Maximizing Mental Health
Growing up in Colombia, Angélica Gutiérrez-Ramos excelled in school and discovered she had a gift for leadership and public speaking. When the time came to choose a career, she decided to become an attorney.
Gutiérrez-Ramos graduated top of her class from Universidad del Rosario and soon joined a law firm doing litigation work for corporate clients. However, she discovered that the work was not a good fit, she says. Instead, she found a different calling more aligned with her interests.
“I believe that structural and societal causes must be addressed when devising solutions to the problems encountered in the field of mental health.”
Remembering the mental health struggles that affected herself, family members, and friends, Gutiérrez-Ramos was inspired to enroll in a master’s program that combined mental health, law, and ethics at King’s College London. After securing a full scholarship, she graduated at the top of her class and with the prize for best dissertation.
Upon receiving her degree, she took a job as a temporary professor at her law school alma mater. For the next three years, Gutiérrez-Ramos used her position to raise awareness among her students and colleagues about the interplay between mental health, associated disabilities, and legal issues. She published a paper inspired from her dissertation, exploring the issue of substance use among Colombia’s Indigenous peoples from an international human rights law perspective. After immigrating to the U.S. in 2021, she worked for the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance largely to asylum seekers.
A combined MPH/LLM degree from the Bloomberg School and Georgetown University will help her continue to work toward healing and preventing mental illness through policy and legal solutions, nationally and beyond.
“I want to strive for a society that is more loving and compassionate toward those struggling with mental illness,” she says.
LLB, Law, Universidad del Rosario, 2016; MSc, Mental Health, Ethics, and Law, King’s College London, 2018