Photo Credit: Flynn Larsen 2016, courtesy of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Iran Barrera, associate professor in the Department of Social Work Education at Fresno State, has been appointed the chair of the Cultural Competence Track for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), effective January 2017 to December 2019.

Barrera has been a member of the council for the past eight years, which is a national nonprofit association that represents more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education.

“Having a presence at the national level is amazing and exciting for the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno State and the Department of Social Work Education,” Barrera said. “This opportunity will allow me to network with the top researchers in the nation that contribute to the knowledge base of culture in health – and disseminate the knowledge here in the San Joaquin Valley.”

As the chair of the Cultural Competence Track, Barrera will lead the selection and organization process regarding content for the CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting (APM). This includes recruiting qualified colleagues to conduct reviews of submitted APM proposals, conducting second reviews and final recommendations of proposals, maintaining a network of track members, and organizing and implementing a track business meeting at each APM.

The track Barrera will lead promotes innovative work on cultural competence that facilitates dialogue, exploration, and identification of new directions for curriculum, leadership, research and pedagogy. The track encourages critical thinking to enhance the development of a multisystem knowledge-base in cultural competence for social work educators, researchers and administrators.

Cultural competence is an area Barrera has been teaching in for 11 years as a social work instructor.

“To be selected for this position speaks to the value the organization has on my work surrounding the role of cultural health,” Barrera said. “I am blessed to be able to have the opportunity to share this with not only my students at Fresno State but also the vulnerable and oppressed communities in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond.”

Founded in 1952, the CSWE serves as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the country and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Barrera was recently selected to participate in Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a national research team to promote a culture of health nationwide. His team will specifically look at identifying the health risks that stem from living in disadvantaged communities.

For more information, contact Barrera at or 559.278.0398.