Skip to Content

College of Social Work

Health and Behavioral Health

Our researchers offer key insights and analysis that are transforming the practice of social work and improving health globally.

Faculty members explore a host of health and behavioral health topics, including scholarship centered around these major areas:


Grand Challenges

Our faculty are working collaboratively with leading scholars across the country to develop innovative strategies and tactics to close the health gap across the next decade. For instance, faculty authored a paper exploring how social work leadership can strengthen health care systems in the United States to improve health. Other faculty scholarship promotes a social-determinants approach to eradicate health inequalities.


Substance Use

Seeking to reduce the need for and costs of acute care addiction-related conditions, faculty are exploring whether health homes for Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic health conditions are successful in identifying and treating addiction. In addition, faculty are examining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the quality and accessibility of substance abuse treatment in the United States.

In partnership with the state’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services and the Department of Health and Human Services, faculty led a major project that evaluated substance use treatment and recovery services in South Carolina. Working with dozens of agencies across the state, faculty designed a capacity-building intervention to enhance patient services as well as a suite of training webinars and briefs.

Further, faculty are collaborating to implement a five-module Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Training Program for graduate students in nursing, social work and medicine to assess patients at risk for substance abuse disorders.


Kidney Disease Disparities

Research from the college suggests that social networks play a critical role in patients’ decisions about whether to pursue a kidney transplant. In particular, finding that poor attitudes from dialysis clinic staff members can dissuade patients from transplantation, faculty are now developing interventions to educate staff.

A separate federally funded research project with Duke University and Johns Hopkins University is examining what kidney disease patients at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., understand about treatment and how they make their treatment decisions.



Through a project funded by the National Cancer Institute, faculty are studying the effect of emotions in decisions regarding prostate cancer treatment. Moreover, building on research exploring application of technology for cancer patients, faculty are developing a mobile app that uses culturally appropriate and mindful strategies to help alleviate lung cancer symptoms.



In collaboration with the School of Medicine, faculty are researching workforce recruitment and retention issues in rural health settings. They are developing case studies, webinars, practice briefs and training sessions to share their findings with providers across South Carolina, such as physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and health leaders. In addition, our Field Education Office is developing training modules specific to rural practice for students who complete their field education experience in a setting that serves rural and medically underserved populations.



In partnership with the College of Nursing and the College of Pharmacy, faculty have created a novel online interdisciplinary course that trains nurse practitioner, pharmacy and social work students to provide tele-mental health services to patients in rural South Carolina. For this project, funded by the Duke Endowment, teams of students initially practiced their skills with standardized patients and now provide counseling services to real patients.


Current Grants/Projects

  • Duke Endowment: Telemental Health Connect (TeleCon): Expanding Collaboration and Comprehensive Service Penetration
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Addiction Treatment in Medicaid Health Homes 
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Impact of Health Reform on Accessibility and Quality of Substance Abuse Treatment
  • S.C. Department of Health and Human Services: ICARED Social Work Rural Health Initiative
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant for HOPES (Health Occupations Providing Excellence in SBIRT) program
  • Health Resources and Services Administration: Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program
  • National Institute of Health: Reducing Racial Disparities in Access to Kidney Transplantation: The RaDIANT Regional Study
  • Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute: Putting Patients at the Center of Kidney Care Transitions
  • National Cancer Institute, Geographical Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program: Effect of Emotion on Prostate Cancer Treatment Decision Making
  • Bristol Myers Squibb Foudation: An mHealth Mindfulness-based Approach to Multiple Behavior Change and Symptom Management for Individuals Facing Lung Cancer
  • National Institute of Health: Adapting and testing an Alzheimer’s family caregiver intervention in Vietnam


Contact Our Experts

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.