SSWR Names Desmond Patton as Fellow

January 18, 2019 @ 10:02 pm

The Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) has selected Associate Professor Desmond U. Patton as a 2019 Fellow, recognizing his work as a researcher and his contributions to the Society.

As the Society explained in a December announcement, “Fellows are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society—to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society.”

Since 2014, SSWR has used a point system to select the one to two percent of its 1,300 members who have most contributed to the lifeblood of the organization by participating in conferences, symposia, and special interest groups; by serving on the organization’s board; and/or by becoming involved in its cornerstone publication, The Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research.

The award looks not just to the past but toward the future, as Fellows are expected to serve as “role models and mentors” for up-and-coming researchers in the social work field.

Dr. Patton’s groundbreaking work examines pathways to violence among low-income young people of color. He is the founding director of Columbia’s SAFElab, where, in partnership with the Data Science Institute, he developed an online tool for detecting grief and aggression in social media posts by Chicago’s gang-involved youth.

Acknowledging that the award is “a symbol of dedication to the profession,” Patton says he feels “honored by the recognition.”

He told us, “I’ve been active with SSWR since my time as a doctoral student at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Every year I have presented new research as an oral or poster sessions and have participated in roundtable discussions. I also developed a special interest group focused on technology and social work research. This year’s conference will focus on gender and community-based violence and I’m excited to learn from my colleagues what new and innovative research is being conducted in this area.”

Dr. Patton joins two other Columbia School of Social Work faculty members who have received this honor­­—Associate Professor Louisa Gilbert, in 2016, and Professor Ellen Lukens, in 2017.

Said Dr. Gilbert, “I am very excited to see my colleague Desmond receive this award for his cutting-edge research and pioneering scholarship, which has advanced social work methods and digital technologies in understanding and responding to gang violence. He sets a high bar for future SSWR fellows.”

Dr. Lukens added, “The SSWR is a great organization that gives researchers the opportunity to interact with a terrific group of colleagues. It is an important resource for providing representation and a critical outlet for cutting-edge research in our field.”

Last year, the SSWR presented Dr. Patton with the 2018 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award.

He will be honored with 23 other Fellows on January 19 at the Society’s annual conference in San Francisco, alongside his colleague, Associate Professor Heidi Allen, who is the recipient of SSWR’s 2019 Social Policy Researcher Award.

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