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Roberto Orellana
Roberto Orellana


Role: Assistant Professor

Education: Dr. Orellana received a BA in Psychology, a Master of Social Work (Mental Health), a Master of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences) and a Graduate Certificate in Global Health from the University of Washington. He also received a Master of Philosophy and a PhD in Social Work from Columbia University.


·    HIV and substance abuse prevention among vulnerable populations
·    Social and contextual determinants of health
·    Indigenous health
·    Global health

Teaching Areas: Research Methods and Data Analysis.


Dr. Orellana's experience includes direct clinical practice with individuals in community mental health clinics, psychiatric hospitals and homeless shelters. He has conducted street outreach for persons with chronic psychiatric disorders and co-occurring substance abuse. He's also worked as a therapist in risk-reduction HIV prevention clinical trials among men who have sex with men (MSM) at high risk for HIV infection.


Dr. Orellana was appointed as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Social Work at PSU in 2008. He is also an affiliate faculty member at PSU's School of Community Health. Dr. Orellana holds Visiting Research appointments at the Columbia University School of Social Work, OSU’s College of Health & Human Science, and UCSD’s Department of Global Public Health. Throughout his doctoral program and early scholarly activities, Dr. Orellana has gained experience in the science of HIV and substance abuse prevention research with vulnerable populations, especially indigenous populations, other racial/ethnic minorities and men who have sex with men. His research experience includes an epidemiologic study of family violence in Lima, Peru; HIV prevention randomized clinical trials in Seattle, WA and New York City; a study of the efficacy of a brief HIV/STI behavioral intervention implemented by outreach teams in Peru; mixed-methods studies related to indigenous sexual health in the Peruvian Amazon jungle and the highlands of Guatemala; and other studies in the areas of mental health, homelessness and prevention science. His research training was supported by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and an intervention science traineeship for racial/ethnic minorities also from NIMH. His current research, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is examining the nature and impact of structural factors (social, political, environmental) on substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors among men who have sex with men in the Mexico/Guatemala border region. He is also initiating community-based research collaborations with Mayan survivors of trauma in Guatemala – a study supported by the Indigenous Substance Abuse, Medicines and Addictions Research Training, a program of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute National Center of Excellence.


•Orellana, E.R., Alva, I.E., Cárcamo, C., García, P.J. (2013). Structural factors that increase HIV/STI vulnerability among indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon. Qualitative Health Research. doi:10.1177/1049732313502129

•Menacho, L., Blas, M., Alva, I.E., & Orellana, E.R. (2013). Short text messages to motivate HIV testing among MSM: A qualitative study in Lima, Peru. Open AIDS Journal, 7, 1-6. doi: 10.2174/1874613601307010001

•Blas, M., Alva, I.E., Menacho, L., Cabello, R., & Orellana, E.R. (2013). Motivating men who have sex with men to get tested for HIV through the Internet and mobile phones: A qualitative study. PLoS ONE, 8(1): e54012. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054012

•Alva, I.E., Orellana, E.R., Blas, M., Bernabé, A., Cotrina, A., . . . Montano, S. (2012). HTLV-1 and -2 infections among 10 indigenous groups in the Peruvian Amazon. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 87(5), 954-56. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0289

•Miller, K; Cahn, K. & Orellana, E.R. (2012). Dynamics that contribute to disproportionality and disparity in child welfare: Perspectives from child welfare professionals, community partners, and families. Children and Youth Services Review 34(11), 2201-2207. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.07.022


•Orellana, E.R., El-Bassel, N., Gilbert, L., Miller, K.M., Catania, J., Epperson, M. & Wu, E. (2013). Sex trading and other HIV risks among drug-involved men: Differential associations with childhood sexual abuse. Social Work Research. In Press. doi: In Process.

•Orellana, E.R., Goldbach, J., Rountree, M., & Bagwell, M. (2013). Access to mental health and substance abuse services by people living with HIV/AIDS: The case manager perspective. Health and Social Work. In Press. doi: In Process.

•Miller, K., Orellana, E.R., Johnson, A.B., Krase, K., & Anderson-Nathe, B. (2013). Maternal criminal justice and child welfare involvement: Associations between risk exposures and childhood mental health. Social Work Research. In Press. doi: In Process.

•Mathur, A., Orellana, E.R., Block, R.G., Frohnmayer, M.A., Jivanjee, P.,  & Hayes-Lattin, B.  (2013). Patients’ perception of patient- provider communication in fertility preservation decision-making among young women with cancer. Sage Open. In Press. doi: In Process.

•Catania, J., Fontanarosa, L., Cahn, M., Orellana, E.R. & Holmes, W. (2013). Screening for and treatment of sexual abuse histories in boys and male adolescents. In: Sexual Assault Victimization across the Lifespan. St. Louis, MO: GW Medical Publishing.



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