While beginning her career in the 1980’s in the field of psychology, Dory Magasis Escobar, PhD has focused her work for the last several decades primarily on community organizing, coalition building, and grassroots leadership development.
As Director of Healthy Communities and then of Community Benefit at St. Joseph Health Sonoma County for 13 years, Dory oversaw community organizing, collaboration and other Healthy Communities programs; as well as the organization’s Community Benefit planning and reporting. Dory’s innovative integration of community organizing and collaboration into hospital Community Benefit work led to her participation in national work groups convened by the CDC, Dept. of Health & Human Services, and the Obama Administration’s White House Office on Neighborhood and Faith-Based Partnerships. Prior to joining St. Joseph’s, Dory worked for 11 years in El Salvador in the areas of community mental health, community-based rehabilitation, community organizing, and coalition building.
Her experience excludes training community health workers, or promotorxs de salud; as well as working with promotorxs and their supervising institutions on how to understand and address the risk and protective factors for secondary stress and traumatization that are experienced at community, institutional and personal levels. Dory founded Coaction Institute to help build capacity of community leaders and institutions such as community-based organizations, hospitals, public health agencies, other community stakeholders seeking to increase and enhance their capacities in collaboration, strategic planning and program evaluation, and authentic community engagement. Currently, Dr. Escobar also coordinates the Applied Practice Experience component of the University of San Francisco’s Master of Public Health program, in which she teaches Public Health Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation; Cultural Awareness and Humility for Health; Leadership; Collaboration and Community Organizing; and Applied Practice Experience Preparation and Seminars.