Margarita O'Neill knew, at age 13, that she wanted to become a psychologist. What she didn't know at the time was that issues of diversity, inclusion, and social justice would be at the center of her career. In 1978, upon receiving her bachelors' degree in psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, she moved to Boston to pursue graduate studies. Shortly after her arrival, she was repeatedly asked the question 'what are you?'. Since then, she has been, in one way or another, exploring the meaning of that question, as well as the significance that ethnicity and race play in this country.
Margarita has taught, counseled, supervised, and collaborated with individuals of diverse backgrounds in educational and clinical settings for over 25 years. She has also developed, implemented, and managed programs with goals to become more inclusive of disenfranchised populations. She co-chaired the Multicultural Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and was director of Culture-specific Services at Worcester Youth Guidance Center. Also, as a member of the Worcester Latino Coalition, she participated in establishing interpreter services for health organizations In Worcester, MA. As clinical director of the Gandara Mental Health Center, she designed and managed a demonstration project to create mental health services for the Vietnamese community in Springfield, MA.
She received her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts in 1990. Her clinical practice is informed primarily by developmental and systemic theories. Her interests include child and family psychology, child abuse, cultural competence, and adolescent girls' development.
Margarita is past board president of the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts, and is very interested in the role that women's leadership and the women's funding movement are playing to promote social change for social justice. She is known for her optimism, her sense of humor, and her enjoyment of the problem-solving process. In her spare time, she loves to read, especially fiction and biographies, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.