Thom deLaraM.S.W., M.B.A.
Professor of Practice
Thom deLara is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University, where he previously served for 14 years as the department chair. Prior to joining Syracuse University, Professor deLara was the chief executive for two not-for-profit organizations, and served as vice-president of business development and strategic planning for a large health care organization. He has also served as the director of the FORUM business management program for SUNY Empire State College, and has forty years of experience as a mental health practitioner and management consultant. Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse, Professor deLara taught courses at Cornell University on the Politics of Public Budgeting, Critical Issues in Healthcare, and Strategic Management in Healthcare.
Professor deLara has authored more than 30 funded federal, state, local, and foundation grant applications, totaling in excess of $10 million. His funded grant applications include new program starts, and program renewals for community health centers through the United States Public Health Service.
Prior to accepting a role as a full-time academic, the focus of his professional endeavors was to expand and improve the quality of health care to underserved populations and communities. He served as the director of a mental health program in Florida, expanded the scope of services at Family Services of Chemung County, developed the then largest Employee Assistance Program in upstate NY, and in rural underserved Cortland County (NY) expanded a community health center from 3 sites 13 sites. In authoring numerous grants to establish or expand primary care services for rural and underserved communities, Professor deLara impacted health care and mental health care delivery systems in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
During the time he served as Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University he oversaw the expansion of the department, and reengineered the curriculum to specifically meet the needs of children, and of those suffering from trauma across the life cycle. In addition, under his direction the department committed itself to educating students, and mental health practitioners, about trauma-informed care as an integral part of evidenced-based clinical practice. His curriculum priorities included the development of a nationally recognized clinical program for educating and training mental health providers to work with children and families (including veterans and military families), and the development and implementation of online master’s and doctoral degree programs. Professor deLara redesigned the residence master’s degree curriculum, redesigned the PhD curriculum, developed the Dual Degree Program (MFT/MSW), created the Child Therapy certificate program, created the online master’s degree program, and developed the proposal for a new Doctor of Couple and Family Therapy degree. Professor deLara also developed courses in Child Therapy, and Systemic Family with Military Families. Professor deLara has actively served the department and college as a member of the University Senate, member and chair of the Falk Curriculum Committee, member and chair of the senate Administrative Operations Committee, and was a member of the University College Strategic Planning Committee. His work in support of students includes advising master’s students, providing clinical supervision to master’s and PhD students, serving as a mentor for master’s degree capstone projects, and sitting on master’s and doctoral thesis committees. Additionally, as part of his service to the university and the MFT profession, Professor deLara has been actively engaged in working to support efforts to improve and expand the scope of practice for mental health providers in the NYS.
Professor deLara is a Clinical Fellow in the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, an Approved Supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a member of the International Family Therapy Association, a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, and is board certified in Telemental Health. Professor deLara is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in NYS, and has practiced in licensed mental health, alcoholism, substance abuse, and healthcare settings.
M.B.A., Barry University, Business Administration, 1980
M.S.W., Syracuse University, Social Work, 1975
B.A., Southwestern College, Psychology, 1969