McKay Elected President of AASWSW, Cunningham-Williams Inducted as Fellow

Faculty; Social Work

The Brown School has two exciting milestones to mark at this year’s annual program meeting for the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), an honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare.

Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, was elected as the organisation’s incoming president; Associate Professor Renee Cunningham-Williams was inducted as an Academy Fellow. 

“As I take up the mantle of president from my friend and colleague Dean Sarah Gehlert, professor at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, I will strive to uphold the mission and vision of this institution,” said McKay.

This year’s virtual AASWSW New Fellows Induction Ceremony on Friday, January 22 at 6:15 pm EST. The ceremony takes place during this year’s Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) 25th Annual Conference Anniversary Celebration, January 19-21, 2020. Another Brown School scholar, Professor Sean Joe, was elected as president of SSWR this year.

Renee Cunningham-Williams Chosen as Class of 2021 Inductee

Cunningham-Williams is one of twelve scholars in the AASWSW Class of 2021 inductees. She is a leading expert in the epidemiology and comorbidity of problem gambling, substance use/abuse, and mental and behavioral health, particularly among African-American youth and emerging adults. 

She began her career in the Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. At the Brown School, Cunningham-Williams continued her research focused on the epidemiology and comorbidity of problem gambling, substance use/abuse, and mental and behavioral health, particularly among Black youth/emerging adults. Her social work experience includes work with teen mothers, adult probationers and parolees, and adult survivors of abuse. 

 Cunningham-Williams has worked seamlessly across disciplinary boundaries in social work into public health, psychiatric epidemiology/nosology, and biostatistics. Her diverse experience has led to award-winning, high impact, NIH- and privately-funded research, including work to develop diagnostic assessments for gambling disorder.

 A dedicated teacher and mentor, Cunningham-Williams’ publications have recently shifted into the area of doctoral education quality, capacity development, and experiences among doctoral students and faculty of color. The NIH and private foundations have supported her research portfolio to date, which also includes a NIDA-funded pre/postdoctoral transdisciplinary training program in addictions research nearing its 20th year of continuous operation.  

 In addition, she serves on the editorial boards of several journals in the field and has served on national and international scientific committees such as those convened by the NIH, National Academy of Sciences, and the Singapore Ministry, and among others.  She also served as founding co-chair for the Research and Capacity Development (RCDC) Committee of the Society for Social Work and Research.

 Cunningham-Williams joins fellow current and former Brown School faculty inductees: Wendy Auslander, PhD; Brett Drake, PhD; Sarah Gehlert, PhD; Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD; Shenyang Guo, PhD; Sean Joe, PhD; Melissa Jonson-Reid, PhD; Shanti K. Khinduka, PhD; Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD; Enola Proctor, PhD; Mark Rank, PhD; Margaret Sherraden, PhD; Michael Sherraden, PhD; Fred Ssewamala, PhD; and Dean McKay.