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BCSSW Names Betancourt as Inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice

BCSSW Names Betancourt as Inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice


The Boston College School of Social Work has named Theresa S. Betancourt, Sc.D., M.A., the inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice.

Betancourt comes to Boston College from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she was associate professor of child health and human rights, director of the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA), and affiliated faculty at Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child. The RPCGA, a 12-person lab, joins her at BC as the Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA).

Betancourt’s research draws upon child development, humanitarian responses, global mental health, and implementation science. She develops sustainable, evidence-based mental health and preventive interventions for children, youth, and families in communities characterized by extreme resource constraints, including regions affected by armed conflict and HIV/AIDS.

Through the RPCA, her work spans the globe. As principal investigator of projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, she works to support war-affected youth in Sierra Leone. She is principal investigator of a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities-funded project to strengthen Somali Bantu and Bhutanese refugee families in the Greater Boston area. She also leads a project to promote early childhood development in Rwanda that is funded by a range of development agencies and foundations. In total, she has more than $8.5 million in research funding.

Betancourt also serves as affiliated faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility and of the Peter C. Alderman Foundation’s International Advisory Board.

The Salem Professorship in Global Practice was established in 2014 through a major gift from Boston College Trustee Navyn Datoo Salem ’94, H ’12 and her husband Paul J. Salem. The endowed professorship supports a scholar whose work is international in scope.

For more on Betancourt, click here to read the announcement from the Boston College Office of University Communications.