Community Engagement Activities


Bridging the Gaps

Bridging the Gaps gives students the opportunity to work directly with underserved populations of all kinds to better understand their health needs. The internship also provides invaluable community outreach to organizations that are on the front lines of health care. Interns are paired with other health science students to provide the maximum benefits of interdisciplinary learning.


Browne Leadership Fellows Program

The Browne Leadership Fellows Program is an interdisciplinary fellowship aimed at preparing students to be engaged civic leaders working for economic and social justice.  The fellows program in social work reflects our mission: to advocate for social policies and resources to meet basic human needs: to create accessible, responsible, and accountable human services programs; and to deliver quality services to those in need.


Center on Race and Social Problems

  • Center on Race and Social Problems Speaker Series: The CRSP Speaker Series talks provide an opportunity for faculty, students, and community members to engage in race-related discussions of mutual interest.
  • Center on Race and Social Problems Summer Institutes: Each year the Center on Race and Social Problems hosts continuing education Summer Institutes on topics related to race and social problems. These continuing education seminars provide a forum for academic, community, and practice members to network and learn.
  • Center on Race and Social Problems Fellows: The CRSP fellows program is paid internship opportunity for University of Pittsburgh MSW students who work in collaboration with the Homewood Children’s Village. The internship offers a structured, hands-on experience of teaching school children aged 5 -11 the skills they need to overcome academic and behavioral challenges.  The program is well established and Fellows work with experienced staff and teachers to develop and enhance training materials, identify potential research projects and make a valuable contribution to struggling local children and their community.
  • Cuba Study Abroad: This study abroad course for graduate students in the School of Social Work enables students to carry out first-hand observation of social issues and policy in Cuba, enhance understanding of the ways in which Cuba formulates and implements policies aimed at contemporary social issues, and learn about alternative policies, programs, and services that might be useful in the U.S.


Community Engagement Fellowship

The Community Engagement Fellowship program is a community-based cohort program designed to foster experiential and integrative learning in affiliated community organizations. Students will be matched to complete their MSW Field Practicum with community agencies in the Pittsburgh region that focus on service to minority communities. 


Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education:

The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education is a unique educational program designed to enhance leadership skills in gerontology. It is offered, with appropriate variation in course work, competencies, and field experience, for both Master’s and Bachelor’s students. Students work in cohorts to develop and implement a community project of their choice that impacts older adults. Projects are presented for the school and community every spring (check the school calendar for details).


Home and School Visitor Training Program

The H&SV/SSW certificate program is designed to enhance professional competency in the development and delivery of high quality social work services to diverse student populations in both public and private elementary and secondary schools. 


Social Work Undergraduate Research Experience

Program provides community based research opportunity for BASW students over the summer term.

Neighborhood risk and protection for substance use among youth (Associate Professor Jaime Booth)

This award will provide training and mentorship in: 1) the role of stress in adolescent TMU, 2) knowledge about and measurement of parental monitoring during adolescence as both a mediator and a potential moderator between neighborhood-related stress and TMU, 3) cross-lagged and multilevel modeling with longitudinal data, and 4) the use of EMA to understand adolescents' exposure to neighborhood stress in real time.

Community Partner: Homewood residents and youth


Respect Middle School:  Preventing Serious and Lethal Violence among Youth with Prior Violence Exposure (Daniel Rosen / prime is in Pediatrics)

This study focuses on middle school students because our studies have shown that the prevalence of witnessing and experiencing harmful behaviors is already high in middle school as are gender inequitable attitudes, suggesting that efforts to support vulnerable students and to shift attitudes and social norms condoning violence are urgently needed during this developmental period.

Community Partner: Multiple partners – Middle Schools


Strengthening Resident Civic Engagement on Behalf of Equitable Development:  Partnering for Community-Based Participatory Research in Homewood (COSA Chair and Associate Professor Mary Ohmer)

Through this participatory research we will explore what the community considers civic engagement, development, and equity; gain insight on what perceived power the residents have to tackle these issues; and empower residents to develop an action/advocacy plan to address these issues.

Community Partner: Homewood Children’s Village


Homewood Children’s Village, Pitt Assisted Community Schools (Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement John Wallace)

Pitt-Assisted Communities & Schools (PACS) is a program of the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Social Work under the faculty leadership of John Wallace and James Huguley. The mission of PACS is to mobilize University of Pittsburgh’s resources to enrich the lives of Homewood children and youth, while simultaneously advancing the university's commitment to transformative teaching, learning, and community impact. The goal is to improve academic, health, mental health, and social and economic outcomes for the children and families who live, learn, work, and play in Homewood.

Community Partner: Homewood Children’s Village, and Pittsburgh Public Schools (Faison, Lincoln and Westinghouse)


Research on Barriers to Fair Housing Choice in the City of Pittsburgh (COSA Chair and Associate Professor Mary Ohmer)

This project examines implicit and explicit biases in how landlords, realtors, and mortgage brokers make decisions with clients or potential clients.  Investigators will examine perceptions of fair housing opportunities through interviews and analysis of information from the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and Neighborhood Legal Services Association.  Faculty will partner with 10-12 community based organizations to conduct focus groups to inform this work.

Community Partner: Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations


Just Discipline Initiative (Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems James Huguley)

This project is conducted in partnership with the Woodland Hills School District and aims to address the school to prison pipeline through a multi-prong approach that includes training, and the implementation of restorative practice to build strong and positive relational culture.  

Community Partner: Woodland Hills School District


Redefining Resilience and Reframing Resistance (Associate Professor Sara Goodkind)

This community based project evaluates an empowerment based program for black girls designed to challenge negative perceptions, prevent violence, and improve their heath via advocacy, restorative practices, and participatory research.

Community Partner: Gwen’s Girls and the Black Girls Equity Alliance, Point Park University


From Barely Making it…. (Associate Professor Rafael Engel, Associate Professor Jeffery Shook, Associate Professor Sara Goodkind))

The School of Social Work partnered with labor union to examine the impact of wage increases for low wage workers within healthcare and security industries.

Community Partner: Labor union coalition (SEIU)


Justice Scholars Program (Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, David E. Epperson Chair and Professor, Center on Race and Social Problems Senior Fellow for Research and Community Engagement John Wallace)

The Justice Scholars Institute at Westinghouse includes an expanded version of our Concurrent Enrollment Plus program. In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s College in High School (CHS) program, PACS provides a rigorous college preparation program for students in grades 9-12. The program provides scaffolded supports that acclimate students to the expectations of a college environment, even before they make the transition. The Justice Scholars program provides Westinghouse students tutoring, Pitt courses, community development, and tools to attend and excel in college.

Community Partner: Homewood Children’s Village, and Pittsburgh Public Schools (Faison, Lincoln and Westinghouse)


The Integrated Health Care Training Corps:  A collaboration between UPMC Health Plan and the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work (Professor Daniel Rosen).

This program is an interprofessional training program, aimed to create an innovative, shared approach to enhance the skills of current and future health care professionals. 

Community Partner: UPMC


In Spite of Parents? Exploring the Value of Family Involvement in Educating African American Adolescents (Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems James Huguley)

This grant supports the Pittsburgh Parenting Project, which seeks to design a best practice framework for culturally and contextually informed African American parent engagement in their children's school success.

Community Partners: Manchester Academic Charter School, Nazareth Prep, The Neighborhood Academy (again), Imani Christian Academy, and Penn Hills School District.


Pittsburgh College Access Alliance (PCAA) Parent Engagement Study (Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems James Huguley)

In efforts to further understandings of both barriers to participation and also best practices in family engagement, Dr. James Huguley has partnered with the Pittsburgh College Access Alliance (PCAA) to investigate parent and students’ perspectives, the aspirations, barriers, and supports needed to help youth access effective college-preparatory experiences. This information and analysis can be the catalyst for moving the collective educational agenda here in Pittsburgh, increasing community demand for quality educational opportunities in both public and private spheres, and promoting family engagement in the educational process. In turn, these findings can open up access to higher education pathways for more African American students in our city.

Community Partners: Crossroads, FAME, The Neighborhood Academy, Higher Achievement, and NEED