Professional Training

We have a highly sought after training program attracting students from many local professional schools and training programs.  We attract medical students, resident physicians, psychology interns, master level social work students, divinity students, and other professional students to come to El Futuro for a full year during which they have a one-of-a-kind training experience. We are fortunate to partner with the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) to provide this unique training experience for medical students and resident physicians.  El Futuro is an AHEC Center of Excellence.



“I just wanted to thank all of you for making my year at El Futuro a great one. Not only did I learn a lot from being there social work-wise, but I could not have asked for a better group of people with whom to work. Each of you is extremely talented, caring, and good at what you do. Thanks for “showing me the ropes” and making my field placement a really positive experience!”

Kate Ferrell – UNC School of Social Work Intern

“I can’t tell you how invaluable your guidance has been lately. I’m currently in an Ob-Gyn clinic every Wednesday and more than half of my patients speak Spanish only. I have a hard time expressing succinctly how much the entire staff at El Futuro has helped me learn how to approach patients in a respectful and helpful way. You guys literally made me a better psychiatrist…and I was happy to be along for the ride.”

Marcus Wellen, MD – psychiatry resident

Our Current Residents and Interns

Christian Bjerre Real
Duke Resident

ChristianBjerreRealChristian comes to us from Guayaquil Ecuador, by way of Denmark! He describes himself as sort of nomad, as once he graduated high school in Ecuador, he moved to Denmark and has been traveling ever since. He’s called several cities home, including Miami and Chicago. Christian’s interest in mental health was born out of a desire for self understanding. He is fascinated and intrigued by the relationships between the mind, body, and spirit. Christian is a 3rd year resident at Duke and is excited to join us here at El Futuro. When he’s not studying, Christian enjoys practicing yoga, tennis, rock climbing, singing, and playing guitar.

Jonathan Jimenez
Duke Resident

JonathanJimenezJonathan was born in Queens, New York to Colombian parents. He spent most of his formative years in Orlando, Florida. Spanish is Jonathan’s first language and the language spoken at home. He believes mental health is an underappreciated precursor to the well-being he wants to foster in his family medicine clinic. For fun, Jonathan enjoys listening to new music on Spotify, dancing Salsa, reading history & philosophy, watching movies, and playing Bananagrams or chess.

Erik Larsson
Duke Resident

ErikLarssonErik grew up in the small town of Åhus, Sweden. He pursued a medical tract and graduated from at the University of Lund. He is now completing his medical school residency at Duke University. Erik’s interest in mental health is largely attributed to his mother, who is a psychologist. Erik has always been fascinated by the mind. Erik heard about El Futuro through a fellow Duke colleague and decided to complete his residency here as it would serve as a great opportunity to learn more about Durham’s Latino community and to utilize his spanish speaking skills to help people. In Erik’s free time he enjoys playing piano and chess.

Sarah Nelson
Duke Resident

SarahNelsonSarah is a 4th year resident in medicine and psychiatry at Duke. She is originally from Minnesota, where she grew up working on a strawberry and sweet corn farm. Sarah went to Middlebury College in Vermont, where she majored in International Studies with a focus in West Africa, then got her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She loves to travel and work in diverse settings, from a summer spent as a housekeeper in Yellowstone National Park, to a year and a half in Seattle working as a case manager and resource specialist in a drop-in day shelter. Outside of the US, She has spent several months working in rural clinics in Senegal and in Chile, and spent 8 months in the Guatemalan highlands during medical school working on childhood malnutrition with indigenous mothers in several communities. Her newest journey is learning the ropes of motherhood: She and her husband welcomed their son, Nate, into the world in the end of March, 2017.

Katy Sims
UNC Resident

KatysimsKaty is a native North Carolinian and grew up in the small town of Carthage. She completed her undergrad studies at Davidson College. Katy is currently studying Psychiatry at UNC school of medicine and is completing her residency training via AHEC. She is comes to El Futuro as a rural and underserved scholar of the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program. Katy learned to speak Spanish mostly through her high school studies and by living in Mexico for two months. While completing her undergraduate work, Katy reinforced her Spanish skills through volunteering as an interpreter at a free health clinic. Her goal is to work in a clinic very much like El Futuro to provide mental health care to underserved populations. In her spare time, Katy enjoys hanging out with her 2 border collies, knitting/sewing, and hiking.

Mariana Garcia
Professional Counseling Intern

marianagarciaMariana grew up in Uruguay. She moved here 3 years ago and completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at North Greenville University in South Carolina. She is currently enrolled at Liberty University where she is studying Professional Counseling. Mariana is eager to learn and observe how theory in her field of study applies to the Latino population we serve. Mariana is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside our clinicians to provide mental health services to the Latino community. She recognizes this is particularly important work considering the current environment of fear in our immigrant communities. When Marian is not studying she loves drinking Mate, spending time outdoors, and hiking.

Erica Lindenberg
Social Work Intern

EricalindengergErica grew up in Greensboro, NC and went to NC State for her undergrad studies. She’s currently enrolled at UNC School of Social work and joins us as an intern. Erica learned to speak spanish through her grade school studies and from her study abroad experience in Lima, Peru.She first heard about El Futuro through an internship with Piedmont Health Services’ Charles Drew community clinic. They often referred individuals to El Futuro for services. Erica enjoys working with Latino community and she is passionate about mental health access. For fun, Erica enjoys reading, indoor rock climbing, trying new foods, and traveling.

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136 E Chapel Hill St.
Durham, NC
Phone: (919) 688-7101

319 A East 3rd St.
Siler City, NC
Phone: (919) 688-7101

Fax: (919) 688-7102