Member spotlight: University of Southern California School of Social Work
By Marilyn Flynn, dean of USC School of Social Work
As one of the nation’s first schools of social work, the USC School of Social Work is widely recognized as a top-tier graduate program that offers rigorous career preparation for academic, policy, and practice leaders and provides an innovative and supportive environment for research on critical social problems.
Researchers at the school are dedicated to exploring the social and behavioral determinants of physical and mental health issues, in addition to translating research findings into real-world strategies to improve the health and well-being of individuals and society. Because medical research is a critical component of this interdisciplinary pursuit, our scientists naturally embrace the mission of Research!America to improve awareness and build public support for research seeking to cure, treat, and prevent physical and mental disorders.
Our Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services was the first endowed center for interdisciplinary social work research at any university. A leader in the evidence-based decision-making and practice movement, the center continues to expand with the recruitment of nationally recognized faculty members and newly established research cores and institutes in aging; behavior, health, and society; child development and children’s services; homelessness, housing, and social environment; management, organizations, and policy transformation; military; and serious mental illness.
Despite decreasing federal support for long-term research projects that has challenged the translation of research outcomes into solutions in an increasingly urbanized, multiethnic, and globalized society, our faculty researchers have built on the strong legacy and research enterprise at the USC School of Social Work to successfully compete for federal funding. During the past 15 years, the school has secured more than $100 million in federal research grants.
In addition to strongly advocating for additional federal support for research to improve the health and well-being of military service members, veterans, and their families through its Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families, the school has led an effort to identify grand challenges facing social work’critical issues that are broad and impactful yet solvable in a 15-year time period. Top scholars at the school are also spearheading a movement to develop a science of social work, creating a foundation that will bring further legitimacy to the profession as a scientific discipline deserving of federal research funding.
Other major research initiatives include the school’s Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, which is dedicated to advancing research to enhance optimal aging for individuals in minority and low-income communities, and the recently established Children’s Data Network, a groundbreaking research collaborative that is linking administrative data across agencies and organizations to improve child welfare, health, safety, and well-being.