Joseph Gallegos, PhD, MSW

Interim Program Director
Areas I Teach 

Areas of Research & Specialization

I am a professor of social work education with over forty years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education. My research has broadly focused on cultural mental health. I have specialized in gerontology and social policy. I am cited in the social work literature as initiating the concept of cultural competence which has guided much of my research and advocacy work. Western Research Associates is my consulting firm specializing in social research and program development. Most recently I served two terms in the Oregon State Legislature House of Representatives. Social justice is my passion.

I live in Hillsboro with my wife Sheila, her cat Potato, and my dog Maya. My daughter Amelia is a funeral director in the bay area. Maya and I love anything that takes us outdoors, snowshoeing, kayaking, camping, hiking, backpacking, as well as road trips and horseback riding (well Maya not so much the last one.) 



2001   Sophia University                              Summer         Japanese culture

      Tokyo, Japan                                      Course            Language/Religion


1999   Centro Mexicano International        Summer          Spanish/International

2001   Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico             Course            Social Work


1997   Instituto Cultural                              Summer         Spanish/Indigenous

      Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico                    Course            Mexican Culture


1983   University of Maryland,                    Post‑Doc         Mental Health

1984   College Park, MD                                                       Research Management


1978   University of Denver,                        Ph.D.               Social Welfare/

      Denver, CO                                                                 Mental Health


1973   Portland State University,                M.S.W.             Psychiatric

      Portland, OR                                                              Social Work


1972   Portland State University,                B.S.                  Psych/Soc &

      Portland, OR                                                              Social Work


1972   Centro Internacional de                   Summer         Spanish/

      Documentación, Cuernavaca,          Course            Social Change


Why I study social work

Social work has allowed me to live an actualize life of doing what I believe.  In the words of George Eliot “What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?”  Or, as I conclude, “Why are we here if not to leave the world a little better place than when we came.”  Further, social work has allowed me learn how to focus my knowledge, skills, and values on social justice work.

What I would tell a student considering social work

I would tell students that social work education is the most versatile degree.  It is the helping profession that addresses individual as well as community and even society. Social work is the one applied helping profession that uses knowledge from any and all disciplines that may better the human condition.

Personal Affiliations

Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Commissioner

Council on Social Work Education, former Commissioner

National Association of Social Work, Social Work Pioneer


Selected Publications and Presentations

“Leading with Values,” OLAA Leadership Institute for Public Service, Center for Public Service, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University, August 11, 2017, Portland, Oregon

“Social Policy Practice and Leadership Development:  Returning School Social Workers to Oregon Schools,” Social Policy 2 Conference, St. Louis Mo, April, 2016

“Increasing Students’ Interest in Gerontological Social Work through a Research Methods Course.” Poster presented at the 55th Annual Program Meeting, 2009, with Rogers, A., November 6-9, San Antonio, TX.

“The need for advancement in the conceptualization of cultural competence,” Gallegos, J.S., Tindall, C., Gallegos, S.A. (2008).    Advances in Social Work, 9(1), 51-62.

“Mentorship--and Beyond:  Engaging Undergraduate Students in Gerontological Participatory Action Research by Design,” Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Conference Presentation, Portland, Oregon, March 2007.

“Pathways to health and mental health service utilization among older Mexicans and Mexican Americans,” the International Social Work Journal January 2007.

Columbia County Even Start Program Evaluation, Community Action Team, St. Helens, Oregon September, 2006.


Second-Hand Cigarette Smoke in Latino Business Establishments Study,

Oregon Human Development Corporation, Tigard, Oregon September, 2006


Latino Alumni Study: 10 Year Scholarship Recipients, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Portland, Oregon, June 2006.

Instructor’s Manual:  Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Textbook published by McGraw-Hill Publishers.  Textbook is part of a series of books targeted toward social work core curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs. 2005.


Cultural influences on life satisfaction: A comparative study of Japanese and Japanese-American elders. Hallym International Journal of Aging, 5(1), 19-39. 2004


“Hispanic Initiatives:  Pathways to health and mental service utilization:  A comparison of Older Mexicans and Mexican Americans,” Baccalaureate Program Directors Conference, Reno, Nevada, October, 2003.


“Hispanic Initiative:  Models for institutional change with case examples,” Paper to be presented at the annual meeting of NASW, Idaho chapter, Boise, ID. 2003


“Pathways to health and mental service utilization:  A comparison of Older Latinos and Latino Americans,” paper to be presented at the 1st Annual National Gerontology Social Work Conference at CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting, Atlanta, GA. 2003


“Oaxaca, Mexico, a Case Study in Post-Modern Perspectives for Redefining Social Development in the New Global Order,” and “Pathways to health and mental health service utilization among older Japanese,” International Conference of Schools of Social Work, July, 2002, Montpellier, France.


“Conversando en familia: Comparison of intra-family violence in families immigrating from Morelia and Oaxaca, Mexico to Portland, OR,” NASW State Conference, November 2000; and 2nd Annual Power in Partnership Conference, October, 2000, both in Portland, OR.


“Cultural Competence and International Social Work,” Conference Proceedings, International Federation of Social Workers, World Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September, 2000.


“Bias Motivated Violence:  Feeding on Fear,” Treatment Today, Summer Issue, Quest Publications, 1999.


2009                Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Award, Portland, Oregon Jan, 2010.

2008                St. Martin de Porres Trust, “Community based partnership project.”

2004                Nominated for election to the Nominations Committee of the National Board of Directors for the Council on Social Work Education.

Oregon state, “Latino Tobacco Education Project” grant with Oregon Human Development Corp.

Campus Compact Grant “Oregon Latino K-12, Hunger, and Urban Rural Project,”

                        Butine, “Latino Civic Engagement protocol development project”

2003               Campus Compact Grant “Hispanic Initiative Workshops”; Selected, Oregon/Mexico Health Exchange delegate.  UP Social Work Program Awarded Accreditation Candidacy Status

2002               Selected, Oregon American Leadership Forum Class 17

Portland State University (research grant), “Civic Decision Making:  Transnational Perspectives”

Oregon Campus Compact Grant award, “Hispanic Initiative at University of Portland”

Awarded:  Butine Travel Grant—Research Presentation Montpellier France

 2001              Nominated:    Leadership for a Changing World

 2000              Butine Faculty Development Award, “Sophia University Summer Program in Japan”

 2000              Butine Research Award, “Interviews of Japanese Elderly in Japan and U.S.”

 2000              Oregon College Compact, service/learning mini-grant

 1999              Butine Research Award, “Morelia—International Social Work Course Development.”

 1999              St. Martin de Porres Trust, “Indigenous Migrant Workers from Michoacan, Mexico.”

 1999              Oregon state Award for Civil Rights work on behalf of state of Oregon                           Hispanic population, Oregon Uniting, Oregon State Capitol, Salem.

Office Location: Eugene Campus, Suite 200, Office 200-A