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 UIC, Magana was awarded a center grant from The National Institute on Disability Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and founded the Family Support Research and Training Center (FSRTC) which she continues to co-direct from UT SSW. The FSRTC aims to expand the research on family members who provide support and care to people with disabilities across the life course.
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). Magaña’s current focus is on identifying pathways from identification to diagnosis to evidenced-based treatment for underserved children with autism spectrum disorder and their families in Central Texas.
- Austin Consortium of Texas Lend (ACT LEND) (2026)
- PODER: Promoting obesity prevention among children with developmental disabilities and families through engaged research (2024)
- 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)