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Juan Rios

Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Seton Hall University

Juan Rios's profile photo
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Start Year: 2022
TRHT Pillar: Racial Healing and Relationship Building


Juan Antonio Rios Jr. holds a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate in Social Work and is a Social Work Futures Health Equity Fellow. A licensed clinical social worker, he has provided clinical mental health trainings and counseling to community survivors of gun violence and trauma-informed trainings to national, state, and local government agencies.

Juan has also served as a research fellow at the Huamin China Foundation at Rutgers University and provided trainings and lectures nationally and internationally on philanthropy, trauma, cognitive behavioral therapy, race bias, men and masculinity, and mindfulness. His research has studied the traumatic effects of migration and issues surrounding masculinity among men of color and depression. Most recently, Juan was awarded the Teaching Innovation Grant at Seton Hall University on his work integrating Virtual Reality to Teach Social Justice.

Juan was the previous director of the Masters of Social Work program and full-time faculty professor at Seton Hall University. He is co-chair of the National Association of Social Workers-New Jersey (NASW-NJ) Ethics Board Committee, serves on the NASW-NJ Cultural Competency Nomination Identification Committee, and is the NASW-NJ State Delegate Representative for Social Workers. He also serves on various Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committees both on and off campus, and as an inaugural faculty member of the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at Seton Hall University. Juan has provided consultation to various government agencies regarding restorative justice practices and community-led diversion programs.

Future Focus

Juan is currently involved in a project in Newark, New Jersey, on addressing community violence and the systemic social determinants of health that are impacting Black and Brown urban communities. He is deeply excited about integrating healing circles in urban spaces as well as academic institutions. Juan is a practitioner, scholar, and researcher integrating transformative work from a liberated health approach, which centers around liberating folks from their internalized oppressions as well as their externalized oppressions. He is looking forward to integrating a trauma-informed approach to the work and brainstorming ways to integrate emerging technology into this space of racial healing. Juan hopes to gain a transdisciplinary approach to bring racial healing and deepen his skill sets on practice-based interventions.

Post-Institute: Transformative Action Plans

Juan is partnering with fellow Cohort 1 Leader, Ezekiel Richardson, to implement the “Community Health Empowerment Initiative: Harnessing Collective Power for Health Equity through Liberated Community Engagement and HOPE Framework Integration”. Utilizing the HOPE Data tool as a resource, the initiative supports strategies for the implementation of resident exchanges, use of data to identify priorities and drive policy development, and mobilize collective power for health equity advocacy. For an additional perspective on Juan’s work, please check out his TEDx Talk titled, Trash Bags and Transformation: Crafting Inclusive Community.

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Culture of Health Leaders Institute for Racial Healing

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program