Alumni & Faculty Updates



Professor Sonya Leathers received a $400,000 2-year supplemental grant from HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) to provide training to MSW students in the delivery of evidence-based practices serving individuals with substance use disorder in integrated care settings.


At the 2018 CSWE APM in Orlando, FL:

  1. Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger presented Lessons Learned from Campus-Based Support Programs for Foster Care Alumni.
  2. Assistant Professor Charles Hounmenou and PhD student Wonbin Her presented Distinctiveness in Sex Trafficking of Children in South-East Asia.
  3. Clinical Assistant Professor Annette Johnson presented Promoting Social Justice through Critical Service Learning: An interprofessional social work approach.

At the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta, GE:

  1. Associate Professor Henrika McCoy was chair and Professor Amy Watson was discussant for the roundtable Strategies for Engaging in Ethical Research with Vulnerable Populations.
  2. Assistant Professor Branden McLeod was presenter and Assistant Professor Aaron Gottlieb was discussant for Self-Identified Needs and Services to Increase the Likelihood of Successful Reentry.
  3. Assistant Professor Aaron Gottlieb presented The Effect of Eviction on Criminal Justice Contact for Low Income Mothers.

At the 2019 Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research in San Francisco, CA:

  1. Professor Sonya Leathers presented Effects of Enhanced Mentoring and Job Readiness Services for Older Youth in Care on Delinquency and Employment.
  2. Professor James Swartz presented:
    • A latent class analysis of chronic health conditions among HIV positive transgender women of color, and
    • Persisting risk despite HIV: A longitudinal study of men who have sex with men who maintain sex drug use post HIV seroconversion.
  3. Associate Professor Henrika McCoy:
    • was a discussant for the symposium Community Violence and Mental Health in Urban African American Youth: An Exploration into Variations in Paths of Influence, and
    • presented a TEDx-style presentation for the Brief But Brilliant Session highlighting an idea from her work that is particularly important, relevant or intriguing. Her talk was entitled Walking the Tightrope.
  4. Assistant Professors Karen D’Angelo and Jack Lu presented Managing the Challenges of Community-Based Participatory Research: Lessons Learned from Three Projects with Jennifer Willett, University of Nevada, Reno.
  5. Assistant Professor Christina DeNard presented:
    • Predictors of Caseworker Referrals to an Evidence-Based Parenting Program,
    • A Theory of Planned Behavior Examination 0f Child Welfare Caseworker Referrals to an Evidence-Based Parenting Program,
    • I am more than my past: Parents’ attitudes and perceptions of the Positive Parenting Program in child welfare, and
    • It starts from the top: Caseworker, leaders, and Triple P providers’ perceptions of implementation processes and contexts.
  6. Assistant Professor Kalen Flynn presented “They Gotta Beat Us”: Older Adolescents’ Conceptualizations of Violence and Neighborhood in Philadelphia.
  7. PhD student Lisa Doot Abinoja presented Spousal Bereavement: Factors Associated with Depression and Life Satisfaction.
  8. PhD student Koldo Fernandez-Barutell presented Experience of Discrimination Based on Race/Ethnicity and Distrust and Avoidance of Authorities Among Second-Generation Latinos in the US.
  9. PhD student Zixiaojie (Jill) Yang presented Delinquent Behavior and Parent Marital Status Among Early Adolescents in Fragile Families.

In October, 2018 Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger presented How are Foster Care Alumni in the United States Financing Postsecondary Education? at the European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents (EUSARF) 2018 conference in Porto, Portugal.
In September, 2018, Assistant Professor Charles Hounmenou presented An Introduction to Nurse Vanguard Role in Addressing Human Trafficking at the 2018 Conference of the International Society of Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics Nurses (ISPAN) in Chicago. A video interview can be viewed on Facebook.


Assistant Professor Aaron Gottlieb was first author on:

  1. The Effect of Eviction on Maternal Criminal Justice Involvement, and
  2. The Effect of Multiple Types of Intimate Partner Violence on Maternal Criminal Justice Involvement.

Assistant Professors Branden McLeod and Aaron Gottlieb co-authored Examining the relationship between incarceration and child support arrears among low-income fathers.

Assistant Professor Branden McLeod:

  1. was co-author on When They Return: Framing the argument for inclusion, and
  2. was first author with PhD student Janae Bonsu on The benefits and challenges of visitation practices in correctional settings: Will video visitation assist incarcerated fathers and their children?

Assistant Professor Charles Hounmenou published:

  1. Engaging Anti-Human Trafficking Stakeholders in the Research Process ,
  2. A review and critique of the U.S. policy responses to commercial sexual exploitation of children, and
  3. The book chapter Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Children in the West African Region in Handbook of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.


Assistant Professor Kalen Flynn was honored by the Society for Social Work and Research with an Honorable Mention for the Outstanding Social Work Dissertation Award for her doctoral dissertation Beats Per Minute: Exploring the Impact of Violence and Neighborhood Conditions on Adolescents in Philadelphia Neighborhoods.
In September, 2018 Assistant Professor Charles Hounmenou received The Influential Scholar Award at the 2018 International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in Toledo, OH.


Professor James Swartz was interviewed by NBC 5 Chicago for an investigative piece on the opioid epidemic.
Associate Professor Henrika McCoy and Assistant Professor Branden McLeod were interviewed for an article in Social Work Advocates Magazine examining social work research being conducted in the city of Chicago.
Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger was interviewed for an article in the Chronicle of Social Change entitled Kin Prop up Illinois’ Foster Care System, With Limited Support.


Dr. Joseph Strickland was selected to serve on the Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee for Governor JB Pritzker.

JACSW News & Events

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Alumni & Friends Celebration

On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Keep the Fire Burning and celebrate individuals who have made significant contributions to social work and social justice.

Katherine Kaufka Walts

The 25th Karen J. Honig Memorial Lecture

The Intersection of Child Trafficking and Child Welfare: Lessons for Strengthening Systems and Children’s Rights, presented by Katherine Kaufka Walts, JD on Wed., April 10, 2019.

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