Dr. Dean Rivera is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Postdoctoral Research Scientist. Since
2003, Dr. Rivera’s research and professional experience have centered on system- and
individual-level factors that affect the treatment and well-being of individuals and families
affected by a substance use disorder (SUD). At Columbia University, Dr. Rivera is receiving
advanced implementation science training while working on the HEALing Communities Study,
which uses a multisystem and multilevel intervention model (Communities That Heal) to reduce
opioid overdose deaths by 40% and increase access to naloxone and medication assisted treatment among 67 communities across four states.
In Los Angeles, California, Dr. Rivera conducted a multisite research study with women’s SUD
treatment providers (directors and clinicians) to generate a deeper understanding of how cross-
system policies and clinical practices between problem-solving courts (PSC), child welfare
(CW), and SUD treatment systems adversely affect treatment processes and outcomes. At the
individual level, his research seeks to advance understanding of women’s SUD treatment
retention and completion differences and associated psychological risk factors between the three primary SUD treatment entry pathways (PSC, CW, and self-referral).
Through an implementation science framework, Dr. Rivera’s research focuses on multisystem
and multilevel implementation of evidence-based interventions and practices that will improve
SUD treatment delivery systems, treatment provision, and outcomes for individuals and
communities affected by SUDs.
Various grant, scholarship foundations, and universities have supported Dr. Rivera’s future such
as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) T32 Training Program on HIV and Substance
Use in the Criminal Justice System, the University of Southern California Hamovitch Research
Center, the California State University Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Fellowship, the
California State University Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the National Hispanic Science Network, the
Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic Community Affairs Council, the National Association
of Social Workers (Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship), and the CalSWEC II mental
health stipend award.
Dr. Dean Rivera has been honored and recognized by distinguished politicians, including California Attorney General Rob Bonta and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee (13th District) for his community engaged service and advocacy. Being further recognized by President Barack Obama, receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award, reinforces Dr. Rivera’s passion and commitment to improving SUD treatment delivery systems, policies, and clinical practices through social work science.
Dean holds a PhD from the University of Southern California, an MSW from California State University, East Bay, and a BA in Human Development from California State University, East Bay.
Rivera, Dueker, & Amaro, 2020
Rivera, Dueker, Sanchez, & Amaro, 2021