Sandy Magaña, PhD, MSW, holds the Professorship in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. She received a Master of Social Work from California State University, San Bernardino and her Ph.D. from the Heller Graduate School of Social Policy at Brandeis University. Magaña completed post-doctoral training from the NICHD funded Post-Doctoral Program in Developmental Disabilities Research at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a faculty member in the UW-Madison School of Social Work for 12 years and later served as a Professor at the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At SHSSW, Magaña is the Executive Director of the Texas Center for Disability Studies (TCDS) and Director of the Autism Consortium of Texas Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other Related Disabilities (ACT LEND).
Magaña’s research focus is on the cultural context of families who care for persons with disabilities across the life course. Her current research includes investigating racial and ethnic disparities among children with autism and developmental disabilities and developing culturally relevant interventions to address these disparities. She has received funding for her research from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
- Austin Consortium of Texas Lend (ACT LEND) (2026)
- Texas – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (TX-ADDM) Network (2026)
- EMPOWER (Evaluation and Measurement of healthcare transition Preparedness, Opportunities, and WEllness in Racially/ethnically diverse youth with IDD) Study (2026)
- Childhood Obesity and the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Autism Spectrum Disorder (2024)
- PODER: Promoting obesity prevention among children with developmental disabilities and families through engaged research (2024)
- Building Capacity for CER/PCOR Participation among BIPOC Adults on the Autism Spectrum (2023)
- Efficacy of the ASD Screening and Parent ENgagement (ASPEN) Intervention Program in Low-Resource Communities (2022)
- Family Support Research and Training Center (2020)
- National Outcomes Health Indicators (2018)