Research Funding

Jaime Booth

Research Activities FY19

Jaime Booth, Assistant Professor

Neighborhood risk and protection for substance use among low income adolescents  

National Institutes of Health (NIDA)

This project seeks to understand how low income black adolescents’ experiences in activity spaces in their neighborhoods influence their stress and subsequent substance use. This understanding will allow us to identify optimal targets in the neighborhood-stress processes that may be malleable for preventing substance use and develop community based interventions to address them. These aims are being achieved by engaging youth in a study that uses mobile technology to collect real time assessments of their activity spaces and tests the association between exposure to stress and support in their environment and subsequent substance use.

Valire Copeland, Professor

Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

The Edith M. Baker Integrated Healthcare Fellowship is for full-time, second year or Advanced Standing MSW students in Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (Direct Practice) during their concentration field placements.  The fellow's responsibilities include choosing a concentration field placement at an integrated behavioral/mental healthcare site, registering for Integrated Healthcare Certification courses, developing a poster presentation, participating in a day trip to a regional summit, and attending workshops & bimonthly seminars.


Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The project develops and evaluate the feasibility acceptability, and effects of an innovative brief, web-based adolescent mental health care engagement intervention in a health care setting.  The project is comprised of an interactive patient mental health screening and a brief interactive mental health education module on a tablet PC in the clinic and a mental health education application which patients can access via mobile phone or web link, parent video on promoting and supporting adolescent mental health.

The Lend Center at the University of Pittsburgh

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

This program provides intensive interdisciplinary leadership education for health care and education professionals regarding children and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Fostering Belonging: Women of Color in STEM+Through the Hot Metal Bridge Program

(Co-PI:  Jaime Booth)

University of Pittsburgh (Provost Office)

Working with the Hot Metal Bridge program at the University of Pittsburgh help women of color to bridge the gap between undergraduate and graduate training programs in STEM.

Shaun Eack, Professor

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder

National Institutes of Mental Health

The overall goal of this project is to conduct a randomized-controlled efficacy trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) in verbal adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in order to evaluate the potential benefits of cognitive remediation for this population.

A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Emotion Awareness and Skills Enhancement (EASE) Program for ASD

Department of Defense (DOD)

The objective of this study is to formally evaluate efficacy of EASE (Emotion Awareness and Sills Enhancement) via a sufficiently powered two-site randomized-controlled trial. 

Cognitive Remediation and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to aid Smokers with Schizophrenia

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Read more about Dr. Shaun Eack's work with the new Center for Interventions to Enhance Community Health (CiTECH)

Rafael Engel, Associate Professor

From Barely making it To . . .? Effect of Raising Wages among Low-Wage Workers and Their Families (Co-PI:  Sara Goodkind and Jeffery Shook)

Heinz Endowments

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

Sara Goodkind, Associate Professor

Redefining Resilience and Reframing Resistance: Evaluation of a Violence Prevention and Health Promotion Empowerment Program for Black Girls

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program

The purpose of this grant is to support the development and evaluation of an empowerment-based program for Black girls designed to address social inequities and improve girls’ health and well-being via advocacy, restorative practices, and participatory research. 

Intersectional Gender Analysis (Co-PI:  Leah Jacobs)

City of Pittsburgh

This grant supports the design and implementation of an intersectional gender analysis for the City of Pittsburgh to identify and understand substantive areas of gender inequity. Specific data and analyses will provide information for policy recommendations and implementation.

James Huguley, Assistant Professor

African American Students’ Sociocultural Experiences, Motivation, Identity and Performance in Math

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The project uses expectancy-value theory to investigate the development of African American students? Math-related motivational components of self-efficacy, interest, and valuing during middle school, and examine the relationship of these beliefs to math outcomes. Four specific aims are used 1) Examine the development between 6th and 8thgrade of African American males? And females? Math-related stigma experiences and motivational beliefs 2) Examine how stigma experiences related to math learning predict African American adolescents 3) Examine whether and what identity formations moderate the associations between stigma experiences and African American adolescents? Motivational beliefs in math 4) Examine whether and to what extent classroom characteristics and racialized parenting practices and beliefs moderate the associations between stigma experiences and students? Motivational beliefs in math among African Americans.

In Spite of Parents? Examining the Value of Family Involvement in Educating African American Adolescents

Spencer Foundation

Integrate stage-environment fit theory with the cultural wealth model as theoretical frameworks and see to increase sustained academic success in African American adolescents from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds by identifying and leveraging uniquely effective family involvement practices for African American students in middle school. 

The MSW/CAST Scholarship Program

The Pittsburgh Foundation

This scholarship is for the Masters of Social Work with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching in Secondary Education (MSW/CAST) program.

Just Discipline Initiative

The Heinz Endowments

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. 

PCAA Parent Engagement Research Project

Crossroads Foundation

The School of Social Work partnered with Pittsburgh College Access Alliance (PCAA) to investigate parent and students’ perspectives the aspirations, barriers, and supports needed to help youth access effective college-preparatory experience.

Leah Jacobs, Assistant Professor

Building a Classroom without Walls: Teaching Neighborhood Assessment with Google Earth

University of Pittsburgh (Provost Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence)

Develop, pilot and disseminate a technology-enhanced course for community assessment and intervention.  The course introduces Google Earth and its essential functions and teach students to use Google Earth to conduct community assessments and to use Google Earth to present assessment results and intervention proposals in a creative and compelling manner.

Substance Abuse Treatment, Neighborhoods and Housing: How Services Social Circumstances Affect Criminal Recidivism

University of Pittsburgh (Central Research Development Fund)

Examines the relationship between behavioral health treatment participation and recidivism, and the way in which treatment participations’ effect on recidivism varies depending on probationers’ neighborhood characteristics and housing status.

Elizabeth Mulvaney, Lecturer

Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

Recruit social work students for clinical placements; conduct on-site monitoring of students, and co-lead case conferences with Dr. Lingler; work with community partners to identify and respond to training needs related to ADRD.

Christina Newhill, Professor

Families as Partners in Reducing Violence

National Institutes of Mental Health

Partnering with the department of Psychiatry the project will focus on individuals with serious mental illness living in our communities are at a higher risk than the general population for involvement in violence, as either the perpetrator or victim.  The project will take the initial steps toward the development of a psychoeducational intervention to reduce violence/aggressive behavior among individuals who live with mental illness and who have regular contact with family members or caregivers.  There are currently no specialized programs to assist family members/caregivers in this important and challenging role, yet they are regularly relied upon in crisis situations involving their loved one, and their response is often critical for averting escalation, injury, and adverse community outcomes.

Mary Ohmer, Associate Professor

Research on Barriers to Fair Housing Choice in the City of Pittsburgh (Co-PI: Jaime Booth)

City of Pittsburgh

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.

Strengthening Resident Civic Engagement on Behalf of Equitable Development: Partnering for Community-Based Participatory Research in Homewood

Corporation for National and Community Service

The School of Social Work partnered with Homewood Children’s Village to increase understanding of the levers communities can use to increase civic engagement and community capacity to tackle the complex issues facing persistently poor neighborhoods like Homewood who have struggle to revitalize for decades but now face threat of gentrification; to build and strengthen relationships among residents sharing mutual concerns about this issue/ and to increase capacity of Homewood to act strategically on this issue in ways that fosters equitable development that benefits current residents.

Daniel Rosen, Professor

Center for Integrated Health Care Delivery and Prevention Program


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

Expect Respect Middle School: Preventing Severe and Lethal Violence among Youth with Prior Violence Exposure

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

This study trains MSW students who will be trained as facilitators of the Expect Respect Support Groups for the intervention schools.  This study will implement ‘communities of practice’ and will lead the development of a ‘community of practice’ that brings together the Center for Victims, Safe alliance (Austin, TX), MSW students and school personnel to strengthen the quality of program implementation as well as sustainability after the research is completed.

John Wallace, David E. Epperson Endowed Chair

HCV/PACS Partnership

Homewood Children’s Village Full Service Community Schools

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.

Justice Scholars Program

Pittsburgh Foundation

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.

Pitt Assisted Communities and Schools Program in Homewood

Richard King Mellon Foundation

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.

Darren Whitfield, Assistant Professor

Black Adherence Stigma Study (BASS) Project

University of Pittsburgh (Central Research Development Fund)

Examines the characteristics of Black gay and bisexual men who use HIV PrEP.  Explores the relationship between experiencing macroaggressions and HIV PrEP adherence. 

HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN)

Family Health International (Prime: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

The study seeks to expand the extant literature by examining the role that perception of risk in the use of different HIV risk reduction strategies (condom use, HIV testing, and PrEP use) used by BMSM from HPTN 073.  Specifically the study aim to 1)  describe the different risk reduction strategies and risk compensation of BMSM, 2) examine the relationship between perception of risk and different risk reduction strategies of BMSM and 3) identify the pathway between perception of risk and different risk reduction strategies of BMSM.

Child Welfare Education and Research Programs, Helen Cahalane, Principal Investigator

Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates (CWEB)/Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL)

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, United States Administration for Children and Families

The intent of the CWEB and CWEL initiatives is to provide programs which will make undergraduate and graduate social work education available to qualified, prospective public child welfare workers and current county child welfare agency employees throughout Pennsylvania. Thus, these programs address both the recruitment and retention problems that currently exist in child welfare and encourage prospective and current child welfare practitioners to pursue academic degrees that will prepare them for child welfare practice in Pennsylvania consistent with the best practice models available. It also increases the number of trained staff in many of the child welfare agencies; provides a critical mass of professional staff to set the tone and standards for good and effective practice; contributes a major ingredient necessary to provide a career ladder so essential to staff retention; and provides a reservoir of personnel from which to draw future supervisors and administrators. Thus, the CWEB and CWEL programs make professional social work education available and accessible throughout Pennsylvania by utilizing seventeen (17) of Pennsylvania’s accredited social work schools, departments and programs.

Child Welfare Resource Center (CWRC)

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, United States Administration for Children and Families

The CWRC provides a continuum of services designed to facilitate and sustain positive change in the child welfare system.  The services include training, transfer of learning, technical assistance, research and evaluation, project management, and organizational development.

The primary strategies include conducting research and evaluation; providing consultation and support; developing and revising tools, materials, and curricula; training child welfare professionals; youth/family engagement and system improvement; and resource coordination.

Allegheny County Department of Human Services Training Program and Student Internships

Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)

This agreement funds the operations of the Allegheny County DHS training department, which develops curricula and provides education, training and professional development by conducting classes or workshops for Children, Youth and Families (CYF) personnel and DHS subcontracted social service agencies’ employees.  This is also a cooperative relationship between DHS and the School of Social Work to place students at DHS and CYF for internships in order to gain experience in the field and receive exposure to day-to-day agency activities.