The University of South Florida School of Social Work is proud to have many Social Work faculty members who are leading scholars in the field of social work and who are working with scholars from various disciplines, practitioners, and communities to find solutions to help people in need and address social problems. Several faculty members serve as Principal Investigators on grant-funded research that impacts the communities we serve and the educational experience of our students.

We encourage you to read more about the research of the following faculty members; Alison Salloum, Ph.D., LCSW, Nan Sook Park, Ph.D., MSW, Guitele Rahill, Ph.D., LCSW, Iraida V. Carrion, Ph.D., LCSW, Manisha Joshi, Ph.D., MSW, MPH and Jerome Galea, Ph.D., MSW. 

The "Social Work Research Labs" link to the left provide more information on research conducted by our faculty including opportunities to join faculty labs and get hands-on experience in social work research.

Click below to learn more about faculty research projects:

Stepped Care For Children After Trauma

Alison Salloum, PhD, LCSW (PI; School of Social Work), along with co-investigators John Robst, PhD (MHLP), Wei Wang, PhD (College of Public Health), Kristen Saloman, PhD (College of Arts and Science), Tanya Murphy, MD (College of Medicine Pediatrics) and Eric Storch, PhD (College of Medicine Pediatrics) received a 4-year National Institute of Mental Health R01 grant to examine how to optimize the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a stepped care therapy for children ages 4 to 12 who have experienced trauma.

Approximately 68-80% of youth will experience at least one potentially traumatic event during their childhood with about one third experiencing more than one traumatic event. Exposure to traumatic events markedly elevates the risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated impairment. Despite advances in effective trauma-focused treatments for children, the lack of efficient, accessible, personalized, and cost-effective trauma treatment for children is a major public health concern. Thus, there is a critical need for interventions to improve efficiency, access, and cost-effectiveness and to offer tailored approaches that meet the unique needs of the child. Three community agencies, (Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Pasco Kids First, and Directions for Living) have joined with Dr. Salloum and her colleagues to test new stepped-care therapy for children after trauma that was developed through an NIMH R34 grant previously awarded to Dr. Salloum. In a randomized clinical trial, 216 children ages 4 to 12 years at community-based agencies will be randomly assigned to receive either stepped care or standard care, and they will be followed for one year to see if treatment gains are maintained. This study will examine the economic cost of delivering Stepped Care versus standard care and will utilize innovative methods to learn how to best tailor treatment to meet the child's needs.


Limited English Proficiency, Health, and Healthcare among Older Immigrants

Nan Sook Park, Ph.D., MSW (School of Social Work) and David Chiriboga, Ph.D. (Department of Child and Family Studies) received a subcontract for a National Institute on Aging R01 grant. The five-year-grant entitled "Limited English Proficiency, Health, and Healthcare among Older Immigrants" will address critical issues of older immigrant populations focusing on Korean Americans in three states with varying Korean population densities (Florida, Texas, and New York). Drs. Park and Chiriboga will collaborate with colleagues at University of Texas at Austin (Dr. Yuri Jang, overall grant PI, and her research team) and at Hunter College of The City University of New York (Dr. Kunsook Bernstein and her research team).

Limited English proficiency (LEP) is a unique vulnerability of older immigrants that pose a significant risk to their health and healthcare. Given that social and environmental contexts play a critical role in the lives of persons with LEP, this project will investigate how social connectedness and neighborhood/community characteristics (e.g., ethnic density, health service environments in the neighborhood) influence the link between LEP and health/healthcare. The project employs an innovative and synergistic mix of Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

S.H.A.R.E. (Syndemics HIV/AIDS Research and Education) Haiti

Guitele Rahill, PhD, LCSW, continues her ICHD/NIH funded "S.H.A.R.E. Haiti" research. S.H.A.R.E. Haiti (Syndemics HIV/AIDS Research and Education) grounded in long-standing partnerships between USF CBCS and Haitian researchers , and has as its aim to provide training and computing equipment to Professors/Scholars and Administrators at the Université d'Etat d'Haiti (State University of Haiti), so as to enhance research infrastructure that will enable Haiti-based Scholars to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS among Haitian adolescents . S.H.A.R.E. Haiti is crucial, especially because Haiti bears a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS. Over the past summer, Dr. Rahill and Dr. Lescano, the other Principal Investigator of S.H.A.R.E. Haiti, delivered the second Intensive Summer Institute for the second Cohort of S.H.A.R.E. Haiti Scholars from UEH.

Dr. Rahill, in collaboration with Dr. Manisha Joshi, Dr. Chris Simmons, and Prof. Lori Rogovin, is currently collecting a community-wide survey throughout the Cité Soleil Region of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The focus of that research is to assess relationships between the quality of life (based on the contextual reality of the targeted neighborhood , i.e., poverty, neighborhood/ gang violence, history of arrest/ incarceration, sexual violence against girls and women, child sexual abuse) and rape empathy, propensity toward aggression, trauma symptoms, HIV knowledge and HIV risk. The ultimate aim is to adopt an evidence-based behavioral intervention for HIV that will provide RAPID HIV testing to Haitian females along with risk reduction counseling; Concomitantly, we will assess factors that may be associated with the propensity of young males to perpetuate sexual violence against females, so as to deliver an intervention that will reduce the likelihood of sexual violence in the area.

Attitudes and Beliefs About Cancer among Latinos in the USA and in Barcelona, Spain

Dr. Iraida Carrion at USF School of Social Work, Dr. Tania Estapé at the Foundation for Public Education and Information about Cancer in Barcelona and Dr. Jane Roberts at USF Sarasota-Manatee are conducting a study funded by U.S. Administration for Community Living, Sarasota Caregiver Counseling & Support Program; Supplement Grant. We are exploring attitudes and beliefs about Cancer Among Latino Older Adults' in the Tampa bay Area and Older Adults in Barcelona, Spain.

Sociological Initiative Foundation Grant - A Community-University LEER (to read) Collaborative

Dr. Iraida Carrion at USF School of Social Work, in collaboration with Hispanic Services Council and members of the North Tampa and Wimauma communities, will identify barriers to providing Latino children with bilingual (English/Spanish) books in their elementary schools, local libraries, and homes. The Sociological Initiative Foundation Grant funded a Campus–community partnership that will work toward decreasing the known low reading levels of Latino children in Tampa and Wimauma, Florida by increasing access to bilingual books in elementary schools, local libraries and homes. An additional outcome will be the caregiver's engagement in their children's education. Reading together will enhance confidence in both the caregiver and child; consequently, it will be transmitted to other areas of their lives such as health literacy. The endeavor will also facilitate intergenerational exchange, in which Latino children will be motivated to read bilingual books with their caregivers and/or grandparents and other family members. When caregivers are engaged in reading with their children, are equipped with information, engage in advocacy on their children's behalf and have the tools to assist their children, success is in the making. More information on this project can be found here: 


School of Social Work Faculty: Areas of Research Focus
Faculty Name Research Interests
Chris Simmons, PhD

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Prison reform and reentry

Cognitive development among students

Child welfare

Guitele J. Rahill, PhD

Reducing health and mental health disparities


Gender-based inequities

Trauma, Victims of non-partner sexual violence


Haitians and Haitian immigrants

Iraida V. Carrion, PhD

End of life care

Cancer and health decisions among Latinos

Caregiving and advance care planning among Latinos

Maayan Lawental, PhD

Substance Abuse

Women's health/mental health

Manisha Joshi, PhD

Impact of non-partner Sexual Violence 

Health effects of intimate partner violence

Attitudes towards intimate partner violence

Non-fatal strangulation as a form of partner violence

Evidence-based interventions to address gender-based violence

Nan Park, PhD

Roles of social isolation and psychosocial resources in the community and long-term care settings

Health disparities and minority aging, and the role of religiousness/spirituality in the lives of older adults

Sondra Fogel, PhD

Homelessness and vulnerable populations

Social work education

Capital punishment

Alison Salloum, PhD

Treatment of childhood trauma, loss, and anxiety

Child welfare-worker burnout, secondary trauma, and self-care

Barriers/access to treatment

Kerry Littlewood, PhD

Child welfare

Kinship Care

Health inequities



Capacity building

Research methodology

Jerome Galea, PhD, MSW

Global mental Health

Low-intensity mental health interventions


Sexual and gender minorities

Integrated mental health and primary care

Qualitative research