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February Fellow of the Month

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Dr. Jorge Delva

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Dr. Jorge Delva, the new dean at Boston University’s School of Social Work, is effusive in his praise for the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). A brilliant and accomplished researcher and scholar, Dr. Delva credits the support and networking that he found as an MFP Fellow with jumpstarting his career, which resulted in his achieving enormous success in social work. Although he had originally been studying electrical engineering at the University of Hawaii, with an eye toward beginning a career in China, he decided that the best use of his intellect and skills would be to help solve some of the pressing social problems surrounding him.

Dr. Delva became an MFP Fellow in 1993, as a Ph.D. student at the University of Hawaii, until his graduation in 1996. He credits the MFP with providing him the opportunities to attend conferences, take summer statistical courses, and connect with researchers and scholars, which ultimately opened the door to his doing a post-doctoral fellowship at John Hopkins University, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “I had a few friends in the MFP and we were all in the job market at the same time,” Dr. Delva said. “We would exchange notes, ‘what did they ask you?’, and ‘how much did they offer you?’ It was a huge support to be able to call each other and to trust each other.”

Dr. Delva spent his early years in Chile with parents who were elementary school teachers, during the height of the Pinochet military dictatorship. After waiting 4 years for a U.S. visa, he was able to immigrate to Hawaii to live with an aunt. It was there he developed a passion for the plight of indigenous people and native Pacific Islanders. Later, his postdoc research took him to Latin and South America, before moving on to his successful stay at the top-rated University of Michigan School of Social Work, where he became the Kristine A. Siefert Collegiate Professor of Social Work and director of the Communities Engagement Program of the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (a National Institutes of Health center).

Dr. Delva has authored more than 130 publications, most of which focus on behavioral health and addiction issues among low-income and disadvantaged populations in the United States. He was recently inducted into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, an honor society recognizing excellence in social work scholarship, research, and practice. Delva became dean of Boston University’s School of Social Work on January 1, 2018. The university’s administrators believe his priorities are a good match for the school’s commitment to promoting social and economic justice through education, research, public service, and policy advocacy.

See also External Web Site Policy

Link to YouTube video of Dr. Delva discussing his time in the MFP: External Web Site Policy

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