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Spafford Endowed Chair

The Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair is a prestigious position dedicated to improving the lives of women and families in all their configurations. It is one of few academic positions with such a purpose in a school of social work.



Meet our Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair

Dr. Meeyoung O. Min

The University of Utah College of Social Work hired esteemed researcher Dr. Meeyoung O. Min as our Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair in 2019. Dr. Min's research interests are centered on the developmental outcomes of prenatally substance-exposed children and their mothers, especially with a focus on trauma. She is particularly interested in how biological risk (e.g. prenatal substance exposure) and environmental risk factors (e.g. parental substance use, childhood maltreatment, neighborhood violence, lead) interact to shape child developmental outcomes. She has contributed extensively to developmental neurotoxicology as a methodologist, statistical collaborator, and facilitator of the use of effective analytic methods. She has also contributed to scientific understanding related to substance-using women and trauma, as well as their personal networks in recovery from addiction. She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and conducted 100 presentations in scientific meetings to date. She is currently leading an R01 project sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), examining gender differences and similarities in the developmental trajectories of early behavioral problems and subsequent outcomes of substance use and sexual risk behaviors in at-risk adolescents.


 Previous Belle Spafford Chairs

Belle S. SPafford

The Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair was established in 1982 to honor the pioneering work of the late Belle Smith Spafford, a civic and religious leader known locally, nationally, and internationally for her work to improve the well-being of women and children. Under the leadership of her dear friend and community leader Florence Smith Jacobsen, and with the participation of many of Ms. Spafford’s friends and admirers, the University of Utah College of Social Work created the endowment to fund the Spafford Chair. It was their collective goal to have the work that Belle Spafford pioneered continue through this research endowed chair.

Ms. Jacobsen was so dedicated to this idea that she created the Florence Smith Jacobsen Endowed Scholarship to support a doctoral student working with the Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair.

The College of Social Work hosts an annual event at which the Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair presents research findings to colleagues and the community.


More about Ms. Spafford

Last Updated: 4/14/21