.

My lived experience has taught me about the importance of relationships and the power of communication for healing. This, along with the observation of my father’s passion and dedication to his clients inspired me to become a social worker. Being a therapist has not only enhanced my ability to support individuals and families to develop their ability to communicate, it has also enhanced my own communication and relationships.

My Passion and Commitment
I am passionate about my relationships, reading a good book and listening to some bomb music—these things fuel my joy for life and my work. I am also passionate about providing a safe, culturally relevant experience for individuals, families, and couples who work with me. I encourage transparency, vulnerability and knowledge building in my work and am dedicated to helping you feel more comfort with being uncomfortable, as I believe that to be necessary for growth. I am committed to relating to you in an authentic way, offering you transparency, and partnering with you in every step of our work so that you can feel confident that you are not alone and that I am alongside you.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:
Mixed Race – Black identified
Masculine-of-center/Trans-masculine
Queer

Specialties:
LGBTQ Topics
Paraphilia
Race Based Stress/Racial Trauma
Anxiety & Depression*

Languages:
English

HC Cristina, MHC-LP

Therapist, Facilitator and Trainer

About Me
Working with LGBTQ/GNC clients, especially clients of color, is what I have always been passionate about. As a queer, masculine-of-center/trans-masculine, Black clinician, I am dedicated to not only working with the communities that mirror my own marginalized identities, but also those who fall within, between, and among populations facing oppression and discrimination. Struggling with identity conceptualization often takes the shape of anxiety and/or depression, while other significant factors such as trauma histories can add complicated layers to the healing process. I am dedicated to working alongside my clients on their individual and/or collective (with partners) journey.

My Training and Education
I earned my Masters of Forensic Mental Health Counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice where I focused on working with young, male-identified 16-24 year-olds who had criminal justice involvement, including weekly visits to Rikers Island for therapeutic services. I earned my BA from Smith College in Northampton, MA where I studied queer theory, Black cultural identity, and hip hop. I utilize multiple modalities including psychodynamic therapy, motivational interviewing, the Liberation Health Framework, and cognitive behavioral therapy, while always maintaining an anti-oppressive lens that centers sociocultural factors and institutional/systematic influences.

My Journey
At heart, I am driven by creativity in many forms, whether that manifests as visual art, music, or writing. Since childhood, I have learned how to process the world and my identities in ways that are not always acknowledged as culturally or socially valuable. After earning my BA, I drove across the country and moved back to the west coast where I spent my adolescence. I was given a full scholarship to a business program in Northern California where I learned that the startup world was not something I was interested in pursuing. While doing professional childcare for almost 5 years in Oakland, CA, I chose to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a psychotherapist and moved to NYC with my fiance and 3 cats in order to attend John Jay College. I chose a forensic program because I am also passionate about working with individuals who have been swallowed by the carceral system – specifically young people of color. As a graduate student, I was selected as a Pinkerton Fellow and worked at a reentry program in Harlem for a year and a half.

Despite wanting to work with forensic populations, I have always desired working within my LGBTQ/GNC community. From my own experience, I am distinctly aware of the ways in which the mental health field lacks representation of my own identities, as well as the identities of my many LGBTQ/GNC friends. My unique childhood, in which I was raised by radical lesbian mothers, has fueled my aspiration to be a source of support for the marginalized identities that I have always embodied. As a queer, Black, masculine-of-center individual, I have been on a lifelong journey to understand and conceptualize my identity in relation to the world around me.

My Passion and Commitment
I am committed to providing an open, empathetic, and compassionate space in which I can work alongside my clients to help them achieve their desired goals, and find peace within themselves, their relationships, and their identities. I operate from an intersectional framework and work collaboratively with clients, whether they are individuals or partners. I am devoted to not only honoring and creating space for the imperative life experiences of my clients, but also utilizing a trauma-informed lens while striving to incorporate the systemic/institutional factors that have enormous effects on mental health and daily states of being.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:
South Asian
Languages:
English

Keya Kuruvilla

Coach

About Me
I want to hear your story--how you have moved through the world and how you would like to move through the world.

White supremacy and capitalism harm all of us--and in different ways. I want to support you in understanding these realities and finding self-worth, meaning, healing and practice that resists and interrupts these structures.

I specialize in holding an empathetic stance and grounding my coaching in emotional processing that leads to action. I want you to take on the shape that allows you to embody your values and live into the practice of those values. As a coach, I utilize empathy, motivational interviewing, active listening and draw upon theory such as Combahee River Collective Statement.

As a desi (South Asian) woman, I continue to grapple with my identity situated in the United States and beyond, and will bring my perspective--both my unique racial consciousness and struggles to our coaching. I see a coaching relationship as co-created, and strive for a relationship in which you feel cared for and challenged.

My Training and Education
I hold a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Duke University. After, I completed a year of formal education in medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I also have previous experience in both clinical and professional development settings. Currently, I develop and facilitate professional development related to understanding the impact systemic racism has on young children in early childhood settings for teachers, educational leaders and social workers.

My Journey
My lived experience absolutely informs my coaching. Navigating various contexts, events and the history of the US has deepened my consciousness of racial capitalism.

In my family of origin, I am the eldest daughter of immigrant parents. I come from a mixed-caste, mixed-ethnic Indian family with class privilege and assimilationist attitudes. Some of these aspects of my background and identity lead me to be more proximal to whiteness and ‘valued’ in society. My racialized experience has also been defined by particular types of racism, including attitudes of a post-9/11 world, model minority myth and orientalist attitudes. I continue to excavate what intergenerational trauma and systems of oppression and colonialism mean for me.

Throughout my adolescence and adulthood, my personal and professional experiences and intentional learning have deepened my awareness and understanding of racial capitalism. As a teenager, I recall feeling a deep sense of injustice connected to police violence towards Black people and Black children in particular, and the lack of accountability that followed. As a young adult, I attended a year of medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I witnessed and experienced institutional and interpersonal racism as well as the inadequate training medical professionals received when it came to discussions of historical and ongoing racism. While science and caring for others drew me to medicine, I ultimately had to leave it because of the consequences it had on my physical and mental health.

Both inside and outside of formal institutions, I am very grateful to have found and created opportunities for interracial community and work involving a racial analysis. At my current junction, I am engaged in my own learning, healing, expression and political practice. I aim to nurture and challenge myself, my communities and my coaching relationship with you.

My Passion and Commitment
I am passionate about re-imagining and creating a world where a person’s race, class, gender, sexuality and ability does not impact their access to care, growth and actualization. To build that world, we must continuously examine ourselves--and I hope to support you in your self-examination process. I am also passionate about the parallel practice of each of us discovering and nurturing our unique talents. While this work can be challenging, I am committed to coaching you with compassion, care and joy.

Gender Pronouns:
She, Her, Hers

Identities:
South Asian
Indian
Raised internationally
Cis woman
Queer

Languages:
Hindi, English

Avni Rajpal

Client Coordinator

About Me

My Training and Education
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology from Tufts University. My passion for mental healthcare stems from my background in psychopharmacology and behavioral health research, as well as my prior experience as a rape crisis counsellor and suicide prevention hotline worker.

My Journey
I was born in Russia to Indian parents, grew up in India, moved to the US for college and have stuck around since. Moving here radically changed the way I navigated understanding my relationship with my gender, sexuality and racial identity. Growing up as a lighter skinned Indian woman within a South Asian context made it a shocking change to learn and experience what it means to be brown in America.
Currently, I’m in the process of applying to medical schools to study psychiatry. I want to learn more about myself, the brain and our bodies and one day be able to provide truly culturally competant healthcare.

My Passion and Commitment
My goal is to help LGBTQ people and people of color feel seen and supported in the mental health space. I’m passionate about connecting people to care that truly centers and prioritizes them. With all the systemic and institutional barriers in place that make it hard for clients to reach out for support, it is important to me that our clients have a warm, validating and personalized experience the moment they contact us. Relationship HQ makes me feel represented and heard, and I’d love to help you feel that, too.

Gender Pronouns:
She*, Her*, Hers*

Identities:
Mixed Race
Transracial Adoptee
Southern Raised
Gender Non-Conforming / Gendervoid

Languages:
English

Dr. Jessica Boykin, DHA, LMSW

Director of Operations

About Me
I am a multiracial and queer operational strategist with a doctorate in health administration and a passion for optimizing process flow for socially-responsible organizations. I have over a decade of experience in health-related nonprofit and social services, specializing in evidence-based practice in healthcare administration, change management, quality assurance, ethics and compliance, sustainability planning, and program design and evaluation. I joined RHQ with the goal of fueling the growth of POC-centered therapeutic care and organizational offerings. I am also a licensed master's level social worker (LMSW) and utilize a systems theory approach to management and operational challenges. My aim is to create seamless internal and external practices that allow our clinicians, trainers, individual and organizational clients to focus on the co-created goals of their work and growth with RHQ.

My Training and Education
I hold a doctorate in health administration from the University of Mississippi Medical Center as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Southern Mississippi where I graduated summa cum laude as a proud Ronald E. McNair Scholar. My social services and management experience includes tenures with Catholic Charities, Kingsley House, and The ALS Association. I’ve also completed certificates in NGO management and change management from the University of Illinois in Chicago and have served on the boards of CrescentCare (formerly the NO/AIDS Task Force) and the SC Social Collective.

My Journey
I am a Southern-raised transracial adoptee. I was adopted at 4-days-old by my mom, a social worker, and my dad, a WWII veteran and professor, and spent my childhood on a sprawling cattle farm in Mississippi. As an only child in a very rural area, I spent most of my time outside of school entertaining myself—exploring the surrounding Bienville National Forest, learning to fix and build things, stargazing, and leading adventures with my menagerie of animal companions. Though my childhood experience produced a ferocious independence, I was very close to my parents and endeavored to personify their values of education and unconditional kindness. As the only multiracial adoptee in my very small community, I didn’t experience challenges; challenges experienced me. I developed a resilience and love for life just as it is. I didn’t find out my racial background until I was nearly 35-years-old, by which time I’d long become an expert at code-switching—seamlessly flowing between white, brown, and black—while navigating social environments that didn’t always have an obvious place for me. My lifelong experience navigating unknown and unnamed spaces continues to influence my drive to support others in cultivating rich self-confidence, building meaningful connections, and feeling celebrated just as they are. After spending the last decade in and around New Orleans, my partner and I relocated back to the farm in Mississippi where every day as a multiracial and black, gender-nonconforming lesbian couple with a rescue pit bull, 5 adopted cats, 32 cows, and a million some-odd chickens is truly an adventure.

My Passion and Commitment
As fierce in the boardroom as I am on the farm, I am committed to focusing on the people who make processes work. I am passionate about infusing excellence into everything we do to create transformative experiences for our clients.