Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Michael P. Dentato, PhD

Title/s:  Associate Dean for Research; Professor; Co-Director: Center for Field Innovation, Research, Strategy, and Training (C-FIRST)

Office #:  Maguire Hall 534

Phone: 312.915.7030

Email: mdentato@luc.edu

CV Link: Dentato_M

Mission in Action

Providing transformative educational experiences while emphasizing the promotion of social justice is an ever apparent and integral focus of mine whether teaching in the classroom, providing service to the community, or conducting research. It has always been my goal to assist students with understanding the importance of promoting social justice along with emphasizing the critical role we play in eliminating oppression of marginalized communities throughout fields of practice and the profession of social work. Whether examining the implications of clinical practice with the LGBTQ community or preparing students for macro practice and leadership within non-profit organizations, social justice must remain a visible element across the curriculum. In the same regard, providing real world examples from my past and present work in the field has been essential in providing a foundation for practice-informed social work, connecting theory and student experiences for a platform through which to illustrate the important intersection of social justice. My commitment to social justice in the classroom and beyond is continually influenced by the Jesuit pedagogy of transformative education which underscores: “the conviction that faith, knowledge, and the promotion of justice are intrinsically related.”


Dr. Dentato received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work degrees from Fordham University in New York City. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago examining the impact of minority stress on substance use and sexual risk behavior among gay and bisexual men. Over the years, Dr. Dentato has taught at institutions including Barry University in Miami Shores, FL, where he was also the BSW Program Director; The Jane Addams College of Social Work at The University of Illinois; The Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at The University of Chicago; and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. In addition to his teaching, research and scholarship interests noted below, Dr. Dentato has over twenty years of community-based and consultant experience including clinical, administrative, and policy work throughout his tenure in New York City, Miami and Chicago. He is the editor of Social Work Practice with the LGBTQ+ Community: The Intersection of History, Health, Mental Health and Policy Factors, which is the second edition of his text published by Oxford University Press.

Program Areas

  • Sexual and gender minority health disparities
  • Minority stress theory
  • Substance use disorders
  • LGBTQ+ lifespan development
  • Interprofessional collaborations
  • Non-profit leadership and management
  • Program design, implementation, and evaluation

Research Interests

  • Evaluation of health and health disparities among sexual and gender minority populations.
  • Preparedness of social work students for affirming practice and service provision with the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Assessment of macro practice, interprofessional education, effective non-profit leadership, and service delivery among diverse populations.

Courses Taught


  • SOWK 305 Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SOWK 370 Power, Oppression, Privilege, & Social Justice


  • SOWK 500 Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SOWK 502 Power, Oppression, Privilege, & Social Justice
  • SOWK 605 Human Sexuality & Sexual Dysfunction
  • SOWK 650 Staff Management & Development in the Social Services
  • SOWK 653 Program Management & Development Practice
  • SOWK 656 Advanced Social Work Practice with LGBTQ+ Populations


  • SOWK 822 Organizational Analysis
  • SOWK 829 Doctoral Teaching Practicum: Focus on Diversity