In Memoriam: Thomas Paul Carrillo, Ph.D., LP


January 21, 1952 - June 2, 2017

The world lost a shining star and social justice advocate on June 2, 2017, when Dr. Thomas Paul Carrillo passed at the age of 65.  Dr. Carrillo was born on January 21, 1952, in East Grand Forks, North Dakota.  He was one of five children.  Survivors include his domestic partner of 33 years, Jon Welsh; his mother, Nancy Landa; brothers, Cletus (Barb) Landa and family, and Allen Landa; sisters, Alice (Milan) Wiertzema and family, and Patty (Terry) Rogers and family.

Dr. Carrillo obtained his Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern Colorado, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1985.  He was dedicated to the field of psychology and focused on creating emotional safety and healing for diverse populations in psychotherapy.  With over 30 years’ experience providing mental health services to adults, Dr. Carrillo decided to expand his expertise to be able to competently work with children.  Consequently, in 2013, he became one of 11 ethnic mental health professionals who formed the Multicultural Learning Organization and Practice Group.  The MLO-Practice group was the first group of ethnic minorities to be trained by the State of Minnesota to provide Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy to ethnic minority children and adolescents who have faced trauma in their lives. 

Dr. Carrillo was especially effective in helping individuals, couples, and groups face issues of trauma, discrimination, grief and loss, anxiety/depression, anger management/domestic violence, and male sexual/clergy abuse.  His passion and expertise included a commitment to multicultural issues – especially those involving race, ethnicity, and LGBTQ concerns.  Yet, his dedication went well beyond the walls of his treatment office as Dr. Carrillo is nationally-recognized for his long-standing advocacy of legislation that increases access to treatment and reduces psychosocial barriers to wellness. 

Through his work at the Minnesota Psychological Association, Dr. Carrillo served as the founding Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee, and as Chair of the Multicultural Division of MPA.  He also served several times in the role of Diversity Delegate, representing the Minnesota Psychological Association at the American Psychological Association’s Annual State Leadership Conference.  In that role, he met with legislative officials to advocate for laws that increase access to mental health support.   In addition, Dr. Carrillo was awarded the honor of representing Minnesota as a Scholar at two National Multicultural Conference and Summits.  

In 2006, because of his long-standing commitment to Diversity and Minnesota Psychology, Dr. Carrillo was given the prestigious Diversity in Leadership Award – MPA’s highest award recognizing multicultural leadership and impact.  Finally, Dr. Carrillo joined the ranks of Minnesota’s best and brightest, by being elected as a Distinguished Elder of the Minnesota Psychological Association in 2013.

Those of us who knew him well will miss him not just because he was a fierce advocate for LGBTQ rights, or because he promoted social justice for communities of color.  We will miss him because he was our leader, our brother, our mentor, our teacher, and our friend.  The Yoruba tribe has a proverb: "When you lose an elder, a library burns."  In Tom's case, he has left volumes of books and chapters through the indelible marks he has made on the lives of his patients, colleagues, family, friends, and on everyone who knew him.

A memorial service will be held at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN, on Tuesday, June 13th, at 3:00 PM with visitation one hour before service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA).

BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., LP, CAC/BP

Tom and the MPA Diversity Committee

From left to right, Beryl Wingate, BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya and Tom Carrillo


Share this post:

Comments on "In Memoriam: Thomas Paul Carrillo, Ph.D., LP"

Comments 0-5 of 1

Linda Muldoon - Sunday, June 11, 2017

What a beautiful tribute Bravada has written. I do not have her gift with words, but I so much appreciated Tom's dedication to diversity in MPA and his long leadership on the Diversity Committee. He and his partner John hosted many of MPA's potlucks and Courageous Conversations events at their place, just one way in which Tom's warmth was evident in the organization. I have missed him since he was sick, seeing him only occasionally, and I am going to miss him very much! Linda Muldoon

Please login to comment