Headshot of Dr. Irene Wong

Irene Wong, PhD

  • Professor
  • Interim Director, PhD in Social Welfare
  • Senior Fellow, The Center for Public Health Initiatives
  • Research Interests

    Community Integration of SMIs in Supportive Housing

    Meaning and Definition of “Community”

    Community In-Alliance for Recovery: Challenging Mental Health Stigma in Rural China

    Professor Irene Wong is Professor at the School of Social Policy & Practice. She also holds a secondary appointment as Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania. She has more than thirty years of experience as a social work practitioner, educator and researcher, with an interdisciplinary focus that spans the fields of community development, housing and homelessness, and mental health services research.

    Since coming to Penn in 1995, Dr. Wong has been principal investigator and co-investigator of numerous research projects in the areas of mental health, homelessness, housing, and community inclusion. With nearly 60 publications to her credit, Dr. Wong publishes widely in interdisciplinary and mental health journals including Social Science & Medicine, Social Service Review, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Schizophrenia Research, Psychiatric Services, Health and Place, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, and Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research.

    Since 2013, Professor Wong’s research has focused on understanding the cultural manifestation of stigma of mental illness in Chinese society and developing culture-specific and culturally relevant multi-level interventions to reduce stigma among persons with psychiatric disabilities and their family members. She is passionate about changing public perception of mental illness, a medical condition that affects about 17% of 1.4 billion people in China. She has developed this mixed-method research agenda with an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural team of researchers from the United States and China. Her goal is to make a positive impact on the well-being of families affected by serious mental illness in China and beyond.

    Professor Wong’s areas of teaching include research in social work, quantitative analysis, understanding social change, and mental health with U.S. veterans. She was the Faculty Director of International Programs from 2010-2016 and Interim Associate Dean for Global Studies in 2018-2019 in the School of Social Policy & Practice. Since 2008, she has been serving as a member of the Hong Kong Social Workers Registration Board Assessment Panel. She is currently collaborator of Chengdu Mental Health Project, The University of Hong Kong, China.



    office: 215.898.5505

    fax: 215.573.2099



    3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214



    Standing Faculty | Faculty | School Administration | Degree Programs | PhD Program


    MSW | DSW | PhD

    Research Areas(s)

    Health Equity, Mental Health, Aging

    Related Links

    Curriculum Vitae >