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Biographical Sketch: Dr. Wilfredo Azul La Luz Baez Dr. W. Azul La Luz (who prefers to be called just “Azul”) is a Ph.D. Medical Sociologist, Certified Auricular Detoxification Specialist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, non-denominational Minister, artist, and author. Clinically he specializes in Addiction Intervention, Prevention and Treatment, and Suicide Prevention. Azul has two Master's degrees – Sociology (women and Crime); Geography (Rural and Regional Planning); and was a City and County Manager for more than 15 years. He more recently was the Director of the Health and Human Services Department in the Native American Pueblos of San Ildefonso, Tesuque, and San Felipe. While Azul is a self-taught “outsider” professional artist with professional sales, much of his academic studies and research were at the UNM Medical School, particularly in the Public Health Master’s program. Azul taught at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, and Northern New Mexico College, as well as several community colleges and universities in other states, and in Mohammedia, Morocco, where he taught Community Participatory Development to master’s level university students and local residents. Azul has been in New Mexico for more than 20 years. He was born in Puerto Rico but raised in New York City’s Spanish Harlem. Azul is most grateful for having earned a general equivalency high school diploma while serving a 12-year prison term as a teenager. The GED was the launching pad that allowed him to travel the extremely long distance from the gutters of Harlem (where he was a heroin addict and gang member) to the halls of academia (where he taught for many years). At the request of many of the people in front of who he has spoken Azul wrote an inspirational book titled “From GED to Ph.D.: You can do it at any age!” He also published an academic research book on the relationship between “accidental drug overdoses” and suicides in northern New Mexico -- “Hispanos In The Valley Of Death: Street-Level Trauma, Cultural-PTSD, Overdoses, And Suicides In North Central New Mexico.” “I am as old as the Organ Mountains which I love to run on, and as young as the dew that domes my windows in the midst of the Sandias’ and Sangre de Cristo’s. I sit and pray in deep reverence in appreciation of all I’ve learned in more than twenty years of traversing, painting, researching, writing, working, and living in New Mexico. I taught at several of our institutions – State; UNM, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho; and at Northern New Mexico College – about our pain, our joys, our conquest, and triumphs, about our Mercedes before the coming of white people, and after political correctness and cultural appropriateness and other wonderful lies. I taught Race and Ethnic Studies, Pre-med Sociology, and uncovered the underpinnings of the pain in our Valley’s addictions. I am not a native son, but collaborating with San Ildefonso as the Director of Health and Human Services, and training and learning from Indigenous, Hispanos, Coyotes, and others, my flesh ripened in the four directions of the Medicine Wheel.”
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