Recent Faculty Achievements
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SP2 Faculty Selected to Present Papers at Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) Annual Conference
Malitta Engstrom, PhD, for her paper, "HIV sexual risks among older women on probation and parole," with Golder, S., Logan, T. K., Higgins, G. E.,& Shibusawa, T. (2013, January)
Zvi Gellis, PhD, for his paper, "Randomized Trial of Tele-Heart: An Integrated Telehealth Intervention for Depressed Homebound Older Adults with Heart Disease."
Toorjo Ghose, PhD, for his papers, "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Haitians Living with HIV Negotiating Safety in Post-Earthquake Encampment Settings" and, "Correlates of Homelessness At Baseline and Becoming Homeless At 1-Year Follow-up Among Patients in the Veterans Affair Healthcare System."
Roberta Rehner Iversen, PhD, for her paper, "The Political Is Personal: Middle Income Families in the U.S. and Canada in the Great Recession," with Chenyi Ma and Sigrid Luhr.
Susan B. Sorenson, PhD, for her paper, "Justifications for Wife-Assault Among Iraqi Women."
Irene Wong, PhD, will Co-Chair, "Social Work's Contribution to Community Integration for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness: Lessons Learned and
Future Direction," a Roundtable, with Seth Kurzban. (Other Presenters: Deborah Padgett, Ben Henwood & John Brekke)
Irene Wong, PhD and Mary Mazzola, MSW, EdD were awarded the Spring 2012 Global Engagement Fund from the Penn Office of the Provost to organize the China-U.S. Health and Mental Health Social Work Conference in Beijing, China (November 9th - 13th, 2012).
Dean Richard Gelles was named the NASW-PA Public Citizen of the Year.
Johanna Greeson, PhD, presented at the Society for Research in Child Development’s Transition to Adulthood Conference in October in Tampa, FL. The title of her presentation was Functional Impairments and Service Use of Transition-Age Youth Exposed to Trauma: Findings from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Core Data Set.
Andrew Lamas, JD, recently contributed his expert opinion to Marketplace World about the use of local alternative currency in Espinal, Mexico. He was named to the Editorial Board of the Radical Philosophy Review, a peer-reviewed academic journal containing articles focused on the discussion of fundamental social change.
Ezekiel Dixon-Román, PhD, released his new book Thinking Comprehensively About Education. The book explores a broadened conceptualization of education. Beyond schooling, Dr. Dixon-Roman explores education as a social process that is part of everyday actions and interactions. He highlights examples of social systems, community institutions, programs, and daily practices of comprehensively conceived education. The final portion explores potential implications for public policy in areas of education and school reform, which are traditionally constricted to schooling.
Aileen Rothbard, ScD, has received a grant from RWJ. She is also leading Irene Wong, Dennis Culhane, Liz Noll, and Trevor Hadley in a team subcontracted for a SAMHSA grant to Research Triangle Institute to evaluate homeless programs funded by SAMHSA.
Ram Cnaan, PhD, was chosen as Best Reviewer 2011 by the Council on Social Work Education for he work with the Journal of Social Work Education.
Staci Perelman, PhD, part-time SP2 faculty member, was selected by the the American Psychological Association Section on Child Maltreatment to receive the Early Career Award in the Field of Child Maltreatment. The award recognizes individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field within eight years of receiving a terminal degree and who have demonstrated the potential to continue such contributions. One award is made each year to a practitioner or researcher whose work has demonstrated an influence on the field of child maltreatment.
Eileen R. Heisman, President & CEO of
National Philanthropic Trust in
Jenkintown, PA, and part-time SP2 faculty member, was selected as one of the 2011 Nonprofit Times Power &
Influence Top 50, which celebrates some of the nonprofit sector's top executives and thinkers.
Endowed Chair Appointments
Dana and Andrew Stone Chair in Social Policy: Dr. Dennis Culhane
Kenneth L.M. Pray Chair: Dr. Mark Stern
2011 SP2 Teaching Award Winners
Standing Faculty: Dr. Damon Freeman
Part-time Faculty: Joseph McBride (awarded posthumously)
Andrea Doyle, MSW, Ph.D., received clinical social work licensure (LCSW) in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in February 2011.
Dean Richard Gelles, Ph.D., was named a 2011 Distinguished Advocate for Children by the Support Center for Child Advocates.
Zvi D. Gellis, Ph.D., recently has been honored as a national “Fellow” of the Gerontological Society of America for his research on evidence-based geriatric mental health services delivery to homebound medically ill older adults. The Gerontological Society of America is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. Dr. Gellis also completed his Hartford Geriatric Social Work National Research Mentor service to Professor Sudershan Pasupuleti, an Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Toledo. The project title is: “Impact of Computer-Based Brain Fitness Training on Cognitive Functioning and Quality of Life of Older Adults with Low Income Status.”
Zvi D. Gellis, Ph.D., presented a paper titled ”Intervention for subthreshold depression in older homebound patients with cardiovascular disease” at the 63nd Gerontological Society ofAmerica Annual Conference, in New Orleans, LA and was invited to present a “Grand Rounds” titled: “Integrated geriatric depression care for medically ill homebound older adults,” at the Division of Geriatrics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
Femida Handy, Ph.D., along with doctoral student Itay Greenspan and Penn alumni Dr. Jill Sinha’s manuscript titled " Does membership in an ethnic congregation enhance or constrain civic participation among immigrants?" was recently accepted for publication in the Journal for Civil Society. Dr. Handy’s work with two visiting research fellows at SP2, Dr Debbie Haski-Leventhal and Dr Lesley Hustinx, examined the impact of volunteers at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. This also was recently accepted for publication: "What money cannot buy: The distinctive and multidimensional impact of volunteers" in the Journal of Community Practice. Additionally, Handy was invited to give a lecture at the 22nd Annual Symposium: Women World Wide Leading through Philanthropy in Chicago. In April she will present"Volunteering, Donating and Informal Giving among Canadians "at the West Coast Nonprofit Data Conference to be held in Tuscon, Arizona.
Michelle Kondo, Ph.D., a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at SP2, is now an Associate Fellow of Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives. Michelle’s public health interests include environmental justice, air pollution and respiratory health, community planning and engagement, youth and youth violence, water supply, storm water and green infrastructure, and community-based participatory research. Kondo combines application of GIS and qualitative methodologies to understand and support participatory planning efforts to address problems relating to environmental and public health. Her research emphasizes social justice, especially amongst immigrant communities and communities of color.
Lara Krawchuk, MSW, LCSW, MPH will be speaking on “Care for the Caregiver” at the Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia on April 30, 2011. She will be the keynote speaker for the Supporting Grieving Clients Search for Meaning in a Get Over it World; on May 16, 2011, and also will present a breakout session on “Disenfranchised Grief” at the same conference.
Nicole Saint-Louis, DSW, joined the faculty of the New Community College Initiative at the City University of New York in January 2011 in the college’s Human Services program. Dr. Saint-Louis received her Doctorate in Clinical Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice and currently serves in a variety of professional capacities at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She brings extensive teaching experience from appointments at both Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Roberta G. Sands, Ph.D., together with Zvi Gellis, Ph.D., have had their book, Clinical Social Work Practice in Behavioral Mental Health: Toward Evidence-Based Practice, 3rd edition, recently published by Allyn and Bacon. In December, 2010, Roberta Sands gave the paper, “Family relations of Newly Orthodox Women in Argentina,” at the 42nd annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies in Boston, MA.
Susan Sorenson, Ph.D., presented at a briefing in Harrisburg on February 15, 2011 held by Women in Government, a national bipartisan organization of women state legislators working to address and resolve complex public policy issues. The event focused on firearms in domestic violence and was hosted by Representative Chelsea Wagner, Senator Christine M. Tartaglione, Representative Kate Harper, Representative Lynda Schlegel-Culver, Representative Margo Davidson and Representative Rosemary Brown.
Dean Richard Gelles testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary about the Violence Against Women Act during a time of economic uncertainty, on May 5. In his testimony, Gelles pointed out the Act ignores the need for effective targeted offender treatment programs. Failure to intervene with offenders, he told lawmakers, can place domestic violence victims and their children at a heightened risk for further abuse.
Zvi Gellis, Ph.D., was awarded Fellow status by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
Toorjo TJ Ghose, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the School of Social Policy & Practice, was appointed to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). A 30-member team was chosen to formulate policy for the current administration on homelessness and HIV. Dr. Ghose, an expert in substance abuse, HIV/AIDS in developing countries, mental health service provision, and welfare policy, is one of five researchers on that team. As an expert he was asked to emphasize the needs of substance users, sex workers and other hidden and underserved populations.
Walter Palmer, Ph.D., SP2 part-time faculty member, was the guest speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service kick-off. Click here to view a video of Dr. Palmer's delivery.
Joan Davitt, Ph.D., along with colleagues from the Penn Schools of Nursing, Design, Law, and Fels, recently published a chapter entitled, "Using Spatial Modeling to Design Elder-Friendly Urban Environments: Applied Collaborative Research in West Philadelphia". The Chapter is in "PhillydotMap: The Shape of Philadelphia" published by the Cartographic Modeling Lab, ed. University of Pennsylvania. This work is now posted on scholarly commons and can be accessed via http://repository.upenn.edu/cml_papers/1/.
Richard Gelles, Ph.D., received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center, in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of family violence. The award was presented by Dr. Murray Strauss on behalf of the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center at the From Ideology to Inclusion Conference on June 26, 2009 in Los Angeles, CA.
Zvi Gellis, Ph.D., LMSW, received honorable mention of the 2010 Society for Social Work Research Excellence in Research Award for his article entitled “Randomized controlled trial of problem-solving therapy for minor depression in home care". In conferring the honorable mention, the Society recognized the significance of the problem addressed in his research, the rigor of the analysis and its contribution to knowledge in social work and social welfare. The award will be presented at the Presidential Awards Ceremony on Friday, January 15th at the 2010 SSWR Conference in San Francisco, CA.
Research Foundation Awards
The Achievement Gap: Possibilities and Challenges in Theory, Research, and Practice
Field Center Community Symposium Series: Critical Issues in Child Welfare: Integrating Research, Policy and Practice
Richard Estes, Ph.D., professor of social work and director of international programs at the School of Social Policy & Practice, has been awarded the International Society for Quality of Life Studies’ Distinguished Researcher Award. In addition to the award, the Society undertook a one-hour oral history of Dr. Estes’s professional career in comparative social development. It can be viewed at www.isqols.org.
2009 SP2 Teaching Award Winners
Dr. Roberta Rehner Iversen and Dr. David B. Wohlsifer
Dennis Culhane, Ph.D., was awarded a grant by The Hilton Foundation
Joan Davitt, Ph.D., was invited to present her research on "Understanding Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Home Health Outcomes: The Clinical Practice Factors" at the annual meeting of the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) in Birmingham, AL in April. There currently are 6 RCMARs across the country (including our very own UPENN, MARCH Center) funded by the National Institute of Aging/ National Institutes of Health. The mission of the RCMAR program is to decrease health disparities by: increasing research focused on the health of minority elders, mentoring minority academic researchers, improving recruitment and retention of minority research participants, and increasing the effectiveness and cultural sensitivity of interventions designed to improve their health and well-being.
Ezekiel Dixon-Román, Ph.D., presented a paper, “Deviance as Pedagogy: A Critical Perspective on Indigenous Cultural Capital”, and was an instructor for the American Educational Research Association Division G Social Context of Education Pre-conference Graduate Student Seminar on “Culturally Rooted Research Methods for Examining Social Contexts of Learning and Development” at the annual meeting for the American Educational Research Association held in San Diego. He will also be presenting a paper, “Products of the Revolution: The Social System of Supplementary and Comprehensive Education in Cuba”, at the July 2009 annual meeting of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas in Tepoztlán Mexico. Also, Dr. Dixon-Román received a research grant from the Trio Pilot Competition to support his research on "Intergenerational Inequality and Educational Consequences of Health Disparity."
Richard Gelles, Ph.D., participated in a panel discussion, “Men Who Murder Their Families: What the Research Tells Us,” on June 2 at the National Institute of Justice, the research, development and evaluation arm of the Department of Justice. The panel was designed to share research into familicides to help the DOJ understand the psychological, social and economic factors that have contributed to a recent surge of family murder-suicides. Gelles was one of three experts who will discuss the issue and offer insight into the possible motivations.
Joan Davitt, Ph.D., was invited to speak at the Long Term Care Financing Solutions conference sponsored by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging in March. Dr. Davitt spoke on the current fragmented and underfunded system for financing long term care and offered recommendations for enhancing our ability in the US to provide adequate, appropriate and effective long term care. This conference was also broadcast on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.
Joan Davitt, Ph.D., was recently awarded an R21 grant from the National Institute on Aging to study the contributing factors to racial/ethnic disparities in outcomes of Medicare home health care. Dr. Davitt is also currently funded by the University of Pennsylvania's MARCH center to conduct focus groups with home health agency staff to understand the practice factors which may contribute to disparities in home health care or home health outcomes. These two grants support Dr. Davitt's overall research agenda to understand the contributing factors which will thus inform the development of interventions to alleviate disparities in care and outcomes.
Ezekiel Dixon-Román, Ph.D., has been appointed for a three year term to the American Educational Research Association’s Research Advisory Committee. The Research Advisory Committee was adopted by the AERA Executive Board in 1998. The charge of this committee is to focus on three major issues: (1) Fostering high-quality research and discussions thereof; (2) the preparation of new researchers; and (3) funding and other infrastructure issues.
Ezekiel Dixon-Román, Ph.D., was awarded a University of Pennsylvania University Research Foundation grant to support his pilot research on “The Supplementary and Comprehensive Educational Organization of Cuba: A Pilot Study”. Since the 1959 Revolution, Cuba has had a longstanding commitment and practice of providing free quality (comprehensive) education in and out-of-school. This pilot study will examine the formal programs of out-of-school learning in Cuba and how they contribute to the high academic success of their students.
Susan B. Sorenson, Ph.D., presented her work with doctoral student Kristie A. Thomas, MSW, at the March 2009 conference of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research in Atlanta, Georgia. Their paper, one of the 20 of the 258 submitted abstracts that were chosen for oral presentation, was nominated for Best Abstract. The presentation was based on their forthcoming paper, Views of Intimate Partner Violence in Same- and Opposite-Sex Relationships, which is scheduled to be published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Marriage and the Family.
Roberta Iversen, Ph.D., was recently elected to a three-year member-at-large position on the Board of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). In addition, she delivered a paper at the 13th annual conference of SSWR in January entitled: "Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans: Contributing an Embeddedness Perspective to Disaster Research and Policy." Dr. Iversen has also been invited to serve on the Editorial Advisory Board of Families in Society and to serve as one of two U.S.-based Associate Editors for the British journal, Child and Family Social Work.
Damon Freeman, JD, Ph.D., gave a paper on "The Clark Plan: An Experiment in Power" at the History of Education Society Annual Meeting in October. He will also give a paper on "Kenneth B. Clark and the Idea of Educational Deprivation" at the Social Science History Association Annual Meeting in November.
Andrea Doyle, Ph.D., MSW, was awarded a scholarship from the NIH/CDC to attend a workshop on Behavioral and Social Science in HIV Vaccine Clinical Research and HIV Vaccine Trials Network Full Group Meeting held in Washington, DC from May 10 to 14.
Roberta Sands, MSW, Ph.D., recently published an article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, entitled, “The social integration of baalei teshuvah.” Also, with Dorit Roer-Strier and Joretha Bourjolly, Ph.D., she published, "Family reactions to religious change: The case of African American women who become Muslim," in Families in Society.
Joseph McBride, MSW, gave a keynote address to the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers, National Conference, in Philadelphia, PA, entitled, “Social Work on the Edge of Life,” on May 9, 2009.
Andrea Doyle, Ph.D., presented dissertation research, “Rhythms of Clinical Process: Nonlinear Dynamic Approaches to Capturing Patterns of Change,” at the Society for Behavioral Medicine 30th Annual Meeting in Montreal on April 22-25.
Phyllis Solomon, Ph.D., has been selected to receive the Provost's Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring 2008-2009. She and other award-winning teachers will be honored at a reception on April 27th in Houston Hall.