New Faculty Profiles

Iran Barrera, MSW, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

imageDr. Barrera spent his last five years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas – Pan American in which he taught courses on mental health and conducted research along the U.S. / Mexico border.

Dr. Barrera has extensive experience working with minority communities (African-American/Hispanic) in California and Texas. In 2005 he was awarded a minority fellowship from the Council on Social Work Education to study Hispanic mental health. His research interests include examining mental health literacy in Mexican-American communities and mental health care disparities in Hispanics. He also has experience conducting quantitative and qualitative mental health studies.

Dr. Barrera received his Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from California State University - Long Beach in 2003; his Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Texas - Arlington and La Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, México in 2008. 

Dr. Barrera was born in Santa Maria, California and was raised in Avenal, California.  He is the son of migrant farm-working parents from Texas and currently resides in Fresno, California with his wife and two children.


Gyanesh Lama, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor 


Gyanesh Lama’s work centers on poverty, and creating and testing innovations to advance social well-being. His teachings focus on equanimity, social innovations, and science-based approach to policy and institutional design.

Some of Lama’s current and past works include Mapping Poverty and Disparities in Central Valley, California; The Middle Class Project; Global Youth Save Project; The Himalayan Community Development Project. He has authored or co-authored peer reviewed articles in professional publication that include International Social Work; Child Maltreatment; Community Mental Health.

Lama was educated at St. Xavier’s College in Kathmandu and Washington University in St. Louis. He was born and raised in the Himalayas of Nepal.