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Center for Prevention Research in Social Welfare Established

Assistant Professors Valerie Shapiro and Paul Sterzing recently established the UC Berkeley Center for Prevention Research in Social Welfare (CPRSW), where they serve as co-directors.

The newest addition to Berkeley Social Welfare’s Center for Social Services research seeks to “serve as the intellectual home for researchers intending to intersect the aims of prevention science with the mission and opportunities of the social work profession.” CPRSW’s primary areas of focus reflect the faculty’s own expertise, including emotional, behavioral and mental-health problems in children; violence and bullying among vulnerable adolescent populations; and children’s exposure to family violence.

CPRSW affiliates convey the breath of prevention research in social welfare. Current faculty affiliates include University of Denver University Assistant Professors Yolanda Anyon and Ramona Beltran; State University of New York at Buffalo Assistant Professor Patricia Logan-Greene; University of Southern California Assistant Professor Jeremy Goldbach; Bryn Mawr Assistant Professor Cindy Sousa; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Assistant Professor Karen Tabb Dina; and Berkeley Social Welfare Dean and Professor Jeffrey Edleson.

Recent CPRSW activities involved nurturing the skills of semester planning, developing a daily writing practice and holding peer-review workshops that support the submission of conference proposals, manuscripts and grants. CPRSW also hosted a Qualitative Analysis Institute facilitated by University of Washington Associate Professor Dr. Taryn Lindhorst this past summer.

Additionally, summer stipends were provided to current Berkeley Social Welfare graduate students Sarah Accomazzo, Kelly Whitaker and Jennifer Lawson to collaborate with Center faculty on peer-review manuscripts. The CPRSW also celebrated the completion of Christina Jeffrey’s MSW/MPH capstone project entitled, “Poor Mental Health and Contraceptive Use Among American Indian and Alaska Native Women,” as well as the completion of Mary Mykhaylova’s undergraduate thesis, “Before It’s Too Late: Indicated Prevention of Adolescent Depression,” which earned a high honors distinction.

Upcoming activities include a workshop on designing curricula vitae, a methods training on latent class analysis conducted by Dr. Aaron Fisher an additional peer review of conference abstracts, manuscripts and grant proposals.

Dr. Shapiro, whose research looks at the ways in which communities select, implement, monitor and sustain evidence-based prevention practices, notes, “We are creating this Center to bring together scholars producing and disseminating knowledge at the nexus of prevention and social work in order to share ideas, pursue professional development and conduct collaborative projects.”

Dr. Sterzing, whose current research involves understanding the familial typologies and mental health factors that increase risk for polyvictimization – the experiencing of five or more unique forms of victimization per year – among sexual minority youth, adds, “Our aspirations for the Center are to create a mechanism that accelerates excellence and productivity for all its members and draws doctoral students with a prevention focus to Berkeley Social Welfare.”

The National Institute of Justice has recognized CPRSW’s work through the recent award of a $465,404, three-year grant to Dr. Sterzing, who will serve as co-PI with Dr. Edleson on the SpeakOut project, which will examine the familial pathways to polyvictimization for sexual minority youth. The project launches in summer 2014 and will involve interviews with approximately 800 sexual minority youth about their experiences with more than 32 unique forms of victimization.