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Thursday, April 11, 2019

7 Things You Didn't Know About Dr. Juan Camarena

Graphic of Dr. Juan Camarena


You may know Department of Counseling and School Psychology faculty member Juan Camarena as executive director of the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement and a lecturer in the Community Based Block Program. But did you know he’s also a soap-opera loving, dog-rescuing, community-focused sex therapist? Find out more about Juan in this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff!

Juan has a Ph.D. in sex. 

OK, technically, it’s a doctorate in Human Sexuality with an emphasis in Sex Therapy from Widener University in Philadelphia. But Ph.D. in sex is catchier! Juan is one of eight Certified Sex Therapists in San Diego County and among them, he is the only Latino and the only Spanish-speaking therapist.

Juan can’t seem to get enough of SDSU. 

 He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in child development followed by three graduate programs: the Community Based Block Multicultural Counseling Program, the Marriage & Family Therapy Program and the School Counseling Program. He also returned to teach in all three of those programs; he has taught in the Community Based Block for the past 15 years, starting as a volunteer, then a part-time lecturer and now a full-time lecturer.

Juan is passionate about making a difference in the community. 

He spent 12 years directing large outpatient psychiatric clinics in the South Bay of San Diego. Every summer, Juan volunteers at a transgender youth camp providing sexual health workshops and counseling support.

Juan is no stranger to hard work. 

During his teen years growing up in Clovis, Calif., he would wake up early on Saturdays and help his father pack a truck and deliver tortillas to grocery stores.

Juan loves a good soap opera. 

Specifically, he loves “The Young and the Restless.” He started watching it with his grandmother when he was 10 years old and has been watching daily since.

Juan has a spouse you may already know. 

He is married to Dr. Ryan Santos, who also teaches in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology.

Juan loves dogs. 

He starts each day at his local dog park with his two "fur babies," which he adopted from the Baja Animal Sanctuary.

How Juan Camarena is making a difference in the College of Education. 

“As executive director of the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement, I administer the supervision and support that allows our graduate students to provide low-cost counseling services at our clinic in City Heights. The work we do at the Center exemplifies COE's commitment to hands-on education, community connection and public service.”