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About Us

Strengthening, Empowering, & Uplifting the pipeline of Latino and bilingual social workers


To increase the number of culturally and linguistically competent Latino and bilingual social workers serving low income and underserved communities. We support social work students and professionals in achieving their academic and professional goals by providing:

  • Scholarships

  • Community Outreach and Networking Opportunities

  • Mentorship

  • Continuing Education and Professional Development Opportunities


Our Story

In 2000, the Puerto Rican Family Institute (PRFI), and the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NYC) began a collaboration to address the shortage of Latino social workers in New York City. Both organizations had become aware that more culturally and linguistically competent professionals were urgently needed to address the complex needs of New York’s diverse, largely immigrant, low-income, and rapidly-growing Latino community.


As part of that collaboration, in 2002, the two organizations convened a well-attended public policy forum entitled “Pa’lante” (Moving Forward) which identified key issues including the service needs of Latino community, social policy and social action issues, and the components of social work training and education. The forum led to the formation of the Latino Social Work Task Force (and now the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund -LSWC). 

Board of Directors

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Luisa Lopez, MSW


Director of Social Services & Communications, Urban Outreach Center NYC


Ruby Burdiez, PMP

Vice President

Director of Projects, 3 Story Software

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Yurilka Hernandez, LCSW


AVP, Acacia Network

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Monika Estrada Guzman, LMSW

Chair, Education  

Psychotherapist, New York Presbyterian Hospital 

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Tania Vargas, LCSW

Board Member

Program Director, ICL

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Emilia Leon, LCSW

Director of Outreach & Engagement

Clinical Inpatient Social Work, Mt. Sinai Hospital

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Maria Elena Girone, MSW

President Emeritus

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