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Doctoral students at the Columbia School of Social Work examine highly complex human problems with a mind to develop new knowledge and solutions. They receive a systematic intellectual grounding in the theory and history of social welfare, extensive training in research methods and statistics, concentration in a social work method specialization, and integrated exposure to social or behavioral science and theory.
The nine Ph.D. candidates featured in this booklet (PDF: 32 pages)—they are also listed below, along with their research programs and basic dissertation information—have undergone this comprehensive course of study.
"The students graduating this year specialize in a broad range of important topics, including child obesity, foster care, adult and adolescent mental health, gender-based violence, and resilience among at-risk women in developing countries," said doctoral program chair and CUSSW associate professor Julien Teitler. "What they have in common is rigorous training in academic scholarship and teaching."
1) Astraea Augsberger
Research Program: My research program focuses on health and mental health outcomes for adolescents involved in the child welfare system, including studies examining youth participation in child welfare decision-making practices and child welfare workforce retention and turnover.
Dissertation Topic: Youth participation in child welfare decision-making: A focused ethnography
2) Tara Calderbank-Batista
Research Program: My research program focuses on empowering youth who are aging out of the foster care system.
Dissertation Topic: Empowering youth in the U.S. foster care system
3) Catherine E. Carlson
Research Program: My research program focuses on community and structural factors and prevention interventions for gendered-based violence in international development and humanitarian settings.
Dissertation Topic: Three essays analyzing the impact of community and neighborhood factors on intimate partner violence against women in Uganda
4) Kim Glickman
Research Program: My research program focuses on psychotherapy outcomes, including the study of mediators and moderators of treatment.
Dissertation Topic: Complicated grief treatment: What makes it work?
5) Amy Kapadia
Research Program: My research program is two-fold: (1) a focus on the mental health effects of discrimination, including examination of risk/protective factors among immigrant and US-born minorities, (2) psycho-social intervention development/evaluation for adults with severe mental illness with a focus on recovery, treatment barriers, and psychopharmacology.
Dissertation Topic: Race-ethnic discrimination, major depression, and alcohol use disorder among US-born and immigrant minorities: Using a nationally representative sample to test the moderating relationships of cultural and social factors
6) Daniel B. Kaplan
Research Program: My research focuses on optimizing clinical interventions, care services and supportive environments for individuals with mental and neurological disorders.
Dissertation Topic: Home health care for persons with cognitive impairment: The influence of home health care agency characteristics on the relationship between consumer cognitive status and service volume and cost
7) Colleen McGinn
Research Program: My research program focuses on psychosocial health, resilience, and coping among at-risk populations in Cambodia, with an aim toward informing public policy and social work practice.
Dissertation Topic: These days are difficult for my body and my heart—Forced evictions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Women’s narratives of risk and resilience
8) William Benjamin Nowell
Research Program: My research program focuses on gerontology, specifically, chronic disease management and productivity in later life through formal volunteer work and civic engagement.
Dissertation Topic: Human, social and cultural capital determinants of volunteering among early baby boomers
9) Ofira Schwartz-Soicher
Research Program: My research program focuses on the effects of the urban environment on health outcomes, child obesity in particular, in disadvantaged populations. I also study criminal justice issues, including bi-directional effects between incarceration and families.
Dissertation Topic: The role of the neighborhood food environment in weight status of inner-city children
Since the inception of its Ph.D. program in 1950, the Columbia University School of Social Work has awarded more than 500 doctoral degrees. It has produced many of the world’s most influential leaders in social work and social welfare scholarship, both in the United States and around the world. For more information, please go to the Ph.D. Program page.