I am a doctoral candidate at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Both my research and teaching are grounded in over 10 years of post-master’s clinical social work experience in mental health and addictions recovery. My research investigates how trauma, mental health, and substance abuse recovery intertwine, and how social networks and social supports function to help or hinder the recovery process.
Recovery. My clinical work focused on fostering recovery from substance use and mental health disorders across the lifespan. In my research, I have focused on recovery among vulnerable populations, including women, children, and adjudicated populations. I seek to expand this work in my future research. I focus on clinical coursework within my teaching work, and seek to share my practice experience with recovering populations with my students, and learn their experiences with their clients as well.
Trauma. The impact of trauma is essential to consider in practice, research, and the classroom. In my clinical work, I saw how trauma often functioned as both a precursor to substance use and mental health disorders, and as a complicating factor for recovery. In my research, I have explored the impact of trauma on substance use and mental health disorder recovery from a number of perspectives. In my classroom, I explicitly incorporate SAMHSA’s six principles of trauma-informed care in my classroom structure and teaching approach, both as an example for students and to support my students in learning difficult material.
Social networks. My work with Dr. Elizabeth Tracy has led me to incorporate social network analysis into my research. My dissertation work uses a theoretical model that combines Recovery Capital and the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping to hypothesize how specific social network structural aspects and network member characteristics can affect a person’s ability to sustain recovery, and how trauma affects this process. I have brought this work into my teaching by helping students understand the complex processes of their clients’ networks. My interest in social networks has also led me to work with the Eradicate Social Isolation Grand Challenge for Social Work, where I helped design and disseminate educational materials and facilitate workshops aimed at incorporating this Grand Challenge in various levels of the social work curriculum.