Faculty and Research | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Our faculty are driving change through
their research and leadership.

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 vital for creating change.

Browse Our Faculty

Our affiliated research centers and institutes enable us to dive deep into complex issues.

Centene Center Logo

Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Director

Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor

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.

Visit the Centene Center WebsiteCentene Center for Health Transformation
Center for Community Health Partnership and Research Logo

Vetta Sanders Thompson, Co-Director

E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Angela L. Brown, Co-Director

Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division in the Department of Medicine

The Center for Community Health Partnership & Research aims to reduce disparities and improve health and wellness in the region by supporting collaborations between community and university partners.

Visit the CHPR Center WebsiteCenter for Community Health Partnership and Research
Center for Diabetes Translation Research Logo

Debra Haire-Joshu, Director

Joyce Wood Professor

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.

Visit the WU-CDTR websiteCenter for Diabetes Translation Research
Center for Dissemination and Implementation Logo

Elvin Geng, Director

Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine

The Center for Dissemination and Implementation at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis promotes the adoption of proven treatments, programs and strategies for routine practice.

Visit the CDI WebsiteCenter for Dissemination and Implementation
Center for Health Economics and Policy Logo

Timothy D. McBride, Co-Director

Bernard Becker Professor

Karen Joynt Maddox, Co-Director

Assistant Professor, Washington University School of Medicine

The Center for Health Economics & Policy encourages the development of evidence-based research focused on improving health, and disseminates this work to policymakers and other stakeholders.

Visit the CHEP Center WebsiteCenter for Health Economics and Policy

Melissa Jonson-Reid, Director

Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work Research

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 newborns for risk of maltreatment and engagement of new parents in services.

Email Melissa Jonson-ReidCenter for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy, Research and Training
Center for Mental Health Services Research Logo

Leopoldo Cabassa, Co-Director

Associate Professor

Byron Powell, Co-Director

Assistant Professor

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.

Visit the CMHSR websiteCenter for Mental Health Services Research
Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research Logo

Debra Haire-Joshu, Director

Joyce Wood Professor

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.

Visit the COPPR websiteCenter for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research
Center for Public Health Systems Science Logo

Douglas Luke, Director

Irving Louis Horowitz Professor in Social 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.

Visit the CPHSS websiteCenter for Public Health Systems Science
Center for Social Development Logo

Michael Sherraden, Director

George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor

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.

Visit the CSD WebsiteCenter for Social Development
Center for Violence and Injury Prevention Logo

Tonya E. Edmond, Co-Director

Associate Dean for Social Work

Lindsay Stark, Co-Director

Associate Professor

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.

Visit the CVIP WebsiteCenter for Violence and Injury Prevention
Evaluation Center Logo

Nancy Mueller, Director

Assistant Dean for Planning and Evaluation

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.

Visit the Evaluation Center WebsiteEvaluation Center
Health Communication Research Laboratory Logo

Matthew Kreuter, Director

Kahn Family Professor of Public Health

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.

Visit the HCRL WebsiteHealth Communication Research Laboratory
Institute for Public Health Logo

William G. Powderly, Director

Dr. J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine

The Institute for Public Health harnesses the strengths of Washington University in St. Louis to address the complex health issues and health disparities facing the St. Louis region and the world.

Visit the IPH WebsiteInstitute for Public Health
ichad logo image

Mary McKay, Co-Director

Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School

Fred M. Ssewamala, Co-Director

William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor

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.

Visit the ICHAD WebsiteInternational Center for Child Health and Development
Buder Center Logo

Kellie Thompson

Director for the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies

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.

Visit the Buder Center WebsiteKathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies
Prevention Research Center Logo

Ross Brownson, Director

Steven H. and Susan U. Lipstein Distinguished Professor

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.

Visit the PRC-STL WebsitePrevention Research Center in St. Louis
Smart Africa Center Logo

Fred M. Ssewamala, Director

William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor

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.

Visit the Smart Africa Center WebsiteSmart Africa Center
Social System Design Lab Logo

Ellis Ballard, Director

Assistant Professor of Practice

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.

Visit the SSDL WebsiteSocial System Design Lab
Michael Sherraden

Sherraden Receives Billups Award for International Leadership

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Professor Debra Haire-Joshu

Debra Haire-Joshu Joins NIDDK Advisory Council

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Kim Seelinger

Seelinger Appointed as Special Advisor to International Criminal Court

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"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

Our faculty lead diverse research that engages students and makes an impact.


faculty represented academic disciplines


in annual research funding


paid student research positions support faculty research

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