Month: May 2016

Summer Research Stimulus Award

The University of Connecticut School of Social Work initiated a grants seed funding program. The goal of the award is to provide support for small-scale pilot data collection, secondary analysis, literature reviews or other time-limited structured research activity with the direct aim of producing scholarship that will better position investigators to obtain funding from extramural sources. In 2016, awards were made to the following faculty:

“Transnational Families of Mothers who Parent From a Distance: Their Service Needs.”

Deedee Drachman will investigate the recent phenomenon of the transnational family, in which mothers parent their children across national borders. In these families, parents (often mothers), move to a country with better employment prospects and send money back to their children in their countries of origin, where they have left them under the care of relatives or friends. This study will gain knowledge of the service needs of parents who have moved to the United States as well as the needs of the caregivers living in the Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Jamaica. This summer, Didi will work on materials for submitting an IRB protocol as part of a larger grant submission.

drachman photo

Diane Drachman, Ph.D.

“Completing Research on the Community Organisers Programme & Advancing Research on Diversifying Community Organizing Funding.”

Robert Fisher seeks funding to continue work on his research to advance publications on the Community Organisers Programme in England as well as Diversifying Community Organizing Funding Sources. The publications will focus on the relationship between the Community Organisers Programme and broader tensions in the welfare state, civil society, and community organizing, as well as the need to diversify funding for social change.

Fisher head shot

Robert Fisher, Ph.D.

“The Politics of Advocacy and Human Service Provision for Syrian Refugees: A View from Turkey.”

Kathryn Libal will initiate a pilot study to examine the efforts of national and international humanitarian organizations to address the ongoing “refugee emergency” affecting Middle Eastern and European states, with a focus on Turkey. The pilot study will assess the feasibility of a multi-sited research study which will evaluate advocacy strategies and decision-making processes for service delivery, how organizations respond to changes in migration routes by refugees, and how groups work to shape an international response to this emergency.

Kathryn R. Libal, Ph.D.
Kathryn R. Libal, Ph.D.

“A Fatherhood Intervention: Changes in Parenting for Young African American and Hispanic Fathers.”

Cristina Wilson will evaluate the effectiveness of FatherWorks, an intervention aimed to increase father involvement and improve parenting practices. By analyzing data from a randomized controlled trial in Hartford from 2010-2016, Wilson will examine the effectiveness of the intervention and determine differential effects on parenting outcomes between Latino and African American young fathers.

Cristina Wilson
Cristina Wilson, Ph.D.

SSW Faculty Receive InCHIP Seed Grants


Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, PhD
Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, and Caitlin Elsaesser, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, were each recently awarded prestigious InCHIP Seed Grant Awards from the UConn Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy.

Dr. Werkmeister Rozas received a $15,000 faculty seed grant for her study “Innovative Diabetes Prevention & Disease Self-Management Intervention for Latino Families.” This highly scored application uses a Community-Based Participatory Research approach and works through neighborhood churches to develop innovative interventions to address Type II Diabetes, a highly prevalent problem in inner city, minority populations.  According to the UConn SSW Associate Dean for Research, Michael Fendrich, “this proposal is highly innovative and has the potential to move the growing area of health social work forward in a crucial direction. This project involves impressive collaborations with Hartford community partners and with the UConn School of Nursing.” Dr. Werkmeister Rozas is an Associate Professor and a member of the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project in the School of Social Work.

Caitlin Elsaesser, PhD
Caitlin Elsaesser, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Elsaesser received a Junior Faculty Summer Stipend, which carries $2500 of support for building grant funded research. Funding will support secondary analysis of data that will address the linkage between violence victimization exposure and health in adolescents. This project, titled “Exposure to Multiple Forms of Victimization and Health Outcomes: An Integrative Approach,” builds on Dr. Elsaesser’s expertise and experience in complex multivariate modeling and her substantive focus on urban violence. Dr. Elsaesser is completing her first year as an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work.

VPR Awards Faculty Three SFF Grants in 2016

The Vice President for Research awarded three Scholarship Facilitation Fund Grants to SSW faculty this calendar year. The grants, totaling $2,000 per award, will facilitate the growth of extramural research and increase scholarly publications produced by faculty. In the spring of 2016, the VPR awarded three UConn School of Social Work Faculty including; one to Dr. Anne Marie Garran, Assistant Professor for the Casework sequence; one to Dr. Rebecca Thomas, Associate Professor, and one to Dr. Michael Fendrich, Professor, and Associate Dean for Research.

Dr. Garran’s grant entitled, “STEM, institutional bias, and retention of women of color in higher education.” is a study of cultural disparity. There have been repeated efforts to understand and address the under-representation in higher education of women of color in STEM, particularly where retention rates are concerned. Along with implicit bias, sexism, and a lack of mentoring and support, faculty women of color in STEM often report feeling invisible and marginalized. They also cite a pronounced lack of work-life balance that differs from that of their male counterparts. Before institutions can implement programmatic or policy changes to support the success of women in color in STEM, they need to identify salient factors that undergird what contributes to these women’s decision to stay or leave. Through the use of an online survey to collect data from the female faculty of color in STEM, this study aims to address this critical gap.

Dr. Ann-Marie Garran
Ann-Marie Garran, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas is using this award to expand her ongoing research exploring the role of immigrant and migrant business professionals as supports for families that they leave behind. Her grant entitled, “Migration, Employment, and Remittances to Armenia ” focuses on understanding all aspects of the remittance process – the sending of cash or gifts by Armenia immigrants in the US back home to their families in Armenia. While previous work focused on interviewing the senders in the US, this work uniquely focuses on interviewing remittance recipients. Qualitative interviews will take place in Armenia to further understand how these transfers impact family life and family roles and to examine in detail what some of the perceived benefits and challenges of remitting are.

Rebecca L. Thomas, PhD

Rebecca Thomas, PhD

Dr. Fendrich’s grant is entitled, “From Mass Incarceration to Smart Decarceration: Towards a Collaborative Research Agenda @UConn.” Dr. Fendrich will partner with his colleagues at other universities and with other UConn schools to develop a one-day research workshop on the Greater Hartford Campus focused on decarceration research – research on stemming the tide of mass incarceration. He will bring a social work researcher as a keynote speaker to present leading research on this topic. The aims of this grant are 1) To foster and stimulate innovative Mass Incarceration research at UConn School of Social Work, and 2) To develop potential cross-departmental collaborations among workshop attendees and presenters to increase the viability of future extramural funding for Mass Incarceration research and effectuate decarcaration efforts.

Michael Fendrich, PhD
Michael Fendrich, PhD Associate Dean for Research