We are saddened to inform you of the passing of our colleague and friend, Alvaro Camacho, MD, from suicide in Imperial County. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends, patients and the entire psychiatric community.
Dr. Camacho served as Voluntary Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD. His areas of interest/research were studying health disparities as well as the association between mood and anxiety disorders with environmental and cardiometabolic risks factors among Hispanic/Latinos living in rural underserved communities.
He graduated from Xavier University (Universidad Javeriana) School of Medicine in Bogotá, Colombia. He did his medical school research project and worked as a research visiting scholar under the mentorship of Professor Joel Dimsdale. He then finished his training in Psychiatry at UCSD where he was Chief Resident and then obtained his MPH in Community Health Sciences from the UCLA School of Public Health. Additionally, he finished a T-32 Post-doctoral Fellowship in Epidemiology and Behavioral Medicine sponsored by the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLBI) at UCSD Department of Family Medicine & Public Health.
Dr. Camacho has received several awards and fellowships including the Lewis Judd Chairman’s Research Award, Developmental Grant from the UCSD HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center under mentorship of Professor Hamp Atkinson, Minority Fellowship Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychiatric Foundation for advancing mental health care among Latinos living in rural communities, Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence for Latino geriatric patients, NIMH Critical Issues in Latino Mental Health, Career Development Institute for Psychiatry from University of Pittsburgh, Scholar of the Year from the American Heart Association 10-Day Seminar in Cardiovascular Epidemiology. He has been actively collaborating in research projects with UCSD, SDSU, UCLA, Mayo Clinic and University of Miami as well as researchers from Colombia and Mexico. He has published more than 30 peer-review publications and was an active investigator in the NIH/NHLBI Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) and the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
For more than 10 years, Dr. Camacho worked in rural underserved communities by the US-Mexico border. He served with distinction in numerous leadership roles in Imperial County. He was the chief psychiatrist with Imperial County Behavioral Health Services, partner with Bernardo Ng, M.D. at Sun Valley Medical Group and most recently was the Behavioral Health Director for Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Inc. He was active in clinical partnership with UCSD and oversaw multiple clinical sites in Imperial and Riverside Counties.
He leaves behind two young children and immeasurable number of colleagues, friends and patients who have benefitted from his work, passion, courage, energy and dedication in serving the mentally ill.
As we celebrate his life, we also want to ensure that if you are struggling, we encourage you to seek help and contact us for any assistance. Those at UCSD may avail themselves of the HEAR resource: 858-534-HELP (4357) or at the San Diego Crisis line 888-724-7240. Of course the Department’s clinical services are also available at 858-534-7792.
It is a time to come together and to support one another. Information about a remembrance service will be shared as it becomes available.
Igor Grant, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry