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: M. Dentato CV- 2016

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.


PhD     Loyola University Chicago, 2011
MSW    Fordham University, 1997
BA       Fordham University, 1991

Program Areas

Teaching/Areas of Interest

Dr. Dentato teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in practice, human behavior, policy, non-profit leadership, program design and evaluation. His scholarship centers around sexual minority health disparities and risk behaviors, minority stress theory, addiction disorders, mental health and public health policy, LGBTQ lifespan development, interprofessional collaborations, non-profit leadership, and service delivery.

Research Interests

Dr. Dentato's research centers around three domains including: 1) the assessment of health and health disparities among sexual minority populations; 2) the preparedness of social work students to provide affirming practice and services for the LGBTQ community and; 3) the impact of macro practice, interprofessional education, effective non-profit leadership and service provision for vulnerable communities.

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Harrington Park Press, Senior Advisory Board (2016 – Present)
  • Loyola University Chicago, Institute for Transformative Interprofessional Education Ambassador (2016 – Present)
  • Behavioral Medicine, Associate Editor (2013 – Present)
  • The Gabe W. Miller Memorial Foundation, Advisory Board Member (2012 – Present)
  • LGBT Caucus of Social Work Faculty & Doctoral Students (2010 – Present)
  • The Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development, New York University, Research Affiliate (2010 – Present)
  • Center on Halsted, Consultant Programs Director & Evaluator (2011 – 2012)
  • CSWE, Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity & Expression, Councilor (2009 – 2015) and Co-Chair (2013 – 2015)
  • CSWE, Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice (2014 – 2015)
  • Test Positive Aware Network, Board of Directors (2012 – 2015) and Chair (2013 – 2014)

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 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 612      Family Assessment & Intervention
SOWK 616      Psychotherapy with Adults

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
SOWK 724      Substance Abuse Treatment in Groups

Selected Publications


Dentato, M. P.,Craig, S. L., Lloyd, M. R., Kelly, B. L., Wright, C., & Austin, A. (2016).Homophobia within schools of social work: The critical need for affirming classroom settings and effective preparation for service with the LGBTQ community. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 35(6), 672-692.doi: 10.1080/02615479.2016.1150452

Craig, S. L., Dentato, M. P., Messinger, L., & McInroy, L. (2016). Educational determinants of readiness to practice with LGBTQ clients: Social work students speak out. British Journal of Social Work, 46(1), 115-134. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcu107

Salisbury, M. E., & Dentato, M.P. (2016).An exploratory study examining needs, access and competent social services for the transgender community in Phoenix, AZ. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 26(2),119-136. doi: 10.1080/10911359.2015.1052911

Craig, S. L., Dentato, M.P.,& Iacovino, G. (2015). Patching holes and integrating community: A strengths-based continuum of care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 27:1, 100-115. doi: 10.1080/10538720.2015.988317

Dentato, M. P., Craig, S. L., Messinger, L., Lloyd, M. R., & McInroy, L. B. (2014). Outness among LGBTQ social work students in North America: The contribution of environmental supports and perceptions of comfort. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 33(4), 485-501. doi: 10.1080/02615479.2013.855193

Dentato, M. P.,Orwat, J., Spira, M. K., & Walker, B. (2014). Examining cohort differences and resilience among the aging LGBT community: Implications for education and practice among an expansively diverse population. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 24(3) 316-328. doi: 10.1080/10911359.2013.831009

Dentato, M. P. (2014). Gender dysphoria: Examining diagnostic criteria and implications for mental health providers. Continuing Education, SW21, 1-18. Gannett Education.

Dentato, M. P., Halkitis, P. N., & Orwat, J. (2013). Minority stress theory: An examination of factors surrounding sexual risk behavior among gay and bisexual men who use club drugs. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 25(4),509-525. doi: 10.1080/10538720.2013.829395

Dentato, M.P. (2013). Gender identity disorder: What mental health providers need to know. Continuing Education, SW18, 1-18. Gannett Education.

Dentato, M.P. (2012).The challenges of coming out: The impact on well-being. Continuing Education, SW12, 1-20.Gannett Education.

Orwat, J., Saitz, R., Tompkins, C. P., Cheng, D. M., Dentato, M. P., & Samet, J. H. (2011). Substance abuse treatment utilization among adults living with HIV/AIDS and alcohol or drug problems. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 41(3),233-242. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.04.002

Dentato, M. P.,Craig, S. L., & Smith, M. S. (2010). The vital role of social workers in community partnerships for GLBTQ youth. The Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 27(5), 323-334.doi: 10.1007/s10560-010-0210-0

Orwat, J., Samet, J. H., Tompkins, C. P., Cheng, D. M., Dentato, M. P., & Saitz, R. (2010). Factors associated with attendance in 12-step groups (Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous) among adults with alcohol problems living with HIV/AIDS. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 113(2-3), 165-171.doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.07.02

Book Chapters

Dentato, M. P., Craig, S.L ., & McInroy, L. B. (2016). Well-being and health considerations for the aging lesbian community: Understanding age cohorts, partnerships and caregiving among other unique needs (pp. 1-12). In T. Kilbane & M. Spira (Eds.), Older women: Current and future challenges of professionals with an aging population. Benham Publishing.

Orwat, J., Dentato, M. P., & Lloyd, M. (2015). The influence of a neo liberal world view on health care policy (pp.330-341). In S. N. Haymes; M. Vidal de Haymes & R. J. Miller (Eds.), Routledge handbook on poverty in the United States. London: Routledge Press.

Sokolec, J., & Dentato, M. P. (2014). The effect of marginalization on the healthy aging of LGBTQ older adults (pp. 321-326). In H. Pereira & P. Costa (Eds.), Coming out for LGBT psychology in the current international scenario. Lisbon: International Academy of LGBT Psychology and Related Fields.

Orwat, J., Boyle, L., Dentato, M. P., & Faulkner-Beard, T. (2014). Substance use disorders & ethical considerations for social workers (pp. 1-22). In J. Marley (Ed.), MySearchLab with eText for MyHelpingLibrary. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.

Encyclopedia Entries

Kelly, B. L., & Dentato, M. P. (2016). Substance abuse treatment for LGBT people. The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Dentato, M. P. (2014).Queer Communities (Competency and Positionality).NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work, 1-13.New York, NY:Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.881

Invited Publications

Dentato, M. P. (2012). The minority stress perspective. Psychology & AIDS Exchange, 37, 12- 15. (Spring Issue). American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C.

Technical & Research Reports

Fisher-Borne, M. Craig, S. L., Alessi, E. J., Dentato, M. P., Austin, A., Paceley, M., Wagaman, A., Argüello, T., Lewis, T., Balestrery, J., & Van Der Horn, R. (2016). Guidelines for Affirmative Social Work Education: Enhancing the Climate for LGBQQ Students, Staff and Faculty in Social Work Education. Council on Social Work Education. Alexandria, VA.

Craig, S. L., McInroy, L. B., Dentato, M. P., Austin, A., & Messinger, L. (2015). Social work students speak out! The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students in social work programs: A study report from the CSWE Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression. Toronto, Canada: Authors.


Dentato, M. P. & Deni, H. (2016, April 24). LGBTQ Aging Issues in Higher Education: What’s Happening on Campus? American Society on Aging, LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN). Retrieved from: http://asaging.org/blog/lgbtq-aging-issues-higher-education-whats-happening-campus