Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies
Dr. Susan M. De Luca is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. She is also a Research Associate with the National Research Consortium of Counseling Centers in Higher Education, housed at the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center and also a Co-investigator on a number of studies with the Seton Healthcare Family.
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 in their 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 the Mayor’s Think Tank Initiative. She continued her work as the Policy Advisor for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs in addition to working towards her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. Upon graduation, Dr. De Luca was offered a competitive 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 with a focus on Latinas. Her research has found distinctions surrounding specific individuals Latina adolescents disclose to while ideating, their 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 three grants supporting her work examining suicidal risk and help seeking behaviors from early adolescence to emerging adulthood. Her future research goals include creating and testing a conceptual model that addresses social-ecological factors that influence Latina adolescents’ risk for suicidal behaviors. This work will ultimately lead to a culturally appropriate intervention for this high-risk group.
Dr. De Luca also has a passion for teaching- particularly the Foundations for Social Justice class offered to both BSW and MSW students at UT. She not only enjoys teaching her students about these essential social work topics and encouraging her students to make change in the world, but she often shares that her students teach her every day from their experiences in-and-out the classroom. This is an experience she is most grateful for and humbled by each semester.
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
Adolescent suicide prevention with a focus on Latinas.
- Assessing mental distress and suicide among Texas families: A ten-year examination of parents and their children (2015)
- Developing a Web-based Intervention for Adolescents in Distress: A mixed methods study, funded by St. David’s Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations (2015).
Social Work BuildingRoom:3.130L
Mailing AddressThe University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358