Research Topics

Rena Harold
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the organization that accredits social work programs nationwide, requires all programs to educate students to engage diversity and difference in practice. One path to realizing this is through learning and teaching about the experiences of diverse populations. Dr. Rena Harold and her colleagues doctoral candidate Kristen Prock and PhD alum Dr. Sheryl Groden have been looking at this question among social work faculty who self-identify as members of diverse groups. Read more
Deirdre Shires
Transgender people, or those whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth, often struggle to find health care providers who understand their medical needs. These needs include not only basic routine care (for example, diabetes management or cancer screenings) but may also include gender-affirming medical care like hormone therapy. To make matters worse, transgender individuals often experience discrimination and bias when they seek health care. One-third of transgender people have been verbally harassed or have been denied services at a doctor’s visit, and many transgender individuals avoid going to the doctor at all due to fear of being mistreated. Read more
Carrie Moylan
Several years ago, the American Association of Universities (AAU) conducted a multi-campus survey of student experiences of sexual assault and found that the rate of sexual assault among undergraduate women ranged from 13% to 30% on the 27 campuses included in the study. Other multi-campus studies have found similarly wide ranges across campuses, with some colleges having rather low rates and others much higher. Differences of a few percentage points could be explained by random variation and margins of error, but a nearly 20-point difference seems unlikely to be due to chance alone. Read more
Hyunkag Cho
Survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) live with numerous negative consequences of IPV, such as physical and mental health problems. While some actively seek help to address problems stemming from IPV, others do not. Survivors use many different help sources, both formal (e.g., police, counselor, and health care) and informal (e.g., family, friends, and coworkers). Violence types encompass psychological (e.g., name calling and excessive controlling by the partner), physical (e.g., beating and using a weapon), sexual (e.g., rape and sexual assaults), and stalking. Read more
Anne Hughes
Good relationships with health care providers can be instrumental to the well-being of older adults. However, barriers exist for older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults and the providers who serve them. For many years, I have been trying to improve communication between health care providers and their LGBT patients. Many providers have had no training in working with LGBT patients and, therefore, are not sure what to do to ensure they are delivering competent care. On the flip side, LGBT older adults often do not feel comfortable sharing details about their sexual orientation or gender identity due to fear of negative reactions or biased treatment. Read more
Amanda Woodward
There were almost 650,000 social work jobs in the United States in 2014. This is expected to increase by 12% between now and 2024, a rate of growth that is faster than the average for all occupations. Social workers are also one of the largest groups of professionals providing mental health and substance use services (i.e., behavioral health). Read more
Fei Sun
In 2017, I was selected as a Health and Aging Policy Fellow funded by the John Hartford Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Given my interest in health solutions from a global perspective, I landed with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse within the World Health Organization (WHO) as my placement. As a fellow, I have been working to develop a toolkit for countries that are interested in building dementia-friendly communities. Read more
Joanne Riebschleger
One of four people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Many teens are living with a family member who has a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Despite adjusting regularly to varying levels of their relative’s mental illness symptoms, teens like Talana do not know much about mental illness and recovery. Read more
Gary Anderson
For a child welfare agency to achieve its mission, it must attract, develop, and retain a skilled and responsive workforce. The consequences of staff turnover for successful outcomes for children and families has highlighted the importance of a consistent professional relationship and implementation of a thoughtful case plan. Even the most evidence-based interventions and robust practice models will flounder if there is not a competent, ethical and talented workforce. Consequently, the U.S. Children’s Bureau has focused intensively on workforce development for nearly two decades. Read more