Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes, Ed.D., LPC, MCHES, NCC is a youth mental health and substance misuse 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 served as a former public school teacher, bilingual school counselor in New York City, and part of the founding leadership team at Bard High School Early College 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 was also 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 in the design and evaluation of digital game interventions at the play2PREVENT Lab. 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 an Assistant Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and in the Child Study Center, the Founding Director of Youth4Wellness at Yale, and the Deputy Director of Mental Health & Well-Being at the play2PREVENT Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games. In her role at the Lab, she was the Project Director of a NIH-/NIDA-funded Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to address opioid misuse in youth in school-based health centers. She also served as a Guest Editor in the forthcoming Supplemental Issue in Prevention Science Journal highlighting the coordinated efforts among 10 HEAL research projects across the nation in preventing opioid misuse. Recently, Dr. Fernandes became a Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Scholar where she was awarded a mentored career development award by NIH/NCATS to design and to evaluate a digital intervention to prevent suicide among youth who misuse opioids. Other research interests focus on youth-led participatory action research and the translation of policies into practices and successful transitions from high school to post-secondary education, employment, and healthcare. Dr. Fernandes aims to use evidence-based research to inform federal-, state-, and local-level policies and to provide support to schools in their youth-led implementation efforts. Dr. Fernandes also practices as a licensed professional counselor and serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers as Treasurer, Society of Public Health Education—CT Chapter, and the Digital Well-Being Advisory Board at the Peer Health Exchange.
|LRP Award, Renewal, Pediatrics||NIDA/NIH||2022|
|YCCI Scholar Award||Yale Center for Clinical Investigation||2021|
|LRP Award, Pediatrics (2-year)||NIDA/NIH||2020|
|COVID-19 Recognition Award||Department of Internal Medicine||2020|
|Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers, (CASBHCs)||Treasurer||2022 - Present|
|Digital Mental Health & Wellbeing Advisory Board, Peer Health Exchange||Board Member||2022 - Present|
|Prevention Science||Invited Guest Editor, Supplemental Issue, Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative||2019 - 2022|