Dr. Bernal is President of the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations - CANPA. In January of 2017, he retired from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, where he was Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute for Psychological Research.
His work has focused on research, training, and the development of mental health services responsive to ethnocultural groups. His recent work is on the efficacy of parent-family interventions in the treatment of depression of Latino adolescents. A primary area of work is in conducting randomized clinical trials on culturally adapted treatments for depression in youth. He is an early contributor to the dialogue on cultural adaptations of EBTs and their relevance to ethnocultural groups. Since 1992, his team has generated evidence on the efficacy of culturally adapted CBT and IPT, carried out translations and development of instruments, and published on factors associated with depression vulnerability. His framework of cultural adaptation that considers culture and language serves as a guide to many in the field of psychotherapy research.
He has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, chapters, and other publications, including nine books. Bernal obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in psychology (clinical) in 1978. He is a Fellow of APA Divisions 45, 12, and 27 and is the APA Council Representative for the Society of Clinical Psychology. BernalHe has received numerous awards: the Society of Clinical Psychology Stanley Sue Award for distinguished contributions to diversity in clinical psychology, the American Family Therapy Academy for contributions to Family Systems Research, and the Distinguished Contribution to Science Award from Division 12. He has served on the editorial board of 20 journals, including the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and is currently editor-in-chief of the Puerto Rican Journal of Psychology. His recent books are Culturally Adaptations: Tools for evidence-based practice with diverse populations (with Domenech Rodríguez) and Evidence-Based psychological practice with ethnic minorities: Culturally informed research and clinical strategies (with Zane & Leong) both published by APA Books.