Kurt Organista

Job title: 

A leading expert on social work practice within the Latino community, Dr. Organista's research focuses on psychosocial problems within the Chicano and Latino communities, acculturation and adjustment of ethnic minorities to American societies, minority mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, depression in Latinos and HIV prevention with Mexican migrant laborers/Latinos. He holds the Harry and Riva Specht Chair for Publicly Supported Social Services. 

Dr. Organista's book, HIV Prevention with Latinos: Theory, Research and Practice, is the first-ever collection of texts written by leading authorities on the topic of HIV prevention among diverse Latino populations. It attempts to respond to the diminishing returns of the behavioral model of HIV risk by deconstructing the many social ecological contexts of risk within the Latino experience. He is also served as the principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse Alcoholism (NIAAA)-funded project that seeks to developing and test a structural-environmental model of HIV risk and prevention for migrant day laborers in San Francisco and Berkeley (2010 to 2015).

Dr. Organista currently teaches courses on social problems and psychopathology, stress and coping and social work practice with Latinx populations. social problems and psychopathology in our MSW program, and the American Cultures course, Race and ethnic relations and social welfare in the United States, as well as the Honors Thesis seminar for undergraduate majors in social welfare.

Honors and Awards

  • 2021 Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The Academy is an honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare through high-impact work that advances social good.
  • In May 2020 Dr. Organista received the American Cultures Excellence in Teaching Award for his inspiring and sustained commitment to creating a learning space able to hold the multiple challenges and opportunities that teaching AC content requires.
  • Leon Henkin Citation for Excellence in Mentoring Underrepresented Students, UC Berkeley, 2018

Expanded Publications

Organista, K. C., Jung, W., & Neilands, T. B. (2020). A structural-environmental model of alcohol and substance-related sexual HIV risk in Latino migrant day laborers. AIDS and Behavior, 24(11), 3176-3191.

Organista, K. C., Jung, W., & Neilands, T. B. (2019). Working and living conditions and psychological distress in Latino migrant day laborers. Health Education and Behavior, 46(4), 637-647.

Organista, K.C. & Ngo, S. (2018). Cultural resources mitigate discrimination-related psychological distress in Latino migrant day laborers. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(2), 232-241.

Organista, K. C., Arreola, S. G., & Neilands, T. B. (2017). Depression and alcohol use in Latino migrant day laborers. Substance Use and Misuse, 52(10), 1320-1327.

Organista, K. C., Ngo, S, Neilands, T. B., & Kral, A. H. (2017). Living conditions and psychological distress in Latino migrant day laborers: The role of cultural and community protective factors. American Journal of Community Psychology, 59, 94-105.

Organista, K. C., Arreola, S. G. & Neilands, T. (2016).  La desesperación in Latino migrant day laborers and its role in substance related sexual risk. Social Science and Medicine—Population Health, 2, 32-42.

Organista, K. C., Marcia, L., Martinez, C., Acalá, M. & Ramirez, J. (2016). Undocumented Latino migrant day laborers in the San Francisco Bay Area: Psychosocial, economic and political consequences. In R. Furman & A. Ackerman (Eds.), The Immigrant Other: Lived experiences in a transnational world (p. 90-106). New York:  Colombia University Press.

 Ojeda, L., & Organista, K. C. (2015). Latino American men. In Y.J. Wong & S. R. Wester (Eds.), APA handbook of the psychology of men and masculinities. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Hernandez, M. Y., & Organista, K. C. (2015). Qualitative exploration of an effective depression literacy fotonovela with at risk Latina immigrants. American Journal of Community Psychology, 56 (1-2), 79-88. DOI 10.1007/s10464-015-9729-8

Horevitz, E., Organista, K.C., & Arean, P. (2015). Depression treatment uptake in integrated primary care: Examination of the warm handoff and other decision making factors among Latino clients. General Hospital Psychiatry.

Organista, K. C., Worby, P.A., Quesada, J., Arreoloa, S. G., Kral, A.H. & Khoury, S. (in press). Sexual health of Latino migrant day laborers under conditions of structural vulnerability. Culture, Health & Sexuality.

Horevitz, E. O. & Organista, K. C. (in press). The Mexican Health Paradox: Expanding the explanatory power of the acculturation construct. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.

Organista, K. C. (2009). Latino clinical perspective on Montalvo’s ethnoracial gap in clinical practice with Latinos. Clinical Social Work Journal, 37, 287-293.

Organista, K. C. (2009). New practice model for Latinos in need of social work services. Social Work, 54(4), 297-305.

Organista, K. C. & Ehrlich, S. F. (2008). Predictors of condom use in Latino migrant day laborers. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 30(3), 379-396.

Organista, K. C. (2008). The plight and fight of farmworkers in the United States (pp. 103-113). In R. Nahmias, The migrant project: Contemporary California Farm Workers. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Brammeier, M., Chow, J. M., Samuel, M. C., Organista, K. C., Miller, J., & Bolan, G. (2008). Sexually transmitted diseases and risk behaviors among California agricultural workers: Results from a population-based survey. Journal of Rural Health, 24(3), 279-284

Organista, K. C. (2007). Commentary: The need to explicate culturally competent approaches with Latino clients. In J. Christopher Muran (Ed.), Dialogues on difference (pp. 168-175). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Organista, K. C. (2007). Solving Latino psychosocial and health problems: Theory, research, and populations. Hoboken, New Jersey: John J. Wiley & Sons, Publishers.

Limb, G., & Organista, K. C. (2006). Change between entry and graduation in MSW student views on social work’s traditional mission, career motivations, and practice preferences: Caucasians, students of color and American Indian group comparisons. Journal of Social Work Education, 42(2), 269-290.

Organista, K. C. (2006). Cognitive-behavioral therapy with Latinos and Latinas. In P. A. Hays and G. Y. Iwamasa, Culturally responsive cognitive-behavior therapy: Assessment, practice, and supervision (pp. 73-96). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Organista, K. C., Alvarado, N., Balbutin-Burnham, A., Worby, P., & Martinez, S. (2006). An exploratory study of HIV prevention with Mexican/Latino migrant day laborers. Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services, 5(2), 89-114.

Organista, K. C., & Kubo, A. (2005). Pilot survey of HIV risk and contextual problems and issues in Mexican/Latino migrant day laborers. Journal of Immigrant Health, 7(4), 269-281.

Organista, K. C., Carrillo, H., & Ayala, G. (2004). HIV prevention with Mexican migrants: Review, critique, and recommendations. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 37 (suppl. 4), S227-S239.

Organista, K. C. (2000). "Cognitive-behavioral group psychotherapy with Latinos." In A. Freeman and & J. R. White (Eds.), Handbook of group cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Organista, K. C., Balls Organista, P., Bola, J., Garcia de Alba, J., & Castillo Morán, M.A. (2000). "Predictors of condom use in Mexican migrants laborers." American Journal of Community Psychology, 28(2), 245-265.

Organista, K.C., Balls Organista, P., Garcia de Alba, G.J., Castillo Morán, M.A., & Ureta, L.E. (1997). Survey Of Condom-Related Knowledge, Beliefs, and Perceived Social Norms in Mexican Migrant Laborers, Journal of Community Health, 22(3):185-198.

Organista, K.C. & Balls Organista, P. (1997). Migrant Laborers and AIDS In The United States: A Review Of The Literature, AIDS Education and Prevention: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 9(1):83-93.

Organista, K.C. & Balls Organista, P. (1997). "Migrant laborers and AIDS in the United States: A review of the literature," AIDS Education and Prevention: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 9(1):83-93.

Organista, K.C. & Muñoz, R.F. (1996). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Latinos, Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 3:255-270.

Research interests: 
  • Behavioral Health and Prevention/Intervention
  • Health and Healthcare Disparities
  • Race/Class/Gender
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • HIV Prevention
  • Social Behavior


(510) 643-6671
Haviland Hall 223