Program Highlights

The online program schedule is searchable by author, day, presentation format, and cluster and topical areas.
The online program schedule is searchable by author, day, presentation format, and cluster and topical areas.
Thursday – January 12
8:00 am – 12:00 pm Research Methods Workshops (separate fee required)
8:00 am – 12:15 pm Special Sessions on Research Priorities & Capacity Building (separate fee required)
12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

“Meet the Scientist” Luncheon

The Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) will be holding the “Meet the Scientist” Luncheon to be held at the SSWR 21st Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA. This special session provides a forum for early career scholars and doctoral students to talk and interact with established senior scholars who are leaders in social work research and the Society. Early career scholars and doctoral students will have the opportunity to ask questions about career development, challenges in the field, research initiatives, and where the field might be heading. Each senior scholar will be seated at a table with up to 6 early career scholars and doctoral students.

Scholars: Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jill Duerr Berrick, U.C. Berkeley; Natasha K. Bowen, Ohio State University ; Waldo E. Johnson, University of Chicago; Paula Nurius, University of Washington; Sheryl Pimlott Kubiak, Michigan State University; Phyllis Solomon, University of Pennsylvania; Lori Holleran Steiker, University of Texas at Austin (view photos and bios)

3:15 pm – 4:45 pm Invited Journal Editors’ Workshop I
Publishing Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals: Talk with the Editors
This symposium brings together a panel of editors from five generalist research journals in social work: Journal of Social Service Research, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Research on Social Work Practice, Social Service Review, and Social Work Research. The editors will describe their respective journals, offer guidance on submissions, explain the editorial decision-making process, and advise on the process of creating publishable articles. Time will be provided for questions, comments, and suggestions from the audience and responses from the Editors.Speakers: Jeffrey M. Jenson [Chair], PhD (Editor-Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research, University of Denver), Sophia Dziegielewski, PhD (Editor-Journal of Social Service Research, University of Central Florida), Susan J. Lambert, PhD (Editor-Social Service Review, University of Chicago), Bruce Thyer, PhD, LCSW (Editor-Research on Social Work Practice, Florida State University, James Herbert Williams, PhD (Editor-Social Work Research, University of Denver).
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Opening Plenary Session
Nothing About Us, Without Us: Youth Speak Out About What Researchers Should Know About Youth
Irrespective of complex, but necessary, IRB issues, engaging youth in research inquiry requires unique skills that some researchers may not have fully considered. The engagement of youth as partners in research and evaluation efforts is relatively new. The underlying philosophy of the positive youth development movement has influenced scholars and practitioners to include youth as partners in the design and implementation of research involving issues that affect their lives. Engaging youth in research and evaluation not only generates useful knowledge for communities and individuals but also provides opportunities for the development and empowerment of youth participants, leading to benefits for young people, organizations, the broader community, and the research process.Utilizing the voices of young people from child welfare, juvenile justice, and school systems, this plenary will facilitate a dialogue between young people and researchers to encourage and provoke thoughtful examination of the core issues that researchers should consider when engaging youth in scholarly inquiry.Speakers: Gerald P. Mallon, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College; Young People from Louisiana (view photos and bios)
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Opening Reception (musical performance by The Friendly Visitors)
Friday – January 13
9:45 am – 11:15 am RCDC Research Roots & Wings Roundtable 1
Growing Roots through Mentoring
Building student and early career scholars’ research capacity is not predicated on the one-way transmission and passive receipt of concrete skills and knowledge. Instead, research capacity development occurs through the ongoing exchange and refinement of questions, ideas, and strategies. Mentors play an undeniably critical role this process, serving as a primary conduit to essential tangible resources (funding, space, equipment, supplies) and equally vital intangible opportunities (knowledge and training, presentations and publications, professional networking and career advice). Ideally, this relationship is mutually fruitful, insofar as it stimulates new ideas and results in shared products, and mutually meaningful, insofar as it provides mentors with outlets for generativity and mentees with sources of guidance. The expert insight from this session’s invited participants will help ground and guide a roundtable conversation of the mechanics, chemistry, and promise of mentoring for social work research and researchers. Specific points for discussion include: mentoring – and being mentored – as a skillset; diverse forms and types of mentors, including natural mentors and peer mentors; the impact of mentoring networks on the lives and careers of minority-status researchers; and the intellectual and professional value of mentoring across disciplines.Speakers: Laina Y. Bay-Cheng, PhD (Chair) (University at Buffalo), Stephanie Robert, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Gina Samuels, PhD (University of Chicago), Renee Spencer, PhD (Boston University), Grace Gowdy, PhD Candidate (Boston University) (view photos and bios)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Aaron Rosen Lecture
The Pursuit of Quality for Social Work Practice: Three Generations and Counting
Speaker: Dr. Enola Proctor, Washington University in St. Louis (view photo and bio)
1:45 pm – 3:15 pm Invited Symposium I
Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth: Unleashing the Power of Prevention
The Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health
Behavioral health problems in childhood and adolescence take a heavy individual, social, and economic toll on millions of lives. These problems range widely—from anxiety and depression to alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse; delinquent and violent behavior; dropping out of school; and risky sexual activity and unwanted pregnancies. For decades, the approach to behavioral health problems was to treat them only after they were identified – at a high and ongoing cost to young people, families, and communities. Strong evidence from the past three decades indicates that we can prevent many behavioral health problems before they emerge. In this session, members of the Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health discuss advances in prevention science and outline the goals and strategies of Unleashing the Power of Prevention, an action plan aimed at increasing the use of tested and effective preventive interventions for young people from birth to age 24. Unleashing the Power of Prevention is a central component of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge of Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth.Moderator: James Herbert Williams, PhD, University of Denver
Presenters: J. David Hawkins, PhD, University of Washington; Jeffrey M. Jenson, PhD, University of Denver; Richard F. Catalano, PhD, University of Washington; Kimberly A. Bender, PhD, University of Denver; Valerie Shapiro, PhD, University of California, Berkeley; Mark Fraser, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (view photos and bios)
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Invited Journal Editors’ Workshop II:
Forum on Publishing Qualitative Research
This workshop is for conference participants seeking to publish qualitative research and scholarly work in social work journals. The workshop brings together a distinguished panel of editors, former editors, and researchers from four journals: Qualitative Social Work, Affillia, Journal of Social Work Education, and Families in Society. These journals are highly regarded in the profession and share commitments to excellence in social work research and publication.In this session, the editors describe the aim of their respective journals and the editorial decision-making process. Most important, they will create a discussion with participants about what constitutes a publishable qualitative study that influences practice and policy. Before the program starts, participants will be asked to write their publishing questions on 3×5 cards; the chair will collect the cards and sort them during the presentation and use these to facilitate discussion. In this workshop, the editors contribute to the scholarly development of the participants by building skills related to successful publication.The editors will discuss several issues, including how to match topics to specific journals, review processes, features of articles they’ve accepted for publication, and how to address the implications of their research for practice and policy.Presenters: Noel Busch-Armendariz (Affilia), Sondra Fogel (Families in Society), Susan Robbins (Journal of Social Work Education), Karen Staller (Qualitative Social Work). Chair: Jane Gilgun, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Saturday – January 14
8:00 am – 9:30 am

Inaugural Brief and Brilliant Session

In this inaugural Brief and Brilliant session, leading social work scholars will engage the audience through TedX-style talks using images, story-telling and media. Each speaker will complete the statement “I dream a world…” to share the most important ideas facing social work research and practice.

Speakers: Jennifer Bellamy, University of Denver; Tanya Sharpe, University of Maryland; Jeremy Goldbach; USC; Laina Bay-Cheng, University at Buffalo; Kimberly Bender, University of Denver (view photos and bios)

9:45 am – 11:15 am Invited Symposium II
Roadmap to Resilience for Youth of Color
Low-income or resource-poor, urban and rural environments present a number of risk factors leading to deleterious outcomes for youth of color, including school truancy and dropout, compromised physical and behavior health statuses including substance abuse, sexual risk-taking behaviors, or gang involvement.Intervention programs to address these risk factors are plentiful; yet, there is some ways to go to ensure the effectiveness of these approaches across a host of outcomes for youth of color. We will host a panel discussion, via a 90-minute talk show format with follow-up Q & A, to share in the collective wisdom of key scholars whose research address important challenges in intervention science and programing targeting youth of color.In particular, this panel will: (1) Discuss the positive and successful programs that promote development in youth of color and learn how these existing programs can be further innovative to promote sustained success; (2) explore how existing programs might accommodate different environments and communities (suburban, rural; immigrant/refugee; “ethnic”); (3) identify the problems, whether environmental, social, or on the part of systematic failures in the program itself, that hinder the success of youth of color; and (4) promote public, academic, and professional advocacy for successful and positive existing programs through engaged exploration and dialogue.Moderator: Michael A. Lindsey, PhD, MSW, MPH, Constance and Martin Silver Associate Professor of Poverty Studies and Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, Silver School of Social Work, New York University.Panelists: Rowena Fong, Ed.D., Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin; Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D., MSW, Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago; Michael Spencer, PhD, MSSW, Fedele F. Fauri Collegiate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, University of Michigan (view photos and bios)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Annual Social Policy Forum
Poverty, Child Maltreatment, and Implications for Child Welfare Policy & Services 
Research has established a strong correlation between poverty and both child maltreatment and child protective services (CPS) involvement. Recent evidence suggests that these associations are in fact causal. In this second year of the SSWR Social Policy Forum, faculty researcher Lawrence Berger and practitioner Stacie Leblanc have a conversation about the implications of this finding for child welfare policy and and services. In a combination of presentation, dialogue, and audience Q&A, they consider what engaging in “poverty-informed” child welfare practice would mean for the child welfare system and for the reduction of racial disparities throughout it.Speakers: Dr. Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Stacie LeBlanc, Children’s Hospital (view photos and bios)
12:30 pm – 1:45 pm Doctoral Student Panel and Luncheon
Navigating the Academic Job Market
Please join us for food, conversation, and networking. This year’s doctoral student panel will include panelists at various stages of their careers to discuss navigating the job market. Sean Joe is currently the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Joe has previously held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania after completing a post-doctoral appointment. Megan Holmes is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Holmes teaches a doctoral level course that prepares students for a successful academic job search. Anne Hughes is an Associate Professor at the Michigan State School of Social Work and is the author of the award-winning article “Being the Diversity Hire: Negotiating Identity in an Academic Job Search.” Byron Powell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Prior to transitioning to UNC in 2015, Dr. Powell was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Gina Fedock is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and graduated with her PhD from Michigan State University in 2015. The conversation will be moderated by current doctoral students, Karla Arroyo (University of Utah) and Ericka Lewis (Washington University in St. Louis).Moderators: Ericka Lewis, PhC – Washington University in St. Louis & Karla Arroyo, MSW – University of Utah
Speakers: Sean Joe, PhD – Washington University in St. Louis; Megan Holmes, PhD – Case Western Reserve University; Anne Hughes, PhD – Michigan State University; Byron Powell, PhD – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Gina Fedock, PhD – University of Chicago (view bios)
12:45 pm – 1:45 pm Grand Challenges Roundtable
Advancing the Grand Challenges: Pathways and Issues
The Grand Challenges represent an opportunity to impact intractable social problems over the next decade by accelerating social work science, educational innovation, and new forms of practitioner engagement. Since the formal launch of the Grand Challenges in January 2016, an unanticipated and widening variety of responses have appeared across the academic community. This has opened new possibilities for engagement and has demonstrated the power of the Grand Challenges to harness students, universities, governments, professional organizations, and foundations in the overarching interest of social well-being. This panel will help to summarize the variety of initiatives that have emerged, including early examples of progress in development of resources and public attention. Possibilities for participation in the Grand Challenges effort will be identified for institutions of different sizes and disciplinary configurations. Issues in future implementation will be explored, including implications for scientific organization of our field, doctoral education, collaboration with practitioners, practice research networks, and social policy. The distinctive responsibilities of universities, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, and the Society for Social Work and Research will be examined, together with the question of how success will ultimately be measured.Panelists: Richard Barth, Dean of the School of Social Work; Marilyn Flynn, Dean and 2U Endowed Chair in Educational Innovation and Social Work; Michael Sherraden, George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and Director, Center for Social Development; Edwina Uehara, Professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean in Social Work
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Invited Symposium III
School, University, and Community Collaborations to Build Resilience and Improve Children’s Health: The Homewood Approach
The focus of this session is on how school, community, and university partners can collaborate to support high needs communities in efforts to ameliorate and ultimately eliminate, disparities in children’s health. The presenter, Professor John Wallace, School of Social Work, Katz School of Business, and Department of Sociology – University of Pittsburgh, will discuss current collaborations between the University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt-Assisted Community Schools (PACS) program, the Homewood Children’s Village Community Schools Initiative, and three collaborating Title 1 public schools in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The session will detail various aspects of, leading, designing and executing this collaboration that leverages community school supports and university resources in order to provide a pipeline of full-service programming that promotes resilience and health among one of the city’s highest need populations.Speakers: Dr. John Wallace, University of Pittsburgh; Mr. Fred Brown, Homewood Children’s Village; Dr. Esohe Osai, Pitt Assisted Communities and Schools; Dr. James Huguley, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work (view photos and bios)
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm RCDC Research Roots & Wings Roundtable 2
Spreading Wings through Alternative Dissertations
The purpose of this roundtable, co-sponsored by SSWR’s Research Capacity Development Committee and the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE), will be to discuss how the dissertation fits within the shifting landscape of social work research, and whether alternative dissertation formats might be an option for aligning social work doctoral education with twenty-first century social work research. The roundtable presenters will first discuss the strengths and limitations of the traditional dissertation in the current context. Many other fields have embraced alternative dissertation formats, and the alternative dissertation is the focus of much debate in national organizations, such as the Council on Graduate Schools. The roundtable presenters will discuss examples of the range of alternative dissertation formats, explore how these formats fit with the research capacity development needs of social work PhD students, and discuss implications of alternative dissertation formats for twenty-first century social work research. The roundtable will provide an opportunity for a lively discourse among attendees, and for doctoral students, doctoral educators and others to share their own perspectives on the future of the doctoral dissertation in social work education.Chair/Presenter: Elizabeth Lightfoot, University of Minnesota
Presenters: Margaret Ademak, Indiana University; Beverly Black, University of Texas at Arlington; Laina Bay-Cheng, SUNY Buffalo; Cynthia Franklin, University of Texas at Austin; Sydney Hans, University of Chicago; Peter Maramaldi, Simmons College (view photos and bios)
3:45 pm – 5:15 pm Membership Meeting and Board Service and Fellows and Awards
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Presidential Plenary
The Courage to ListenRev. Jeffrey Brown (view photo and bio)
6:45 pm – 7:30 pm President’s Reception


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