Research

Drs. Ann Marie Garran, Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, Release Latest Edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions

Drs. Ann Marie Garran, Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, Release Latest Edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions

UConn School of Social Work faculty members Dr. Ann Marie Garran and Dr. Lisa Werkmeister Rozas recently published the third edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions.

Originally published in 2008 and co-authored by Dr. Ann Marie Garran and Dr. Joshua Miller (Smith College), this text explored the historical context of racism as well as institutional racism present in the United States today. The authors conveyed that human service professionals must confront racism on two fronts: the racism outside of themselves as well as the racism within. 

The third and newest edition, published in December 2021, uses coloniality and other critical theories as a conceptual framework to analyze all levels of racism: structural, personal, interpersonal, professional, and cultural. It features the contributions of a new team of authors and scholars; new conceptual and theoretical material; a new chapter on immigration racism and updated content to reflect how racism and white supremacy are manifested today; and new content on the impact of racism on economics, technology, and environmental degradation; expanded sections on slavery; current political manifestations of racism and much more.

Read more about the third edition here.

JSWE Focuses on Education During the Pandemic

Dr. Cristina Wilson, Associate Professor and Research Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UConn Health), coedited a special issue of the Journal of Social Work Education (JSWE) that included 19 articles focused on best practices and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and prior natural disasters. Visit the CSWE website to read more and access the special issues. 

The Role of Self-Stigma in Engagement in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Associate Research Professor Hsiu-Ju Lin is working on several federally funded projects related to the opioid crisis. She is a co-investigator on a Nation Institute of Drug Abuse funded Diversity Supplement study for Transitions Clinic Network: Post Incarceration Addiction Treatment, Healthcare, and Social Supports (TCN-PATHs). To read more about the TCN-PATHs project, visit the UNC Center for Health Equity Research website.

Beyond Borders: The Human Rights of Non-Citizens at Home and Abroad

Beyond Borders: The Human Rights of Non-Citizens at Home and Abroad

Dr. Kathryn Libal, Associate Professor and Director of the UConn Human Rights Institute, co-edited Beyond Borders: The Human Rights of Non-Citizens at Home and Abroad. Published by Cambridge University Press, the book was made available online in August 2021.

Read the preface below:

States have long denied basic rights to non-citizens within their borders, and international law imposes only limited duties on states with respect to those fleeing persecution. But even the limited rights previously enjoyed by non-citizens are eroding in the face of rising nationalism, populism, xenophobia, and racism. Beyond Borders explores what obligations we owe to those outside our political community. Drawing on contributions from a broad variety of disciplines – from literature to political science to philosophy – the volume considers the failures of law and politics to guarantee rights for the most vulnerable and attempts to imagine new forms of belonging grounded in ideas of solidarity, empathy, and responsibility in order to identify a more robust basis for the protection of non-citizens at home and abroad. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

Molly Land is the Catherine Roraback Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Her research focuses on the intersection of human rights, science, technology, and innovation.

Kathryn Libal is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. Her publications have focused on human rights, social work, and refugees and asylum seekers.

Jillian Chambers is a Juris Doctor Candidate at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she is the Symposium Editor of Volume 53 of the Connecticut Law Review and Executive Brief Writer for the Connecticut Moot Court Board

Impact of COVID-19 On Services for People with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions

Dr. Kelsi Carolan, Assistant Professor, recently collaborated on an article entitled "Impact of COVID-19 On Services for People with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions" that appeared in Disability and Health Journal (Vol 14, Issue 3). To read the article, visit Science Direct.

Addressing Problem Drinking Among Young Adults

Supported by $725,000 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant, Michael Fendrich, professor and associate dean for research at the UConn School of Social Work, has teamed up with Crystal Park, professor of psychology, and Beth Russell, associate professor of human development and family sciences, to develop interventions to address escalating drinking patterns among young adults. Read more about the study on UConn Today.

SSW Faculty Local, National, International Research Leaders

Megan Berthold
S. Megan Berthold, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Megan Berthold is Co-PI on a research team that was awarded $100,000 through UConn Health’s Vice President for Research’s Research Excellence Program (REP-UCH) for her proposal “Remote Peer Learning for US-CAMBOdia Community Health Workers Managing Diabetes” (AKA: “PLUS CamboDIA”). She is joined by Julie Wagner of UConn Health (PI) and Thomas Buckley of the School of Pharmacy (Co-PI).

Cambodia is in the midst of a type 2 diabetes epidemic and faces a critical shortage of healthcare workers. In response, Cambodia has developed a national system of community health workers (CHWs), or Village Health Support Guides (Guides). Currently, Guides need more knowledge, training, and support to effect needed health improvements. The research team has developed an evidence-based bilingual diabetes education curriculum called Eat, Walk, Sleep, designed for delivery by CHWs. “We have also developed a cadre of enthusiastic Cambodian-American CHWs who have been thoroughly trained to deliver Eat, Walk, Sleep in Khmer” says Dr. Berthold. “A highly innovative next step is to link the Cambodian Guides and the Cambodian-American CHWs via telehealth for training, continuing education, and ongoing support.” “The critical question for this and other displaced groups is, can lay health workers in the home country and those in the diaspora leverage each other’s efforts to address diabetes?” Dr. Berthold and her team aim to find out.

Caitlin Elsaesser
Caitlin Elsaesser, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Caitlin Elsaesser was awarded $50,000 from the Research Excellence Program (REP) for her proposal “Understanding Social Media Interactions Among Youth Living in Violent Neighborhoods. Dr. Elsaesser was also awarded a $7,500 InCHIP seed grant for a related grant proposal. Dr. Elsaesser “says “while youth violence exposure is nothing new, adolescents are increasingly using social media to communicate with their peers, and social media can be used to facilitate aggression. For youth living in areas with high rates of firearm violence – or with access to firearms themselves – the effects of social media-based aggression can be particularly harmful and even lethal”. Her study will investigate the ways that social media can lead to violence, as well as the strategies youth use to prevent such aggression from happening. “This is critical work in violence prevention, a pressing issue given that homicide is the second leading cause of death among youth”. Dr. Elsaesser will be collaborating with Dr. Desmond Patton of Columbia University, Dr. Christine Ohannessian of University of Connecticut, and Dr. Emily Weinstein of Harvard University.

Dr. Brenda Kurz was awarded $5000 for an InCHIP seed grant focused on building collaborative research. Her study, “Coordinated Pain Management Education with Practice Applications for Interprofessionals,” was jointly submitted with Dr. Paula McCauley from the School of Nursing. In addition, Drs. Caitlin Elsaesser, Megan Feely, and Stephanie Kennedy were awarded $4000 each from the School of Social Work for their submissions to the Dean’s Incentive Award.

Reflecting on these outstanding accomplishments, Dr. Fendrich noted “The UConn School of Social Work faculty are establishing themselves as local, national and international leaders in bringing social work to the table to understand and solve critical public health challenges. These successes demonstrate that UConn SSW is on a very promising research trajectory.”

Faculty Attend NIAAA Fellowship Training in Boston

Barris Malcolm
Barris Malcolm, PhD

Associate Professors Barris Malcolm and Cristina Wilson attended a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Fellowship Training event at Boston University.

Drs. Malcolm and Wilson were selected to attend this social work immersion faculty training (SWIFT) that was focused on increasing alcohol and substance abuse content in schools of social work curricula.  The emphasis was on learning the latest in evidence based practices regarding screening tools and interventions. They also reviewed the latest in medications, treatments and teaching strategies.

With support from the NIAAA, the Fellowship program is designed to train Social Work faculty and educate Social Work graduate students in empirically-supported alcohol and other drug (AOD) identification and treatment methods, and incorporate AOD content in the curricula of Schools of Social Work nationwide.

Cristina Wilson
Cristina Wilson, PhD

Crystal Hayes Receives Doctoral Fellowship

Crystal HayesCongratulations to doctoral student, Crystal Hayes, who was recently selected to receive a Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship through its Mental Health & Substance Abuse Fellowship Program.

“I am honored and humbled to be joining the CSWE Doctoral MFP community. I am most excited about joining a community of committed academics of color devoted to addressing health disparities and promoting research and scholarship that gives us hope for a more just world.”

These highly competitive fellowships are awarded to social work doctoral students who demonstrate potential for assuming a leadership role in practice, research, teaching, and policy for mental health and substance abuse services to underrepresented and underserved persons and communities.

Fellows receive financial support for up to three years to facilitate completion of their dissertation and related research, and have the opportunity to participate in professional development and other learning opportunities as part of a network of social work doctoral students within the fellowship.

Dr. Kathryn Libal, Crystal’s academic mentor, described Crystal’s research on reproductive health care and justice for incarcerated pregnant women in the United States as one of the few studies in social work on this topic. “Drawing on Black feminist thought, intersectionality, human rights, and theories of reproductive justice, her work will provide crucial insights to policymakers and prison administrators on the impacts of limited access to reproductive health care. As importantly, she stands to shape social work education in efforts to integrate a critical Black feminist perspective on mass incarceration and its effects.”

Crystal Hayes, MSW, is a PhD student at the UConn School of Social Work. She began her social work career in community based mental health, and in nonprofit leadership development and management. She worked at the Center for Child and Family Health at Duke University and her practice was in maternal and pediatric mental health. She was also the Director of Racial Justice and Maternal Child Wellness at the YWCA of the Greater Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Currently, Crystal is on the part-time faculty at North Carolina State University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. Crystal has worked at NC State in the Department of Social Work since 2011 in various capacities in both the undergraduate and graduate social work programs, field education, and curriculum development.

Doctoral Student Receives Doris Duke Fellowship

Alysse MelvilleCongratulations to doctoral student, Alysse Melville, who was selected to receive a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being—seeking innovations to prevent child abuse and neglect. The fellowships are designed to develop new leaders capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation’s ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment. Fifteen fellows will receive an annual stipend of $30,000 for up to two years to support the completion of their dissertation and related research. They will also have the opportunity to participate in numerous peer learning opportunities in order to build a strong, interdisciplinary network within the fellowship. Dr. Cristina Wilson is her academic mentor.