Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Faculty & Staff Directory

Michael P. Dentato, PhD

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

Office #:  Maguire Hall 534

Phone: 312.915.7030


CV Link: Michael Dentato CV

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 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 School of Social Service Administration 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, 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

  • Assessment of health and health disparities among sexual and gender 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 with vulnerable communities

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

  • SOWK 200     Introduction to Social Work
  • SOWK 305     Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SOWK 370     Promoting Social Justice and Empowerment

Graduate Courses

  • SOWK 500      Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SOWK 502      Promoting Social Justice and Empowerment
  • 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
  • SWFI  631S     Integrative Practice Seminar
  • 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