Susan S. Witte
Associate Professor of Social Work
Ph.D., Columbia University
Focus: Prevention of HIV/STIs, substance and alcohol dependence, partner violence, and related trauma among women and couples at risk; social work and public health intervention research design, testing, translation and implementation; structural and combination interventions; infusion of multimedia technologies in research, teaching and practice; international social work.
Research: Past and ongoing research funded by NIMH, NIAAA, NIDA, CDC and global donors ranging from formative intervention development and efficacy testing to translational, dissemination and implementation research. Experience includes mixed methods, longitudinal, multi-site, domestic and international projects.
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Susan Witte is a social worker and Associate Professor at the School of Social Work where she teaches courses in the clinical and advanced generalist methods of the master’s program, as well as in the doctoral program.
Born and raised during the second wave of feminism, her current teaching, practice and research are firmly entrenched in third wave feminist ideals and environment. An educational background in public policy and women’s studies led her to pursue social work practice and research in the area of women’s sexual and reproductive health, including HIV/STI prevention, and the many co-occurring, related issues women experience, e.g. histories of childhood and adult trauma, substance and alcohol use, partner violence, poverty. She has been writing about and conducting intervention research since 1987. She has worked with the Social Intervention Group (SIG) since 1993, spending 15 years as an Associate Director, and moving to a position as faculty affiliate as of 2014. She joined the faculty of the Global Health Research Center for Central Asia (GHRCCA) at its inception in 2007. Witte’s research is broadly targeted to the evolution of more efficient and effective methods for evidence-based program implementation in local and global communities. She collaborated with SIG investigators to develop and promote couple-based interventions for heterosexual women beginning in 1997 and has tested, packaged and disseminated the first of these, the Connect intervention, also a CDC DEBI. She led one of the largest HIV/STI dissemination projects to date testing the adoption and effectiveness of a multimedia couple-based HIV prevention program delivered in HIV services agencies across New York State.
Witte has also worked with communities of women engaged in sex work since 1995. Witte collaborates with colleagues in the U.S. and abroad, predominantly in Mongolia and currently in Kazakhstan, to test the added benefit of financial literacy, business development and microsavings components to HIV prevention for women in sex work.
Based on her dissemination work, she is also collaborating on a new project examining the impact of enhancing provider-level collaboration and referrals across HIV services programs in New York to build on natural capacities and strengths in the system to improve prevention services to consumer constituencies served by these agencies.
Her direct practice experience includes working in agencies providing support to survivors of child and adult sexual violence and agencies providing the spectrum of HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment services. She has worked as a clinician and an administrator, providing direct care as well as developing and conducting needs assessments and new programs and evaluation plans.