Wayne State University

Research Enhancement Program

The newly established Social Work Research Enhancement Program (SWREP) supports research that promotes the school's focus on four core research areas. This incentive program aids the development of teams of researchers with shared interests, known as affinity groups, which can integrate expertise and secure external funding to explore and test ideas related to social work within the core areas. The school's inaugural affinity groups are :

The Urban Aging and Health Affinity Group

Established last year, the School of Social Work Urban Aging and Health Affinity Group aims to strengthen the geriatric workforce through the development and dissemination of cutting edge educational and training programs, research, community engagement, and partnerships to promote successful aging within an urban and global context. To assist these efforts, the group last month launched a website offering information on the affinity group's members and objectives, its progress and publications, and on educational and training opportunities for social workers and students.

Led by Associate Professor Faith Hopp, director of the School of Social Work's Ph.D. program and coordinator of its Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Program, the affinity group leverages and integrates the expertise of the school's nationally renowned aging experts. These include:

  • Dean and Professor Cheryl Waites, an expert on healthy aging, intergenerational relationships and culturally responsive practice
  • Assistant Professor (Clinical) Cassandra Bowers, who as coordinator of the B.S.W. Program oversees an interprofessional training program through which Wayne State's undergraduate allied health students visit seniors in their homes
  • B.S.W. Director Associate Professor (Clinical) Fay Keys, the school's education technology coordinator and coordinator of the B.S.W. online degree program (Where Online Works!/WOW!), who researches behavioral addictions, risk taking, and antisocial behaviors among urban elders
  • Assistant Professor (Clinical) Anwar Najor-Durack, director of the school's Office of Field Education
  • Assistant Professor Tam Perry, an expert in housing transitions and their impact on seniors' health and well being.
  • M.S.W. student Vanessa Rorai, research assistant in Perry's Relocation Lab

The affinity group has also created the School of Social Work's newest learning community, Promoting Older Adults from Practice to Policy, to increase awareness of the concerns of older adults on Wayne State's campus. The interdisciplinary learning community will engage bachelor's-, master's-, and doctoral-level students from all schools and colleges to increase understanding of the needs of older adults and expose students to career paths in aging.

For more information, visit the Group's website.

The Substance Abuse, Violence & Mental Health Research Collaborative

With a team of faculty and doctoral students, collaborative leaders Stella Resko and Suzanne Brown are conducting focus groups with front-line clinicians working in substance use treatment and prevention in Southeastern Michigan for a study that will address the education needs of clinicians as well as emerging issues in treatment and prevention. At the Society for Social Work and Research's 19th Annual Conference in January 2015, Resko, Brown, Associate Professor Antonio González-Prendes and doctoral student Shantel Crosby presented research on how women with co-occurring PTSD and substance use problems view their treatment needs, a key factor influencing the decision to seek help and complete treatment. Few studies have focused on how women with PTSD and substance use problems view their needs.