Leopoldo J. Cabassa

Associate Professor of Social Work


Dr. Cabassa joined the CUSSW faculty in July 2012. He is also an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work (in Psychiatry) in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Assistant Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Before becoming affiliated with Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, he was an assistant professor at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work and at the USC Keck School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Dr. Cabassa has received support for his work from the National Institute of Mental Health and the New York State Office of Mental Health. He was recently awarded an NIMH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) to examine the implementation of health care interventions for Hispanics with serious mental illness and develop a collaborative planning approach for interventions in outpatient public mental health clinics. 
Dr. Cabassa is a member of the Society for Social Work and Research, Academy Health, and the American Public Health Association. In June 2011, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry.


Research Interests:

  • Racial and ethnic disparities in health and mental health care
  • Integrated physical and mental health services for underserved racial and ethnic minorities with serious mental illness
  • Implementation science and mental health services research

Current Projects:

  • Implementing Health Care Intervention for Hispanics with Serious Mental Illness, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health
  • Integrating Physical and Mental Health Care for People with Serious Mental Illness, an initiative supported by the NYS Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at NYSPI  

Selected Publications:

Cabassa, L. J. (2003).  Measuring acculturation: Where we are and where we need to go. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 25 (2), 127-146. 
Stiffman, A. R., Pescosolido, B., & Cabassa, L. J. (2004).  Building a model to understand youth service access:  The Gateway Provider Model.  Mental Health Services Research, 6 (4), 189-198.
Zayas, L. H., Lester, R. J., Cabassa, L. J., & Fortuna, L. R. (2005).  Why do many Latina teens attempt suicide? A conceptual model.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75 (2), 275-287.
Cabassa, L. J., Zayas, L. H., & Hansen, M.  (2006).  Latino adults’ access to mental health services: A review of epidemiological studies.  Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 33(3), 316-330. PMCID: PMC2551758
Cabassa, L. J., Lester, R., & Zayas, L. H.  (2007).  “It’s like being in a labyrinth:” Hispanic immigrants’ perceptions of depression and attitudes toward treatments.  Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 9 (1), 1-16.  PMCID: PMC3160757
Cabassa, L. J., & Zayas, L. H. (2007).  Latino immigrants’ intentions to seek depression care. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(2) 231-242. 
Cabassa, L. J. & Hansen, M. (2007). A systematic review of depression treatments in primary care for Latino adults.  Research on Social Work Practice, 17 (4), 494-503.
Cabassa, L. J.,  Hansen, M., Palinkas, L. A., & Ell, K. (2008).  Azúcar y nervios: Explanatory models and treatment experiences of Hispanics with diabetes and depression. Social Science Medicine, 66 (12), 2413-2424.  PMCID: PMC2475593
Cabassa, L. J., Ezell, J. & Lewis-Fernández, R. (2010).  Lifestyle interventions for adults with serious mental illness: A systematic literature review. Psychiatric Services, 61  (8), 774-782.
Cabassa, L. J., Blanco, C., Castroman, J., Lin, K, Lui, M. & Lewis-Fernández, R.  (2011). Racial and ethnic differences in diabetes among individuals with and without psychiatric disorders:  Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. General Hospital Psychiatry, 33 (2), 107-115. PMCID: PMC3099036
Cabassa, L. J., Druss, B., Wang, Y., & Lewis- Fernández., R.  (2011).  Collaborative planning approach to inform the implementation of a health care manager intervention for Hispanics with serious mental illness: A study protocol. Implementation Science, 6 (1), 80. PMCID: PMC3169485
Unger, J. B., Cabassa, L. J., Molina, G. B., Contreras, S., & Baron, M. (In Press).  Evaluation of a fotonovela to increase depression knowledge and reduce stigma among Hispanic adults.  Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.
Cabassa, L. J., Parcesepe, A., Nicasio, A., Baxter, E. Tsemberis S. & Lewis-Fernández, R., (In Press). Health and wellness photovoice project: Engaging consumers with serious mental illness in health care intervention.  Qualitative Health Research.
Parcesepe, A. & Cabassa, L. J. (In Press)  Public stigma of mental illness in the United States: A Systematic literature review Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research.