Hortensia Amaro Farewell

Message to the USC Community

From: Michael W. Quick, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

May 14, 2018

I’m writing today to let you know that Dr. Hortensia Amaro, Dean’s Professor of Social Work and Preventive Medicine at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, is moving on from USC, where she has been an engaged and committed member of our faculty since 2012. Dr. Amaro is taking a new position as Distinguished University Professor and Senior Scholar for Community Health at Florida International University.

Dr. Amaro’s steadfast focus on health equity has successfully shifted global paradigms in the treatment of substance use, HIV prevention, mental health disorders, and trauma. Treatment now often includes gender- and culture-sensitive strategies that she pioneered or inspired.

As Associate Vice Provost for Community Research Initiatives, she worked to advance outreach programs with the Office of the Provost and University Relations. She promoted research in preventative medicine and social work, and she nurtured health and wellness service partnerships between USC and the community, among other responsibilities.

In that role, she led the State of the Neighborhood Report, an 18-month cooperative effort between USC and community stakeholders. The report examined the communities around UPC and HSC to determine at how neighborhood conditions can contribute to health and other disparities; the goal was to better guide USC’s efforts to help address these disparities.

Through public health research, a vast catalogue of publications, and the founding of community-based service agencies such as substance abuse treatment programs for women, Dr. Amaro has provided care and assistance for thousands of families.

In recognition of her work, she has received numerous honors for lifetime achievement, distinguished service in public health, and mentorship. She is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, has received two honorary doctorates, and was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Ernest R. Hilgard Lifetime Achievement Award and Presidential Citation for Outstanding Contributions and Service to Psychology.

She has a forthcoming memoir, Head over Heart, which will grapple with issues of identity and agency as she considers the various factors that influenced her remarkable journey from refugee to health equity advocate.

Please join President Nikias, Senior Vice President for University Relations Thomas Sayles, and me in thanking Dr. Amaro for her work on behalf of our students and our community. We wish her much success in her new position.


Cc: C. L. Max Nikias
Academic Senate
Academic Deans
President’s Cabinet
Provost’s Cabinet