Internships and Residencies

El Futuro offers a highly sought after training program that attracts students from many local professional schools and training programs. We attract medical students, resident physicians, psychology interns, masters level social work students, divinity students, and other professional students to come to El Futuro for a one-of-a-kind training experience. 

El Futuro offers residencies, internships, field work, and practicum opportunities to provide students from a wide variety of educational disciplines the opportunity to apply traditional academic classroom learning to actual clinical experiences in a multi-program setting.  

We offer internships and residencies in our Durham clinic, with limited opportunities at our Siler City clinic location. 

Graduate level clinical internships

The Clinical Learners program for social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling psychology, and counseling students is a valued part of our clinical program at El Futuro.  Our interns and practicum students learn how to provide trauma-informed, culturally-relevant psychotherapy in a challenging and supportive environment. El Futuro has hosted clinical interns and practicum students from graduate programs of social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, and counseling psychology.  Interns receive weekly individual supervision from a qualified supervisor at El Futuro, and are also encouraged to participate in monthly group and specialized supervision. For more information and to express your interest, please email: ltovar@elfuturo-nc.org 

Residencies

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.

Testimonials

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

former Intern, UNC School of Social Work

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

former psychiatry resident

Our Current Residents and Interns

Clay Cooper, MD, MBA

Clay Cooper, MD, MBA

Family medicine resident

Read Dr. Cooper’s personal statement about matching at Duke Family Medicine here.

Gaby Plasencia, MD

Gaby Plasencia, MD

Gaby grew up in Miami, Florida and spent summers in Dominican Republic with her family. She went to undergraduate school at the University of Florida and medical school at Loyola University in Chicago. Her interest in mental health care as a primary care provider, learning more about specific barriers to and strategies for mental health care to Spanish speaking populations, and learning how to engage with the community bring her to El Futuro.

 In her free time, Gaby loves to dance. She grew up dancing Flamenco and actually danced semi-professionally with a dance company that travelled to Mexico for performances. When she’s not dancing, she loves watching stand-up comedy at home.

Melissa McGovern

Melissa McGovern

Social Work intern

Melissa was born and raised in Upstate, New York, and lived in El Salvador before moving to North Carolina in 2016. She received her BA in Anthropology and Sociology at Le Moyne college in Syracuse, New York, and spent three years as a research assistant at the Duke Global Health Institute, working on projects focused around child development and resiliency. Melissa is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT), and in her free time she loves to practice yoga, paint, and cook with friends and loved ones. She is passionate about advocating for and supporting the Latinx community, especially when it comes to holistic health. It is an honor to learn from El Futuro through all the amazing work being done here! Helping people overcome the barriers they face in getting the resources they need is very important to her, and she dreams of a day where mental healthcare is accessible for every single person.
Melissa has a very eclectic taste in music, she listens to everything from The Beatles to Bossa Nova, to Rosalía, and is always down to talk music!
Jonathan Fricke, MD

Jonathan Fricke, MD

Family medicine resident

I grew up in a small town called Baraboo, Wisconsin, the home of the Ringling Brothers Circus and some pretty cool state parks. I moved to Milwaukee to attend college at Wisconsin Lutheran. There, I became passionate about community health while teaching English classes to Latino immigrants and creating culturally-appropriate arts activities at a day center for senior citizens. I went to med school in Madison at the University of Wisconsin, where I was fortunate to be part of an MD-MPH program, through which I spent time in Guatemala and worked with an early literacy program called Reach Out and Read.

I chose UNC because I love Carolina Blue. Other reasons include that faculty, residents, and staff went out of their way to make sure my wife and I felt right at home on the interview day. The faculty were passionate about underserved communities and rethinking primary care. The residents seemed to love what they were doing. I have the feeling that I still don’t quite have a grasp on all the opportunities that will develop as a result of doing residency at a great place like UNC.

Outside of medicine, my wife, Paige, and I like to try new restaurants, run together (we love the trails at Umstead State Park), and watch documentaries. We’ve begun backpacking in the last couple years and are hooked. I also love making music, and try to play piano and ukulele as often as I get a chance.

Ivan Dario Escobar Roldan, MD

Ivan Dario Escobar Roldan, MD

Ivan grew up in Cali, Colombia and went to medical school at Universidad del Valle. He moved to the US to complete his psychiatry residency at Duke, he is currently in his third year of residency. He comes to El Futuro to be part of the work we are doing for the Hispanic community in North Carolina and he wants to be a part of it.

Ivan likes the outdoors, hiking, biking, bird watching, and photography. He also enjoys a nice conversation over a cold beer.

Skylar Gross

Skylar Gross

Social Work intern

She was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, however her mother was in the military so they moved every few years. The longest duration of her childhood was spent on O’ahu, Hawai’i where she attended ‘Iolani School, and spent the majority of her time painting, swimming, scuba diving, and competing in outrigger canoe races. While living in Hawai’i, she was very fortunate to learn about the rich history and culture of the Native Hawaiians, but also became aware of the major social injustices that they faced which led to her initial interest in becoming a social worker. After moving back to the mainland, she graduated from North Carolina State University with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature. Over the years she has had the privilege of working with many incredible youths and families from the Latinx community, and while searching for more opportunities to do so, she found El Futuro and felt inspired to join the team! In her free time, she can be found painting, sketching, reading, or swimming.

Nikki Steinsiek, MD

Nikki Steinsiek, MD

Psychiatry resident

Nikki was born in Arkansas and moved with her family to Ashland, Oregon in middle school. She attended medical school at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in rural Oregon, she became aware of health and social inequalities faced by Latinx migrant farm workers at an early age. She has since developed a passion for working with migrant, immigrant, and Spanish speaking communities.

 Nikki’s hobbies include running, mountain biking, rock climbing, cooking, and playing music.

Sophie Litwin

Sophie Litwin

School Psychology resident

She was born in New York, grew up in New Jersey, and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where she double majored in Psychology and Hispanic Studies and minored in Urban Education.After graduating from college, she worked as an English Teaching Assistant at a public high school in Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico for nine months through the Fulbright-García Robles Program. She then worked as the Communications and Maternal Infant Program Assistant at a hospital in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. As the Bilingual Parent Liaison at Forest View Elementary School in Durham, she has worked closely with the social worker to refer Spanish-speaking students to El Futuro. She has noticed the need for school-based bilingual mental health services, since many of the students who are referred do not end up seeking treatment due to stigma, undocumented status, lack of insurance/ transportation, language barrier, cost, etc. She hopes to help fill this gap in the system by applying her school psychology training.
In her free time, Sophie enjoys painting and drawing, cooking, dancing, hiking, traveling, and spending time with animals.