Research Overview

The University of Utah has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation as being one of a select group of universities with the “highest research activity” in the nation. This high level of research excellence is reflected in scholarship at the College of Social Work. Our faculty carry out federally-funded, translational social research, supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Veterans Administration (VA), the Children’s Bureau, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to advance social work research and innovate evidence-based practices for vulnerable populations in need. For example, faculty in the College have recently been awarded federal grants to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a mindfulness-based intervention for chronic pain and prescription opioid misuse, and grants to conduct a RCT of a restorative justice intervention for violent offenders.

GarlandbHoused within the College of Social Work are a number of research entities, including the Social Research Institute, the Utah Criminal Justice Center, and the Goodwill Initiative on Aging, which provide research opportunities and infrastructure for managing external funding for faculty and students. Our Social Research Institute is a nationally-recognized center for child welfare evaluation and implementation science serving multiple states in the Intermountain West, and our Utah Criminal Justice Center has conducted over 60 studies on the Utah criminal justice system. In addition, the College’s Goodwill Humanitarian Building features several state-of-the-art clinical observation suites equipped with one-way mirrors and audio-visual technology for clinical research and training, as well as a sophisticated psychophysiology lab for the conduct of cutting-edge social work neuroscience.

College of Social Work faculty have research expertise in the conduct of randomized controlled trials, etiological and epidemiological studies, qualitative and mixed methods research, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Our faculty pursue research on a range of topics, including addiction, human trafficking, psychosocial oncology, aging, father involvement, LGBT health, and integrative medicine, among others. In recognition of their national and international expertise, our faculty have been elected to numerous distinguished positions, such as grant reviewers for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), consultants for the Cochrane Collaboration, fellows of international research societies, and advisors for the National Academy Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. As an outgrowth of their skill and commitment, faculty in the College of Social Work have developed extensive partnerships with community stakeholders and policymakers to facilitate high impact research in the service of generating solutions to pressing social problems.