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Claudia-Santi Ferrante Fernandes, EdD, LPC

Associate Research Scientist; Deputy Director of Mental Health & Well-Being, General Internal Medicine



Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes, Ed.D., LPC, MCHES, NCC is an adolescent and young adult mental health expert with experience in public schools, clinical settings, and research institutions. Previously, her work focused on a practitioner-based approach that concentrated on health education, social and emotional learning (SEL), and school climate. She was a former public school teacher, bilingual school counselor in New York City, and part of the founding leadership team of Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Newark where she developed and oversaw student-centered policies, programs, and structures. As part of her doctoral studies, she explored facilitators and barriers to the implementation of school wellness policies. She also served as a project director at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence where she led the earlier stage of development for the inspirED Online Resource Center. Recognizing the impact and reach of evidence-informed, technology-based interventions to improve mental health and well-being in youth, she completed her postdoctoral studies at the play2PREVENT Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games. Since her transition to a research career, she continues to apply a public health approach to reach more students and to improve youth mental health and well-being outcomes in schools with a specific focus on reducing the risk of suicide.

Currently, Dr. Fernandes is the Deputy Director of Mental Health & Well-Being at the play2PREVENT Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games and an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine, General Internal Medicine. She is the Project Director of a NIH-/NIDA-funded Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) grant (PI: Lynn Fiellin, M.D.) to address opioid misuse in youth in school-based health centers. The study aims to develop an evidence-informed intervention to address opioid misuse, evaluate the intervention in a large-scale RCT, implement the intervention in school-based health centers across the nation, and conduct a cost evaluation. Examples of videogame content include, but are not limited to, adolescent health advocacy in using school-based health centers, youth agency to improve school environments, and mental health strategies to address opioid misuse. Other research interests focus on the translation of policies into practices and successful transitions from high school to postsecondary education/employment/healthcare. She aims to use evidence-based research to inform federal-, state-, and local-level policies and provide support to schools in implementation. Dr. Fernandes also practices as a licensed professional counselor and serves on the Board of Directors with the Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers. She received her BA from Villanova University, MA from NYU, and doctorate from Columbia University.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Training
    Yale School of Medicine (2018)
  • EdD
    Columbia University Teachers College, Health & Behavior Studies (2017)
  • MA
    New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Applied Psychology (2009)
  • BA
    Villanova University (2003)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
COVID-19 Recognition AwardDepartment of Internal Medicine2020

Departments & Organizations