Sean Joe Elected President of SSWR | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Sean Joe Elected President of SSWR

Faculty; Social Work

​The theme for the annual program meeting of the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR), now in its 25th year, is ‘Social Work Science for Social Change.’ The virtual event takes place January 19-24, 2021.

Sean Joe, Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development, has been elected as the new president of SSWR.  His role will be formally announced during the membership business meeting on January 22, 2:30 p.m EST.

In addition, Brown School faculty, students, staff and alumni have a robust presence at this year's event with 40 presentations and over 75 posters. Review the program, presenters, and register at

New Leadership Role in SSWR

Joe is a nationally recognized scholar on suicidal behavior among Black Americans, and is expanding the evidence base for effective practice with Black boys and young men. His research focuses on Black adolescents' mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in Black suicidal behavior, salivary biomarkers for suicidal behavior, and the development of father-focused, family-based interventions to prevent urban African American adolescent males from engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviors.

Working within the Center for Social Development, Joe launched the Race and Opportunity Lab, which examines race, opportunity, and social mobility in the St. Louis region, working to reduce inequality in adolescents' transition into adulthood. The lab's leading community science project is HomeGrown STL, which hopes to improve the social mobility of the region’s 60,000 black boys and young men, ages 12-29, in one generation—by the year 2039. Social mobility is defined as the ability of black boys and men to move upward and attain a better life than their parents. 

HomeGrown STL has been awarded $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to examine serious disruptive behavioral difficulties, which disproportionately burden Black youth in high-poverty areas, and eliminate racial disparities in child mental health care. The organization has also been named a “Community to Watch” by the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK). This summer, Joe co-authored “Accountable Policing: Policies to Advance the Personal Safety of Black Boys and Young Men,” which proposed changes to federal and regional policy to build an equitable, transparent and accountable public safety approach.

Joe’s epistemological work focuses on the concept of race in medical and social sciences. He has been quoted extensively in media outlets locally and across the nation, including the Miami Times, the Atlantic Black Star, and NBC.

He serves on the Steering Committee of the national Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the National Advisory Council of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise initiative. In recognition of the impact of his work, Joe was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the Society for Social Work and Research, and the New York Academy of Medicine. 

Brown School Presentations

Below is a partial list of presentations by members of the Brown School community. For poster presentations and a complete program, please visit

Tuesday, January 19

​2:15 - 4:15 PM

Developing Anti-Racist Research from Research Questions to Dissemination​Developing Anti-Racist Research from Research Questions to Dissemination

 Darrell Hudson, PhD

Wednesday, January 20

​1:30 - 2:00 PM

Measuring the Relationship between COVID-19-Related Shocks and Financial Well-Being

​Stephanie Skees, MSW
Stephen Roll, PhD

​School-Based Interventions for Preventing, Mitigating and Reducing Gender-Based Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

​Thabani Nyoni, MSW, MA

​2:45 - 3:45 PM

​Caregiver Characteristics Associated with DBDs Among School Going Children in Uganda

​Byansi William
Phionah Namatovu, BA
Joshua Kiyingi, MSTAT
Ozge Sensoy Bahar, PhD
Christopher Ddamulira, BA
Mary McKay, PhD
Kimberly Hoagwood, PhD
Fred Ssewamala, PhD

Development and External Validation of a Risk Calculator to Predict 'poor Mental Health' Outcomes Among Youths Affected By HIV in Uganda

​Rachel Brathwaite, PhD
Fred Ssewamala, PhD
Proscovia Nabunya, MSW, PhD
William Byansi, MSW
Damulira Christopher

The Effect of Family-Based Economic Empowerment Intervention and Family Factors on Sexual Risk-Taking Attitudes Among Adolescents Living with HIV in Uganda

​Proscovia Nabunya, MSW, PhD
William Byansi, MSW
Christopher Ddamulira, BA
Fred Ssewamala, PhD

​Measuring Political Commitment in Improving Child-Wellbeing: Case of Six Post-Soviet Countries

​Aytakin Huseynli, MSW

Nothing to Show for It: Non-Degreed Debt and the Financial Conditions Associated with It

​Brett Drake, MSW, PhD
Melissa Jonson-Reid, MSW, PhD 

​A Systematic Review of Child Maltreatment Prevention Interventions in African Countries​A Systematic Review of Child Maltreatment Prevention Interventions in African Countries

Fithi Embaye

​5:15 - 6:15 PM

Behavioral Health at Tribal Colleges and Universities: A Scoping Review

​Autumn Asher BlackDeer, MSW
David A. Patterson Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), PhD
Sara Beeler-Stinn, LCSW, MPA
Jen Van Schuyver, MSW

​Effectiveness of a Peer-Led Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for People with Serious Mental Illness in Supportive Housing: Main Outcomes and Site Differences

​Leopoldo Cabassa, PhD
Shenyang Guo, PhD
Xiaoyan Wang

​The Effects of Disability Status and Neighborhood Environment on Adverse Childhood Experiences Among Young Adults

​Jisuk Seon, PhD

Foster Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Longitudinal Nationwide Analysis

​Maria Morrison, MSW
Brett Drake, MSW, PhD

Neighborhood Context at Birth and Risk for Adverse Childhood Experiences over the First 15 Years of Life

​Darejan Dvalishvili, MD, MSW

Preventing Gender-Based Violence in Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies

​Molly McLay, MSW, LCSW
Andrew Foell, MSW, MPP
Wendy Auslander, PhD

A Respite from the Neoliberal Society: An Ethnography of Communal Style Community Gardening

​Joonmo Kang, MA

Social Distancing Interventions in the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States: An Exploratory Investigation of the Determinants and Impacts of Alternative Mitigation Strategies

​Symposium Organizer: Shenyang Guo, PhD

Timothy McBride, PhD

​6:30 - 7:00 PM


David A. Patterson Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), PhD

System Dynamics in Social Work: Entry Points for Integration into Research and Practice

Ellis Ballard
Jill Kuhlberg
Erin Stringfellow

Thursday, January 21

​1:15 - 2:15 PM

Behavioral Health at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Scoping Review

​Autumn Asher BlackDeer, MSW
Sara Beeler-Stinn, LCSW, MPA
David A. Patterson Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), PhD
Jen Van Schuyver, MSW

Blood Plasma Sales and Liquidity in LMI Households

​Stephanie Skees, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis; Stephen Roll, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis

​Colored Health: The Consequences of Colorism on African American Woman's Health and Mental Health Outcomes

​Maya Williams, MSW

​Increasing Substance Use Disorder Treatment Retention: A Pilot Study Measuring the Impact of a Clinical Dashboard Tool

David A. Patterson Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), PhD
Sara Beeler-Stinn, LCSW, MPA
Autumn Asher BlackDeer, MSW

Neighborhood and Community Influences in Adolescence​Neighborhood and Community Influences in Adolescence

Von Nebbitt, PhD

​5:00 - 6:00 PM

Advancing New Markets: Examining Network Structure in the New Markets Tax Credits Program

​Andrew Foell, MSW, MPP
Kyle A. Pitzer, MSSW

A Qualitative Exploration of Physical and Emotional Wellness Among Middle-Class Black Women​

Quenette Walton, PhD
Jacquelyn Coats, M

Friday, January 22

​1:15 - 2:15 PM

​Associations between Multiple Types of IPV and Adverse Mental Health Outcomes Among IPV Survivors

​Shih-Ying Cheng, MSW

Childhood Poverty and Foster Care Placement: Implications for Practice and Policy

​Darejan Dvalishvili, MD, MSW
Melissa Jonson-Reid, MSW, PhD
Brett Drake, MSW, PhD

Conducting Social Work Research Using an Experimental Therapeutics Approach

​Leopoldo Cabassa, PhD

Ideal Cardiovascular Health in Racially and Ethnically Diverse People with Serious Mental Illness

​Mark R. Hawes, MSW
Kimberly B. Roth, PhD
Xiaoyan Wang
Christopher Weatherly, MSW/MPH
Leopoldo Cabassa, PhD

Maternal Caregiver Typologies and Internalized Behaviors in African American Adolescents Living in Urban Public Housing

​Von Nebbitt, PhD
Takashi Amano, MSW

Measuring and Addressing Mental Health, Self-Reliance and Safety Among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations 

​Symposium Organizer:
Lindsay Stark, DrPH

PrEP Knowledge, Attitudes and Use Among Vulnerable Women Engaged in Sex Work in Uganda: Implications for HIV Prevention

​Fred Ssewamala, PhD
Proscovia Nabunya, MSW, PhD
Ozge Sensoy Bahar, PhD
Christopher Ddamulira, BA
William Byansi, MSW
Flavia Namuwonge, BA
Joshua Kiyingi, MSTAT
Wilberforce Tumwesige, MSW
Mary McKay, PhD

​Synthesizing the Evidence: Prevention of Gender-Based Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Women and Girls Safe Spaces in Humanitarian Settings

​Lindsay Stark, DrPH

​3:45  - 4:45 PM

Changing Sexual and Reproductive Health Narratives of Black Adolescents and Young Adults

​Tyriesa Howell, PhD, LMSW

​5:00 - 6:00 PM

Exploring the Nexus of Empowerment Practice and Cognitive Processing Therapy in Rape Crisis Centers

​Tonya Edmond, PhD
Shih-Ying Cheng, MSW
Molly McLay, MSW, LCSW

Policy Ideas That Rise to the Challenge of COVID-19 and Reduce Inequality: Learning from the Past to Shape the Future

Michael Sherraden, PhD

Sex Trafficking Risk in a Representative Sample of High School Students: Prevalence and Associated Characteristics of Youth Who Trade Sex

​Shih-Ying Cheng, MSW

Understanding Caregiver Criminal Justice Involvement and the Impact on Child Outcomes

Sara Beeler-Stinn, LCSW, MPA
Melissa Jonson-Reid, MSW, PhD
Autumn Asher BlackDeer, MSW
David A. Patterson Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), PhD
Catherine Cobetto, BA