Renowned ASU music therapy program welcomes autism spectrum disorder expert

Eugenia Hernández Ruiz

Eugenia Hernández Ruiz.


Eugenia Hernández Ruiz joins the School of Music in Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts as assistant professor in the music therapy program, beginning in August 2018.

“Having lived in three countries with three different languages and having worked with people of varied backgrounds and levels of ability, Hernández Ruiz’s personal and educational experiences as an international scholar will help build bridges in our diverse and inclusive music therapy community,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music.

Hernández Ruiz is completing her doctorate in music therapy from the University of Kansas this semester where she also received her Master of Music Education in music therapy. She completed several specialized trainings in autism treatment from the University of California, Davis; McGill University; and the Instituto Politécnico Nacional and Clínica Mexicana de Autismo y Alteraciones del Desarrollo (CLIMA), Mexico City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition from Centro de Investigación y Estudios Musicales, A.C., and a licentiate in music theory, literature and criticism from Trinity College London in Mexico City.

“I was attracted to ASU because it is one of the top research universities with a music therapy program, it has a clear interdisciplinary perspective, and is open to ideas and innovation,” Hernández Ruiz said. “The School of Music is highly regarded around the country, and the music therapy program has a long tradition and great reputation. The faculty are leaders within the profession, and I greatly admire them and enjoy their perspectives of music therapy, education and diversity.”

From 2005–2014, Hernández Ruiz worked in Mexico at MusiCura, S.C., a music therapy agency she founded; Fortaleza Centro de Atencion Integral para la Mujer y la Familia, IAP, a domestic violence shelter; and the Clínica Mexicana de Autismo y Alteraciones de Desarrollo, A.C., serving children, teenagers and adults with autism spectrum disorder. She was intrigued with the ability of music to get the best out of children in these conditions, she said, and strongly believes music and the arts can empower women and their families, and thus contribute to a much-needed change in society.

Hernández Ruiz has six peer-reviewed articles in The Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, Voices — A World Forum for Music Therapy and over 15 refereed conference presentations.

“My research interests have always been based on observations of real needs and the search of practical solutions,” Hernández Ruiz said. “I firmly believe that higher education should prepare students for ‘real’ life. My education and 14 years of clinical and research experience will allow me to help students make the transfers from what they learn in class to their work with clients.”

She said she also is interested in developing models to coach parents of children with autism in the use of music therapy strategies to help alleviate the stress that parents go through when their child is diagnosed and when they cannot find or afford services.

“I hope that my research experience will not only benefit the students but will contribute to the profession and to ASU’s visibility as a well-respected research-intensive music therapy program, serving the local and global communities,” Hernández Ruiz said.

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