Intercultural Family Services, Inc. names Latino social work leader as new CEO
Javier Alvarado takes on the role with decades of social work and leadership experience.
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On May 24, Intercultural Family Services, Inc. (IFS), a Philadelphia-based non-profit human services agency, announced that it had appointed Javier Alvarado as its new CEO. He takes over the position from Michael Kellerman who served as interim CEO for over a year.
Founded in 1979, IFS is a non-profit focused on providing culturally relevant services such as mental health and housing services, to help stabilize, strengthen, and unite individuals, families, and communities.
“This is a critical time in Philadelphia, with so many people in the community needing the behavioral and mental health support services we provide. Javier is a natural leader who will adopt a steady presence in guiding our team,” said Maria Pajil Battle, IFS Board Chair, in a statement.
Alvarado comes to IFS with over 30 years of experience in social work and behavioral health, most recently as the Executive Director of Social Work at Yale New Haven Health System.
He received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut.
Alvarado is a military veteran, who served for 29 years in the Army National Guard, including two combat deployments. He resigned from the service in 2019 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In 2012, he created a behavioral health program to help with the mental health crisis among veterans in Connecticut. The program served more than 4,800 service members. Alvarado himself served as the Chief Behavioral Health Officer for the state’s National Guard.
In a press release from IFS, Alvarado explained that his approach to the work he does is “based in empathy, collaboration and staying informed about trauma.” This work has focused on things like PTSD, family preservation, as well as access to healthcare and housing.
“My experience over the last 30 years closely aligns with the mission, values, and skill requirement for my new role at IFS. As a career social worker, it has been my chief responsibility and privilege to enhance the lives of the people I serve,” said Alvarado.
He continued, “I remain passionate about cultural and ethnic diversity, and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. In this role, I will seek to promote the responsiveness of our wonderful team here at IFS in addition to the community and social institutions that influence the lives of our community and clients.”
Now in his second week at IFS, Alvarado plans to learn about the complexity of Philadelphia’s behavioral health needs and collaborate with community members.