A Call to Change Lives
Our students and faculty pursue careers in social work because they feel called to change lives. When they answer this call, we respond with support. Our school faculty conduct life-changing research, teach, inspire and attract outstanding students. A priority for our school is increasing our support for these national leaders as they serve our students and our communities.
Preventing Interpersonal Violence
Professor Rebecca Macy has spent years collaborating with local, state and national agencies to ensure that these agencies can provide physical and mental health support services for survivors of family and interpersonal violence. As a leading researcher who is making a national impact, Rebecca works with talented graduate students — many of whom share her research interests in violence prevention — and mentors them as they navigate their own professional academic careers.
Changing Lives by Changing Policies
Sometimes, our greatest impact can be through providing evidence — research findings and other data — that can help agencies and lawmakers develop policies to address challenges in child welfare, substance use disorders and other social and medical issues.
For professor Mark Testa, a key to policy reform is finding innovative ways to bridge research and practice. Mark has worked closely with the Children’s Home Society of America to develop a practice-based research network that helps educate community leaders about child welfare. This effort focuses on those children most affected by persistent poverty, child abuse, parental substance use and loss of stable family life. Mark also helped organize the Wicked Problems of Child Welfare Institute, a series of discussions that involved national leaders in seeking solutions to the “grand challenges” of child welfare. The Society for Social Work and Research chose Mark to receive its 2017 Social Policy Award in recognition of his accomplishments in addressing important social work policy issues.
America’s Epidemic of Opioid Addiction
The statistics are alarming: More than 50,000 Americans died of drug overdose in 2016 – the most ever recorded. Abuse of prescription painkillers, especially opioids, has created a public health crisis that impacts individuals, families and communities. Clinical associate professor and senior associate dean Lisa Zerden has partnered with local agencies to help reform state criminal drug policies and to strengthen training for law enforcement officers. These reforms ensure officers seek immediate help for victims of an accidental overdose and remove fear of criminal repercussions for people who call for help in overdose situations. Such efforts have a simple goal: To save lives.