The School of Social Work’s primary research mission is to provide collaborative partnerships that enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable. Faculty research interests focus on promoting a sense of community-wide health and mental health wellness, with research efforts that assist to make a critical impact across the human lifespan from infancy to aging and family caregiving. Areas of interest include: child protection and family services, health care navigation, mental and behavioral health treatment, military and veterans assistance, nonprofit management and community development, and poverty reduction.

Research Interests

Kim Anderson, Ph.D., MSSW, LCSW

  • Assessment of trauma and recovery for survivors of violence
  • Resilience and post-trauamtic growth in trauma populations
  • Intimate partner violence - including rural and Native American populations
  • Childhood exposure to domestic violence across the lifespan
  • Digital Storytellng as a trauma narrative intervention

Elizabeth Arnold, MSW, Ph.D.

  • mental health
  • HIV/AIDS behavioral research
  • risk behaviors
  • community based research

Reshawna Chapple, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

  • deaf and hard of hearing
  • Disabilities
  • Black and African American Families
  • Mental Health and Crisis Intervention

Sophia Dziegielewski, Ph.D., LCSW

  • human subject research and protection of the rights of human subjects
  • child protection
  • mental health assessment and treatment
  • health and wellness
  • standardized testing strategies and continuing education and training
  • psychopharmacology

Denise Gammonley, Ph.D., M.S.W.

  • elder care workforce development
  • person-centered care practices
  • global social work practice
  • scholarship of teaching and learning

Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D., M.S.W.

  • suicide prevention
  • health and mental health
  • family engagement & caregiving issues
  • systems of care
  • program implementation and evaluation

Shawn Lawrence, Ph.D., LCSW

  • Obesity and Stigma
  • Substance Abuse
  • Student learning environments and outcomes

Ana Leon, Ph.D.

  • pediatric health and mental health
  • infant mental health
  • chronic illness in children and parental stress
  • Latino children and families

Olga Molina, D.S.W., LCSW

  • divorce
  • intimate partner violence
  • African American and Latino/a Families
  • Undocumented Families
  • mental health
  • Groupwork

Julie Steen, Ph.D., M.S.W.

  • human rights
  • child welfare organizations
  • child welfare policy
  • social work education

Tracy Wharton, PhD, MEd, MSc, MSW, LCSW

  • healthcare access and quality of care for older adults with chronic conditions
  • workforce development for healthcare settings
  • program evaluation

James Whitworth, Ph.D., LCSW

  • Military families
  • Animal-assisted therapies
  • clinical skills training

Bonnie Yegidis, Ph.D.

  • domestic violence
  • child welfare organizations
  • social work education
  • women's mental health

Current/Recent Grants

Social Work HEALS: Social Work Healthcare Education and LeadershipScholars
PI: Tracy Wharton, Ph.D.
$80,000, 7/27/2015-7/26/2020
Council on Social Work Education and National Association of Social Workers

The Seminole County System of Care (SCSOC) Expansion Evaluation
Co-PI: Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D. (with PI Kristina Childs, UCF, Criminal Justice)
$356,542, 1/1/2016-9/29/2019
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (to Community Initiatives, Inc. then to UCF)

Expanding SBIRT Workforce Capacity in Central Florida: SBIRT Training for Graduate Social Work Students and Community Health Professionals
PI: Shawn Lawrence, Ph.D.
$915,000, 9/30/2015-9/29/2018
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Central Florida Pathways to Awareness, Support and Services (C PASS)
PI: Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D.
$375,000, 9/30/2015-9/29/2018
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

A Comprehensive Community-based Strategy to Optimize the HIV Prevention and Treatment Continuum for Youth At Risk, Acutely Infected and With Established HIV Infection
PI: Elizabeth Arnold, Ph.D.
$139,014, 7/1/2017-5/31/18
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (subcontract from University of California, Los Angeles)

A Pilot Study into the Effects of Canine-Assisted Therapy for Military Veterans with PTSD
PI: James Whitworth, Ph.D.
$7,500, 5/1/2017-4/30/2018
UCF Office of Research and Commercialization (In-House Grant)

Florida Linking Individuals Needing Care
PI: Kim Gryglewicz, Ph.D.
$138,269, 9/30/2016-9/29/2017
University of South Florida

Child Abuse Prevention Campaign Evaluation
PI: Julie Steen, Ph.D.
Co-PI: Mary Ann Burg, Ph.D.
$74,716, 2/6/2015-6/30/2017
Florida Department of Children and Families

Child Welfare Education Program
PI: Bonnie Yegidis, Ph.D.
$5.3 million, 7/1/2015-6/30/2017
Florida Department of Children and Families

Comprehensive School Safety Initiative: Developing Knowledge About What Works to Make Schools Safe
Co-PI: Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D. (with PI Kristina Childs and Co-PI Roberto Potter)
$305,862, 1/1/2015-6/30/2017
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (to Brevard Public Schools then to UCF)
[total NIJ award is $2,269,744]

The Effectiveness of Evidence-Based Attachment-Focused Parenting for Families with Young Children: Using Circle of Security in the Child Welfare System
Co-PI: Ana Leon, Ph.D. (with PI Kimberly Renk, UCF, Psychology)
$60,000, 4/15/2016-4/15/2017
Florida Institute for Child Welfare

Child-WIN: Child Welfare Workforce Innovation
PI: Julie Steen, Ph.D.
$50,000, 3/1/2016-1/30/2017
Children’s Home Society of Florida

Florida Linking Individuals Needing Care (FL LINC)
PI: Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D. (with PI Marc Karver, USF)
$173,706, 9/30/2014-9/29/2016
Florida Council for Community Mental Health
[part of a three-year, $3.68 million award from SAMHSA]

Campus Suicide Prevention
PI: Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D.
$18,980, 9/30/2014-9/29/2016
University of South Florida [from SAMSHA]

Public Defender Information Postings
PI: Sophia Dziegielewski, Ph.D.
$38,640, 5/8/16-8/8/16
Orlando Public Defender’s Office

Enhancing Caregiving Capacity for Very Young Children
PI: Ana Leon, Ph.D.
$28,267, 6/1/2015-6/15/2016
Devereux Center for Resilient Children

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