Social Work Research Think Tank Examines Intervention Effectiveness

Nov 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

Contact: Gail Woods Waller

New Social Work Policy Institute Launches with Nov. 16 Symposium

WASHINGTON DC—Prominent social work researchers met at the National Association of Social Workers today to examine how the social work profession might best contribute to expanding comparative effectiveness research (CER) for health and psychosocial services. The goal is to develop a profession-wide action agenda that addresses areas of enhanced social work research, researcher training, interdisciplinary collaborations, research-to-practice connections and communication efforts.

CER compares the benefits and harms of different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor health care conditions in real world settings. The purpose of this research is to improve health outcomes by disseminating evidence-based information about the most effective services to patients, clinicians and other decision makers.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contained $1.1 billion for such research and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has identified 100 top priorities for policy implementation—many of which involve social work interventions.

“For decades social work researchers across the country have been investigating and evaluating what works in social service and health interventions,” said Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the Social Work Policy Institute which hosted the meeting. “The new federal commitment to expanding research in these areas is a welcomed validation of this work, and an important call to action for the entire social work profession.”

Today’s symposium covered a range of topics, including:

  • Economic analysis of effective psychosocial interventions
  • Gaps and challenges between CER and psychosocial research
  • Effectiveness research in complex systems with special populations
  • Researcher training and capacity building
  • Linkages between social work research and practice

A comprehensive report will be released in January 2010 from the Social Work Policy Institute and the National Association of Social Workers Foundation.

Comparative Effectiveness Research Symposium Speakers

Phaedra Corso, PhD, MPA

Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. As a former 15-year employee of the CDC, Dr. Corso’s research focuses on the practical application of economic evaluation for setting public health policy in violence and substance abuse prevention and assessing health-related quality of life in vulnerable populations.

Peter J. Delany, PhD, LCSW-C, RADM, USPHS Director, Office of Applied Studies in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Rear Admiral Peter Delany directs the office charged with the collection, analysis, and dissemination of critical public behavioral health data, and serves as the lead officer in SAMHSA’s efforts to expand the use and application of behavioral data in the health care reform effort.

Katie Maslow, MSW

Director for Policy Development for the Alzheimer’s Association. Ms. Maslow was a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee for the 2009 report, Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research and is currently on the IOM committee on Standards for Systematic Reviews of Clinical Effectiveness Research.

Edward J. Mullen, DSW

Musher Chair Professor, Columbia University. Dr. Mullen directed the Institute of Welfare Research, Center for the Study of Social Work Practice; and Columbia University’s Musher Program. His research and publications have examined outcomes measurement, effectiveness research, translational and implementation research, research synthesis, and evidence-based policy and practice.

Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Senior Research Specialist in Nursing Research and Education at the City of Hope. Ms. Otis-Greene’s clinical work, research, presentations and publications focus on trans-disciplinary palliative care and integrated symptom management with a special emphasis on underserved populations. In 2009, Shirley was elected as a Distinguished Social Work Practitioner in the National Academies of Practice.

Sheryl Zimmerman, PhD

Kenan Flagler Bingham Distinguished Professor, Director of Aging Research, School of Social Work, adjunct Distinguished Professor, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Zimmerman is an internationally recognized social gerontologist whose research and scholarship have focused on quality of life and dying, long-term care, psychosocial aspects of well-being, caregiving, function, osteoporosis and hip fracture, dementia, and methodological issues in aging research.