New Faculty at the Brown School, Fall 2020

Diversity; Faculty; Public Health; Social Work

The Brown School welcomes 11 new faculty during an academic year like no other. 

Dean Mary McKay expressed excitement that the scholars are part of the Brown School community. “We are deeply grateful that despite significant challenges presented by the current public health crisis, we continue to engage new faculty to strengthen our school and help us achieve our ambitious goals,” she said.

Many of our the faculty have already contributed to the School from a range of roles – alumni, field education staff, research and administrative leadership positions.  Elevating and engaging this outstanding group of new faculty elevates our dedication to our students, particularly mutually influencing learning in our classes and as part of field placements.  The new faculty also increase  the School’s strength in key methods, particularly social systems design research and in critically important areas, policy, substance abuse and behavioral health. Learn more about them below.

New Brown School Faculty

Mary Acri

Mari Acri, associate professor on the research faculty track, focuses on improving mental health access and outcomes among poverty-impacted children their families, while working to change provider behaviors to improve health outcomes. She is currently a co-investigator on three NIMH-funded R01 grants.

Ellis Ballard

Ellis Ballard, assistant professor on the practice faculty track, is director of the Brown School’s Social System Design Lab. His research and teaching focus on advancing participatory approaches to system dynamics modeling with communities to advance health access and social justice.

Dan Ferris

Dan Ferris, assistant professor on the practice faculty track, also serves as the Assistant Dean for Policy Initiatives. In that role, he works to expand the Master of Social Policy Dual-Degree program. He also leads policy and education training and initiatives for the Social Policy Institute

Elizabeth Fuchs

Elizabeth Fuchs
, lecturer (equivalent to an Assistant Professor on the teaching faculty track), is the field advisor for the Master of Social Policy program. Prior to her time at the Brown School, she served as manager of public policy and lobbyist for PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization. 

Erika Gonzalez, lecturer (equivalent to an Assistant Professor on the teaching faculty track), has over ten years of experience working to advance access to high quality education for youth in the St. Louis region. At the Brown School, she has led the Urban Education Initiative, as well as expanded partnerships with non-profits supporting youth and schools.

Jennifer Harpring

Jennifer Harpring, teaching professor and assistant dean of field education, focuses on community-engaged teaching, creating collaborative learning environments, advising, and higher education administration. She serves as the assistant director of the Beyond Boundaries program.

Barbara Levin, teaching professor, launched the MSW Social Entrepreneurship Specialization at the Brown School. She is focused on community development and engagement, social entrepreneurship, and helping organizations improve leadership and management skills.

Ragini Maddipati

Ragini Maddipati, lecturer (equivalent to an Assistant Professor on the teaching faculty track), has over ten years of experience working in clinical research, data management and analysis, program management and evaluation, sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive justice. 

Phillip Marotta

Phillip Marotta, assistant professor on the tenure track, researches the impact of the criminal justice system on disparities in public health, with an emphasis on substance use treatment interventions in justice-involved populations and the HIV care continuum for justice-involved persons with substance use disorders.

Alison Rico

Alison Rico, lecturer (equivalent to an Assistant Professor on the teaching faculty track), has more than a decade of clinical experience and a specialized interest in the areas of mental health within the realms of law, healthcare and foster care. She currently serves as the manager for the Mental Health Concentration in the Office of Field Education.

Jewel Stafford

Jewel Stafford, teaching professor, serves as the director of the Racial Equity Fellowship Program in the Office of Field Education. Her research agenda focuses on examining racial/ethnic health disparities among medically underserved communities, specifically black populations.