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    Hortensia Amaro, PhD

    TitleDean's Professor, Social Work and Preventive Medicine
    SchoolSchool of Social Work
    DepartmentSocial Work
    AddressMRF 220
    University Park Campus
    Los Angeles California 90089-0411
    Phone+1 213 821 6462
    vCardDownload vCard

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      Hortensia Amaro has dramatically advanced the understanding of substance abuse disorder 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 four Institute of Medicine committees. She has authored more than 130 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.

      Before joining USC in 2012, Amaro was with Northeastern University for 10 years, serving as dean, as well as distinguished professor of health sciences and counseling psychology, of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, and as 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 received her doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1982 and was awarded honorary doctoral degrees in humane letters by Simmons College in 1994 and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in 2012. In recognition of the impact of her scholarship, she was elected into the Institute of Medicine in 2010. She has also served as a distinguished visiting professor in women's health at Ben Gurion University in Israel.

      Over the last 30 years, Amaro has forged vital connections between public health research and practice. Her studies have focused on alcohol and drug use and addiction among adolescents and adults; the development and testing of behavioral interventions for HIV/AIDS prevention, including innovative HIV prevention models targeted to Latina and African American women; substance abuse and mental health treatment for Latina and African American women and incarcerated men; alcohol and drug use among college populations; and behavioral interventions for HIV medications adherence. Her article, “Love, Sex and Power” (American Psychologist, 1995) was a significant contribution to the field of HIV prevention among women and received the 1996 Scientific Publication Award from the National Association of Women in Psychology. The article was based on her keynote address for being the recipient of the 1993 Award for Distinguished Contributors to Psychology in the Public Interest: Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association.

      Her groundbreaking studies on clinical strategies for treating women with co-occurring drug addiction, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder have provided strong evidence supporting integrated treatment for these conditions. Compared to women receiving traditional drug addiction treatment, those receiving integrated treatment stayed in treatment longer; had lower rates of post-treatment drug use, mental health symptoms and trauma symptoms; and had lower rates of HIV risk behaviors. The treatment model (Boston Consortium Model: Trauma-Informed Substance Abuse Treatment for Women) was recently approved for inclusion in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Practices. This work has also been distilled in treatment manuals tailored to community agencies. Most recently, Amaro partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an integrated system of health and behavioral health care for at-risk children.

      Over the last two decades, Amaro founded five substance abuse treatment programs for women in Boston: MOM’s Outpatient Treatment Program; Entre Familia Residential Treatment Program; Moving on to Recovery and Empowerment (M.O.R.E.), an intensive outpatient treatment program for low-income women of color with co-occurring disorders; Safe and Sound Return Treatment Model for Incarcerated Women; and Boston Consortium of Services for Men in Recovery, a family-centered system of substance abuse treatment. After joining Northeastern University in 2001, Amaro established the Institute on Urban Health Research, which promotes interdisciplinary and community-based research that examines the causes of racial and ethnic health disparities in health, and develops and tests strategies that improve health in urban communities. Research at the institute has shed light on health conditions that disproportionately affect urban and minority populations, including substance abuse, mental illness, interpersonal violence, HIV risk behaviors, discrimination in health care and obesity.

      Amaro serves as associate editor of American Psychologist and American Journal of Public Health, and has served on the editorial boards of other leading publications, as well as on Institute of Medicine committees relating to substance abuse and mental health issues in AIDS research, the inclusion of women in clinical studies, ethical considerations in protecting prisoners involved in research, women’s health research, and substance abuse prevention and treatment in the military. She has served on review and advisory committees to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Appointed by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Amaro served for 14 years on the board of the Boston Public Health Commission, the governing body of the city health department. Since the 1980s, she has collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a consultant to commissioners and bureau directors on issues related to race and ethnicity data collection, health disparities, HIV prevention, and evidence-based approaches to treating substance abuse. In honor of her contributions to public health, Mayor Menino named the city building that houses the Entre Familia Residential Program that Amaro founded the Hortensia Amaro Building.

      She has also founded professional organizations and community-based service agencies, including the National Hispanic Psychological Association, National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Research, National Trauma Consortium, Latino Health Institute, and Multicultural AIDS Coalition in Boston.


      Collapse Biography 
      Collapse Awards and Honors
      American Psychological Association2013Ernest R. Hilgard Lifetime Achievement Award
      American Psychological Association2012Presidential Citation for Outstanding Contributions and Service to Psychology
      Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology2012Honorary Degree in Humane Letters
      La Alianza Hispana2011Women of Courage Award
      National Academy of Sciences2011Member, Institute of Medicine

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      Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
      List All   |   Timeline
      1. Grest CV, Amaro H, Unger J. Longitudinal Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration and Victimization in Latino Emerging Adults. J Youth Adolesc. 2017 Apr 05. PMID: 28382461.
        View in: PubMed
      2. Amaro H, Cortés DE, Garcia S, Duan L, Black DS. Video-Based Grocery Shopping Intervention Effect on Purchasing Behaviors Among Latina Shoppers. Am J Public Health. 2017 Mar 21; e1-e7. PMID: 28323473.
        View in: PubMed
      3. Bazzi AR, Syvertsen JL, Rolón ML, Martinez G, Rangel G, Vera A, Amaro H, Ulibarri MD, Hernandez DO, Strathdee SA. Social and Structural Challenges to Drug Cessation Among Couples in Northern Mexico: Implications for Drug Treatment in Underserved Communities. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2016 Feb; 61:26-33. PMID: 26470596.
        View in: PubMed
      4. Syvertsen JL, Bazzi AR, Martinez G, Rangel MG, Ulibarri MD, Fergus KB, Amaro H, Strathdee SA. Love, Trust, and HIV Risk Among Female Sex Workers and Their Intimate Male Partners. Am J Public Health. 2015 Aug; 105(8):1667-74. PMID: 26066947.
        View in: PubMed
      5. Lee King PA, Duan L, Amaro H. Clinical Needs of In-treatment Pregnant Women with Co-occurring Disorders: Implications for Primary Care. Matern Child Health J. 2015 Jan; 19(1):180-7. PMID: 24770992.
        View in: PubMed
      6. Ulibarri MD, Roesch S, Rangel MG, Staines H, Amaro H, Strathdee SA. "Amar te Duele" ("Love Hurts"): Sexual Relationship Power, Intimate Partner Violence, Depression Symptoms and HIV Risk Among Female Sex Workers Who Use Drugs and Their Non-commercial, Steady Partners in Mexico. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jan; 19(1):9-18. PMID: 24743959.
        View in: PubMed
      7. Otiniano Verissimo AD, Grella CE, Amaro H, Gee GC. Discrimination and substance use disorders among latinos: the role of gender, nativity, and ethnicity. Am J Public Health. 2014 Aug; 104(8):1421-8. PMID: 24922159.
        View in: PubMed
      8. Amaro H. The action is upstream: place-based approaches for achieving population health and health equity. Am J Public Health. 2014 Jun; 104(6):964. PMID: 24825190.
        View in: PubMed
      9. Amaro H, Spear S, Vallejo Z, Conron K, Black DS. Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a mindfulness-based relapse prevention intervention for culturally-diverse, low-income women in substance use disorder treatment. Subst Use Misuse. 2014 Apr; 49(5):547-59. PMID: 24611850.
        View in: PubMed
      10. Amaro H. Implementing mindfulness-based relapse prevention in diverse populations: challenges and future directions. Subst Use Misuse. 2014 Apr; 49(5):612-6. PMID: 24611858.
        View in: PubMed
      11. Ulibarri MD, Strathdee SA, Lozada R, Magis-Rodriguez C, Amaro H, O'Campo P, Patterson TL. Prevalence and correlates of client-perpetrated abuse among female sex workers in two Mexico-u.s. Border cities. Violence Against Women. 2014 Apr; 20(4):427-45. PMID: 24686125.
        View in: PubMed
      12. Guerrero EG, Marsh JC, Khachikian T, Amaro H, Vega WA. Disparities in Latino substance use, service use, and treatment: Implications for culturally and evidence-based interventions under health care reform. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Dec 15; 133(3):805-13. PMID: 23953657.
        View in: PubMed
      13. Robertson AM, Syvertsen JL, Amaro H, Martinez G, Rangel MG, Patterson TL, Strathdee SA. Can't Buy My Love: A Typology of Female Sex Workers' Commercial Relationships in the Mexico-U.S. Border Region. J Sex Res. 2014; 51(6):711-20. PMID: 23659340.
        View in: PubMed
      14. Amaro H, Raj A, Reed E, Ulibarri M. Getting Personal: Progress and Pitfalls in HIV Prevention Among Latinas. Psychol Women Q. 2011 Dec 1; 35(4):655-670. PMID: 22539868.
        View in: PubMed
      15. Zhivan NA, Ang A, Amaro H, Vega WA, Markides KS. Ethnic/Race differences in the attrition of older american survey respondents: implications for health-related research. Health Serv Res. 2012 Feb; 47(1 Pt 1):241-54. PMID: 22091976.
        View in: PubMed
      16. Brahms E, Ahl M, Reed E, Amaro H. Effects of an alcohol intervention on drinking among female college students with and without a recent history of sexual violence. Addict Behav. 2011 Dec; 36(12):1325-8. PMID: 21821362.
        View in: PubMed
      17. Ulibarri MD, Strathdee SA, Lozada R, Magis-Rodriguez C, Amaro H, O'Campo P, Patterson TL. Intimate Partner Violence among Female Sex Workers in Two Mexico-U.S. Border Cities: Partner Characteristics and HIV Risk-behaviors as Correlates of Abuse. Psychol Trauma. 2010 Dec; 2(4):318-325. PMID: 21532933.
        View in: PubMed
      18. Amaro H, Magno-Gatmaytan C, Meléndez M, Cortés DE, Arevalo S, Margolin A. Addiction treatment intervention: an uncontrolled prospective pilot study of Spiritual Self-Schema therapy with Latina women. Subst Abus. 2010 Apr; 31(2):117-25. PMID: 20408063.
        View in: PubMed
      19. Amaro H, Reed E, Rowe E, Picci J, Mantella P, Prado G. Brief screening and intervention for alcohol and drug use in a college student health clinic: feasibility, implementation, and outcomes. J Am Coll Health. 2010 Jan-Feb; 58(4):357-64. PMID: 20159759.
        View in: PubMed
      20. Stallworth JM, Herbst JH, Alvarez ME, Romaguera RA, Amaro H, Dean HD. Special supplement on Hispanics/Latinos and HIV/AIDS. Introduction. AIDS Educ Prev. 2009 Oct; 21(5 Suppl):3-6. PMID: 19824830.
        View in: PubMed
      21. Larios SE, Lozada R, Strathdee SA, Semple SJ, Roesch S, Staines H, Orozovich P, Fraga M, Amaro H, de la Torre A, Magis-Rodríguez C, Patterson TL. An exploration of contextual factors that influence HIV risk in female sex workers in Mexico: The Social Ecological Model applied to HIV risk behaviors. AIDS Care. 2009 Oct; 21(10):1335-42. PMID: 19370470.
        View in: PubMed
      22. Reed E, Prado G, Matsumoto A, Amaro H. Alcohol and drug use and related consequences among gay, lesbian and bisexual college students: role of experiencing violence, feeling safe on campus, and perceived stress. Addict Behav. 2010 Feb; 35(2):168-71. PMID: 19796880.
        View in: PubMed
      23. Loza O, Strathdee SA, Lozada R, Staines H, Ojeda VD, Martínez GA, Amaro H, Patterson TL. Correlates of early versus later initiation into sex work in two Mexico-U.S. border cities. J Adolesc Health. 2010 Jan; 46(1):37-44. PMID: 20123256.
        View in: PubMed
      24. Ulibarri MD, Strathdee SA, Ulloa EC, Lozada R, Fraga MA, Magis-Rodríguez C, De La Torre A, Amaro H, O'Campo P, Patterson TL. Injection drug use as a mediator between client-perpetrated abuse and HIV status among female sex workers in two Mexico-US border cities. AIDS Behav. 2011 Jan; 15(1):179-85. PMID: 19636697.
        View in: PubMed
      25. Amaro H, Ahl M, Matsumoto A, Prado G, Mulé C, Kemmemer A, Larimer ME, Masi D, Mantella P. Trial of the university assistance program for alcohol use among mandated students. J Stud Alcohol Drugs Suppl. 2009 Jul; (16):45-56. PMID: 19538912.
        View in: PubMed
      26. Strathdee SA, Mausbach B, Lozada R, Staines-Orozco H, Semple SJ, Abramovitz D, Fraga-Vallejo M, Torre Ade L, Amaro H, Martínez-Mendizábal G, Magis-Rodríguez C, Patterson TL. Predictors of sexual risk reduction among Mexican female sex workers enrolled in a behavioral intervention study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2009 May 1; 51 Suppl 1:S42-6. PMID: 19384101.
        View in: PubMed
      27. Murphy DA, Marelich WD, Amaro H. Maternal HIV/AIDS and adolescent depression: A covariance structure analysis of the "Parents and Adolescents Coping Together" (PACT) model. Vulnerable Child Youth Stud. 2009 Mar; 4(1):67-82. PMID: 20209025.
        View in: PubMed
      28. Emerson MH, Glovsky E, Amaro H, Nieves R. Unhealthy weight gain during treatment for alcohol and drug use in four residential programs for Latina and African American women. Subst Use Misuse. 2009; 44(11):1553-65. PMID: 19938931.
        View in: PubMed
      29. Semple SJ, Amaro H, Strathdee SA, Zians J, Patterson TL. Ethnic differences in substance use, sexual risk behaviors, and psychosocial factors in a sample of heterosexual methamphetamine users. Subst Use Misuse. 2009; 44(8):1101-20. PMID: 19544148.
        View in: PubMed
      30. Ulibarri MD, Semple SJ, Rao S, Strathdee SA, Fraga-Vallejo MA, Bucardo J, De la Torre A, Salázar-Reyna J, Orozovich P, Staines-Orozco HS, Amaro H, Magis-Rodríguez C, Patterson TL. History of abuse and psychological distress symptoms among female sex workers in two Mexico-U.S. border cities. Violence Vict. 2009; 24(3):399-413. PMID: 19634364.
        View in: PubMed
      31. Fried LE, Cabral H, Amaro H, Aschengrau A. Lifetime and during pregnancy experience of violence and the risk of low birth weight and preterm birth. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008 Nov-Dec; 53(6):522-8. PMID: 18984508.
        View in: PubMed
      32. Reed E, Amaro H, Matsumoto A, Kaysen D. The relation between interpersonal violence and substance use among a sample of university students: examination of the role of victim and perpetrator substance use. Addict Behav. 2009 Mar; 34(3):316-8. PMID: 19028021.
        View in: PubMed
      33. Patterson TL, Mausbach B, Lozada R, Staines-Orozco H, Semple SJ, Fraga-Vallejo M, Orozovich P, Abramovitz D, de la Torre A, Amaro H, Martinez G, Magis-Rodríguez C, Strathdee SA. Efficacy of a brief behavioral intervention to promote condom use among female sex workers in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Am J Public Health. 2008 Nov; 98(11):2051-7. PMID: 18799768.
        View in: PubMed
      34. Patterson TL, Semple SJ, Staines H, Lozada R, Orozovich P, Bucardo J, Philbin MM, Pu M, Fraga M, Amaro H, Torre Ade L, Martinez G, Magis-Rodríguez C, Strathdee SA. Prevalence and correlates of HIV infection among female sex workers in 2 Mexico-US border cities. J Infect Dis. 2008 Mar 1; 197(5):728-32. PMID: 18260766.
        View in: PubMed
      35. Strathdee SA, Lozada R, Semple SJ, Orozovich P, Pu M, Staines-Orozco H, Fraga-Vallejo M, Amaro H, Delatorre A, Magis-Rodríguez C, Patterson TL. Characteristics of female sex workers with US clients in two Mexico-US border cities. Sex Transm Dis. 2008 Mar; 35(3):263-8. PMID: 18032996.
        View in: PubMed
      36. Mejia R, Jenkins RA, Carey JW, Amaro H, Morrill AC, Krech L, Logan JA, Cranston K. Longitudinal observation of an HIV prevention community planning group (CPG). Health Promot Pract. 2009 Jan; 10(1):136-43. PMID: 18314506.
        View in: PubMed
      37. Arévalo S, Prado G, Amaro H. Spirituality, sense of coherence, and coping responses in women receiving treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Eval Program Plann. 2008 Feb; 31(1):113-23. PMID: 17825910.
        View in: PubMed
      38. Amaro H, Dai J, Arévalo S, Acevedo A, Matsumoto A, Nieves R, Prado G. Effects of integrated trauma treatment on outcomes in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of women in urban community-based substance abuse treatment. J Urban Health. 2007 Jul; 84(4):508-22. PMID: 17356904.
        View in: PubMed
      39. Lincoln AK, Liebschutz JM, Chernoff M, Nguyen D, Amaro H. Brief screening for co-occurring disorders among women entering substance abuse treatment. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2006; 1:26. PMID: 16959041.
        View in: PubMed
      40. Amaro H, Arévalo S, Gonzalez G, Szapocznik J, Iguchi MY. Needs and scientific opportunities for research on substance abuse treatment among Hispanic adults. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep; 84 Suppl 1:S64-75. PMID: 16766137.
        View in: PubMed
      41. Fried LE, Aschengrau A, Cabral H, Amaro H. A comparison of maternal interview and medical record ascertainment of violence among women who had poor pregnancy outcomes. Matern Child Health J. 2006 Sep; 10(5):451-60. PMID: 16802190.
        View in: PubMed
      42. Amaro H, Iguchi MY. Opportunities in Hispanic drug abuse research. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep; 84 Suppl 1:S1-3. PMID: 16793220.
        View in: PubMed
      43. Alegría M, Page JB, Hansen H, Cauce AM, Robles R, Blanco C, Cortes DE, Amaro H, Morales A, Berry P. Improving drug treatment services for Hispanics: research gaps and scientific opportunities. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep; 84 Suppl 1:S76-84. PMID: 16781087.
        View in: PubMed
      44. Prado G, Schwartz SJ, Pattatucci-Aragón A, Clatts M, Pantin H, Fernández MI, Lopez B, Briones E, Amaro H, Szapocznik J. The prevention of HIV transmission in Hispanic adolescents. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep; 84 Suppl 1:S43-53. PMID: 16764997.
        View in: PubMed
      45. Raj A, Santana MC, La Marche A, Amaro H, Cranston K, Silverman JG. Perpetration of intimate partner violence associated with sexual risk behaviors among young adult men. Am J Public Health. 2006 Oct; 96(10):1873-8. PMID: 16670216.
        View in: PubMed
      46. Patterson TL, Semple SJ, Fraga M, Bucardo J, de la Torre A, Salazar J, Orozovich P, Staines H, Amaro H, Magis-Rodríguez C, Strathdee SA. Comparison of sexual and drug use behaviors between female sex workers in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Subst Use Misuse. 2006; 41(10-12):1535-49. PMID: 17002992.
        View in: PubMed
      47. Brolin MF, Horgan C, Amaro H, Doonan M. Substance abuse treatment in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: gaps, consequences and solutions. Issue Brief (Mass Health Policy Forum). 2005 Nov 17; (27):1-25. PMID: 16302313.
        View in: PubMed
      48. Morrissey JP, Jackson EW, Ellis AR, Amaro H, Brown VB, Najavits LM. Twelve-month outcomes of trauma-informed interventions for women with co-occurring disorders. Psychiatr Serv. 2005 Oct; 56(10):1213-22. PMID: 16215186.
        View in: PubMed
      49. Jenkins RA, Averbach AR, Robbins A, Cranston K, Amaro H, Morrill AC, Blake SM, Logan JA, Batchelor K, Freeman AC, Carey JW. Improving the use of data for HIV prevention decision making: lessons learned. AIDS Behav. 2005 Jun; 9(2 Suppl):S87-99. PMID: 15933830.
        View in: PubMed
      50. Jenkins RA, Robbins A, Cranston K, Batchelor K, Freeman AC, Averbach AR, Amaro H, Morrill AC, Blake SM, Logan JA, Carey JW. Bridging data and decision making: development of techniques for improving the HIV prevention community planning process. AIDS Behav. 2005 Jun; 9(2 Suppl):S41-53. PMID: 15933827.
        View in: PubMed
      51. Morrill AC, Amaro H, Blake SM, Cranston K, Averbach AR, Logan JA, Dai J, Krech L, Dunn S. HIV prevention community planning: enhancing data-informed decision-making. AIDS Behav. 2005 Jun; 9(2 Suppl):S55-70. PMID: 15933828.
        View in: PubMed
      52. Amaro H, Blake SM, Morrill AC, Cranston K, Logan J, Conron KJ, Dai J. HIV prevention community planning: challenges and opportunities for data-informed decision-making. AIDS Behav. 2005 Jun; 9(2 Suppl):S9-27. PMID: 15933831.
        View in: PubMed
      53. Amaro H, Morrill AC, Dai J, Cabral H, Raj A. Heterosexual behavioral maintenance and change following HIV counseling and testing. J Health Psychol. 2005 Mar; 10(2):287-300. PMID: 15723897.
        View in: PubMed
      54. Morrissey JP, Ellis AR, Gatz M, Amaro H, Reed BG, Savage A, Finkelstein N, Mazelis R, Brown V, Jackson EW, Banks S. Outcomes for women with co-occurring disorders and trauma: program and person-level effects. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2005 Mar; 28(2):121-33. PMID: 15780541.
        View in: PubMed
      55. Amaro H, de la Torre A. Public health needs and scientific opportunities in research on Latinas. Am J Public Health. 2002 Apr; 92(4):525-9. PMID: 11919044.
        View in: PubMed
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