top of page


Dr. John Chuol Kuek MFT

Dr. John Chuol Kuek was born and raised in Akobo, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Kuek left his hometown for a refugee camp in Ethiopia in 1987, after which he was a refugee in Kenya. He came to the United States in 1995, first living in Salt Lake City and later moving to his current residence of San Diego.

Kuek is the first East African culturally focused therapist to practice in San Diego County. He is currently working for La Maestra Community Health Centers as a marriage and family therapist intern. As the first East African therapist in the region, Kuek has been providing therapy to families, individuals, children, and couples with psychological issues from all walks of life. He has also long been involved in leadership within the local Southern Sudanese community. From 1998 to 2001, Kuek worked as a certified nursing assistant for Internext Homecare – now Front Porch Home Care – a retirement community facility in San Diego. Kuek became interested in the health field as a result of his work with Médecins Sans Frontières in Ethiopia’s Itang refugee camp, providing interpretation between Ethiopian doctors and Sudanese patients. From 1999 to 2003, Kuek served on the board of directors of the Sudanese Community. Association of San Diego as a general secretary for a 2-year term, and was elected to a 4-year term as chairman of the board of directors for the Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego. In addition to leadership in community organizations, Kuek is also serving as a minister to the Sudanese Fellowship of the College Center Evangelical Covenant Church. 
From 2000 to 2001, Kuek was a community health advocate with the New Americans Health Advocacy Program of Project Concern International’s California Initiative. Kuek played an integral role in the implementation of the New Americans Health Advocacy Project that aimed to bridge the cultural and linguistic gaps that impede access to health care and education for East African immigrants and refugees in San Diego. Kuek helped his community find and utilize health services and provide basic health education and referrals. His interest in health, his outgoing personality, and his enthusiasm was a tremendous asset to this program.From 2001 to 2006, Kuek worked as a project coordinator for Project ESSEA – The Ethiopian, Sudanese, Somalian, and Eritrean in Africa – a behavioral health project founded by Dr. Gebaynesh Galila Gashaw-Gant to serve the needs of East African populations. The project aimed to provide a therapeutic approach that was flexible and culturally appropriate, providing educational materials and outreach efforts that de-emphasized the stigma associated with behavioral health problems and treatment. Through his work with this project, he became interested in changing careers from nursing to psychology.
Overall, Kuek’s love to help others in any capacity is a characteristic that differentiates him from others. He has nine years professional experience working as an East African Mental /Public Health Outreach Worker, and has a proven expertise and leadership in multicultural coalition building and community development. He is an experienced organizer and facilitator of cultural competence training workshops, with an in-depth knowledge of social service networks in San Diego County. His hard work across boundary lines to build with others in the community is unsurpassed, and his devoted service has gained him the respect and appreciation of his fellow workers and other professionals. He is a skilled trainer in multicultural diversity, especially African refugee cultures. He is fluent in English and Nuer and has excellent oral and written communication skills. Kuek is committed to each individual within the larger community.​


Ph.D. in psychology, Sofia University (formerly known as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) Palo Alto, CA  2012
Master of Science in counseling, with honor, University of Phoenix, San Diego Campus, 2010
Bachelor of Arts in psychology, minor in counseling, National University, San Diego, CA 2007
Associate of Art in social work, San Diego Community College, 2001
Diploma in vocational nursing, Saddleback College, 1998
High school equivalent (GED), Mid-City Adult Education, 1999

Kuek runs a specific psychoeducational presentation, educating Sudanese families to live in peace among themselves as new Americans, preserve their culture, and embrace their host country’s culture. He has presented at the followings organizations:
International Affairs Group, University of California, San Diego, Cultural and International Department, San Diego, 2011. Presented topics including the formation of the 2011 Southern Sudanese Referendum, the formation of the new government of the South Sudan, the Abyei conflict, Darfur conflict, and the United Nations’ involvement in helping the people of Southern Sudan.
Human Trafficking and the Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Men, Women, and Children, the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, San Diego, 2009.
Kearny High School, San Diego, 2009. Presented topics to a social study class about Sudanese issues, including the genocide in Darfur and Sudanese culture.
Domestic Violence Training, Child Protective Service, Relationship Violence Training Institute, San Diego, 2009.
Panelist, California Partnership of Health Care Advocates, Working Together for California’s Children 2008.
Keynote Speaker, In Honor and Recognition of World Refugee’s Day, 2007.

Safe Start, Evidenced-Informed Approaches in the Assessment & Treatment of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence, County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency Training and Development, 2009
Vi-Vocational Ministry License, Evangelical Covenant Church, Chicago, 2008-present
Comprehensive Prenatal Services Program Certificate, County of San Diego Health and Human Services, 2008
Leadership Development Certificate, Neighborhood Civic Leadership Program, San Diego Foundation, 1999
Certificate of Nursing, Regional Occupational Program, San Diego, 1999.
Medical Assistance, Médecins Sans Frontières, Itang Refugees Camp, Gambella, Ethiopia, 1989-1991
Translation/Interpretation Training; International Organization for Immigration, Nairobi, 1995
The exchange Strategies for managing conflict in healthcare, National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), 2011.

Kuek, J. C. (2012). South Sudanese Community Insights: A cross-generational cross-cultural rescue model for families and family counselors: Create Space Publication.
Kuek, J. C., Velasquez, R. J., Velasquez, D., Nogales, E. (2013). Hunger for an Education:  The Case of South Sudan and the Voices of its People. International Journal of Pire.
Lehigh University: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA (Pending Publication). Marselian, Z. (2010). The Soul Speaks. La Maestra Publication. A book chapter contributor, John Kuek’s life story.

ABC NEWS, San Diego, 2007
KUSI NEWS, San Diego, 2009
KNSD-NBC NEWS, San Diego, 2010
SENTERPRISES, San Diego, 2010
San Diego Union-Tribune, 2011
San Diego County Times, Citizen Internet TV Network, 2012

bottom of page