Psychosocial Issues Speakers

Sophia Banu, MD

Sophia Banu, M.D., is a board-certified Adult and Child and Adolescent psychiatrist, Associate Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She completed her medical education in New Delhi, India and her psychiatry residency and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University, New York. She completed a Psychosomatic fellowship at the Bellevue / NYU Hospital. Sophia has extensive experience working with refugees, and survivors of torture, in Nepal, New York, Greece, Bangladesh, and Houston. In Nepal, she started her work with survivors of torture at the Center for Victims of Torture, Kathmandu, Nepal. She founded the Clinic for International Trauma Survivors for refugees and torture survivors under Harris Health System and Baylor College of Medicine, working with refugee resettlement agencies. She recently started the Alliance Wellness Center for refugees and the underserved population with The Alliance, (Resettlement agency) in Houston, Texas. She recently founded the Global Mental Health Division under the dept. of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, with Dr. Mollie Gordon (the anti-human trafficking program). Dr. Banu is one of the faculty supervisors for the Physicians for Human Rights Students Chapter at Baylor College of Medicine. She supervises the student-run Human Rights and Asylum Clinic together with Drs Stolar and Fredericks. She is the editor and co-author of the book “Handbook of Refugee Experience: Trauma, Resilience, and Recovery”.


Jacquelyn Aluotto

Jacquelyn Aluotto is a visionary. She is known as a hybrid producer, creator, director, innovator, advocate, and activist. She has a gift for merging the entertainment, beauty, and technology world with shelters, and non-profits across America that are breaking the cycle of human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, poverty, and abuse. This thought leader’s philosophy is that we must sustain these organizations to transform communities in crisis and that standing up to injustices becomes the most fashionable thing in the world. One of her main focuses is how children in the foster care and social service system are the most vulnerable for abuse, sexual exploitation, sex trafficking, and disappearing under the care of these specific systems within the United States. After documenting twenty years and over fifty thousand hours of footage of communities and systems in crisis, Aluotto has created the Accountability Project. The project will help the foster care system by implementing specific solutions and programs for the betterment of youth. Labeled “The Socially Conscious Fashionista” and the “underground documentarian” she is a constant presence on media outlets. Her passion is to change the world through media, innovation, and activism.


McClain Sampson, PhD, MSSW

McClain Sampson is an Associate Professor in the Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) at University of Houston. Dr. Sampson’s overarching research interest is maternal health promotion. Dr. Sampson’s current research focuses on the implementation and testing of a home visiting intervention for postpartum depression among low-income mothers. She has been the lead investigator for a study funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that explored the feasibility of implementing her home-based intervention to prevent postpartum depression in six various sites across the country. The intervention was informed by her prior studies which explored feasibility of the intervention and cultural beliefs of treatment-seeking. Currently, Dr. Sampson is the P.I. a federally funded Healthy Start initiative. Healthy Start seeks to decrease health disparities in perinatal health by increasing access to prenatal services, insurance, and family wellness programs while reducing systematic barriers to care among low-income families. To this end, all of her work focuses on improving behavioral health services for underserved populations through intervention development and training. Dr. Sampson is the director of the GCSW Latina Maternal and Family Health Research Center. She teaches Behavioral Health in Integrated Care Settings and Qualitative Research Methods.