Hortensia Amaro, Ph.D., is Associate Vice Provost for Community Research Initiatives, Dean’s Professor of Social Work and Professor of Preventive Medicine at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. Amaro has dramatically advanced the understanding of substance abuse disorder and co-occurring disorders treatment, HIV prevention and other urgent public health challenges through a distinguished career that has spanned scholarly research, translation of science to practice, top-level policy consultation and service on five Institute of Medicine committees. She has authored more than 140 scholarly publications, many widely-cited, and she has made landmark contributions to improving behavioral health care in community-based organizations by launching addiction treatment programs that have helped thousands of families and informing practice in agencies around the world. Her Boston Consortium Model of Integrated Treatment is listed as a legacy program in the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (http://legacy.nreppadmin.net/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=86).
Since joining USC in 2012, as the top-ranking Latina in the USC administration, Amaro developed the first comprehensive assessment of conditions of communities surrounding the USC University Park and Health Sciences campuses. The State of the Neighborhood Report released in April 2015, provides an important resource for USC administrators, faculty and students; and local elected officials, community agencies and community stakeholders interested in crafting research and place-based approaches to uplift community conditions.
Before joining USC, Amaro was with Northeastern University for 10 years, serving as Associate Dean, as well as Distinguished Professor of Health Sciences and Counseling Psychology, of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, and as founder and Director of the university’s Institute on Urban Health Research. For 18 years prior to that, she was Professor in the Boston University School of Public Health and in the Department of Pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine. She served as Vice-Chair of the Boston Public Health Commission as an appointee by the late Mayor Thomas Menino for 14 years. Her service to the community, profession and nation includes founding two Boston community based organizations and national professional organizations, service on 6 committees of the National Academy of Medicine as well as service on numerous local, state and national boards and committees.
Dr. Amaro has received over 47 awards including two honorary doctoral degrees in humane letters by Simmons College in 1994 and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in 2012. Other major awards include those from the American Psychological Association, MA Public Health Association, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Hispanic Science Network and numerous community organizations.
In recognition of the impact of her scholarship, she was elected into the Institute of Medicine in 2010 and in 2014 she received the national Elizabeth Beckman Award for professors who inspire their students to change the world. In 2015, she received the American Pubic Health Association’s Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Public Health Service. She has also served as a distinguished visiting professor in women’s health at Ben Gurion University in Israel. Dr. Amaro currently serves as Associate Editor of the American Psychologist and the Journal of Public Health and initiated the journal’s new section on Place-Based Intervention. In the past she served as Associate Editor for Psychology of Women Quarterly, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology and as a special issues editor for Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
She received her doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1982.