The future of social work and public health depends on leading evidence-based research; moving that research into practice; and preparing students to excel in their work. Brown School faculty excel in these pursuits, and the work they are doing is a vital for creating change.
“How can we help vulnerable older individuals age successfully? As an environmental gerontologist, my research aims to expand knowledge of person-environment dynamics that can affect disparities in health and well-being in old age.”
“Our work shows that mental and physical health are inextricably connected to each another. Social workers can play a major role in integrating care, particularly in racial and ethnic minority communities that have been historically underserved.”
“If we have disparities in income and education, we will have disparities in health. People cannot start off behind and somehow just miraculously catch up unless something extraordinary happens. Through my teaching and research, I want to make the extraordinary possible.”
The Centene Center for Health Transformation is an innovative industry-academic collaboration between the Brown School, Duke University and Centene Corporation, a leading Fortune 500 managed care company. The center focuses efforts on translating evidence-based healthcare methods into real-world settings to actively improve the lives and health of vulnerable populations.
The Center for Diabetes Translation Research (WU-CDTR) aims to eliminate disparities by fostering research collaborations, catalyzing new ideas, and assisting investigators in conducting T3 (translating clinical findings into everyday practice in real world settings) and T4 research (testing and implementing solutions at a community or population level) among populations at risk for diabetes and obesity.
The center supports studies on the root causes of diabetes and disparities and on the prevention of obesity. The WU-CDTR is a collaboration between the Brown School and the Washington University School of Medicine and includes partnerships with the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network, the National Congress of American Indians, and the University of Missouri.
The Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy, Research and Training is dedicated to advancing science to prevent child maltreatment and, when prevention is not possible, to effectively intervene to promote healthy outcomes. It is grounded in the idea that research, practice and training efforts must be related and of equal importance to assure that policy and practice are informed by the latest science.
The Center will attend to the most pressing needs of the field and employ collaborative real-world approaches in its science. Two of its large research projects focus on testing innovative means of improving maltreatment screening capacity through advancing the use of integrated administrative data to inform child welfare and cross-system response; as well as improving the science around screening of newborns for risk of maltreatment and engagement of new parents in services.
The Center for Mental Health Services Research (CMHSR), through its national network of research partners, works with social service and mental health agencies to build a base of evidence to address the challenges of delivering mental health services to vulnerable populations. CMHSR was the nation’s first Social Work Research Development Center, and is home to two NIMH-funded training programs.
The Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research (COPPR) develops and disseminates new knowledge to inform the creation and implementation of programs and policies designed to prevent obesity. In addition to conducting research, COPPR works with national and state policymakers to ensure the development of evidence-based obesity policy.
The Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS) works to create sustainable solutions to public health problems. Through innovative research and evaluation, their work creates a better understanding of how policies and organizational systems affect key issues in public health, such as tobacco control and chronic disease prevention.
The Center for Social Development (CSD) undertakes domestic and international research testing social innovations and uses evidence to inform policy and practice. The center is well known for innovations in asset building for family security and development. Many other initiatives are underway in the following areas: Financial Inclusion; Civic Engagement and Service; Thriving Communities; Child and Youth Development; Social Justice, Environment and Social Development; and Race, Inequality and Social Mobility.
The Center for Violence and Injury Prevention (CVIP) promotes healthy young families and healthy young adults by advancing evidence-based, real-world strategies to prevent child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, sexual violence and suicide attempts. CVIP is the only center of its kind to be housed in a school of social work.
The Evaluation Center is committed to helping organizations understand their work and why it matters. The center specializes in client-driven evaluation and training for non-profit organizations, funders, universities and government agencies, to help determine whether organizational goals and program outcomes are being achieved.
The Health Communication Research Laboratory (HCRL) is one of the leading centers in the U.S. dedicated to the research, development and dissemination of health communication programs that enhance the health of individuals and populations. The HCRL seeks to eliminate health disparities by increasing the reach and effectiveness of health information to low-income and minority populations.
The International Center for Child Health and Development (ICHAD)’s mission is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and the improvement of health and overall developmental outcomes for youth and families in low-resource communities, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa.
The center conducts rigorous applied research focused on family-level economic strengthening and empowerment interventions that tackle the interactive effects of poverty, disease, and health-related risk factors for youth. ICHAD also seeks to increase public awareness and support for asset-based social programs, as well as to promote research-driven policy and programming.
The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies promotes preparation of professionals to assume leadership positions in social services and governmental institutions dedicated to improving the lives of American Indians.
The Prevention Research Center in St. Louis (PRC-StL) explores behaviors that place Americans at risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer and diabetes. Center researchers conduct and share research on physical activity, policy, the built environment, and the translation of evidence into public health practice, while placing particular emphasis on vulnerable populations. The PRC-STL is a joint effort between Washington University and Saint Louis University.
The SMART Africa Center (Strengthening Mental Health and Research Training) is a transdisciplinary collaborative center aimed at reducing gaps in child mental health services and research in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the SMART Africa Center utilizes a population approach to child mental health.
The center brings together a consortium of academic, government, NGO and community stakeholders in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and the United States to focus on addressing the child mental health burden and service gaps in sub-Saharan Africa, including implementation and scale-up of evidence-based practices.
The Social System Design Lab (SSDL) advances the science and application of system dynamics in organizations and communities. The SSDL specializes in developing participatory methods and workshops for engaging communities and organizations to design innovative solutions in complex social systems using causal maps and formal models with computer simulation.
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Brown Page Content 2"We are in the unique position of having the talent and resources to address immense health disparities, income inequality, and structural racism. By working collaboratively, we can and will improve lives and move towards a more just and equitable world."
—Mary M. McKay,
Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean
"We are in the unique position of having the talent and resources to address immense health disparities, income inequality, and structural racism. By working collaboratively, we can and will improve lives and move towards a more just and equitable world."
faculty represented academic disciplines
in annual research funding
paid student research positions support faculty research