Omar Lopez is a clinical associate professor of field education and serves as vice chair of its Department of Children, Youth and Families. He holds an administrative appointment as assistant director of field education, leading a team of faculty and staff who manage and implement six specialized workforce development programs. These programs provide stipends to students pursuing careers in fields such as public child welfare and public mental health. He also oversees two of these programs as project coordinator for the California Social Work Education Center.
López is principal investigator of the USC Tri-County Behavioral Health Training Consortium, which aims to enhance the education and training of master’s of social work students committed to providing improved behavioral health services for transition-age youth who are at risk of mental illness, substance abuse, violence and suicide. The consortium is part of the Obama administration’s Now is the Time plan to reduce incidents of mass shootings.
He continues to lead efforts for an innovative pilot program — through the University Consortium for Children and Families — that seeks to advance the safety and well-being of children and at-risk families in Los Angeles County using a teaching institute model of field education with co-located field placements at the Department of Children and Families Services and SHIELDS for Families.
López previously shared responsibilities for all San Diego Academic Center field activities, taught integrative seminars, and was the lead in the development of the Community Organization, Planning and Administration concentration and nontraditional social work internships in San Diego. He was also a faculty adviser to the Latino/a and International Social Work caucuses at SDAC.
Prior to his USC appointment, López served as field faculty at San Diego State University’s School of Social Work, where he held the position of SDSU/Health and Human Services Agency-Child Welfare Services liaison. He has an eight-year background in county government as a child welfare social worker delivering administrative and direct services. He was also an elected officer of his county union, including president, and held other professional roles, such as a research consultant for Columbia University.
San Diego State University: M. S. W. 2001
University of California, San Diego: B. A. 1999
Areas of Expertise (6)
Industry Expertise (4)
Hutto Patterson Foundation Award for Distinguished Faculty, USC School of Social Work (professional)
Commencement Marshal, USC School of Social Work (professional)