Allison Werner-Lin, PhD, LCSW
Genetics and genomics
Assisted reproductive technology
Medical family therapy
Qualitative health research
Allison Werner-Lin is Associate Professor at the School of Social Policy and Practice. Her research addresses the intersection of genomic discovery and family life. Her work is among the first to explore the psychosocial challenges unique to women and men of reproductive age who carry a genetic mutation that confers elevated risk of cancer. Dr. Werner-Lin has served as an investigator of multiple interdisciplinary, NIH-funded grants examining dissemination and implementation of emerging genomic technologies in reproductive, pediatric, adolescent, and emerging adult contexts. Presently, Dr. Werner-Lin an investigator on a Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Grant with the Hospitals at the University of Pennsylvania where she is examining barriers to cascade genetic testing in families of pediatric cancer survivors. She is a Senior Advisor to the Clinical Genetics Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute where she oversees psychosocial research addressing hereditary tumor predisposition syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni syndrome and inherited bone marrow failure syndromes. She is a member of the Scientific Committee governing the International Meeting on Psychosocial Aspects of Hereditary Cancer, and in 2019 she was a visiting scholar at the Hastings Center for Bioethics. In 2021 she will assume the role of Director of Research for the Association of Oncology Social Work.
Dr. Werner-Lin has held multiple training grants to build and evaluate interdisciplinary educational programs in oncology, genome-based health literacy, and health care social work practice. She has partnered with local and national agencies that seeks to identify how best the rapidly evolving knowledge base of genomics may be translated into education and outreach programs for teachers and families. At SP2, she is Founder and Director of the Advanced Certificate in Oncology Social Work continuing education program and Director of the Social Work in Health Care Specialization for the MSW program. She regularly advises MSW and DSW students and teaches advanced clinical social work practice, family caregiving, and qualitative research methods. In 2020 she won SP2’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Werner-Lin received her MSW and PhD from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts in family studies and psychology from Wellesley College. She is a Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research and a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow of the National Academies of Practice in Social Work. She was recently honored by the CSWE’s Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education for outstanding mentorship. Dr. Werner-Lin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing in New York and Pennsylvania. She has practiced in community-based organizations providing individual, family, and group counseling and psychotherapy to families affected by cancer, and she maintains a small private practice for parentally bereaved children and teens.