Lori K. Holleran Steiker, Ph.D., ACSW

Lori K. Holleran Steiker, Ph.D., ACSW

University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Lori Holleran Steiker, PhD, has been at The University of Texas at Austin since 2000. She has received the following honors during her tenure at UT Austin: Texas Exes Award for teaching excellence, Lora Lee Pederson Teaching Award from the School of Social Work, Appreciation Award from the UT Austin Services for Students with Disabilities, Outstanding Investigator Award from the UT Austin Center For Health Promotion & Prevention Research (CHPR), Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work And Research,  Outstanding Leadership Award from the University of Texas Center for Students in Recovery (CSR), UT Dads’ Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship for excellence in undergraduate teaching and advising, Diana DiNitto Mentorship Award, UT System Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching. Holleran Steiker is a Steering Committee member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Watch a video featuring professor Holleran Steiker here.

Holleran Steiker was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in central New Jersey. She graduated as a proud Valedictorian from Hightstown High School in 1983. She got a Bachelor’s degree in Honors English from Duke University and then her MSW from University of Pennsylvania. She was trained by Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic in Family Therapy. She worked as a clinical psychiatric social worker and addictions therapist with adolescents and adults for a dozen years before receiving her Ph.D.

She began her work in prevention concurrent with her doctoral education at Arizona State University in 1992 (under the mentorship of Dr. Flavio Marsiglia) designing and implementing an elementary school-based social work program with prevention intervention for children of divorce. In 1995, she became research associate and ethnographic data analyst on the Cleveland Substance Abuse Prevention Research Project. In 1996, she became a researcher for an extensive multidisciplinary project called the Drug Resistance Strategies (DRS) Project funded by NIDA (R01 DA05629) in Arizona, which has touched the lives of approximately 8000 students since 1997. The project is unique in that it involved a group of ethnically diverse high school students from a large city high school in the creation of culturally grounded substance abuse prevention videos and curriculum. Holleran Steiker has expertise in the intersection of culture and prevention efforts. She completed her federally funded K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA 2003-2009) during which she received training and continued her research in the area of culturally grounded substance abuse prevention with high-risk youth. She facilitated the adaptation and evaluation of the keepin’ it REAL (kiR) project for youth in a variety of community settings including GLBTQ youth at OutYouth, low income housing youth at YMCA, alternative school settings, LifeWorks Homeless Youth Shelter, SCAN advocacy program for border youth in Laredo, TX, and Gardner Betts with incarcerated youth and youth on probation. She is presently working on kir-SV, an adaptation of keepin’ it REAL for student veterans on college campuses (NIDA grant under review).  She has published extensively on substance abuse prevention interventions and cultural adaptation. She is presently expanding her research into the areas of dissonance-based substance abuse interventions, the bridge between prevention and treatment, decisional balance dialogues with youth, and addiction recovery.  This work has also led to work supporting and researching high school and collegiate recovery communities.  She is presently leading community efforts to create, design, open and evaluate the first university-based Recovery (sober) High School in Austin.

Holleran Steiker is the co-editor of the book Substance Abusing Latinos: Current Research on Epidemiology, Prevention and Treatment (co-edited with Mario de la Rosa and Lala Ashenberg Straussner). She has authored or co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and reports that coalesce around culturally grounded substance abuse prevention/intervention.  She is presently writing another book entitled Adolescent Substance Abuse: Prevention and Intervention, to be available in 2014.

Holleran Steiker is devoted to teaching undergraduate courses. She is very proud of her Signature Course, “Young People and Drugs” and she believes that the Signature Courses are one of the Gems of our university.  She is the faculty Advisor for the following UT student groups devoted to increasing awareness and decreasing stigma attached to young people’s substance addiction and recovery: the Center for Students in Recovery, Project Purple, and UT DAPA (Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors).  She is particularly committed to the BSW students and their successful growth as professionals. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of group, family, and substance abuse and Chairs and serves on a number of doctoral dissertation committees. Holleran Steiker works hard to share her experience, knowledge, practice wisdom, and research about substance abuse in the university and community. Administratively, she was the Assistant Dean for Undergraduates in the School of Social Work from 2009-2012 and she serves in an Advisory role for the UT Center for Students in Recovery.

Holleran Steiker’s interests include music (she sings, writes songs, plays piano … sometimes at school!), jogging with her Boston Terriers, making jewelry, and spending time with her amazing family and son, Blake. She has even been known to lead her students in rope course and rock climbing adventures!

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

Substance abuse prevention and recovery, culturally grounded social work practice, social work with groups.


  • Ph.D., Arizona State University
  • M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A., Duke University



Social Work Building (SSW)


Mailing Address

The University of Texas at Austin
Steve Hicks School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd 3.122A
STOP D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358