Winter 2021
Faculty News

Faculty funding and publications

Read more about new grants, publications, and other recognitions for Pitt Social Work faculty.


Molly Allwein, director of professional and continuing education and a certified licensed social worker (LSW), received a $200,000 grant from the Staunton Farm Foundation to establish a licensed clinical social worker training institute and LSW supervision matching program in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Associate Professor Jaime Booth, along with collaborators from Pitt’s School of Computing and Information, received a $590,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to work with high school youths living in Pittsburgh neighborhoods that have largely been left behind in the recent shift from manufacturing to technology jobs.

Professor Valire Copeland received a School of Social Work pilot grant for her project, Addressing Autism in African American Families.

Shaun Eack, James and Noel Browne Endowed Chair and associate dean for research, along with his coprincipal investigator from the Pitt Department of Psychiatry, received a $2.9 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for their project, Change-sensitive Measurement of Adult Functional Outcomes in Developmental Disabilities.

Associate Professor Rafael Engel received a Heinz Endowments grant to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of health care workers.

Assistant Professor Rachel Gartner and her team of collaborators received a 2020 Pitt Seed Grant to work with transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, and otherwise gender-nonconforming students on identifying and addressing gaps in the University’s sexual violence prevention and response efforts.

James Huguley, assistant professor and interim director of the Center on Race and Social Problems, received a $500,000 Heinz Endowments grant for his Just Discipline Project Regional Impact Model.

Research Assistant Professor Marlo Perry received a 2019 Steven D. Manners Faculty Development Award from the University Center for Social and Urban Research for her project, Emotional Awareness in Child Welfare Professionals and Its Relationship with Emotional Variability, Compassion Satisfaction, and Commitment to the Field: A Pilot Study Utilizing Ecological Momentary Assessment.

Professor Fengyan Tang, along with collaborators from Pitt and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, received a $2.2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to study strategies to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older Chinese immigrants.

Darren Whitfield, assistant professor and chair of the Direct Practice special­ization, received a $440,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the relationship between psychosocial factors (depressive symptomatology, substance use, social support, perceived HIV risk) and adherence and persistence to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among young Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.


Dean Betsy Farmer coedited the “Handbook of Research on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: Interdisciplinary Developmental Perspectives on Children and Youth.”

Professor Christina Newhill coauthored the book “Dynamics of Family and Intimate Partner Violence.” The book also featured contributions from Clinical Assistant Professor Elizabeth Mulvaney and doctoral student Allison Little.

Other Publications

Associate Professor Sara Goodkind, as part of a research collaborative, published an independent report with colleagues from Gwen’s Girls and the Black Girls Equity Alliance on racial disparities in Allegheny County’s juvenile justice system.

Assistant Professor Brianna Lombardi served as a guest editor of a special issue of the journal Social Work in Health Care titled Social Work Practice in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Innovations.

Research Associate Professor Mary Elizabeth Rauktis, along with colleagues from Cornell University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, edited an issue of the journal Residential Treatment for Children & Youth titled Safety Perceptions of Children and Youth in Out-of-Home Care.

Rauktis and a team of gerontology students, faculty members, and other community partners created a guide for those aging in place in Allegheny County who have pets. The resource guide is for professionals, caregivers, and pet owners.

Other News and Events

Dean Emeritus Larry Davis delivered the annual American Experience Distinguished Lecture for the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, titled “Will Race Always Matter?” on Sep. 22, 2020.

The Center on Race and Social Problems hosted its fall institute, Race, Politics, and Fighting Voter Suppression, on Oct. 20, 2020. The institute featured leading researchers, political analysts, and community advocates who spoke on racial equity, voter engagement, and voter protection.