La Casa offering FREE Mental Health Speaker Series in Spanish

(October 18, 2021)

Mental health matters! That’s why La Casa is offering a FREE series on mental health (in Spanish only) on the 4th Wednesday of every month in partnership with The American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry. The series features medical experts from all over the world who will be speaking about various mental illnesses.

October’s webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27th at 5PM and the topic is substance abuse. The discussion will be led by Dr. Ivan Montoya and Dr. Ruby Castilla. To register, e-mail or call 973-483-2703. Or, login directly via Zoom at, or with ID: 915 4819 5211, password 395114.

Dr. Ivan Montoya

Dr. Montoya is the Acting Director of the Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences (DTMC) of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Chair of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) HEAL Initiative in Medications Development for Opioid Use Disorders Program.  He leads a large program of research that supports the development of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). He is a psychiatrist and has a Master’s in Public Health (M.P.H.) degree from Johns Hopkins University. He completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Intramural Research Program of NIDA and was the Director of the Practice Research Network of the American Psychiatric Association. He has published extensively in the areas of etiology, prevention, treatment (pharmacological and non-pharmacological), and medical consequences of SUDs. He is the editor of a book summarizing the science on biologics (vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and enzymes) to treat SUDs and another book focusing on the science of Cannabis Use Disorders. He has received numerous awards including the NIH Director’s Award and the Michael Morrison Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD).

Dr. Ruby Castilla

Ruby Castilla-Puentes MD, DrPH, MBA became Director, Clinical Research supporting Neuroscience Division of Janssen, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, as well adjunct professor of Pharmacoepidemiology and Epidemiology at Temple and Drexel Universities of  Philadelphia in February 2007. Dr Castilla-Puentes was born in Colombia, SA. She earned her medical degree from the Universidad Industrial de Santander. Her postdoctoral trainings included a residency in Psychiatry at the Xaverian University, fellowships in Child Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health (Master and Doctorate Programs), University of Pittsburgh. Dr Castilla-Puentes also obtained an MBA degree from the Katz School of Business, with a concentration in Global and International Business.

Dr Castillla-Puentes was the Director of the Psychiatric Department of a public university hospital – Santa Clara Hospital, Bogota focusing on the development of new treatment options for psychotic disorders. She implemented a renovation process of the psychiatric inpatient unit resulting in her unit being one of the most efficient and state of the art treatment units, for this type of patients. She is also Founder member of the Colombian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP) and a longtime member of many associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association. Her research interests are new treatment development, pharmacoepidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology (in Latin American countries), and the use of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.  Her educational and training interests involve lecturing medical students, residents and graduate students, as well as participating as a graduate faculty in psychiatric-epidemiology and psychopharmacology (including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, Temple and Drexel in Philadelphia).

Dr Castilla-Puentes dedicated her career to addressing the health of the underserved, particularly racial and ethnic minority populations, and patients with psychiatric conditions. She is serving as the President of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry from 2020-2022 ( and Leading Medical Strategies at the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement (HOLA) and Mental Health Diplomats, J&J employee resources groups. She is one of the founders of “WARMI” (woman in Quechua), a network dedicated to promoting women’s mental health. Dr. Castilla-Puentes is a longtime member of many global associations and the author/co-author of many scientific publications. In August 2020 published the book “Quijotes de la Psiquiatria.” The book pays tribute to Hispanic psychiatrists who have contributed to the progress of mental health in the US and around the world

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