Faculty and Staff

Ana Leon is a Professor of Social Work and currently serves as the Interim Director of the School of Social Work at UCF. With an extensive background in mental health, she has combined her clinical, training and research experiences from her years in New York City and in Florida to help others understand the impact of trauma in very young children and understand the social and emotional needs of children from birth through the first five years. She currently teaches a graduate course in Infant Mental Health and another course on Child Trauma. She is a nationally recognized expert on child welfare with an emphasis on the intersection between infant mental health, trauma and the child welfare of children under the age of 5. Based on Leon’s research, clinical training and teaching experiences in infant mental health, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization of Sesame Street invited her to join a group of national advisors to help Sesame Workshop examine their social impact work in helping children and families, especially those most vulnerable, cope with traumatic experiences. Until recently, she served as the Chair of the National Association of Social Workers Child Welfare Specialty Practice Section, an appointment she held from 2010 until 2018. She has extensive administrative and clinical experience in child and adult psychiatric hospitals and prior to joining the School of Social Work at the University of Central Florida she served as the Executive Director of Psychiatry at Winter Park Memorial Hospital and was in private practice. The Florida National Association of Social Workers recognized her as an outstanding university teacher and she previously received the University of Central Florida Women Making History: The Faculty Women Prominence Project award. She teaches clinical courses and since 2000, her research grants/contracts have totaled over $3 million dollars. She has conducted research on mental health issues, psychopharmacology, parenting interventions and program evaluations. Her work with children and families appears in journals such as the Journal of Social Service Research, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, and Early Childhood Development and Care.

  • Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, Social Work, New York University
  • LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Research Interests
  • Child Mental Health
  • Impact of Early Trauma on Child Mental Health and Development
  • The Effects of Parenting on Very Young Children
  • Infant Mental Health
Research Grants
Health Sciences

Investigating the Underlying Mechanisms of Disparities in Sleep Deficiencies in Children

  • PI: Keith Brazendale
  • Co-PI: Ana Leon
  • Amount: $5,000
    Funding Type:
    Funding Agency: Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training (CBHRT)
  • An Open Letter from the Interim Director of UCF Social Work
    Written By: Ana Leon, PhD, LCSW | June 3, 2020
    Dear Students & Community Partners, The faculty and staff of the School of Social Work at the University of Central Florida stand united with those who are calling for justice...
  • UCF School of Social Work Awards Seed Grants for Interdisciplinary Research
    Written By: UCF School of Social Work | March 9, 2020
    The UCF School of Social Work is committed to providing essential and unique research to health and mental health fields through the school’s Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training...
  • UCF Social Work Researchers Partner with Child Welfare Groups to Improve Outcomes for Foster Children
    Written By: Camille Dolan '98 | February 28, 2020
    Associate Professors Julie Steen and Chris Stewart in UCF’s School of Social Work are leading an evaluation of an effort by Embrace Families to strengthen the child welfare system and...
  • Students LEAD the Way Advocating for Change
    Written By: School of Social Work | February 26, 2020
    The annual Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) is a legislative event hosted by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) that brought 110 UCF Social Work students to the...
  • New Leadership Appointments for the College of Health Professions and Sciences
    Written By: The School of Social Work, Drexler James, and Camille Dolan | August 5, 2019
    As one of his first official duties as founding Dean, Christopher I. Ingersoll announced key leadership appointments for the College of Health Professions and Sciences. “I want to thank all who...
  • Suicide: A Topic We Need to Talk About
    Written By: | November 2, 2018
    The panelists were (seated, left to right) Kim Gryglewicz, Julie Bilsky and Jim Whitworth, here with (standing, left to right) Bonnie Yegidis and Ana Leon. Experts from UCF’s School of...
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