Featured Speakers






Click on the session name to see the speaker’s photo and bio:

Keynote Speech Presidential Conversation Aaron Rosen Lecture Annual Social Policy Forum
Invited Symposia Doctoral Student Session RCDC Roots and Wings Roundtables “Meet the Scientist” Session

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All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

Keynote Speech, Thursday – January 21, 2021, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, EST

Keynote speaker: Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson is the President and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund. Dr. Wilson is a pastor, philanthropist and activist pursuing God’s vision of community marked by justice, peace, and love. He is board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and vice chair of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).

Previously, Dr. Wilson served as president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based grant making organization supporting a movement for child well-being in St. Louis through philanthropy, advocacy and organizing for racial equity and public policy change. Under Dr. Wilson’s leadership, Deaconess constructed and established the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, a 21,000 square foot community action tank. Each year, more than 15,000 citizens engage the Center to build power for children and families. Alongside its capacity building support for non-profits, the Foundation sponsors a network of congregation-based Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools.

From 2008 through 2018, Dr. Wilson pastored Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), an inter-racial, inner-city congregation related to the United Church of Christ. There he led activism on myriad issues while more than quadrupling worship attendance and annual giving. To expand the church’s witness, he established The Beloved Community Conference resourcing social justice ministries and Sojourner’s Truth: Celebration of Preaching Women.

After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., with Dr. Wilson’s leadership, the church hosted the #BlackLivesMatter Freedom Ride to Ferguson and served as the welcome center for the #FergusonOctober. In service of community healing, he co-chaired the Ferguson Commission. In 2015, they released the ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility. In addition to NCRP and FTE, Starsky serves boards for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Sojourners, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He is an advisor to the Democracy Fund.

Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. For his public theology, he was awarded Doctor of Public Service and Doctor of Divinity degrees honoris causa by Saint Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Dr. Wilson is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist for St. Louis Children’s Hospital. They are raising four children.

Introduction: Amanda MooreMcBride, University of Denver

Amanda Moore McBride

Amanda Moore McBride, University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work

Amanda Moore McBride, PhD is the Morris Endowed Dean and Professor of the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) at the University of Denver (DU). McBride is an internationally recognized expert in civic and community engagement. Her scholarship focuses on ways to promote engagement through education, programs, and policy, addressing issues of inclusion. Prior research has focused on national service, service learning, and international volunteering across nearly 100 publications. Dean McBride is a leader in the field of community engagement in higher education specifically, convening conferences and writing on the topic for the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Huffington Post. Prior consultancies include the United States Corporation for National and Community Service, the United Nations Volunteer Program, and the Social Science Research Council. She has organized more than 20 conferences, including recent think tanks on the rise of social innovation in higher education. Dean McBride joined DU in 2016 after being affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis for 23 years where she was the Bettie Bofinger Brown Associate Professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and executive director of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

A Presidential Conversation: Advancing Your Career in Uncertain Times, Thursday– January 21, 2021, 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm, EST

Panelists: Jenn Bellamy, University of Denver; Henrika McCoy, University of Illinois, Chicago; Darcey Merritt, New York University; Jong Won Min, San Diego State University
Moderator: Luis H. Zayas, Dean, and Professor, University of Texas, Steve Hicks School of Social Work

The impact of COVID-19 on SSWR members’ scholarly careers has been exacerbated by the racial injustice and political unrest seen every day in the U.S. Altogether, these troubled times have affected our teaching, research, publications, and service. And we know the impact is immediate and long-term. In response to the needs of SSWR members, this year’s conference will feature a “Presidential Conversation” in lieu of a Presidential Plenary. The Conversation brings together a panel of five senior faculty from across the country to engage in a conversation with early career social work scholars (PhD students, post-docs, assistant professors) and midcareer scholars (e.g., associate professors, research scientists) on navigating career during this upheaval in our careers, now and into the future. The Conversation will begin with some brief remarks by panelists to provide perspectives and suggestions on teaching, research, service, and personal mental health. But it is intended primarily as a conversation among panelists and participants. Participants are encouraged to bring their questions to this important session.


Luis H. Zayas

Luis H. Zayas, University of Texas, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and President of the Society for Social Work and Research

Luis H. Zayas is dean of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and the Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy. Dean Zayas is the sixth dean in the history of Steve Hicks School of Social Work. He also holds an appointment as professor of psychiatry at the Dell Medical School of The University of Texas at Austin.

In his role as a national leader in social work, Dean Zayas is currently president of the Society for Social Work and Research, the largest social work research organization in the world. Previously, he served two terms (2016-2018; 2018-2020) as president of St. Louis Group for Excellence in Social Work Education and Research, which represents the leading research schools of social work. In 2012, he was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. In 2017, he was elected to the Executive Board of the Academy and served until 2019. Prior to these positions, Dean Zayas held the position of member-at-large of the executive committee of the National Association of Deans and Directors of schools and programs in social work. Along with Steve Hicks School professors Catherine Cubbin and Cynthia Franklin, he was identified in a 2019 report (Journal of Social Service Research ) as one of the most influential contemporary social work scholars.

Jenn Bellamy

Jenn Bellamy, University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work

Jenn Bellamy is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. At GSSW she teaches research and theory courses at the master’s and doctoral levels. She received her master’s of science in social work from The University of Texas at Austin in 2000. Before earning her Ph.D. she worked as a crisis counselor and a project coordinator for a multisite demonstration project serving young, unmarried, low-income fathers. Bellamy completed her PhD at the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2006 and postdoctoral training at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis in 2008.

Bellamy’s current research interests include the engagement of fathers in child and family services, child welfare and evidence-based practice. She has published extensively in the area of evidence-based social work practice and is currently engaged in the development and testing of interventions to better serve fathers in child and family programs including home visiting and child welfare services.

Henrika McCoy

Henrika McCoy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work

Henrika McCoy is an Associate Professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. McCoy’s research has focused on strengthening the screening of mental health needs for justice-involved youth; examining the intersection of mental health and juvenile delinquency, particularly for African American males; identifying solutions to better align the housing needs of LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability with transitional living programs, and the impact of violence on young Black men ages 18 to 24. She recently served as the principal investigator of, Suburban Urban Rural Violence: Investigating Victim Experiences (SURVIVE), a $1.5 million nationwide study funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The study focused on creating an instrument that can be used with young Black males ages 18 to 24 to identify their violent victimization experiences, related coping strategies, resulting needs and supports employed. Her research, influenced by her experience as a clinician working with children, youth, and their families who were experiencing a myriad of challenges, has been funded by diverse sources, including the Fahs Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Administration for Children and Families, and the National Institute of Justice.

Dr. McCoy currently serves as a Director-at-Large for the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), as a member of its Research Development and Capacity Committee, and as cluster co-chair for the Adolescent and Youth Cluster. She is also currently on the Editorial Board for the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal and was selected for 2019-2020 to be a Public Voices Fellow for the OpEd Project. She is a former member of the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity.

Darcey Merritt

Darcey Merritt, New York University,  Silver School of Social Work 

Darcey Merritt is an Associate Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work and a Faculty Fellow at the School’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. She is also an Associate Editor for Children and Youth Services Review (CYSR), a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), and Vice-Chair of the NYU Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Senate.

Dr. Merritt has extensive experience as a practitioner in the private and public child welfare systems, and as a researcher with interests including child maltreatment prevention; maltreatment type definitional issues; neighborhood structural impact on maltreatment; and experiences of those served by public child welfare systems. More specifically, her research focuses on parenting in socio-economic context, considering the impact of working memory on parental decision-making. Overall, her scholarship is dedicated to providing empirical and meaningful knowledge useful to bolster the well-being of children and families, specifically through contributing their voices in the discussion of prevention methods. Her most innovative scope of research, An Elicitation Analysis of Parental Perspectives Regarding Child Neglect has recently been funded for an R21 mechanism by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, NIH, $435, 875, 2019-2021).

Dr. Merritt’s research has been widely published in journals including Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Public Child Welfare, Child Abuse and Neglect, Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Substance Use and Misuse, and Journal of Social Services Research, as well as CYSR. She recently presented keynote addresses at the UNICEF, Social Work Conference on Child Protection in Beijing, China and the East China University of Science and Technology, Child, Family, and Society: the 2nd International Conference on Social Work and Social Policy for Children. In addition, she regularly presents her research at the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), American Public Health Association (APHA), and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN). She also serves on the Child Maltreatment Prevention Committee of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and was lead author of the chapter on “Effective Program Models for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment” in the APSAC Handbook on Child Maltreatment, Fourth Edition. Additionally, she has been invited to contribute a paper/chapter on “How Do Families Experience and Interact with CPS?” to the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, a special issue entitled, “Toward a Better Approach to Preventing, Identifying, and Addressing Child Maltreatment.” She has certifications in adoptive parent training and domestic violence training. Her current work advances our understanding of parenting in traumatic environments, systems oversight, and the correlations between the chronic trauma of child neglect and family well-being outcomes. Dr. Merritt earned her MSW and PhD in social welfare from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and her BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Jong Won Min

Jong Won Min, San Diego University, School of Social Work 

Dr. Jong Won Min is the co-director of the SDSU Center on Aging and serves as Associate Director and Professor in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University. Dr. Min received his BA in Social Work from Yonsei University (Korea), his Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) with a focus on clinical practice from the University of Calgary (Canada), and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Dr. Min’s scholarly activities and published research have focused on a longitudinal examination of health disparities among older adults, mental health disparities, long-term care issues among racially and ethnically diverse older adults.  Currently, Dr. Min is a co-PI on HRSA Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) grant, focusing on improving care for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) and their family members in San Diego and Imperial County. He coordinates GWEP stipend for MSW students in the School of Social Work. In addition, as co-director of the Center on Aging at SDSU, in collaboration with the Social Policy Institute, Dr. Min conducts research and program evaluation as a part of the California In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) training grant from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

SSWR and Washington University in St. Louis George Warren Brown School of Social Work Aaron Rosen Lecture, Wednesday– January 20, 2021, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, EST

Keynote speaker: Michael A. Lindsey, PhD, New York University

Michael A. Lindsey

Michael A. Lindsey is a noted scholar in the fields of child and adolescent mental health, as well as a leader in the search for knowledge and solutions to generational poverty and inequality. He is the Executive Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University (NYU), the Constance and Martin Silver Professor of Poverty Studies at NYU Silver School of Social Work, and an Aspen Health Innovators Fellow. He also leads a university-wide Strategies to Reduce Inequality initiative from the NYU McSilver Institute.

At the NYU McSilver Institute, Dr. Lindsey leads a team of researchers, clinicians, social workers, and other professionals who are committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating their findings into action through policy and best practices.

Additionally, he leads the working group of experts supporting the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, which created the report Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) in Social Work, and serves on the editorial boards of the journals: 1) Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, (2) Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology; (3) Psychiatric Services; and (4) School Mental Health.

Dr. Lindsey holds a PhD in social work and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh, an MSW from Howard University, and a BA in sociology from Morehouse College. 

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Annual Social Policy Forum, Housing Insecurities and Homelessness: A discussion about how COVID-19 and related racial disparities have exacerbated an ongoing crisis, Friday – January 22, 2021, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, EST

Speakers: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, CA 43rd District, Nan Roman, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Diane Yentel, Low-Income Housing Coalition 
Moderator: Marah Curtis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The featured speakers for this year’s panel are Congresswoman Maxine Waters (https://waters.house.gov/), Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness (https://endhomelessness.org/), and Diane Yentel, President of the Low-Income Housing Coalition (https://nlihc.org/about).

Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor.

Elected in November 2018 to her fifteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 70 percent of the vote in the 43rd Congressional District of California, Congresswoman Waters represents a large part of South Los Angeles including the communities of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, and Watts and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County comprised of Lennox, West Athens, West Carson, Harbor Gateway and El Camino Village. The 43rd District also includes the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita and Torrance.

Congresswoman Waters made history as the first woman and first African American Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee and is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Nan Roman

Nan Roman is President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education, advocacy, and capacity-building organization. She is a leading national voice on the issue of homelessness. Under her guidance, the Alliance has successfully identified and promoted innovative strategies for ending homelessness that has been adopted by communities across the country. In her role, Ms. Roman works closely with members of Congress and the Administration, as well as with officials and advocates at the state and local levels. She collaborates with Alliance partners to educate the public about the real nature of homelessness and effective solutions. She has researched and written on the issue of homelessness, regularly speaks at events around the country and frequently serves as an expert on the issue for the media. Her perspective on homelessness and its solutions come from more than 20 years of local and national experience in the areas of poverty and community-based organizations.

Diane Yentel

Diane is the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a membership organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. Diane is a veteran affordable housing policy expert with over two decades of work on affordable housing and community development. Before rejoining NLIHC (where she previously worked as a policy analyst), Diane was Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners, where she led federal, state, and local policy, research, and advocacy programs. Prior to Enterprise, Diane was the director of the Public Housing Management and Occupancy Division at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where she managed a team overseeing the development and implementation of nationwide public housing policies, procedures, and guidelines. She also worked to advance affordable housing policies with Oxfam America and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and served for 3 years as a community development Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. Diane is frequently quoted in major media outlets and has testified multiple times before Congress. Diane has a Masters in Social work from the University of Texas at Austin.


Marah Curtis

Marah Curtis’ research focuses on how differences in housing conditions, benefit policies, and contextual factors affect the health and well-being of families. Concerns that families that are eligible for or take-up a benefit may differ from non-recipients in ways that are associated with housing and health outcomes are inherent challenges to understanding the role of policy in reducing pressing hardships. Her research focuses on how policies designed to improve the quality and stability of housing, or, that regularize income are effective in doing so as well as meeting broader goals such as decreasing economic hardship.


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Invited Symposium I: Research with Latinx communities in Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities, Wednesday– January 20, 2021, 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm, EST   

Presenters: Carmela Alcantara, Columbia University; Flavio Marsiglia, Arizona State University; Kurt Organista, UC Berkeley
Moderator: Rocío Calvo, Boston College

The panelists will discuss lessons learned conducting community-engaged research with Latinxs. They will share challenges engaging a diverse population, as well as opportunities to address complex problems affecting Latinx communities.

Carmela Alcántara

Carmela Alcantara, Columbia University

Dr. Carmela Alcántara is an Associate Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work. Her interdisciplinary research integrates psychology, public health, social work, and medicine to understand how structural and social factors affect sleep, mental health, and cardiovascular health, particularly in racial/ethnic and immigrant communities. These factors include nativity status, socioeconomic status, discrimination stress, and neighborhood circumstances. A licensed clinical psychologist with postdoctoral training in public health and behavioral medicine, she is a faculty affiliate of the Social Intervention Group and the Columbia Population Research Center. Dr. Alcántara translates epidemiological findings on social determinants of health to the development of culturally and contextually informed, evidence-based behavioral interventions to promote health equity. Her research examines the ecological relationship between sleep, self-regulation, and health behaviors in Latina/o adults, and she is director of the Sleep, Mind, and Health Research Program at the Columbia School of Social Work.

Flavio Marsiglia

Flavio Marsiglia, Arizona State University 

Flavio Marsiglia is a Regents Professor at the School of Social Work in Arizona State University. He is the founder and director of the Global Center for Applied Health Research. The Global Center conducts intervention health research in partnership with universities and communities in Burundi, China, Guatemala, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan and Uruguay. Professor Marsiglia is the principal investigator of the Specialized Center (U54) grant on health disparities research at the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC). Marsiglia’s research on cultural diversity and youth substance use is widely recognized, highly influential in the prevention field, and credited with a measurable reduction in drug use and other high-risk behaviors among youth in Arizona, across the US, and in other countries.

Kurt Organista

Kurt Organista, University of California, Berkeley

A leading expert on social work practice within the Latino community, Dr. Organista’s research focuses on psychosocial problems within the Chicano and Latino communities, acculturation and adjustment of ethnic minorities to American societies, minority mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, depression in Latinos and HIV prevention with Mexican migrant laborers/Latinos. He also served as the principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse Alcoholism (NIAAA)-funded project that seeks to develop and test a structural-environmental model of HIV risk and prevention for migrant day laborers in San Francisco and Berkeley (2010 to 2015).


Rocío Calvo

Rocío Calvo, Boston College

Rocío Calvo, PhD, is Associate Professor of Global Practice at the Boston College School of Social Work. She is also the Founding Director of the Latinx Leadership Initiative (LLI) and co-leads the Grand Challenge Initiative Achieve Equal Opportunity for All of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare. Her work focuses on the role of public services on the integration of immigrants and their children. She also studies how socioeconomic and cultural factors optimize or jeopardize the life satisfaction of immigrants throughout their immigration careers.

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Invited Symposium II: Social Work and Public Health, Thursday– January 21, 2021, 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm, EST

Presenters:  Gino Aisenberg, University of Washinton; Shardai Pioche, John Hopkins University; Tina Sacks, University of California, Berkeley
Moderator: David Miller, Case Western Reserve University

This symposium will address the intersection of social work and public health broadly and the unique contributions of social work to public health concerns. Special attention will be drawn to the pandemic and issues of disproportionality and equity.

Gino Aisenberg

Gino Aisenberg, University of Washington

Dr. Gino Aisenberg is a bilingual/bicultural Latino mental health researcher. His interests focus on three interrelated areas: 1) traumatic exposure of children and families to community violence, including effects at the individual, family, and neighborhood levels, 2) depression care for adults, and 3) evidence-based practice.  Born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles, Dr. Aisenberg has extensive clinical experience as a practitioner in the areas of child abuse and community violence experienced by African-American and Latino children and families. Also, he possesses a wealth of experience addressing grief and loss and has specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy for low-income individuals suffering depression. Dr. Aisenberg has worked in schools, hospitals, and community-based organizations. Dr. Aisenberg’s teaching, research, and scholarship are deeply informed by culture and context. They emanate from a staunch commitment to marginalized and diverse populations—to promote inclusion of their voices and to address disparities in the access and utilization of mental health services. Dr. Aisenberg is engaged in important partnerships with community-based agencies serving rural and marginalized communities. He is the chair of the School’s Community-Centered Integrative Practice Concentration.  In 2013, Dr. Aisenberg was named associate dean of the UW Graduate School with responsibility to promote and advance diversity and inclusion across graduate programs of study. In 2012, he was named the Graduate School’s inaugural leadership professor. His responsibilities included assisting with the Graduate School’s outreach efforts in support of diversity and helping design and develop additional diversity-related initiatives. Dr. Aisenberg is the founding co-director of the Latino Center for Health, an interdisciplinary, community-engaged research center invested in promoting the health and well-being of Latinos through collaborative research, policy, and practice efforts. The Latino Center for Health is the first research center in Washington state to focus on the health of the Latino community. It was launched in 2014 and received funding from the Washington state legislature in 2015.  In 2009, Dr. Aisenberg received the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award for his excellence in teaching as well as his exemplary commitment to mentoring students, particularly ethnic minority students. He is a member of several organizations including the Society for Social Work and Research, the Council for Social Work Education, and the Association of Latino Social Work Educators.

Shardai Pioche

Shardai Pioche, Johns Hopkins University

Shardai Pioche, a member of the Dine Nation, is Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan), born for the ‘Áshįįhi (Salt Clan). Her maternal grandpa is of the Táchii’nii (Red Running Into Water Clan) and her paternal grandpa is Spanish. Shardai joined the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in October of 2016. Shardai works as a Research Associate on the Dine (Navajo) Nation in Shiprock, NM, and is involved in the implementation, coordination, and evaluation of the Center’s behavioral health programs that include NativeVision, Sust-AIns, and the Honoring Life Suicide Prevention program. She has also assisted as an Independent Evaluator for the Family Spirit Nurture program and as a Vaccine Verifier with the Infectious Disease Pneumococcal 15 Vaccine trial. Shardai works collaboratively with colleagues, community partners, and stakeholders to provide community-based approaches that contribute to the understanding community and individual health factors that contribute to attaining Hózhó. Prior to joining the Center for American Indian health, Shardai has worked largely in Experiential Education and Outdoor Recreation Programs for over 15 years. During this period she had the opportunity to work with Native American populations promoting health and wellness. It was in this capacity that she developed a passion for working in community health to address health disparities and create health initiatives to improve the health of Native communities. Shardai’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health and Psychology from Fort Lewis College. A Master of Social Work from the University of Denver and has completed the Public Health Training Certificate for American Indian Health Professionals through Johns Hopkins University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Behavioral Health from Arizona State University.

Tina Sacks

Tina Sacks, University of California, Berkeley

Tina Sacks is an assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. Her fields of interest include racial inequities in health, social determinants of health, and poverty and inequality. Professor Sacks focuses on how macro-structural forces, including structural discrimination and immigration, affect women’s health. Her current work investigates the persistence of racial and gender discrimination in health care settings among racial/ethnic minorities who are not poor. She published a book on this subject entitled Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford, 2019) Her next major project explores the implications of the infamous U.S. Public Health Service Tuskegee Syphilis Study on the Study’s direct descendants.

Professor Sacks is also the principal investigator of two projects on immigration and health including a bi-national study of migration, labor, and health among indigenous Mexican women in California and Oaxaca, Mexico. She also leads a study of gender dynamics and food stamp participation among Latina immigrants in California in collaboration with the Berkeley Food Institute and the UC Berkeley Nutrition Policy Institute.

Professor Sacks’ work has been published in Race and Social Problems, Qualitative Social Work, Family and Community Health, Health Affairs, the New Yorker, and MSNBC News. In addition to her scholarship, Dr. Sacks collaborates with Carlos Javier Ortiz, a photographer and documentary filmmaker, on issues affecting Black and Latino communities. Their films, We All We Got (2015) and A Thousand Midnights (2016), appeared at the AFI, Tribeca, LA, and St. Louis International Film Festivals among others.

Prior to joining Berkeley Social Welfare, Professor Sacks spent nearly a decade working for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she worked on public health policy with special emphasis in environmental and women’s health programs. Her experience includes serving as the special assistant to the director of the CDC, legislative director of the Baltimore City Health Department, and executive director of a non-profit healthcare organization.


David Miller

David B. Miller, Case Western Reserve University

David B. Miller, PhD, is an associate professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and serves as the Director of the International Education Program. Dr. Miller’s current research focus is on the health status of African American males. Specifically, he is currently investigating the awareness and knowledge of African American males regarding prostate cancer; and the effects of chronic stress on adolescents and young adults.

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Invited Symposium III: Driving Social Change: Developing, Navigating, and Promoting a Public Impact Agenda, Friday– January 22, 2021, 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm, EST

Presenters: Tyreasa Washington, UNC Greensboro; Nathalie P. Jones, Tarleton State University; Karen Tabb Dina, University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana
Moderator: Jenn Bellamy, University of Denver

The potential for engaged and accessible social work research to impact policy, practice, and the public will be discussed in this dynamic symposium.  Three panelists with diverse and successful public impact agendas will share their perspectives on how social work scholars can drive social change by developing a public impact agenda and engaging non-academic audiences, while also managing the competing demands of academia.

Tyreasa Washington, UNC Greensboro

Tyreasa Washington

Dr. Tyreasa Washington is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), and Faculty Affiliate to the UNCG Gerontology Program. Dr. Washington is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has worked in child welfare and mental health settings. Dr. Washington is among a handful of scholars who examine the impact of family-level factors on African American children’s social, academic, and behavioral outcomes who reside in kinship care (e.g., grandparents raising grandchildren). An extension of Dr. Washington’s work on African American kinship care families in the United States (US) is the exploration of the historic and contemporary use of kinship care among African American and Black families in the US, Ghana, and South Africa. She has presented her research and led discussion at the Aya Centre for Intercultural Awareness and Development and the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana, and at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. Her research agenda also includes the examination of fathers’ roles on children’s positive outcomes. Dr. Washington has received various research and teaching awards for her scholarship. For example, she is a Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship Alumna, a National Institute of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program recipient, and a Teaching Excellence Award recipient. Currently, Dr. Washington is the Principal Investigator of a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) funded study, entitled: “Development of African American Children in Kinship Care.” 

Nathalie P. Jones, Tarleton State University 

Nathalie P. Jones

Dr. Jones is an Associate Professor at Tarleton State University and has presented at several National and State conferences on Teaching and Learning with Tech, Cultural Competence and Diversity. She has published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services, Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work and has trained community members and organizations on culturally competent practices. She is the faculty lead in the Diversity, Teaching, and Inclusion Learning communities at Tarleton. Dr. Jones is the founder of Sisters in Higher Education, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, Jack and Jill of America, Inc, and Board Member of Human Services Technology Association (HusITa). Dr. Nathalie P. Jones is a woman of faith, author, and educator. She teaches several social work courses with a specific interest in diversity and community engagement (service learning). Her passion includes reunifying families and mentoring black women in higher education. She has co-authored three books and appreciates opportunities to engage in courageous conversations about racial and ethnic experiences. Dr. Jones prides her place in the world on prayer, perseverance, and purpose.

Karen Tabb Dina, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Karen Tabb Dina

Dr. Tabb teaches on the topics of integrated health policy, community systems development, and public health social work at the undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD levels at the University of Illinois. She is international renowned for her maternal health disparities scholarship and identifying mental health problems as risk factors for maternal morbidity and mortality. She won the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s premier Thought Leader award for her publication record in 2019. She currently leads two Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute funded projects to engage rural and pregnant stakeholders in depression research during COVID-19.


Jenn Bellamy

Jenn Bellamy, University of Denver

Jenn Bellamy is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. At GSSW she teaches research and theory courses at the master’s and doctoral levels. She received her master’s of science in social work from The University of Texas at Austin in 2000. Before earning her Ph.D. she worked as a crisis counselor and a project coordinator for a multisite demonstration project serving young, unmarried, low-income fathers. Bellamy completed her PhD at the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2006 and postdoctoral training at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis in 2008.

Bellamy’s current research interests include the engagement of fathers in child and family services, child welfare, and evidence-based practice. She has published extensively in the area of evidence-based social work practice and is currently engaged in the development and testing of interventions to better serve fathers in child and family programs including home visiting and child welfare services.

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Doctoral Student Session, Social Work’s Response to Collective Trauma, Friday– January 22, 2021, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, EST

Presenters: Rupa Khetarpal, Rutgers University; Quenette Walton, University of Houston; Dawn Belkin Martinez, Boston University; Kesslyn Brade Stennis, Coppin State University
Chair: Alicia Mendez, Rutgers University

Collective trauma refers to the psychosocial response to a one-time event or an ongoing crisis that affects an entire community or society. This response can be triggered by events such as a natural disaster, war, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, pandemics, mass-casualty events, etc. Immediate responses to such events may include shock, hypervigilance, fragmentation of self, chronic fatigue, and many others.

In addition to the psychological effects experienced by individuals and communities in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event or period, the process of recovering from collective trauma involves long-term processes such as changes in identity formation (both at the individual and collective levels), reconsideration of a culture or society’s dominant beliefs and practices, co-construction of meaning-making on a large scale, and reimagination of a world after or beyond the trauma.

We invited our panelists for this year to further explore this theme, paying special attention to our current socio-political movement, including the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the movement against police brutality and systemic racism. We chose this theme to acknowledge the effects of collective trauma on members of our social work research and practice community, confront the ways that these traumatic events have exacerbated existing inequities, and to identify areas for self/community care, hope, and post-traumatic growth in 2021 and beyond with the idea that, as in the words of Frantz Fanon (1967), “Collective trauma can be alleviated through cohesive and collective efforts such as recognition, remembrance, solidarity, communal therapy and massive cooperation.”

Our panelists this year were chosen due to their research interests and dedication to students. Panelists include Dr. Dawn Belkin Martinez, Dr. Kesslyn Brade-Stennis, Rupa Khetarpal, and Dr. Quenette Walton.

During the 60-minute panel, the DSC Chair will moderate a question-and-answer session with the panelists specifically focusing on the aforementioned theme. We will also include 15-20 minutes for doctoral students to participate. If you would like to submit questions for our panelists ahead of time here you may do so here: https://forms.gle/WtWszGqWuu2WqvWZA.  Join us for the annual doctoral student session! All students are welcome.

Rupa Khetarpal, Rutgers University School of Social Work

Rupa Khetarpal

Rupa Khetarpal is an Assistant Professor of Teaching and the Coordinator for the Violence Against Women and Children Certificate Program at Rutgers University School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who joined the faculty after 15 years of clinical experience working with survivors of both domestic and international trauma, such as torture, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual violence, and gender-based violence. Rupa was the former Director of the Cross Cultural Counseling Center, a mental health program for refugees and immigrants at the International Institute of New Jersey. Rupa maintains a clinical practice and her practice areas include global gender-based violence, cross-cultural identities, resilience in traumatized populations, treatment of complex trauma, grief, loss, and mourning, and fostering the development of future social workers through education and supervision.

Quenette Walton, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

Quenette Walton

Dr. Quenette Walton is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work. In addition to conducting a post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Walton has over 10 years of practice experience in school social work, child welfare, and with community-based organizations, providing in-home individuals and family therapy and parent coaching services to children and families involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Her practice and research are grounded in social justice, with a focus on the intersection of race, class, gender, context, and environment on mental health. Dr. Walton’s research interests focus on the mental health, well-being, and wellness of African American women across the lifecourse, and the effects of social determinants of health.

Dawn Belkin Martinez, Boston University School of Social Work

Dawn Belkin Martinez

Dr. Dawn Belkin Martinez is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work. She is also the Associate Dean of Equity & Inclusion, as well as the Co-Director of the BRIDGE Program. Dr. Martinez received her Ph.D. from Simmons College School of Social Work and has over 30 years of experience in family therapy, substance misuse, trauma, liberation health practice with immigrant communities, and popular education. One of her major goals is growing the movement of “radical social work practitioners,” focusing on liberation health and social racial justice-focused models of social work practice. Dr. Martinez is co-editor of Social Justice in Clinical Practice: A Liberation Health Framework for Social Work, which demonstrated techniques for social workers to discuss the sociopolitical factors affecting their clients. She continues to provide training around working with immigrant families, liberation health theory, and integrating social justice frameworks into clinical social work practice.

Kesslyn Brade Stennis, Coppin State University

Kesslyn Brade Stennis

Dr. Kesslyn Brade Stennis is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Work at Coppin State University and as Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University. She received her Doctorate of Philosophy Degree at The Ohio State University and has over 15 years of experience as a social work educator. Her areas of research include intimate partner violence, women’s issues, faith communities, and cultural competence. Dr. Brade Stennis served as the Co-Principal Investigator for the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Training Grant Stipends in Domestic Violence for Historically Black, Hispanic-serving and Tribal Colleges and Universities from 1998-2002, and as a Consultant for the National Institute of Health and Oakwood College Domestic Violence Training Pilot Study Grant in 2004. She has also served as a researcher on domestic violence, sexual assault, and victims of crimes grants through Georgetown University, the District Association for Safe Housing Program, and Howard University.


Alicia Mendez

Alicia Mendez, Rutgers University

Alicia Mendez is a Doctoral Candidate at Rutgers University School of Social Work. Her research examines the intergenerational transmission of trauma from caregivers to their children, its impact on the individuals, parent-child relationship particularly when the child reaches older adolescence.

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RCDC Roots & Wings Roundtable I, Enhancing the Public Impact of Scholarship, Wednesday– January 20, 2021, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, EST

Speakers: Mo Yee Lee, The Ohio State University; Michael C. LaSala, Rutgers University; Daniel A. Hackman, University of Southern California; Courtney D. Cogburn, Columbia University; David Patterson Silver Wolf, University of Washington in St. Louis; Emily Putnam Hornstein, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Social work is an applied profession committed to respond to changing societal context and needs and to fostering social justice and equity.  Consequently, it is imperative that doctoral programs prepare students to conduct and disseminate research and scholarship in ways that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.  The conventional focus of doctoral education is on preparing students to disseminate their scholarship within the academic community via formal academic platforms such as peer-reviewed publications and professional conferences. While these are important forums for social work as a scientific discipline, they are often inaccessible to important stakeholders including policy makers, legislators, and the very people whose lives we seek to improve.  The changing landscape of technology and information dissemination, and the pace and process of policymaking in the face of dynamic and urgent circumstances (such as the COVID-19 pandemic or systemic racism as exposed by the death of George Floyd) challenge us to revisit how we communicate research and scholarship, to which audience, and via what methods.  Further, dissemination of research beyond academia raises multiple ethical issues, including how researchers assess and communicate the rigor and relevance of research for specific social or policy discussions, and the challenge of conveying clear and accurate messages as well as the nature of limitations or uncertainty. Social work scholars and doctoral students must therefore develop skills to wrestle deeply with multiple considerations as they translate their work to diverse audiences in order to achieve a meaningful a beneficial impact.

This roundtable aims to generate a dialogue about how to mentor our doctoral students to maximize the public impact of their scholarship, across the stages of their career, in an increasingly complex societal, policy and technological environment.  This roundtable brings together featured panel participants and audience members to explore the following topics:

  • Diverse tools, venues and platforms for disseminating research/scholarship
  • Matching dissemination venues with diverse audience
  • Ethical concerns related to public impact scholarship

Featured participants will share innovative tools and platforms for dissemination, present conceptual frameworks for public impact scholarship, and facilitate an active roundtable conversation with the audience. Please bring your own experiences and perspectives to add to this timely conversation!

Mo Yee Lee, The Ohio State University

Mo Yee Lee, Ph.D., is a Professor and PhD Program Director at the College of Social Work, The Ohio State University. She is President of The Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work. Her scholarship focuses on intervention research using a solution-focused, strengths-based, and systems perspective as well as utilizing integrative body-mind-spirit approaches in mental health treatment. Dr. Lee has published “Family Therapy for Treating Trauma: An Integrative Family and Systems Treatment (I-FAST) Approach,” “Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit Social Work: An empirically based approach to assessment and treatment,” “Integrative Families and Systems Treatment (I-FAST): A strengths-based common factors approach,” “Culturally Competent Research: Using Ethnography as a Meta-Framework,” “Solution-Oriented Social Work: A Practice Approach to Working with Client Strengths,” and “Solution-focused treatment with domestic violence offenders: Accountability for change.” The Oxford University Press published these books in 2020, 2018, 2014, 2013, 2011, and 2003 respectively.

Michael A. LaSala

Michael C. LaSala, Rutgers University

Michael C. LaSala, PhD, LCSW is associate professor and Director of the Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) Program at Rutgers University, where he has won several awards for innovation in teaching. He has been a practicing family therapist and teacher/trainer for over 35 years, and his research and clinical specialties are the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians and the role of family influences on the sexual behaviors of gay and bisexual youth. Dr. LaSala’s book entitled: Coming out, coming home (Columbia University Press) describes the findings and practice implications of a National Institute of Mental Health funded qualitative study of 65 gay and lesbian youth and their families. Other examples of Dr. LaSala’s work can be found in over 30 journal articles and his blog for Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gay-and-lesbian-well-being). He is a recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy’s 2017 Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice Award.

Daniel A. Hackman

Daniel A. Hackman, University of Southern California

Daniel A. Hackman, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He is interested in how childhood socioeconomic and neighborhood factors become associated with psychological and biological development, influencing health and well-being across the lifecourse. He is also interested in the protective factors and interventions that attenuate risk processes and promote health, helping to identify more effective policy and programmatic approaches to prevent and reduce socioeconomic disparities. Recently, he has led the development of an innovative methodology to study neighborhood influences using virtual reality, which is currently supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). His work has been supported by additional grants and fellowships from multiple NIH institutes and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Hackman was as a policy advocate in the nonprofit sector focused on chronic disease prevention.

Courtney D. Cogburn

Courtney D. Cogburn, Columbia University

Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn is an associate professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center. She employs a transdisciplinary research strategy to improve the characterization and measurement of racism and in examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequities in health.  Dr. Cogburn’s work also explores the potential of media and technology in eradicating racism and eliminating racial inequities in health. She is the lead creator of 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality experience of racism that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Dr. Cogburn completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University in the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Program and at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology, an MSW from the University of Michigan, and her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

David Patterson Silver Wolf

David Patterson Silver Wolf, Washington University in St. Louis

David Patterson Silver Wolf is an Associate Professor at Washington University in St Louis’ Brown School of Social Work. Before entering academics, he spent over fifteen-years providing clinical services in the substance use disorder treatment field and is a person who has sustained a life in recovery since 1989. He is part of a tech startup, Takoda, Inc., developing tech tools to measure and monitor treatment performance. He is the director of the Brown School’s Community Academic Partnership on Addiction (CAPA) working to bring performance-based practices to addiction and mental health services.

Emily Putnam-Hornstein

Emily Putnam-Hornstein, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Emily Putnam-Hornstein, PhD, is the John A. Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. She also maintains an appointment as a Distinguished Scholar at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work where she co-directs the Children’s Data Network, a university-agency collaborative focused on the linkage and analysis of administrative records. A leading researcher in the field of child maltreatment and child welfare systems, Emily is additionally recognized for her expertise in the integration of cross-sector data and her stewardship of public sector partnerships. Emily graduated from Yale with a BA in psychology, received her MSW from Columbia University, and earned her PhD in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked as a child welfare caseworker in New York City.

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RCDC Roots & Wings Roundtable II, Building capacity and Momentum for Community-Engaged Scholarship: Maximizing the Transformative Potential of Social Work Research, Friday – January 22, 2021, 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm, EST

Speakers:  Arati Maleku, The Ohio State University; Bonnie Duran, University of Washington; Tanya L. Sharpe, University of Toronto; Nadine Shaanta Murshid, University of Buffalo
Chair: Anamika Barman Adhikari, University of Denver
Moderator: Brad Linn, University at Buffalo

Research can have a variety of purposes. On one hand, research may attempt to build generalizable knowledge. On the other hand, research may attempt to solve a specific problem for a community. Community-engaged scholarship aims to understand or solve a specific problem or advance a specific cause for a specific group of people. Community engagement has long been at the heart of social work practice and research. Social work scholars have had a rich tradition of using community-engaged research and partnerships to respond to significant social issues that are considered to be important to the communities that they work with. Indeed, community-engaged scholarship and social work have a number of things in common, including centering the community in pursuing research, amplifying the voices of the marginalized and the oppressed, a commitment to social justice and social change, and partnership between higher education and the community (Dalavega, Lennon-Dearing, & Soifer, 2017). Noting the convergence of such values, social work scholars have rightfully called for community-engaged research to be considered the “signature research methodology of social work” (Dalavega et al., 2017).

Academic institutions have slowly started embracing the value of community-engaged research and partnerships, especially in response to a growing desire to remain relevant and under increasing pressure to clearly demonstrate their societal benefits while producing high-quality, high-impact scholarship. There have also been external incentives for institutions to develop more community-engaged educational and research platforms. For example, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, starting in 2015, initiated an elective process through which institutions could be classified as a community-engaged institution, a clear indication that community engagement is important to the assessment of academic institutions. However, despite the progress made, there are still a number of gaps that need to be addressed in order for community-engaged scholars to feel supported, such as an institutional culture and reward system that can nurture and sustain community-engaged scholars.

In contrast to traditional research, community-engaged research is more intensive and time-consuming and may not lead to the typical measures of productivity that institutions often rely on in making promotion and tenure decisions. Social work schools are uniquely positioned to be leaders in this area and model and document concrete tools and policies that can help contextualize the scholarly rigor and impact of community-engaged research. This roundtable will bring together a group of community-engaged scholars at various stages of their academic careers to talk about their experience with institutional practices and policies that have assisted or constrained them in their pursuit of community-engaged scholarship. Additionally, the roundtable discussion will be designed to yield actionable strategies that researchers can utilize to advocate for institutional support and recognition. By increasing the visibility and appreciation for community-engaged scholarship at all levels of the academy, social workers can help to maximize the transformative potential of community-engaged scholarship.

Anamika Barman-Adhikari, University of Denver, chair

Anamika Barman-Adhikari, PhD, is an assistant professor of social work at the University of Denver. Her experiences in research, policy and clinical services have coalesced in her current scholarly goals and agenda. These experiences have collectively helped her to formulate an academic agenda, which is devoted to the prevention of HIV and substance use among high-risk youth and other vulnerable populations. Barman-Adhikari’s research interests are broadly centered on understanding the social-contextual determinants of risk and protective behaviors among vulnerable populations, such as homeless and minority youth.

Her research broadly has four core foci:

1) Survey-based research examining how face-to-face social networks and norms shape the risk and protective behaviors of marginalized populations such as homeless youth

2) Understanding digital practices among homeless and other minority youth and young adult populations

3) Developing and disseminating programs that utilize innovative technology to increase social connectedness and preventive behaviors in these populations

4) Using innovative observational and computational methods to evaluate interactions in both face-to-face and online social networks

The goal of this research is to inform prevention interventions that acknowledge these contextual environments and utilize social network methodology to determine how these new ideas can be disseminated and sustained using a community-based participatory research approach.

Brad Linn, University at Buffalo, moderator

Braden K. Linn, PhD, LMSW is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo. A behavioral health researcher with interdisciplinary research and clinical training, Dr. Linn merges principles of emotion regulation and behavioral theory to understand the development, maintenance, and treatment of addictive behaviors. Dr. Linn’s current work is focusing on novel clinical interventions to enhance the success of alcohol use disorder treatment.

Dr. Linn’s previous work in addictions has examined clinician uptake of evidence-based practice, problem alcohol use among veterans and military population, and service needs of women with opiate use disorder.

Arati Maleku

Arati Maleku, The Ohio State University

Dr. Arati Maleku’s research focuses on (a) understanding social determinants of health inequities at the intersection of gender, race/ethnicity, and class in the migration context and (b) exploring pathways to build community resilience and improve well-being among vulnerable communities in transition. Her professional background encompasses over ten years of social work practice experience both nationally and internationally. Dr. Maleku leads the the Nepal Rising campaign, a global collaborative campaign geared towards diaspora engagement and building community resilience in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Dr. Maleku engages in community based research projects that focuses on identification and mobilization of community assets. She is interested in culturally grounded research and development of culturally grounded measures and interventions. Some of her current research projects include exploring cultural leadership development of young Bhutanese refugee women in Columbus; addressing mental health risk and resilience of the Bhutanese refugee population using cultural cartography as a tool to break down culture into words, images, texts, music and objects into symbols and codes; assessment of the human service landscape in central Ohio as it relates to immigrant and refugee populations, and exploring the use of arts based research as a methodology to study communities in transition in Nepal. Listen to Dr. Maleku’s podcast – Human Migration in the 21st Century: Implications for the Social Work Profession.

Bonnie Duran

Bonnie Duran, University of Washington

Bonnie Duran Dr.PH (mixed race Opelousas/Coushatta descendent) is a Professor in the Schools of Social Work and Public Health at the University of Washington, in Seattle and is on the leadership team at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (http://health.iwri.org ). She received her Dr.PH from UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 1997. Bonnie teaches graduate courses in Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), and Mindfulness. She has worked in public health research, evaluation and education among Tribes, Native Organizations and other communities of color for over 35 years.

Dr. Duran is currently the Principal Investigator of 2 NIH funded research projects in “Indian Country”. Working with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, 22 Tribal Colleges, and UW collaborators, she is conducting 2 studies; (a) a psychiatric epidemiology prevalence and correlates study (N=3,202, and (b) a TCU-cultural adaptation of Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS). Dr. Duran is also Co-PI of an NIMH funded R25 HIV and Mental Health research training program, and a Co-Investigator on an NINR CBPR methods and measures study: Engage for Equity. 

Bonnie’s past work includes partnering with the Navajo Nation, Indian Health Service, the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center, and other Tribes and Indigenous Community Based Organizations on projects aimed at health equity, improving health services, and developing culture-centered health promotion.

The overall aims of Dr. Duran’s research are to work in partnership with communities to design health access and prevention efforts that are empowering, culture-centered, accessible, sustainable and that have maximum public health impact. She has many publications including articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and books. Dr. Duran is an Editor of the 2018 Community-Based Participatory Research for Health: Advancing Social and Health Equity, 3rd Edition. Wiley.

Bonnie Duran is also a Buddhist mindfulness practitioner and teacher. She teaches long and short mindfulness retreats and advanced programs at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS dharma.org) in Massachusetts and at Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC Spiritrock.org) in California, and is on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council.

Tanya L. Sharpe

Tanya L. Sharpe, University of Toronto

Tanya Sharpe joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty in July 2018 after serving as an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work for 11 years. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Boston College located in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Sharpe is a community-based researcher who is passionately committed to the development of culturally responsive approaches and sustainable opportunities allowing Black communities to thrive in the face of homicide violence. Her research examines sociocultural factors that influence the coping strategies of Black family members and friends of homicide victims. She has developed culturally appropriate interventions and best practices designed to assist African-American survivors of homicide victims in the management of their grief and bereavement. Her comprehensive Model of Coping for African-American Survivors of Homicide Victims (MCAASHV) (Sharpe, 2015) has informed the development of a psychosocial educational intervention (Sharpe, Iwamoto, Massey & Michalopoulos, 2018), and a tool of measurement designed to assess the needs and coping strategies of African-American survivors of homicide victims.

Through interdisciplinary collaborations, Dr. Sharpe will utilize her track record of diverse community engagement to expand upon her seminal research findings by advancing our understanding and delivery of services to African, Caribbean and Black survivors of homicide victims throughout our global community. Dr. Sharpe’s expertise also includes: Mass Violence and Disaster Research; Qualitative Research Methods; Suicide Prevention and Education Research; and Community Organizing and Program Development.

Dr. Sharpe currently holds the Endowed Chair in Social Work in the Global Community at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and is the recipient of multiple awards: Boston College School of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Governor of Maryland’s Victim Assistance Award, the NASW Maryland Chapter’s 2016 Social Work Educator of the Year, the Dr. Martin Luther King Diversity Recognition Award for Outstanding University of Maryland, Baltimore Faculty, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Special Recognition Award for co-developing a course entitled Freddie Gray-Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward, and the University of Maryland’s Organization of African-American Students in Social Work’s Inaugural Spotlight Award.


Nadine Shaanta Murshid

Nadine Shaanta Murshid, University of Buffalo

Associate Professor Shaanta Murshid joined the faculty in 2014. Her teaching interests include research, diversity and oppression, immigration, violence, and international social work.

Her areas of interest and research include institutions, structural sources of violence, social policy, and health disparities. Her most recent work focuses on experiences of microfinance participation among women in Bangladesh. Some of her current projects include work on migrant workers, garment workers, and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Murshid’s social consciousness on both national and international levels guides her talks and publications in both scholarly journals and popular media. These include her 2014 article, “The killings at Bangladesh’s Bihari Camp – Murder mystery or murder with impunity?” in India’s Frontier Weekly, and an article on the use of neoliberal language by microfinance participants as they take personal responsibility for social problems, including intimate partner violence and sexual harassment on the streets.

She was a member of the Doctoral Program Executive Committee at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and an appointed member of the Board of the Doctoral Student Association at Rutgers University School of Social Work. She was also awarded a Saathi of Rochester Excellence in Education Award and an Excellence in Social Work Education Award from Rutgers University.

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“Meet the Scientist” Session, Thursday – January 21, 2021, 6:15 pm – 7:30 pm, EST

Welcome and Introductions: Arati Maleku, The Ohio State University, Alicia Mendez, Rutgers University
Scholars: Joan Blakey, Tulane University;  Donte Boyd, University of Houston; Courtney Cogburn, Columbia University; Shantel Crosby, University of Louisville; Lauren McInroy, The Ohio State University; Felix Muchomba, Rutgers University; Laura Nissen, Portland State University; Camille Quinn, The Ohio State University; Linda Sprague Martinez, Boston University; Noelle St. Vil, University of Buffalo

The Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) will be holding the “Meet the Scientist” session during the conference. This special session provides a forum for early-career scholars and doctoral students to talk and interact with established 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.

Joan Blakey

Joan Blakey

Dr. Joan Blakey is a tenured Associate Professor and researcher at the Tulane School of Social Work. She received her doctorate from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Administration. She also attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she received both her Bachelor of Science degree in African American Studies, Sociology, and Youth Studies and Masters of Social Work degree. 
 Her research agenda and consulting work focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her work consistently has been about transforming systems to recognize and embrace peoples’ full humanity.  Dr. Blakey’s most recent projects focused on understanding reasons for the widening academic achievement gap between African American and White students in two school districts in Wisconsin. In these school districts, Dr. Joan Blakey also reviewed policies, procedures, and practices that were exacerbating the high prevalence of trauma among African American children and how trauma was affecting the achievement gap. She provided recommendations and strategies from a trauma-informed lens that the schools could implement. Dr. Joan M. Blakey continues to consult with other school districts and organizations who are concerned about diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also conducts training on trauma-informed care in a variety of settings such as schools, homeless shelters, and other types of non-profit organizations. The purpose of her work is to understand, learn from, and improve African American students’ and families’ educational experiences and outcomes so that they are able to thrive and excel.

Donte Boyd

Donte Boyd

Dr. Donte T. Boyd is currently a new Assistant Professor here in the Graduate College of Social Work. Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Boyd received his PhD from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He also has worked extensively as a social worker in different capacities in AIDs Serving Organizations (ASOs). Dr. Boyd worked as Ryan White Case Manager working with HIV positive individuals and as a Public Health Representative before deciding to further his educational pursuits. Dr. Boyd’s research addresses the ways in which socio-contextual factors impact Black male adolescents’ decision-making behaviors. He is particularly interested in examining how the role of the family (e.g., parent/sibling support, communication, and socialization) and other important persons in Black male adolescents’ lives impact HIV prevention behavior (e.g., HIV testing, condom use) and other health outcomes. Donte’s research also focuses on the impact of school context among Black male adolescents in shaping their sexual health behaviors. He incorporates the theory of Developmental Competencies in Minority Children to understand how family, school experiences, and other contextual factors interact with one another to shape positive health behaviors among Black male adolescents.

Courtney Cogburn

Courtney Cogburn

Associate Professor Courtney D. Cogburn employs a transdisciplinary research strategy to improve the characterization and measurement of racism and in examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequities in health. She is also conducting research exploring the use of emerging technologies, including computational social science to examine patterns and psychosocial effects of cultural racism and how virtual reality experiences can lead to changes in attitudes, social perception, and engagement (empathy, racial bias, structural competence, and behavior). Dr. Cogburn is the lead creator of 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality racism experience that was developed in collaboration with the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University and which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. She is on the faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center and a core member of the Data Science Institute where she also co-chairs the Computational Social Science working group. Dr. Cogburn is also a faculty affiliate of the Center on African American Politics and Society. She directs the Cogburn Research Group and co-directs the Justice Equity + Tech (JE+T) Laboratory at Columbia University. Dr. Cogburn completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University in the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Program and at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology, an MSW from the University of Michigan, and her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She is also a board member of the International Center Advocates Against Discrimination.

Shantel Crosby

Shantel Crosby

Dr. Shantel Crosby’s research focuses on wellbeing and adverse childhood experiences among youth who are court-involved or at risk of court-involvement, with emphasis on youth of color. She examines trauma and behavioral/socioemotional health among this population and explores trauma-informed responses to maladaptive youth behaviors. She is also interested in examining innovative practices and interventions across childserving systems that address negative youth behavior and trauma symptomatology.  Dr. Crosby is currently an evaluator for the Louisville Trauma Resilient Community (TRC) project, a 5-year grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Louisville TRC is focused on providing culturally-appropriate, trauma-focused, clinical and system-level interventions in West and South Louisville to address community violence and race-based trauma. Dr. Crosby was previously the principal investigator for a project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, exploring the school experiences of trauma-exposed students. This study examined focus group data from trauma-exposed high school to both understand their lived experiences to improve student well-being. Dr. Crosby has also partnered, as co-principal investigator, with faculty from the College of Education at the University of Louisville to pilot a trauma-informed curriculum for undergraduate teacher candidates to address the paucity of pre-service teacher training on childhood trauma.

Lauren McInroy

Lauren McInroy

Dr. Lauren McInroy’s research investigates the impacts of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the well-being of marginalized adolescents and emerging adults – particularly LGBTQ+ young people, who experience heightened risks including mental health difficulties, social exclusion, and violence. She explores how LGBTQ+ youth build communities of support, engage in identity development activities, foster resilience and well-being, and engage in advocacy using digital technologies.

Dr. McInroy earned her BA, BEd, MSW, and PhD at the University of Toronto. She recently joined the Leadership Council of INQYR, an international, interdisciplinary network seeking to co-create new knowledge and develop adaptable online tools related to LGBTQ+ resilience and digital technologies. Dr. McInroy also serves on the Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (CSOGIE) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) as well as the Membership Committee of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).

Felix Muchomba

Felix Muchomba

Felix Muchomba is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work. Dr. Muchomba’s research examines how policies and institutions influence the well-being of girls and women. His current approach is to study how (1) macro-level changes, including social and economic development, and (2) gender discrimination within families, impact the health and well-being of girls and women. Under this research agenda, Dr. Muchomba has examined sexual and reproductive health and other issues that are pertinent to low-income families, with a focus on Eastern Africa, South Asia, and immigrants in the U.S. He is currently studying policy levers that may reduce disparities in maternal health.

Lauren Nissen

Laura Nissen

Laura Burney Nissen is a social work professor, leader, researcher and activist focused on innovation in public sector human service, equity work, human rights, and social justice issues. She is particularly interested in how accelerations in climate change, artificial intelligence, technology, and economic disparities is already impacting and will continue to impact vulnerable populations, and how urgently contemporary human services systems need to evolve to meet the challenges of a complex and uncertain future.  Nissen is a founder and former national program lead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative called “Reclaiming Futures,” which sought to build systems of care and opportunity for young people with substance use disorders in the juvenile justice system across the United States, beginning in 2000 (urging public health rather than a justice response). It is in this capacity that she first encountered foresight-related work, and she credits its impact with the success of the initiative, which extended fully 15 years beyond its original demonstration phase. The initiative resulted in significant system change successes in interdisciplinary and cross-agency governmental reforms. As an addictions professional (her social work specialization) she has also stayed close to developments concerning the evolution of addictions science and explores the future of this phenomenon in her practice. She’s also has a scholarly interest in the topic of arts and social change and is part of an international learning collaborative of social work researchers active in this emerging space.

Camille Quinn

Camille Quinn

Dr. Camille R. Quinn joined the faculty at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Social Work in 2016. Drawing from prior clinical and administrative experience in social and health services with children and families involved with or at risk of involvement with the juvenile/criminal and child welfare systems, Quinn investigates mechanisms that underlie individual and structural barriers associated with recidivism and comorbid mental health disparities. Her mixed methods research is guided by race-based, criminological, and social determinants of health theories to inform and culturally tailor interventions for the youth of color to reduce their recidivism and mental health burden. In 2018, Dr. Quinn was appointed to the Ohio Governors’ Council on Juvenile Justice for a two-year term (2018-2020). Currently, Dr. Quinn is a Co-Investigator on an NIMH-funded R01 “Identifying periods of high risk and predictors of suicide for youth in public child serving systems” to develop an algorithm to assess suicide risk of youth involved in public-serving systems (juvenile justice, vital statistics, etc.). She is also partnering with the Ohio Department of Youth Services to investigate and racial differences in aggression, criminal offense, and comorbid mental health problems (trauma, substance use, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors) while in corrections, as well as structural barriers associated with recidivism and mental health problems when they re-enter society. In addition, she is launching a multi-city mixed methods pilot study with young adults and providers to explore the effect of structural and systemic barriers on youth desistence from crime, complex associations between the involvement of systems, and intersectional structural factors among African American youth. This work is informed by specialized training in mixed methods (Harvard University) and the prevention and intervention of suicide and violence research (University of Rochester). Dr. Quinn is also an Affiliated Faculty in the Center for Health Equity Research in the School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Linda Sprague Martinez

Linda Sprague Martinez

Linda Sprague Martinez, Ph.D., is an associate professor and chair of the Macro Department at the Boston University School of Social Work. She is interested in examining asset-based strategies to tackle health inequities; as such community engaged research (CEnR) approaches like community-based participatory research (CBPR) and youth-led participatory action research (YPAR) are central to her work. Having formerly worked in municipal and state governance, and as an adolescent mental health provider, she brings practical expertise in community collaborations designed to engage diverse communities of color and low-income residents in community planning and intervention development. In 2017 she was a Boston Housing Authority, Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights, Resident Empowerment Coalition, Resident Empowerment Honoree.

Noelle St. Vil

Noelle St. Vil

Noelle M. St.Vil, assistant professor, joined the UB School of Social Work faculty in 2015. St. Vil’s research focuses on black male-female relationships, including the impact of structural racism on these relationships, intimate partner violence, sexually transmitted infections, and relationship typologies (monogamous, consensual nonmonogamy, and nonconsensual nonmonogamy).

She is conducting a study on the prevalence, attitudes, and willingness to engage in consensual nonmonogamy among African Americans. St. Vil is co-author of the recent article, “‘Some men just don’t want to get hurt’: perspectives of U.S. Virgin Islands men toward partner violence and HIV risks,” in Ethnicity and Health, which expands on her research contextualizing and understanding the unique relationship experiences of blacks and giving voice to their realities. Her long-term goal is to create prevention interventions that strengthen black male-female relationships.

In her teaching, she is committed to helping students pursue lifelong consciousness and intellectual and spiritual growth. She has designed a course titled, “Introduction to black male-female relationships: a historical and contemporary analysis.” Through a trauma-informed perspective, the course integrates research, policy, and practice to develop an understanding of the historical and contemporary context of black male-female relationships, assess intervention strategies, and propose solutions.

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