UOG grad to study implications of COFA migration

Posted on Aug 23 2019

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A University of Guam alumnus will be studying the implications of Compact of Free Association migrants in regards to the public health, mental health, and detention systems in Guam and Hawaii as part of a doctorate program he starts this month at Clemson University.

Vincent Leon Guerrero graduated from the master of science in Clinical Psychology program at the University of Guam in 2013. Following six years of work as a mental health counselor in the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, he will pursue his Ph.D. in policy studies. 

For his master’s thesis project, he worked to develop culturally informed interventions for youth in Guam’s Department of Youth Affairs.

“While I was focused on the CHamoru youth, I found that the largest community in need was the youth of the FSM,” he said. “I remember hearing many stories from FSM youth of a hope for a brighter future, a lack of opportunities for the FSM people, and a lack of internal family support. It was from this experience that I felt that over-representation of FSM youth at the Department of Youth Affairs was caused by larger policy issues rather than case-by-case mental health issues.”

He said he hopes to contribute research toward improving the Compact of Free Association and guiding future policies that will positively benefit the Pacific community. He plans to eventually return to Guam to work in the area of public policy research, analysis, and development. 

“Vincent has always had tremendous passion for helping others and serving the Guam community,” said professor Iain K.B. Twaddle, Leon Guerrero’s mentor when he was at the University of Guam. (PR)

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