Three faculty members at the School of Social Work have been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. They are Drs. Carmela Alcántara, Heidi Allen, and Lynn Michalopoulos.

Dr. Carmela Alcántara studies Latina/o immigrant health, the psychosocial context of cardiovascular health, and the relationship between sleep disparities and cardiovascular disease. The current phase of her research, including an innovative study on the relationship between sleep deprivation and heart disease among Latina/o immigrants, identifies possible intervention points. Dr. Alcántara’s research has been published in high-impact journals, and she has secured approximately $1 million in research and career development grants, including a K23 Award. An exemplary teacher and regular contributor to campus dialogues, she has become a sought-after mentor for CSSW students.

Dr. Heidi Allen’s research focuses on the intersection of poverty, social policy, and health. Her collaboration with a team of researchers to produce the landmark study known as the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, which has generated the strongest available scientific evidence on the cost and benefits of Medicaid expansion, and has shaped the national conversation on how to improve the quality of health care for low-income people. Her award-winning research has been published in first-tier journals, and her scientific contributions contribute eloquently to the debate on public funding for healthcare in the United States.

Dr. Lynn Michalopoulos studies the health of migrants in low- and middle-income countries, focusing on the relationship between trauma and co-occurring health issues such as HIV/AIDS. She is the developer of the Global Post Trauma Symptom Scale, which is being validated in South Africa, Uganda and the Ukraine, and currently she leads a study on trauma, mental health, and HIV risk among truck drivers in Zambia. She has built further partnerships not only in Zambia, but also with governmental and non-governmental organizations in Uganda and South Africa. Her long-term goal is to develop evidence-based psychosocial treatments for trauma-affected populations in low- and middle-income countries.

“All three of these professors are tremendous assets to Columbia University’s School of Social Work,” said Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel. He went on to highlight their research contributions:

“Carmela Alcántara is an exceptionally productive and focused scholar whose research identifies structural and psycho-social determinants of cardiovascular health and health disparities. Given the political climate and the national discussion around the Affordable Care Act, Heidi Allen’s research should continue to have a strong impact. And Lynn Michalopoulos’s research on the relationship between trauma and infectious disease establishes an important foundation for future intervention research.”

The Columbia School of Social Work congratulates all three scholars on their promotions.


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