College Directory



Director of DSW Program; Clinical Assistant Professor
665 Patterson Office Tower

Areas of Expertise

  • DSW program development and evaluation
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)
  • Latinx issues
  • Behavioral health services and leadership in helping professions

Highlighted Publications

  • Escobar-Ratliff, L.E. (2021, September). Is the DSW Degree a good fit for you? The New Social Worker.
  • Escobar-Ratliff, L.E. (2022). A call to action: Justice-informed social work practice.
  • K. Benner, D. Loeffler, & N.D., Pope (Eds.), Social, Economic and Environmental Justice: Building Social Work Practice Skills (pp. 275 – 283). Springer Publishing Company.
  • Grise-Owens, E., Miller, J., Escobar-Ratliff, L., & George, N. (2018). Teaching note – Teaching self-care/wellness as a professional practice skill: A curricular case example. Journal of Social Work Education.
  • Escobar-Ratliff, L. (2016). Q-Quality rather than quantity [Working smarter…and smarter].
  • Grise- Owens, E., Miller, J., & Eaves, M. (Eds.). The A-to-Z self-care handbook for social workers and other helping professionals. Harrisburg, PA: The New Social Worker Press.
  • Grise-Owens, E., Miller, J., Escobar-Ratliff, L., Addison, D., Marshall, M., Trabue, D. (2016). A field practicum experience in designing and developing a Wellness Initiative: An agency and university partnership. Field Educator, 6(2), 1-19.
  • Miller, J., Grise-Owens, E., Addison, D., Marshall, M., Trabue, D., & Escobar-Ratliff, L. (2016). Planning an organizational wellness initiative at a multi-state social service agency. Evaluation and Program Planning: The International Journal, 56 (2016), 1-10.

Current Projects

Dr. Esobar-Ratliff’s primary project is the development and growth of the DSW Program at UK CoSW. This includes collaborating with CSWE and GADE as programs move towards the accreditation process, working with students individually and through student groups to enhance their development as scholar-practitioners and leaders, and enhancing the online teaching-learning experience for faculty and students. She serves on the Board of Directors as Board Treasurer for La Casita Center, a grassroots non-profit ​​in Louisville, KY that works to empower Latinx families, providing a foundation for systemic change with long-term effects. In her role as a board member, she consults on program development and expansion, staff development and training, and program evaluation. This work includes serving on the executive committee, finance committee, and human resources committee. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Governors for Family Health Centers, Inc. Family Health Centers is a not-for-profit community health center whose mission is to provide access to high-quality primary and preventive care services without regard to the ability to pay. In her role as a board member, she serves on the finance committee and strategic planning committee. As such, she engages in financial oversight, strategic planning, policy review and approval, and supporting the development of resources and partnerships.

Alma Mater

  • St. Catherine University-University of St. Thomas – Doctor of Social Work

Get to Know Dr. Escobar-Ratliff

Dr. Escobar-Ratliff believes she was born to be a social worker. As the daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants active in mission work and a father who was a social worker, being of service to others was something that was modeled and taught to her and her brother. Her career has spanned the spectrum of ages and needs. She has served children who are survivors of trauma and/or experiencing severe emotional disturbance to adults experiencing severe mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use. She has worked directly with clients as well as in administrative roles developing and directing programs. When she’s not teaching, developing, or writing, Dr. Escobar-Ratliff volunteers at La Casita Center, the Family Health Centers, or Hawthorne Elementary School. She has a daughter, Carmen, a spouse, Robbi, and two mischievous cats, Jack and Jill. In her free time, Dr. Escobar-Ratliff enjoys watching movies, going for walks, reading, and having fun.