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In This Issue
Increasing Access to Oral Health Care
Man up, Man down! Overcoming the Risk of Self-reliance in Depressed African American Men
Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Physical Activity, and Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Women
Manidookewigashkibjigan Sacred Bundle: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Project
Stressed ad Stretched: The Recession, Poverty, and Human Services Nonprofits in Los Angeles
The Prevalence and Consequences of Heterosexism on LGBT and Heterosexual Students


The U-M School of Social Work is a leader in social work research and education, having 
received a #1 ranking 
from U.S. News and World Report in 2012. 

The research activities are focused on virtually every area of human services and social
welfare, including:
  • child welfare
  • family services
  • juvenile and criminal justice systems
  • poverty
  • health and health disparities 
  • gerontology
  • mental health
  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • social welfare administration
  • community planning & organizing




Assistant Professor, Marilyn Sinkewicz 


Sinkewicz's research sounds a warning for vulnerable populations. She uses data from the General Social Survey to examine the differential impacts of overall improvements for women relative to men in employment and health. She investigates whether some race-ethnic groups are benefiting more than others and if they are benefiting consistently over time.


Results indicate that between 1972 and 1993 the self-rated health of both Black and White men and women demonstrated steady improvements. There was no change in the gender gap in health for Blacks (men report better self-rated help than women). By contrast, the rate of increase in health for White men lagged behind that of White women. The observed gender convergence in health was explained by changes in employment, occupation and income. 


The story changes after 1993. For Blacks, the health of both men and women declined steadily with no changes in the gender gap. White men and women did not experience a corresponding decline in health; there were no significant changes in their health. One result is that White women no longer realize improvements relative to White men. Further, the post-1993 decline in health for Blacks indicates increased disparities in health over nearly two decades.





[email protected]  


Jorge Delva

Associate Dean for Research

(734) 936-3898


Scott Stanfill

Research Office, Senior Manager

(734) 763-2389   


University of Michigan
School of Social Work

Research Office
1080 South University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Letter from the 
Associate Dean

Dear Colleagues -

The following stories provide a glimpse into research lead by our Assistant Professors (new hires will be highlighted in a next issue). It is their research that helped the University of Michigan achieve a record $1.27 billion in research expenditures for the 2011 - 2012 fiscal year.  U-M ranks first in research and development spending among the nation's public universities, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. National Science Foundation.


The University of Michigan School of Social Work is at the forefront of social work research, teaching and practice.  I invite you to browse this issue to learn more about our Assistant Professors and their accomplishments.



Jorge Delva, Associate Dean for Research

University of Michigan

School of Social Work


Increasing Access to Oral Health Care in Michigan


Investigators: Dean Laura Lein and Assistant Professor Luke Shaefer  

Funder: Nokomis Foundation


Could a mid-level dental provider increase access to oral health care in Michigan?  Assistant Professor Luke Schaefer is collaborating with the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Mercy schools of dentistry on a feasibility committee to examine a pilot program to train registered dental hygienists to provide an expanded scope of practice.


"Oral disease affects millions, disproportionately impacting those in poverty, the elderly, and children," Shaefer explained.  "Collaboration isn't always totally comfortable, but it's the responsibility of social workers to push the interests of vulnerable and underserved populations and try to move them higher up on the agendas of all professional communities."


The grant funds the development of a model for a combined dental hygienist-dental therapist provider in the state of Michigan. This model would address supervision requirements, a licensure structure to promote services to vulnerable populations, and the necessary training requirements.  The project will develop detailed plans for a pilot effort that would enable a small-scale implementation of new oral health practices, coupled with a careful evaluation.


Assistant Professor Luke Shaefer will be awarded the 2013 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award at the Society for Social Work and Research meeting in January 2013.


Man up, Man down! 
Overcoming the Risk of Self-reliance in Depressed African-American Men 

Principal Investigator: Professor Harold W. Neighbors, School of Public Health
Co-Investigator: Assistant Professor Daphne Watkins 
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Transitions Award

The Man up, Man down! project focuses on translating and disseminating research results on underutilization of mental health services into formats and venues intended to increase awareness of treatment for depression among African American men. 

Focus groups were conducted in four U.S. cities (Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Raleigh, NC; Detroit, MI) to improve our understanding of depression among African-American men and then develop depression awareness materials targeting this group. 

The focus group findings will guide the development of culturally and gender sensitive depression awareness messages. These messages are intended to increase mental health literacy, reduce depression stigma, and identify preferred delivery channels for African American men. Potential delivery channels will include interactive websites, pamphlets, online articles/news briefs, and television/radio spots.

Aims of the project:

  1. Creates new videos that target depression in African American men 
  2. Modifies the national "Men Get Depression" campaign DVD to focus on African American men
  3. Use the video and DVD in a community outreach campaign to reduce stigma and encourage widespread acceptance of the idea that it is appropriate, indeed, "manly" to get help for depression


Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Physical Activity, and Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Women 


Investigator: Assistant Professor Emily J Nicklett
Funder: National Institute of Aging

Research was conducted to examine the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity and all-cause mortality in older women.  "A number of studies have measured the positive impact of exercise and healthy eating on life expectancy, but what makes this study unique is that we looked at these two factors together," explains Nicklett.  She found women who were most physically active and had the highest fruit and vegetable consumption were eight times more likely to survive the five-year follow-up period than the women with the lowest rates. 

Although the study provides evidence that physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake are independently and jointly related to longevity, further work is required to validate and extend these findings in other populations so that appropriate groups can be targeted for interventions that incorporate diet and physical activity. The implications of this research are that interventions should combine improvements in diet and physical activity-rather than examine changes in isolation-to improve survival in older populations.


Manidookewigashkibjigan Sacred Bundle: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Project


Funder: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services


Investigator: Assistant Professor Sandra Momper

See Pow Wow Photos Here


Suicide is the second-leading cause of death behind unintentional injuries among Native American children and young adults, and is on the rise, according to the Indian Health Service.  American-Indian teens take their own lives at more than two times the rate of any other teen demographic in the USA, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The rate of suicide for American Indian/American Native is 70% higher than the general population and youth between age 10 and 24 are the most at risk (Dorgan, 2010). While data are sparse for urban American Indian suicides, and suicide attempts, in particular, the risk factors associated with these outcomes would predict high incidence.


Manidookewigashkibjigan Sacred Bundle: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. a collaborative program with American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeast Michigan and U-M SSW is utilizing both evidence-based interventions and culturally infused practice methods.  "Suicide and suicidal behavior are preventable. The first step is making the community aware of the startling youth suicide rate in the Native community. Our research will help the community recognize the signs, confront the possible causes and find solutions," said Assistant Professor Sandra Momper. 


Project Goals include:


1) Training mental health professionals and community members (youth and young adults) in evidence based and culturally based practices


2) Outreach to develop collaborative relationships with community members (urban and tribal), educational institutions, and youth-serving (Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare) organizations in Southeast Michigan


3) Creating a 5-year sustainability plan for the community to ensure the ongoing mental health and well-being of American Indian/American Native youth



The Social Enterprise Project 


Investigator:  Assistant Professor Eve Garrow 

Funder: RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service and the University of Texas at Austin 


The social enterprise project uses a comparative case study approach to understand how nonprofit human services, which combine social services with work experiences for their clients, balance between the service logic and the business logic.  


In collaboration with researchers at UCLA, the project has collected and analyzed data on various social enterprises in Los Angeles and the Detroit area.  Social enterprises are characterized by two sets of intertwining and potentially competing activities-the production of goods and services to generate profits coupled with the provision of social benefits to their clients. Balancing between these two sets of activities is a major challenge. Organizations must avoid being overwhelmed by profit maximization aims that could compromise their social mission; yet, they have to ensure that the social mission does not undermine the viability of their business activities. 


The focus of this project is to identify organizational strategies that enable such social enterprises to balance between these two sets of activities and to achieve their mission. The project identifies the environmental and organizational factors that shape the particular organizational forms selected by these organizations, and the ability of such forms to sustain both the business and the social mission of the organizations.





The Prevalence and Consequences of Heterosexism on LGBT and Heterosexual Students 


Investigator: Assistant Professor Michael Woodford

Funder: Curtis Center, School of Social Work and National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan


Woodford implemented a comprehensive mixed-methods campus climate study that aimed to begin to close important gaps in knowledge about the nature of contemporary discrimination and how it affects LGBT and heterosexual college students. Both attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of discrimination, including direct and indirect interpersonal mistreatment were investigated. Data from this study has resulted in studies examining the covariates of hearing "that's so gay," the protective and risk factors of depression, and the intersection of sexual orientation and interpersonal mistreatment with substance use.


The findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health.


Assistant Professor Michael Woodford received the 2012 Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression Scholarship Award from the Council on Social Work Education.