Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Roberto Orellana

Professor, School of Social Work
University of Washington
Box: 354900


CSDE Research Areas:

  • Demographic Measurements and Methods
  • Environments and Populations
  • Health of People and Populations

In the News:


E. Roberto Orellana joined University of Washington’s School of Social Work as a professor in 2021. Before joining UW, he was professor and associate dean for research and sponsored projects in the School of Social Work at Portland State University (PSU) where he also served as an affiliate faculty in Public Health and Indigenous Nations Studies. He has held visiting research scientist appointments at Columbia University’s Social Intervention Group, UCSD’s Department of Global Public Health, and collaborating faculty at Harvard University School of Public Health.

Internationally, Orellana has worked with several indigenous organizations, is a member of the board of directors of a research and education nonprofit organization in Guatemala, and has served on the research advisory council of the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV/AIDS. These international institutions are dedicated to HIV prevention and health promotion among indigenous populations worldwide.

Orellana is currently involved in some of the most challenging public-health issues of the day including developing culturally tailored training for Latinx social workers who are providing COVID-19 contact tracing and vaccine promotion among Latinx communities in the Pacific Northwest; a national HIV behavioral surveillance project focused on high-risk populations; and an international indigenous health research training program serving Peru, Guatemala, Nepal and Hawaii.

Orellana received a BA in psychology in 2002, MSW in 2004, and MPH in 2005, all from the University of Washington. In 2009, he earned a doctoral degree in social work from Columbia University and a master’s degree in philosophy from that same institution.

His post-doctoral training included a global health delivery program at Harvard School of Public Health, research fellowships with the UW School of Social Work’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute and the HIV Intervention Science Training Program at Columbia University. He also received advanced intervention science training from the NIH Office of AIDS Research.

A prolific author and sought-after conference presenter/panelist, Orellana has contributed numerous articles to scientific and research publications and has made keynote or other significant presentations at conferences in Mexico City; Durban, South Africa; Washington, D.C.; Calgary, Alberta; New Orleans; San Francisco; and Pucallpa, Peru, among other places.

Orellana is a member of many professional organizations, including the Society for Prevention Research, Society for Social Work and Research, International AIDS Society, American Public Health Association, Council on Social Work Education, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicano/Hispanic and Native Americans in Science.