Omar López is a clinical professor of field education (FE) after receiving a faculty appointment at USC in 2010. He held the inaugural administrative appointment of vice-chair, FE in the Department of Children, Youth, and Families from 2014-2018. He currently holds an administrative appointment as director (inaugural) of stipend programs, leading a team of faculty and staff who manage and implement several specialized workforce development programs funded by federal, state and local dollars. Under his leadership (mostly as principal investigator - PI), these programs have been awarded $17.1 million in funding from 2014 to date (2019) with over $8.7 million allocated to 502 MSW students in stipends ranging from $4,000 to $37,000. These programs offer students specialized curriculum and training that prepares them to pursue careers in public child welfare, public mental health, integrative behavioral health and geriatrics.
Prof. López is also PI of an international project that is seeking to improve the child protection system in El Salvador.
As a former undocumented immigrant from Mexico with significant professional experience in the field of immigration, López applies his expertise to a number of initiatives. He developed and implemented a global immersion program titled “Pathways to Immigration," which is designed to increase the understanding of the causes and dynamics of immigration, including current policies and legislation that impact delivery of services to immigrant families in the United States. He takes students on a migratory journey in reverse from Los Angeles to San Diego, Baja California, Mexico City, Puebla City ending in Coatzingo, a migrant-sending community.
Prof. López has been faculty advisor to the school's Latinx and International Social Work student caucuses as he continues to support all students with an emphasis on those from underrepresented communities. López previously shared responsibilities for San Diego Academic Center FE activities and was the lead in the development of the Community Organization, Planning and Administration (COPA) concentration and nontraditional social work internships in San Diego.
In addition to the Pathways to Immigration course, Prof. López has also taught integrative FE seminars, leadership, stipend seminars, and a national immersion to Washington D.C. focused on child development and social policy.
He is completing a doctorate of education in higher education administration at USC.
San Diego State University: M. S. W. 2001
University of California, San Diego: B. A. 1999
Areas of Expertise (9)
Social Services for Families
Workforce Development Initiatives
Child Welfare Issues
Macro Social Work
Social Work Education
Higher Education Administration
Industry Expertise (8)
Training and Development
Professional Training and Coaching
Sterling C. Franklin Award for Distinguished Faculty, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
2020 - For achieving recognition in the scientific community and addressing solutions to important social problems.
Champion of Children Award, Drew Child Development Corporation
Award of Gratitude for Leadership and Guidance, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School Social Work Latina/o Social Work Caucus
Hutto Patterson Foundation Award for Distinguished Faculty, USC School of Social Work
2015 - For excellence in teaching, service to the university, the school, and the community.
Commencement Marshal, USC School of Social Work
40 under 40 Award by San Diego Metro Magazine
2013 - Individuals with Bright Minds and Community Spirit.
Urban Leader Under 40 Award, Urban League of San Diego County
2012 - For the few who are proven leaders in their fields and gave their time and commitment empowering communities and changing lives.
Angel in Adoption Congressional Award
2011 - Awarded by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C.
Appreciation Award as Faculty Advisor, USC School Social Work student Latina/o Caucus
Appreciation Award, SDSU School of Social Work, Title IV-E Program
2010 - For exceptional service and commitment to the School and the County of San Diego.
Certificate of Appreciation by County of San Diego, HHSA
2009 - Outstanding Service, Devotion, Dedication, and Lasting Contributions from 2001 to 2009.
Teamwork and Collaboration for Valuable Contributions, County of San Diego, HHSA-South Region
Shining Star Award as Inspirational Field Instructor, County of San Diego, HHSA-Child Welfare Services
Recognition Award for Outstanding Service as President, SEIU Local 221, Social Welfare Chapter
Certificate of Appreciation, SDSU School of Social Work, Title IV-E Program
2007 - for Leadership and Contributions Supporting the Education and Professional Development of All Social Work Students.
Teamwork and Collaboration Award, Child Welfare Services’ Director, County of San Diego, HHSA
Appreciation Award for Dedication and Commitment, San Diego Latino Social Work Network, Inc.
Grand Challenges (1)
Ensure healthy development for all youth
Within a decade, we can reduce the incidence and prevalence of behavioral health problems in
the population of young people from birth to age 24 by 20% from current levels and reduce
racial and socioeconomic disparities in behavioral health problems by 20 percent through the
widespread implementation of tested and effective preventive interventions.
- Corporate Training