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School of Social Work

Social Work Research & Outreach


The School of Social Work conducts applied, evidence-based research that improves the lives of Mississippians through published findings, policy changes, advocacy, and increased access to services. 

Faculty are currently conducting research related to the following topics:

  • Health (integrated behavioral health, mental health, healthcare, maternal and child health, childhood obesity, school social work)
  • Justice (juvenile justice, child advocacy, political social work, community organizing, domestic violence)
  • Workforce development
  • Disaster
  • Trauma

Students partner with faculty to conduct research, make presentations and participate in poster competitions at conferences on topics ranging from post-disaster resiliency, mental health, education, racism, and food insecurity. 


Faculty Expertise

Browse our areas of scholarly and research expertise, and connect with our faculty.


By the Numbers

0.5 Million

Value of all active grants and contracts


Percentage of faculty engaged
in externally funded projects


Number of Mississippians
assisted with health
insurance issues


Project Highlights


Initiatives like the Mississippi Health Access Collaborative and Kids Health Access Collaborative help south Mississippians, particularly children and families, secure health insurance.   

Federally trained healthcare “navigators” explain coverage options through programs like the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid-funded Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

System Change

The school is involved in system change by creating solutions that are improving healthcare delivery.

The Mississippi Integrated Health and Disaster Program integrates social workers into primary care settings, adding behavioral/mental health care and implementing practice models for treatment of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

The Mississippi Wraparound Institute and the Mississippi Person Centered Practice Initiative train agency employees to more actively involve patients/clients in care planning.

Political Social Work

Political social work requires building organizational capacity, planning events, educating and communicating about initiatives, and ultimately influencing policy change.

Faculty have helped create two such organizations, Forward365 Mississippi and the Mississippi chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). The nonpartisan F365 works for economic fairness, civil justice, healthy/safe communities, quality public education, and environmental security.

A rebirth of MLK’s original PPC, the new movement stands against poverty, racism, ecological devastation, and the war economy.




Resilience-focused projects have investigated how residents in the Gulf South have adapted and recovered following major disasters like hurricanes and oil spills.

Research interests have included how individuals and communities responded to trauma: What factors contribute to post-traumatic growth and what healthy strategies encourage wellness?

One such strategy is providing educational trainings focused on mental health first aid in an effort to be proactive and respond early in order to prevent crises.

Impact on Policy

Childhood obesity studies with public school students and Head Start children examine maternal, child, and parenting factors associated with obesity trends.

These and related studies on obesity’s economic impact and public opinions on childhood obesity are driving forces for policy development, such as the passage, implementation, and evaluation of the Mississippi Healthy Student Act (requiring schools to implement wellness policies and coordinated health programs).

Significant reductions in obesity among elementary children are attributed to this legislation.


Faculty are leading teams of community and statewide stakeholders to examine and affect policies and practices regarding:

  • Adolescent sexual health (including HIV, STD, teen pregnancy)
  • Sex-related education in public schools
  • Women’s health and contraceptive practices
  • Programs to better serve women at risk for unintended pregnancies, pre-term deliveries, low-birth weight babies, and infant mortality
  • As with the obesity studies, the Center for Mississippi Health Policy translates research findings into new and better policies to serve at-risk populations.

Contact Us

School of Social Work

250 Joseph Greene Hall (JGH)

Campus Hattiesburg

Campus Map



Contact Us

School of Social Work

320 Hardy Hall (HH)

Campus Gulf Park

Campus Map