Research & Community Engagement


                                  In the News Now !

 School of Social Work Receives Grant Focusing on Uninsured Children


2015 - 2016 Highlights


2014-2016 Community-Based Participatory Research of Policies and Practices Affecting Adolescent Sexual Health in Mississippi.  Funding by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities/Gulf States Health Policy Center.

  • More than 75 community members, representing different sub-systems such as parent, adolescent, education, mental health, community health, health care, faith-based, and government/corrections meeting frequently in order to discuss adolescent sexual health. 

  • Focus is on policies and practices that affect adolescent sexual health

  • Intent is to generate “bottom-up” action plans to increase the capacity of community to address needs of such vulnerable populations


2015 Move to Learn Evaluation.  Funding by the Bower Foundation.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of new curriculum-based fitness initiative to improve the academic performance of students in elementary schools across the state

  • Includes 16 teachers and 160 students from four schools

  • Collaborating with Computer Science to create a new app for researchers and schools to use in assessing classroom behaviors

  • Partnership with Mississippi State Department of Health and Mississippi Department of Education.


2015 Child and Youth Prevalence of Obesity Survey Weight Distribution Study.  Funding by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy.

  • Continued surveillance of weight status among public school students in grades K-12 in Mississippi since 2003.

  • Presents weighted, representative data on obesity by gender, race, and educational level.

  • Partnership with Mississippi State Department of Health and Mississippi Department of Education.


2015 Evaluation of Sex-Related Education Policy and Practices in Mississippi Public Schools.  Funding by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy.

  • Mixed-method study that examines current adoption of Sex-Related Education policy and compares findings from an initial study in 2012.

  • Examines coverage of Mississippi Code 37-13-171 as amended by House Bill 999.

  • Includes Sex-Related Education instructors from over 170 middle and high schools across the state.


Family Network Partnership (FNP)

  • Founded in 1996 to serve at-risk youth and families in east Hattiesburg

  • The FNP eastside campus includes two renovated buildings (Forrest County and City of Hattiesburg).

  • Funded with over $8 million in external funding over the years.

  • Counseling Center established (2010) and provides family counseling to children in foster care, mediation therapy for courts, consultations and expert testimony to courts, and is a field site for the School of Social Work.


Mississippi Integrated Health and Disaster Program

  • $8.3 Million Award from the BP/Deepwater Horizon Disaster Settlement

  • All services are delivered within our FQHC partner (Federally Qualified Health Center) – Coastal Family Health Center.

  • Expanding capacity for service delivery through providing integrated health services (behavioral health in primary care) for over 1,000 coastal residents in the last year.

  • Expanding capacity for qualified professional through training graduate students in integrated care through in-service trainings and internships (43 internships completed / 13 in progress).

  • Embedded in 8 Coastal Family Health clinic locations

  • Partnership: Coastal Family Health Center


Mississippi Wraparound Institute

  • ~$300,000 / year to enhance quality of care for children and families through workforce development and supporting implementation of the wraparound model within agencies.

  • MWI coaches train, support, coach, and supervise field interns as part of implementing the wraparound model. 

  • Numbers trained for July 2013 through present- 949 professionals have been trained and 144 supervisors and facilitators have received individualized on-site coaching

  • Partnership: Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Mississippi Division of Medicaid, and the National Wraparound Implementation Center (U Maryland).


E3 Health Initiative (National League of Cities, Cities Expanding Health Access to Children and Families)

    • $250,000 to City of Hattiesburg with USM School of Social Work contracted for program evaluation
    • Goal:  Reduce number of uninsured children and families through education, enrollment, and empowerment
    • Project is community-based—guided and implemented with community input on their needs
    • To date over 20,811 individuals have been reached through education and enrollment events throughout the city
    • Partnership: City of Hattiesburg and The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work.


Hub City Access – Hattiesburg Area Youth Master Plan (City of Hattiesburg contracted with USM School of Social Work to research and write the plan)

    • $25,000
    • Goal: establish a roadmap for infrastructure development (needs and solutions) that would benefit children and youth in Hattiesburg.
    • Developed through collaboration with school officials, city leaders, community organizations, parents and youth.
    • Results: Guidance in five key areas:  Early Childhood Development; Health, Safety, and Recreation; Family Supports and Outreach; Out of School Time; and Youth Development and Transitions
    • Linked to website ( and resource directory with plans to create a “one-stop shop” for community agencies and families to create and/or use youth programs within the community.
    • Partnership: City of Hattiesburg


Mississippi Health Access Collaborative (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-CMS-Marketplace Navigator grant)

  • $1.2 Million Health Insurance Grant

    • Replication of the E3 (Educate, Enroll, Empower) Health Initiative to include Marketplace enrollment
    • Targeted Region:  The 24 counties in Health Districts VII, VIII, & IX (Adams, Amite, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lincoln, Lawrence, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Stone, Walthall, Wayne, and Wilkinson)
    • In-Reach = Recruit and train agency personnel in the districts as embedded Navigators in their organizations
    • Out-Reach = Trained Navigators bringing services into the communities (community enrollment sites, attendance at community-wide events, community and agency presentations, trainings in WIC Distribution Centers)
    • Services will also include Medicaid/CHIP education and enrollment, referral to consumer assistance programs, translation services, and home-based and individual accommodations as needed
    • Partnerships: City of Hattiesburg and Mississippi Department of Health WIC.