Susan M. De Luca, Ph.D.

Susan M. De Luca, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies

Dr. Susan M. De Luca is an Assistant Professor at both the School of Social Work and the Center for Women and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. De Luca’s additional appointments include her Faculty Research Associate positions with the National Research Consortium of Counseling Centers in Higher Education, housed at the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center and at UT’s Population Research Center.

Dr. De Luca was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Individual and Family Studies at Kent State University. She was selected for national service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA working with three communities in her home state on various prevention efforts focusing on adolescents. Dr. De Luca then moved “up north” where she earned her MSW from The University of Michigan. Upon graduation, she returned to Cleveland where she was a clinical social worker for the Department of Justice Affairs Batterers’ Intervention Program. Dr. De Luca has a passion for social policy and was offered a Research Associate position at Kent State University’s Department of Political Science focusing on their Mayor’s Think Tank Initiative.  She continued her work as the Policy Advisor for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs while working towards her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University.  Upon graduation, Dr. De Luca was offered a competitive, three-year NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at The University of Rochester’s Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. De Luca’s research concentrates on adolescent suicide prevention spanning middle school-aged children to emerging adults with a focus on racial/ethnic disparities.  Her research has found distinctions surrounding the specific individuals college students disclose to while ideating, high school Latino males’ and Latinas’ attitudes about help seeking and their social coping norms/resources and the protective factors of family, peer and teacher support in relation to suicidal behaviors. Dr. De Luca has received four grants supporting her work examining suicidal risk and help seeking behaviors focusing on adolescents. She is currently examining the online help-seeking behaviors and attitudes of adolescents. Her future research goals include creating and testing a conceptual model that addresses social-ecological factors that influence adolescents’ risk for suicidal behaviors.  This work will ultimately lead to a culturally appropriate intervention for this high-risk group.

Dr. De Luca is also the 2015 recipient of the Lora Lee Pederson Teaching Excellence Award due to her passion for teaching- particularly the Foundations for Social Justice class. She not only enjoys teaching her students about these essential social work topics, but often shares that her students teach her every day from their encounters in-and-out the classroom. This is an experience she is most grateful for and humbled by each semester.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

Suicide prevention with a focus on early adolescence to emerging adulthood; culturally appropriate interventions; help-seeking attitudes and behaviors; mental health disparities



Social Work Building


Mailing Address

The University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358