JACSW Faculty Updates



Professor Sonya Leathers received $400,000 from HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) to provide training to MSW students in the delivery of evidence-based practices serving individuals with and opioid and substance use disorder in integrated care settings.

Professor James Swartz is Co-PI with Associate Professor Dennis Watson (College of Medicine) on a study funded through a $1.4 Million 3-year grant from the Arnold Foundation. Entitled Project STAMINA: Development and testing of a health navigation approach for linking syringe service program clients to medication assisted treatment, the project aims to develop and test a model for initiating buprenorphine medication assisted treatment at community outreach centers where opioid users participate in a needle exchange program.

Assistant Professors Aaron Gottlieb and Robert Wilson received a $77,477 grant from the Center for Health Equity Research Chicago (itself funded by NIH) to study the impact of police contact on educational outcomes for urban boys of color.


Assistant Professor Branden McLeod, co-authored Examining the longitudinal effects of paternal incarceration and coparenting relationships on sons’ educational outcomes: A mediation analysis.

Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger co-athored Conceptualizing effective legal representation for foster youth: An exploratory study.

PhD student Kelly Horn was first author, with Professor James Swartz, on A comparative analysis of lifetime medical conditions and infectious diseases by sexual identity, attraction, and concordance among women: Results from a national U. S. survey

PhD student Andrew Repp was first author, with Assistant Professor Jennifer Gieger, on Invisible parents: Foster home licensing transparency on state-level websites. Child Welfare, 96 (4), 1-21.


Professor James Swartz participated in two events related to the opioid epidemic:

  1. He was a panelist for the event Effective Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic, at the UIC School of Public Health on March 7, 2019, part of their Alumni Learning Series. He discussed the origins of the opioid epidemic and responses to addiction and overdoses in the field.
  2. Professor James Swartz participated in a group presentation to a U.S. State Department International Delegation at UIC School of Public Health’s Institute for Health Research and Policy on April 10, 2019. The topic of the presentation was best practices in combatting drug addiction and the opioid crisis, and the visitors hailed from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.

Professor Amy Watson presented the Debra Beebe Memorial Lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work on April 4, 2019. Her lecture was entitled Police Interactions with Individuals with Mental Health Illnesses.

Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger conducted several presentations:

  1. Effective Legal Representation for Maltreated Youth: Perspectives of Foster Youth and Alumni, a workshop presentation at the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN), in Washington, D.C., April 24-26, 2019.
  2. An Overview of the Child Welfare System in the U.S., presented at the UIC Department of Disability and Human Development on April 19, 2019.
  3. Creating a Culture to Promote Post-secondary Education and Employment for Youth in Care and Foster Care Alumni, a workshop presentation at the Illinois Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Conference in Normal, IL on April 4, 2019.

Assistant Professor Charles Hounmenou participated in two panel discussions at the quarterly meeting of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council on January 29 and 30:

  1. The Impact of Child Trafficking on the Illinois Juvenile Justice System, and
  2. How Child Trafficking May Lead to Justice System Involvement.


The college’s Midwest Latino Health Research, Training and Policy Center was recognized for its advocacy on behalf of the LatinX community by the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA). The center’s director, Amparo Castillo, accepted the recognition at NHMA’s 2019 Hispanic Health Conference in Arlington, VA.

Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger has been awarded the 2019 Jane Addams Excellence in Social Work Education Award.


Professor Amy Watson was interviewed by KPFA community radio for an episode of UpFront that aired on March 21, 2019. They discussed how police respond to people experiencing mental health crises, and how the Crisis Intervention Team model can be used as a strategy for de-escalation and helping connect people to mental health care.

Dean Hairston was quoted in a news article about needless incarceration, and spoke of the mental health impacts to children when a parent is incarcerated.

Professor Amy Watson was interviewed by WBEZ for a report on police as first responders to people with mental illness and the criminalization of mental illness.

An article in Belt Magazine covers the UIC Street Medicine program, with a photo that includes Barbara Coats, Director of Field Instruction. She is participating in the program to lay the groundwork for field placements that would include experience with UIC Street Medicine.

Doctoral candidate Jodie Bargeron was interviewed for the InSocialWork podcast on the topic of Childhood and Mid-Life Antecedents of Adult Self-Neglect.

MSW student Nicole Suhm was quoted in an article at Medill Reports Chicago on the “budding field” of library social work.

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