Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Faculty & Staff Directory

Michael P. Dentato, PhD

Title/s: Assistant Professor

Office #: Maguire Hall 534

Phone: 312.915.7030

E-mail: mdentato@luc.edu

CV Link: Dentato CV_2018

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 PhD in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago examining the impact of minority stress on substance use and sexual risk among MSM. Prior to his position as Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Loyola, Dr. Dentato taught at institutions including Barry University in Miami Shores, FL where he was also the BSW Program Director; University of Illinois, Jane Addams College of Social Work; and University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. 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. His forthcoming edited text titled: Social Work Practice with the LGBTQ Community: The Intersection of History, Health, Mental Health and Policy Factors will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Program Areas

  • Practice
  • Human behavior
  • Policy
  • Non-profit leadership
  • Program design and evaluation
  • Sexual minority health disparities
  • Risk behaviors
  • Minority stress theory
  • Addiction disorders
  • Mental health and public health policy
  • LGBTQ lifespan development
  • Interprofessional collaborations
  • Service delivery

Research Interests

  • The assessment of health and health disparities among sexual minority populations
  • Preparedness of social work students to provide affirming practice and services for the LGBTQ community
  • Impact of macro practice, interprofessional education, effective non-profit leadership and service provision for vulnerable communities.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

  • SOWK 200     Introduction to Social Work
  • SOWK 305     Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Graduate Courses

  • SOWK 500      Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SOWK 502     Promoting Social Justice and Empowerment: The Intersection of Oppression, Privilege and Diversity in Social Work
  • SOWK 504      Social Work with Individuals & Families II
  • SOWK 602      Health Policy & Systems 
  • SOWK 605      Human Sexuality & Sexual Dysfunction
  • SOWK 610H   Social Policy & Practice/Mental Health
  • SOWK 631S    Integrative Practice Seminar
  • SOWK 650      Staff Management & Development in the Social Services
  • SOWK 653      Program Management & Development Practice
  • SOWK 656      Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Populations