New Faculty to Join CSSW on July 1st

June 7, 2023

New Faculty to Join CSSW on July 1st

Dear CSSW Community,

I am excited to announce that we will welcome two fantastic new full-time faculty members to CSSW on July 1st. Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson will join us as Associate Professor of Social Work (with tenure), and Dr. Victoria Frye will join us as Professor of Social Work (with tenure). These hires will expand and complement our cluster hire of faculty whose research aims to enhance the well-being of Black and Latinx individuals, families, and communities, made possible in large part with the generous support of the Office of the Provost.

Dr. Riana Anderson is one of the nation’s leading young scholars of the psychosocial well-being of Black youth. She studies how racial discrimination affects the development of youth of color, and uses a solid theoretical grounding and mixed methods research techniques to develop and test feasible, effective, and scalable interventions to mitigate the pernicious consequences of racism. Her ultimate aim is to reduce the impact of racism on the mental and physical health of Black youth and their families. As a psychologist with additional training and experience in the fields of education, medicine, public health, and social work, Dr. Anderson is particularly focused on racism’s health consequences – for both physical well-being and mental health. Like the very best scholars in this area, Dr. Anderson’s work moves beyond documenting health disparities to creating and implementing approaches that effectively improve health, mental health, and quality of life for marginalized individuals and communities.

Dr. Anderson completed her BA in Psychology and Political Science at the University of Michigan in 2006. She then earned her MA in Psychology from the University of Virginia, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology and Community Psychology at the University of Michigan in 2015. From 2015 through 2017, she pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, in the Division of Applied Psychology & Human Development through the Racial Empowerment Collaborative, mentored by Dr. Howard Stevenson. After spending one year as an Assistant Professor at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, she moved to the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

Her accolades are growing. Dr. Anderson has received the highly competitive WT Grant Young Scholars Program Award, given to early-stage investigators with the “potential to become influential researchers.” In the midst of our search process, she was informed that she had been selected to spend a fellowship year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford during the 2022-2023 academic year. In addition, Dr. Anderson was chosen as a Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard for the 2023-2024 academic year. Therefore, while she officially joins the Columbia faculty on July 1st of this year, her plan is to immediately take a one-year leave to pursue the fellowship at Harvard and join us “in person” in the summer of 2024. We are delighted to support her in this effort.

Dr. Victoria Frye is a social and behavioral scientist cross-trained in the social sciences and public health theory and methods. Dr. Frye brings outstanding scholarly expertise, an impressive record of productivity in publications and federal grants, an unwavering commitment to social justice, and deep leadership experience to the School and to its largest and most productive center, the Social Intervention Group (SIG), which Dr. Frye joins as Co-Director. Established more than 25 years ago, SIG develops and implements evidence-based strategies and solutions to emerging health and social problems affecting diverse populations, especially vulnerable populations, both domestically and globally.

This represents a return to Columbia for Dr. Frye. She received all of her degrees from Columbia, earning a BA in US History, an MPH in Epidemiology, and a DrPH in Sociomedical Sciences. After completing her doctorate in 2004, she conducted research with the Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies at the New York Academy of Medicine, the CUNY School of Public Health, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the NY Blood Center’s Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute. She returned to Columbia in 2011 as an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, leaving in 2015 for an interesting new role at the CUNY School of Medicine, where she was promoted to full professor with tenure in 2020.

Dr. Frye engages critical approaches to characterize how social stratification generates health disparities and to design and test multilevel, social-behavioral interventions to reduce inequities, applying a powerful combination of epidemiologic and social science techniques in two key areas: HIV and intimate partner and sexual violence. A hallmark of her research program is an intellectual process that critically applies social and psychological theory to empirical data to inform the design of prevention strategies and interventions that will ultimately reduce health inequities. The overall goals of her scholarship are to: 1) develop the research base on social drivers of health inequities; 2) design and test effective multi-component and multi-level prevention interventions to eliminate health disparities; 3) partner with community organizations and representatives to ground her scholarship in equity; and 4) mentor and train the next generation of intervention and prevention scientists and practitioners. She is currently funded by multiple NIH institutes, including NIMH and NIDA, to test social-behavioral interventions to increase uptake of HIV screening and prevention methods, including HIV self-testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis, by addressing intersectional stigma with individuals and communities most vulnerable to HIV, including women who exchange sex for needed resources and gay, bisexual and same gender-loving men of color. Above all, she is passionately committed to equitable partnerships with communities and mentorship to support the next (and more diverse) generation of scholars. As a leader in the field, we are delighted that Dr. Frye will join us not only as a tenured faculty member, but also as a member of the SIG leadership team.

Sincere thanks to the 2021-2022 members of the Senior Faculty Search Committee – Jane Waldfogel (chair), Carmela Alcántara, Ron Mincy, Julien Teitler, and Desmond Patton (ex officio) – for their outstanding efforts and commitment to seek out faculty who are conducting research in highly relevant areas that reflect our social justice mission and our ambitious goals. I also want to warmly thank the members of this year’s Committee on Academic Appointments for their efforts and guidance throughout the tenure process: Jane Waldfogel (chair), Nabila El-Bassel, Julien Teitler, and Ana Abraído-Lanza (ex officio).

Please join me in extending an enthusiastic CSSW welcome to Dr. Anderson and Dr. Frye!

In community,