UC Psychiatry-CHANGE Court Collaborative became one of her passions. She works with Judge Heather Russell to run a supervised treatment program that is voluntary and nonadversarial in its approach to victims of sex trafficking now in the court system. The program aims to help marginalized women heal from trauma, overcome addiction and achieve final independence.
Espinola sees Cincinnati as a beautiful city with incredible potential. However, she said this potential can be lost if people fail to realize the importance of supporting marginalized communities, particularly children living in poverty. African American youth comprise 65% of Cincinnati youth between ages 10 and 17. Almost two-thirds of these children live in poverty.
Those stats suggest a correlation with lower levels of education, poor health care outcomes and exposure to danger and more violence for youths. They also gave rise to another project for Espinola, the creation of African American Youth Wellness Fund. That initiative has garnered financial support from Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and Fifth Third Bank to advance projects that promote the well-being of underserved African American youth from low income families.
“I was thinking, ‘How could you expect a futuristic city on the rise to advance if the majority of its children live in poverty?’” said Espinola. “These are children who in a few years are expected to join the workforce. I think they should be a priority for everyone.”
Where one lives often determines health outcomes. It is an important area of concern for Espinola, who joined more than 40 students and faculty in UC’s colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy and other disciplines to establish the UC Student Run Free Clinic in Springdale, Ohio. The clinic operates out of space in the Healing Center and offers health care services for the uninsured.