Nicolás E. Barceló, MD

Nicolás E. Barceló, MD


MD  University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Residency – Psychiatry, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA

Biography: Dr. Nicolás E. Barceló, a psychiatrist and health-services researcher, is a creative and energetic systems-thinker who is passionate about health services improvement and health equity for marginalized populations. He is a bi-lingual and bi-cultural board-certified general psychiatrist who has extensive experience working in multiple sectors of the Medi-Cal safety-net coordinating care for patients with high-complexity – including individuals with serious mental illness, dual-diagnosis, medical and psychiatric co-morbidity, and with numerous social or structural barriers to care (justice-involved, homeless). He is also a Health equity researcher and policy advocate, versed in Public Health Critical Race Methodology, committed to promoting health and mental health by leveraging grass-roots approaches to structural change.

As a scholar in our program, Dr. Barceló participated in multiple projects including analyses of shared decision making in in-patient psychiatry; outcomes related to social determinants of health in collaborative care for depression; and explored the relationships between improvement sciences and population health. His main NCSP research project was a secondary analysis of the Community Partners in Care study and relies on community participatory approaches to framing and the interpretation of findings. Dr. Christopher Benitez (Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH)) advised on policy implications and other stakeholders from the community advised on lived experience. This analysis focused on the screening and perception of social determinant needs for study participants with a history of depression. Dr. Barceló also participated in the state CalHOPE/Together for Wellness initiative for digital mental health resources for diverse populations affected by COVID-19 and contributed to a commentary recently published in the Journal for Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved (2022). In addition to these research activities, he was an active member of the UCLA Realizing Equitable Access to Care for Health (REACH) committee as well as the UCLA Health Healthcare Anchor Institution Initiative – both of which aim to promote health equity in the greater Los Angeles county.

During fellowship, in the role of educator, Dr. Barceló presented to UCLA NCSP fellows on Critical Race Theory based on a previously published chapter “Social Injustice and Mental Health Inequities.” He presented to the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence on the history of Medicaid and finance reform. Additionally, he presented to the Charles Drew Psychiatry Residency Didactics “Introduction to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.”

Since completing the NCSP, he has become the Medical Director of the Contra Costa Health Plan – the local Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan for Contra Costa County. In this role, he works together with other members of the health plan to promote high quality care for members. Further, as a member of the senior leadership, he is actively overseeing health plan operations while also collaborating with the County Health System and numerous state and county agencies to roll out the CALAIM Initiative for Medi-Cal reform via 1115 and 1915(b) Medicaid waivers.