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Dr. Hernandez Serves as Guest Speaker at Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Mario Hernandez Hispanic Heritage CelebrationIn recognition of October Hispanic Heritage Month, CFS Department Chair Dr. Mario Hernandez served as guest speaker at a celebration in Tampa, Heritage, Diversity, Integrity, and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America. The celebration, held at the Tampa Port Authority and hosted by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), also included guest speaker Maria Pinzon, Executive Director of Hispanic Services Council (HSC), a non-profit organization that assists the Hispanic population of Hillsborough County.

According to their website, CBP is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP also plays a role in preserving and enhancing culture for future generations. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, CPB promotes awareness about the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic Americans.

During the presentation, Latinos and Their Cultural Styles, Dr. Hernandez provided a brief overview of the Hispanic population in the Tampa Bay area. According the figures provided to him by Florida KIDS COUNT - housed within the Department of Child & Family Studies - the largest Hispanic groups in Florida are from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico in Central America and Colombia in South America. Florida is expected to see an “explosive growth” of greater than 20 percent in the overall number of Hispanic high school graduates through 2022.  In addition, Florida ranks in the top 3 of states with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations.

Much of Dr. Hernandez’s research efforts have been on improving the accessibility of culturally competent mental health services for diverse children and families.


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