Month: August 2015

Dr. Caitlin Elsaesser Joins the SSW Faculty

Dr. Elsaesser will teach research in the MSW and doctoral programs.  Her research agenda focuses on evaluating the developmental impact of childhood violence exposure and victimization over the life course. She seeks to contribute much needed insight into how specific forms of violence exposure and/or victimization impact outcomes for youth, especially with regard to education.  Drawing upon advanced statistical analyses, her research examines the variation in responses to violence, the pathways by which violence influences development, and how accumulation of exposure influences development. She focuses on various forms of violence and victimization (e.g., community violence, family violence, and peer victimization) as chronic and cumulative stressors to understand the psychological, behavioral and physiological responses to better inform interventions. violence.  

Caitlin’s research interests were inspired by her work as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools with predominantly Black and Latino children.  Her work is deeply interdisciplinary and reflects her training and background in education, psychology and social work. She was awarded a prestigious four-year doctoral fellowship from the Institute of Educational Sciences.  Her scholarship and teaching will contribute to several of the School’s areas of excellence, including  mental health, trauma, and violence prevention; social and health disparities; diversity and cultural competence.

UConn Provost Appoints Interim Dean

Provost Mun Choi has named Nina Rovinelli Heller as interim dean of the School of Social Work, effective July 1.

Heller, the Zachs Professor of Social Work and director of the graduate program, joined the UConn faculty in 1994 and has also worked as a clinician in private practice. She has taught in the MSW and Ph.D. progra

ms in the areas of casework, social work practice, and theory and mental health; won the Alumni Association Faculty Excellence in Teaching award in 2000; and was named a University Teaching Fellow in 2000-2001.

Her research and scholarship are in the areas of suicide and suicide prevention, social work theory, integrative approaches to practice, and mental health.

She is co-editor of several books: Enhancing Psychodynamic Theories with Cognitive Behavioral Theory (1998); Social Work and Social Problems: A Mental Health Perspective (2010); andBeyond the Risk Paradigm in Mental Health Policy and Practice, which is currently under contract.

As a consultant to the State of Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board, Heller led the development of the state suicide prevention plan and serves on several related statewide committees. She is a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Taskforce on Clinical Workforce Preparedness, and is certified by the American Association of Suicidology as a psychological autopsy investigator.

She is also co-PI on a three-year SAMHSA clinical training grant Transitioning Youth at Risk, a collaborative effort between the UConn School of Social Work and the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Excerpt from UConn Today 8/12/15


Training for Adoption Competency

Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) is a comprehensive post-master’s training for professionals in the social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, mental health, and child welfare fields. The training provides you with the clinical knowledge, skills, and values to effectively serve the adoption/kinship network.  There are twelve modules (11 in the classroom and 1 is completed on-line, at home). Six sessions of case consultation follow the classroom training.

Applications are now being accepted.  The application deadline is Friday, September 11, 2015.


VPR Awards Faculty Three SFF Grants in 2015

The UConn Vice President for Research awarded three Scholarship Facilitation Fund (SFF) Grants to SSW faculty this calendar year.  The grants, which ranged from around $1200 to $2,000 per award, will facilitate the growth of extramural research and increase scholarly publications produced by faculty.  The most recent award, announced in July, 2015, was made to Dr. Cristina Mogro-Wilson, Associate Professor.  Dr. Wilson will further pilot research that explores how parenting differs by child gender among Puerto Rican fathers.   Dr. Wilson will use the published findings from this research to inform a planned grant submission to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In the spring of 2015, the VPR awarded two additional SFF grants to UConn faculty including one to Dr. Rebecca Thomas, Associate Professor and one to Dr. Michael Fendrich, Professor and Associate Dean for Research.  Dr. Thomas is using this award to expand her ongoing research exploring the role of immigrant and migrant businessmen as “economic engines” in the Park Road sections of Hartford/West Hartford.  Dr. Fendrich’s grant was used to support a training workshop for SSW faculty and Ph.D. students on NVivo software for qualitative data analysis.

Michael Fendrich, PhD, Associate Dean for Research
Michael Fendrich, PhD Associate Dean for Research
Cristina Wilson, PhD Rebecca L. Thomas, PhD