Research Centers

Research Centers and Programs

Columbia School of Social Work has been a leader in social work education and research since 1898. Our multidisciplinary faculty are known for their intellectual creativity and conduct research and service programs locally, nationally, and globally.


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Action Lab for Social Justice

Action Lab for Social Justice, or Action Lab for short, builds on our rapidly developed COVID-19 ACTION initiative, designed to produce psychoeducation and social policy training for thousands of local and national community members, as well as a volunteer matching service for local community, nonprofit, and social service agencies across New York City.

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Advancing Solutions in Policy, Implementation, Research, and Engagement for Refugees (ASPIRE) is a Columbia-wide initiative for the educational advancement of Syrian refugees. Led by School of Social Work professors Nabila El-Bassel and Neeraj Kaushal, the consortium aims to come up with innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to the Syrian refugee crisis. 

Four women stand in front of a poster advertising an event about social policy in China.

China Center for Social Policy

The China Center for Social Policy, directed by Professor Qin Gao, is a hub for innovation and action on social welfare in China. Through interdisciplinary research, scholars address poverty, income distribution, population aging, gender equality, rural-to-urban migration, and social policies in China and the Asian-American immigration experience in the United States.

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The Columbia Center for Healing of Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders—Intervention Development and Implementation (CHOSEN) is focused on the negative health consequences caused by opioid and other substance use disorders, including drug overdose, impaired functioning, co-occurring psychiatric and physical disorders, and impacts on family and community.

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Cogburn Research Group

Cogburn Research Group, directed by Professor Courtney Cogburn, tackles issues related to the characterization and measurement of racism, evaluating the effects of racism-related stressors on mental and physical health, and exploring opportunities to reduce the effects of racism on health. Multiple research methodologies are utilized, including laboratory-based experiments, epidemiological data, and “big data” analytics.

Poverty Tracker: Spotlight on Food Assistance in New York City. Food pantry use spikes among non-U.S. citizens amid changing immigration rules

Columbia Population Research Center

Columbia Population Research Center is the only NICHD-funded population research center to be founded within a school of social work. It is currently co-directed by Professors Jane Waldfogel of Columbia School of Social Work and Jennifer Hirsch of Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

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Dialectical Behavior Training Program

The Dialectical Behavior Training Program is a year-long course of study comprised of a rigorous academic curriculum paired with field-based DBT internship experiences. In addition to prescribed academic requirements, students participate in on-campus preparatory classes. Internships are supervised by intensively trained and certification-eligible master clinicians at agencies in outpatient, inpatient, school-based, and prison settings.

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Global Health Research Center of Central Asia

Headquartered in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Global Health Research Center of Central Asia addresses a range of health threats—HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hepatitis C, substance abuse, malnutrition, mental health—facing vulnerable communities in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries.

Albert and Willma Musher

Willma and Albert Musher Program

The Willma and Albert Musher Program at Columbia University promotes the use of science and technology for life betterment. Established in 1995 by Albert Musher in memory of his wife, Willma, this unique program was born of Mr. Musher’s conviction that “the betterment of human life can best be accomplished through the use of the principles and procedures of science.”

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Center for Prolonged Grief

The Center for Prolonged Grief, directed by Dr. Katherine Shear, develops treatments that can help people with prolonged grief. It also trains mental health professionals on recognizing and treating this condition.

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Center on Poverty and Social Policy

The Center on Poverty and Social Policy produces cutting-edge research to advance our understanding of poverty and the role of social policy in reducing poverty and promoting opportunity, economic security, and individual and family wellbeing in New York City and the United States.

A family--two adults and three children--silhouetted against a setting sun by  Luis Armando Rasteletti

Center for Research on Fathers, Children & Family Well-being

The Center for Research on Fathers, Children & Family Well-being, run by Professor Ronald B. Mincy, aims to expand knowledge and disseminate new findings on the role of fathers and father figures in the lives of disadvantaged children.

"Global Science Health Equity" in white text on a dark blue background

Social Intervention Group

Social Intervention Group aims to advance the science of intervention and prevention research among highly vulnerable populations by addressing the concurrent problems of HIV, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and trauma. It designs, develops, tests, and disseminates innovative approaches to ameliorating and preventing such problems.

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Center for Social Policy and Practice in the Workplace

The Center for Social Policy and Practice in the Workplace (Workplace Center) works with service providers, corporations, and unions throughout the nation around issues of disability, gender, and substance abuse, as well as broader issues surrounding workplace diversity.