Spotlight on Alfie Pacheco
Alfonso Pacheco, also known as “Alfie”, started young—as a giver, that is. From the time when he was selected to be one of only 10 Bay Area high school students to participate in an NIH-funded, peer-based, HIV prevention education pilot project, Pacheco knew he would dedicate his life to helping people.
Pacheco went on to study Social Welfare at the University of Washington, followed by a year as an AmeriCorps Member in which he was assigned to recruit, train, and supervise the youth in the very same Peer Mentor Program that first inspired him as a teenager. In 2001, he earned his Masters of Social Work (MSW) Degree from San Diego State University, and has since then fostered his clinical expertise in the area of child & adolescent behavioral healthcare.
Pacheco has focused on working with our young people—from helping to run a child-inpatient psychiatric unit, to being an elementary and middle school-based therapist, or serving as a Medical Social Worker at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. And it’s because Pacheco has had the chance to work with young people in so many capacities that he is the person he is today.
As a gay, Latino man who has lived with his own history of major depression, as well as being HIV-positive, Pacheco knows all too well that there are not enough LGBTQ clinicians of color in the mental health field. He recently joined the Alliance Health Project as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) because he wants to make sure this disparity changes. Pacheco says it’s his destiny—his responsibility—to serve the communities from which he came from and those to which he belongs.
Pacheco does not limit his efforts to AHP; his goal to fight disparities has required his activity on multiple fronts. He’s on the Board of Directors for Our Family Coalition, and he volunteers as both the Spanish-speaking Family Support Group Facilitator and as a Teacher for the Family-2-Family Education Program at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of San Francisco.
Pacheco summarizes his ultimate motivation with a statement that could function well as the core value of any organization, which, like AHP, not only identifies a problem, but also responds effectively to it. He says, “I am both capable and able—so I can and will serve my community.” The call to serve, and serve well, is what impels all of us here at AHP, which is what makes it so heartening to work with Pacheco, to welcome his passion and energy.