Tanzanian Immigrant Gives Back to Community, Impacting “One Person at a Time”

Maria Mosomi, Board Certified Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and CEO, Texas Advance Behavioral Health

Maria Mosomi runs a behavioral health clinic that sees about 200 patients a week—anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and more. 

As a nurse practitioner, she can prescribe medicine. As the owner of her own clinic, she can take the time to listen. 

“I wanted to start my own practice because I really wanted to make an impact in my patients’ lives,” she said. “Sometimes working for agencies it’s all about the numbers.” 

Maria was 8 years old when her family emigrated from Tanzania to join family in California. Maria was always expected to become a nurse, like her parents, who had worked their way up from nursing assistants to licensed vocational nurses in the United States. 

“Growing up, it was definitely like, you are going to be a nurse. That is where you can make the greatest economic impact,” Maria said. She was interested in business. “But innately, I liked helping people. So my mom was right.” 

In school, Maria made her own way. She took a job in her high school cafeteria, washing dishes while her friends hung out, “because I knew my parents didn’t make much money,” she said. She enrolled in college prep programs and joined the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC), where she started a choir. 

“What you see with a lot of immigrant children is tenacity, because they are the ones closing the gaps between two worlds,” she said. These children bear even greater weight when parents are not proficient in English. 

Maria worked as a neuro telemetry nurse after college, then returned to school and became a psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP). She has master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing, and in 2015 opened her own clinic. Texas Advance Behavioral Health now has 10 employees, including three NPs and three therapists.  

She understands the particular challenges immigrants face. The stress of starting over. The cultural stigmas around mental illness. The weight children carry. 

“Now I’m in a position where I can take time to be there for my clients, often at the most vulnerable times in their lives,” she said. “I can be that person to listen, to care, to educate.” 

“The impact is made one person at a time, and it trickles down,” she said. “When people are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, they produce communities that are economically stronger, as well.” 

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