Yessenia Castro joined the School of Social Work from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she completed a postdoctoral training program that focused on disparities-related research among minority and underserved populations, with an emphasis on smoking cessation among Latinos.
Castro studies the influence of cultural adaptation variables on cancer risk behavior among Latinos. She is particularly interested in understanding how cultural variables combine with known key determinants of smoking to affect cessation outcomes.
Castro received her doctorate and master’s degree in clinical psychology from The Florida State University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Susan M. De Luca
Susan M. De Luca joined the School of Social Work from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, where she completed an NIH National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship.
De Luca’s research interests include mental health, adolescence, cross-cultural issues and suicide.
De Luca received her doctorate and master’s degree in social work from The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, respectively. She received her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer studies from Kent State University.
Yuri Jang joined the School of Social Work from the University of South Florida, where she served as an associate professor in the School of Aging Studies.
Jang’s research interests include positive adaptation in aging, health disparities, and minority health and service utilization.
Jang received her doctorate in aging studies at the University of South Florida and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of South Florida Institute on Aging and at the University of Georgia Gerontology Center. She received her master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Arizona and bachelor’s degree in family studies from Duksung Women’s University in Seoul, Korea.
Jang is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and has been selected as a Scholar of the Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Mental Health funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Sarah Sloan has joined the School of Social Work. She has more than 10 years of experience as a clinical social worker, working in agency settings focused on mental health and mental health access for LGBTQ clients. Sloan also worked for 12 years for Austin Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity International.
Sloan maintains a private practice, providing psychotherapy, supervision and consultation. She received her master’s degree in social work from The University of Texas at Austin and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University.
Debra L. Sparks
Clinical Assistant Professor
Debra L. “DeDe” Sparks has joined the School of Social Work from Scott & White Healthcare, where she worked as a palliative care team social worker. Previously, Sparks was a hospice social worker at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. Sparks has 10 years of experience as a clinical social worker. She is a member of the Social Work Advisory Board of the Texas New Mexico Hospice Organization.
Sparks received both her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in social work from Southwest Texas State University.