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Roberto Orellana
Roberto Orellana


  • Associate Dean for Research & Sponsored Projects
  • Professor

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.

Academic/Research Focus

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 individuals at high risk for HIV infection.

Dr. Orellana is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work. He is also an affiliate faculty member at PSU's School of Community Health and the Department of Indigenous Nations Studies. 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. Dr. Orellana has experience in the science of HIV and substance abuse prevention research with vulnerable populations, especially indigenous populations, and other racial/ethnic and sexual minorities in the U.S. and in Latin America. 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 has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including NIMH, NIDA, and NIMHD. 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 vulnerable populations in the Mexico/Guatemala border region. In Oregon, Dr. Orellana is conducting a study examining social and health service utilization by homeless youth; and, he is also the lead evaluator for the Oregon Health Authority’s youth suicide prevention programming, and prescription drug overdose prevention. 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.



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