Biography

Julia Oppenheimer received a B.A. degree in Psychology (2001) and a M.S. degree in Clinical Psychology (2006) from University of Oregon. She earned her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology (2011) from University of Oregon, after completing a predoctoral clinical internship in Early Childhood at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Following her Ph.D. degree she completed a 2-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Early Childhood Assessment and Infant Mental Health at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Personal Statement

My clinical service is built around addressing childhood trauma, chronic stress,and adverse life events, particularly for infants and young children. My commitment to this endeavor has driven my work as the Director of Early Childhood Clinical Services at UNM's CDD, as well as in my past roles as Clinical Director of the UNM Second Judicial District (Bernalillo County) Infant Team and the UNM Parent Infant Psychotherapy Program, parallel clinical service programs providing relationship-based, trauma-informed assessment and therapy services for young children. In these various roles, I have developed novel clinical services, hired and trained masters-level and doctoral-level clinicians, and ensured provision of high quality, evidence-based clinical service. I am a rostered clinician and supervisor for Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), the gold-standard, SAMHSA-endorsed, evidence-based treatment for infants and toddlers exposed to early life trauma. I have served as a driving force in bringing CPP to the CDD across programs, supervising and training my own staff clinicians in this model as well as other trainees and clinicians in my division in order to increase our state’s capacity to meet the needs of families. As a result, our team of therapists is seen as one that can serve the most profoundly impacted children and families and is highly regarded in our community.

As Director of Early Childhood Clinical Services, I additionally oversee provision of interdisciplinary developmental and diagnostic evaluations for children three years and under with developmental delays, neurodevelopmental differences, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. In this work with the Early Childhood Evaluation Program (ECEP), I have seen the impact of trauma on these young children and their ability to access appropriate evaluation and treatment services. As a result, I recently developed an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Clinic in order to provide trauma-informed developmental and diagnostic evaluations for young children in our community.

Areas of Specialty

Infant Mental Health
Child Development
Early Childhood Evaluation and Diagnosis
Trauma-informed practice
Child-Parent Psychotherapy

Gender

Female

Languages

  • Spanish

Courses Taught

My educational contributions have focused on increasing our state’s professional capacity to meet developmental and mental health needs of infants and young children experiencing trauma, abuse, and neglect. I have served as mentor, clinical supervisor, and teacher since 2013 to a range of learners, including pre-doctoral psychology interns, postdoctoral psychology fellows, pediatric residents, and masters’ level counselors. I have additionally served in these teaching and training roles with community providers around the state, providing Infant Mental Health didactics and case consultation as part of a state-wide community of practice. I serve as faculty in the Clinical Psychology Internship Program, a collaboration between the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics. In this role, I have taught the Developmentally-Based Therapeutic Interventions seminar and a seminar on Early Childhood Trauma several years in a row as well as serving on several training and planning committees. In addition, for the past 3 years I have taken on a leadership role within the internship, serving as the Early Childhood Track Coordinator. In this role I have developed a training curriculum, led weekly seminar sessions for Interns and Postdoctoral Fellows on Infant Mental Health foundational concepts and skills, and engaged in planning and organization around training activities and rotations. I have recently taken on an additional leadership role around training and education, serving as primary coordinator and supervisor for our Early Childhood Postdoctoral Fellow. In both of these training roles, I have also provided weekly clinical and reflective supervision for interns and postdoctoral fellows regularly over the past 4 years, with extremely positive reviews and feedback from these students and trainees. Since 2012, I have provided an Infant Mental Health didactic to all Pediatric Residents rotating through our site, updating this curriculum over time based on resident input and questions. Recently, as a recognition of my clinical leadership within the field of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health, I served as core faculty for a seminar series developed through collaboration between CYFD and CDD, which focused on teaching core Infant Mental Health concepts and foundational clinical skills to a cohort of clinicians drawn from across the state.

Research and Scholarship

As a clinical educator, my research and scholarly work centers around program development, dissemination, and educational efforts around Infant Mental Health clinical service programs. During my time at UNM, I have worked to grow and develop programs providing assessment and therapeutic services to young children ages birth to 5 and their families. I established the UNM Second Judicial District Infant Team, providing relationship-based and trauma-informed assessment and treatment for infants and toddlers in 2013, and continued to expand this program over the past 6 years. As Clinical Director of the Second Judicial District Infant Team, in 2017 I completed a Request for Proposals (RFP) in order to renew funding for an additional 5 years and address what elements were effective or needed modification to improve program quality and functioning. I have been invited to present on the impact of trauma on young children as well as speaking about the benefits of our program model at internal CDD division meetings, and I have also been invited to speak on these topics at community sites including Bernalillo County Children’s Court and at Bernalillo County CYFD Protective Services. I presented on these topics at a regional conference, the 2015 UNM New Mexico Child Abuse Prevention Partnership. I was also recently accepted after peer review to present a poster at the 2018 Zero to Three National Conference on my adaptation of the Infant Team model and the unique collaborations within our CDD division allowing us to explore intersections between development and trauma in young children. I have developed a reputation within the Infant Mental Health community in the state of New Mexico for my clinical leadership and service, and this reputation is beginning to expand nationally as evidenced by my recent review of conference presentations for the Administration for Children and Families’ National Research Conference on Early Childhood and invitations to serve as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Child Development Perspectives and Developmental Psychobiology, journals publishing research on early childhood development.