Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Ph.D.

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Faculty Affiliate, Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS)

Christopher Salas-Wright is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a faculty affiliate at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS). He is currently a research fellow with the National Hispanic Science Network’s Early Stage Career Mentoring for NIDA Research program. Dr. Salas-Wright’s research interests include: adolescent substance use and violence prevention; immigration and the role of cultural processes in the development of Latino youth; and the epidemiology of high-risk and antisocial behavior.

Since 2012, Dr. Salas-Wright has authored more than 70 scholarly publications that have appeared in journals such as Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Addictive Behaviors, Journal of Substance Use Treatment, Journal of Psychiatric Research, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, and Annals of Epidemiology. He currently is the principal investigator for funded research projects on the bio × social factors related to substance use and violence among Hispanic youth as well as the development of a substance use prevention program for college student veterans. Dr. Salas-Wright serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Criminal Justice and Research on Social Work Practice and serves as a reviewer for more than 30 journals and publishers across the disciplines of Public Health, Psychiatry, Developmental Psychology, Social Work, and Criminology. His research has been featured in USA TODAYWashington PostLos Angeles TimesHouston ChronicleDallas Morning NewsFort Worth Star TelegramFox BusinessYahoo! ParentingTeen VogueNew York MagazineLa Opinión, and Conan as well as numerous university, media, and science outlets.

Dr. Salas-Wright received his PhD in Social Work from the Boston College School of Social Work in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  After his doctoral studies, he completed an NIH (T32) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (CAAS) and was also a cross-training fellow at Brown University’s Alcohol Research Center on HIV (ARCH).  He completed a NIDA-funded research training fellowship with the National Hispanic Science Network’s Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse as well.  In addition to his research training, Dr. Salas-Wright received graduate training as a Clinical Social Worker from the University of Washington School of Social Work as well as training from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  In these capacities, he gained field experience as a mental health counselor, addictions therapist, and hospital chaplain.

Prior to his graduate training, Dr. Salas-Wright lived and worked in El Salvador, Central America for several years and traveled during that time throughout Central and South America.  While living in Latin America, he worked in the fields of youth development, addictions treatment, and international higher education.

Personal Website.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

Etiology of adolescent alcohol and drug use; the intersection of substance use and HIV risk behavior; the examination of the dynamics of youth violence and juvenile delinquency; the role of religiosity and spirituality in positive youth development.


  • Ph.D., Boston College
  • MSW, University of Washington
  • MA, Boston College

Teaching History



Social Work Building


Mailing Address

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