Friday, November 1, 2019
  Awards and Recognitions

By Victoria Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Dr. Alfonso Mercado, UTRGV associate professor of clinical psychology, has been named Psychologist of the Year by the Texas Psychological Association. He also has been elected TPA president beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Mercado will be recognized during the 2019 TPA Awards Ceremony at its annual convention Nov. 1 in San Antonio. He has been a member of TPA since joining in 2009 as a doctoral student in clinical psychology.

“I am very grateful and humbled by my colleagues to have these two recognitions by the state association,” Mercado said. “It is rewarding to see that the type of work I am doing not only has an impact on people who have no voices, but also that my colleagues are recognizing that work.”

The term as TPA president is a four-year commitment on the executive committee.

Mercado hopes to use his time as president to advocate for psychologists and mental health services in Texas, as well as for culturally competent behavioral healthcare in rural, underserved areas.

“I want to see how the state association can play a role in assisting and leading initiatives that we can bring to the Legislature for promoting mental health and treatment for those areas that are not represented,” he said.

Mercado’s research specialties at UTRGV focus on multicultural interventions and mental health for culturally diverse groups, and he has done pro-bono clinical work with the immigrant population at the South Texas-Mexico border who need evaluations. He has been with the university since 2012, with legacy institution UT Pan American.

Dr. Walter Diaz, dean of the UTRGV College of Liberal Arts, said the college and the university are proud of Mercado’s many accomplishments.

“Being named both Texas Psychological Association Psychologist of the Year, and president of the organization in the same year, is evidence of his commitment to excellence in scholarship and engagement, both with the community and his profession,” Diaz said. “We congratulate Dr. Mercado wholeheartedly on these achievements.”


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.