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Postdoctoral Training

The postdoctoral fellowship program emphasizes the training and development of social work academicians who can assume leadership roles in research, evaluation, teaching, and service. Selected fellows partner with a team of experienced faculty mentors with strong publication and external funding experience. U-M provides a rich interdisciplinary environment with ICPSR summer workshops in quantitative methods, research seminars, University-wide lecture series, and substantial opportunities for close collaboration with faculty across disciplines and departments.

Curtis Center Postdoctoral Fellows

Tina Jiwatram-Negrón

2016-2017/18

Tina Jiwatram-Negrón's research focuses on multiple intersections of gender-based violence, including HIV and HIV risk behaviors (sex work, substance use), and trauma/mental health outcomes. Currently, Tina serves as a Co-Investigator on a pilot project that seeks to test a gender-based violence screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBRIT) intervention for substance-involved women in Kyrgyzstan (Project WINGS of Hope). Going forward, Tina has a specific interest in developing and testing additional interventions to redress violence against women, both domestically and internationally, with an emphasis on low-resource settings and among marginalized women.

Tina completed her doctoral training at the Columbia University School of Social Work in the advanced clinical practice research track. During her time at Columbia, Tina served as a Project Director and Co-Investigator at the Social Intervention Group and Global Health Research Center of Central Asia, under the supervision of Drs. Nabila El-Bassel and Louisa Gilbert, on multiple gender-based violence and HIV risk reduction prevention intervention projects based in the U.S., Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Malaysia. Tina has also worked at multiple community mental health and domestic violence non-profit organizations within the U.S., and is passionate about bridging the research-practice divide.

Tina is excited to have joined the University of Michigan community under the mentorship of Drs. Mieko Yoshihama and Richard Tolman, and looks forward to collaborating both within the School of Social Work and across departments.

Brittany Schuler

2016-2017/18

Brittany earned her PhD in Social Work from The University of Maryland. Brittany's dissertation title was: Toddler Overweight Prevention: Developing a Model by Socioeconomic Gradients. Brittany's SSW faculty mentors are: Brad Zebrack, Edie Kieffer, and Jamie Mitchell.

Brittany Schuler's research interests focus on understanding and reducing health disparities in childhood. Brittany is currently involved in a number of projects that examine promoting optimal growth and development in childhood, including analyzing the effects of a randomized control trial aimed at improving the nutrition and physical activity environments of low-income preschools.

Her dissertation, grounded in interdisciplinary work with the University of Maryland, Baltimore's Schools of Social Work, Medicine, and Public Health, used a mixed-methods design, including analysis of a large, national dataset to examine factors that influence overweight among toddlers within different gradients of socioeconomic status (SES; e.g., low-income, middle-income, high-income). Brittany's dissertation applied an ecological framework to understand the differential mechanisms that operate within each level of SES to help inform targeted intervention strategies for health promotion among children across the economic spectrum. Her study design incorporated aspects of Community-Based Participatory Research (a community advisory board) to establish partnership within the local community and uphold the cultural relevance and application of the research for the population of interest.

Jinyu Liu

2013-2014/15

Jinyu earned her PhD in Social Work from the University of Iowa. Following the strong endorsement of the Curtis Center’s fellowship program by her UI advisor, Jinyu accepted placement at the Center due in large part to the flexibility of the program and the opportunity to select her mentor. Jinyu chose Associate Professor Lydia Li.

Under Dr Li’s supervision, Jinyu is currently exploring the effects of contextual factors on depression in older adults cross-nationally using the Health and Retirement Study datasets and other similar international longitudinal studies. Jinyu plans to use her fellowship research to collaborate with national and international researchers to contribute to mental health intervention programs in older citizens.

During her fellowship, Jinyu gained valuable teaching experience. Her class, “Human Differences, Social Relationships, Well-Being, and Change Through the Life Course,” employed multicultural and critical perspectives to understand individuals, families, and their interpersonal and group relationships, life span development, and theories of well-being, stress, coping and adaptation.

Jinyu will join the Columbia School of Social Work as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2015. As a junior faculty member at Columbia, she will be assigned a mentor and hopes to collaborate on research that examines bereavement and mental health in older Chinese people who have suffered the loss of a child.

“The flexibility of the program and the freedom to choose my mentor were the most important aspects for me when choosing the Curtis Center fellowship. I received thoughtful supervision and support from Drs. Li and Himle that showed me how to make a successful transition from graduate to faculty member.”

 

Elizabeth Thomason

2013-2014/15

Elizabeth is a graduate of U-M’s Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Psychology. Currently finishing her second year in the fellowship program, Elizabeth serves in a unique capacity conducting research in maternal mental health and family well-being during early childhood years while working with the Curtis Center’s Program Evaluation Group.

The position affords her extensive time on-the-ground in communities, working with social service agencies, collaborating on government projects, while also pursuing research. With support and mentoring from Dr Himle, Elizabeth applied for and received internal funding for a mixed-method study that examines maternal beliefs in African-American women in Flint, Michigan using qualitative interviews, quantitative data collection and analysis.

As part of her fellowship experience, Elizabeth developed and honed her teaching skills while teaching Program Evaluation classes at the MSW level.

Upon completion of her fellowship at the end of this summer, Elizabeth will enter the job market, teach Introduction to Community Organization, Management and Policy/Evaluation Practice to MSW students, and plans continue her research into maternal depression.

“I have clinical training but I’m not a clinician doing direct practice work. The Program Evaluation Group placement was a great fit because it allowed me to continue my collaborative research while gaining experience in macro community context work, which is rare to find in a university setting.”

 

Addie Weaver

2011-2013

Addie will join the University of Michigan School of Social Work as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2015. She currently teaches Evaluation in Social Work and hopes to add mental health-specific courses to her class rotation.

Addie earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, and was selected for the Curtis Center Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2011 – 2013. Mentored by Curtis Center Director Joseph Himle, PhD, Weaver engages in mental health treatment intervention and services research, focusing on improving access to evidence-based care for vulnerable populations, with an emphasis on underserved rural populations. Weaver is an active member of Dr. Himle’s Treatment Innovation and Dissemination Lab, and as a postdoctoral fellow, was part of the researcher team working on Dr. Himle’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded randomized controlled trial testing the effect of work-related cognitive behavioral therapy (WCBT) on social anxiety disorder and employment-related outcomes among unemployed adults seeking vocational services in Detroit. She is now a co-investigator on Dr. Himle’s multi-site randomized controlled trial testing the effect of WCBT with a more diverse population and longer follow-up.

Addie’s interest in developing and testing interventions that are effective, accessible, and acceptable for rural residents with mental health needs led to her current research assessing the feasibility and acceptability of group cognitive behavioral therapy for depression delivered in church settings within rural Michigan.

Addie’s feasibility research, supported by a Curtis Center pilot grant, was instrumental in her ability to develop an NIMH K01 award application (Dr. Himle, primary sponsor; Drs. Deborah Bybee, Marcia Valenstein, and Amy Kilbourne, co-sponsors) seeking to develop and test group cognitive behavioral therapy for depression delivered in the rural church environment. After receiving a promising score, Addie plans to resubmit her K01 award application this Fall.

Addie’s work as a postdoctoral fellow also focused on conducting epidemiologic research to increase our understanding of mental health needs among rural residents. This work led to her study, “Urban vs Rural Residence and the Prevalence of Depression and Mood Disorder Among African American Women and Non-Hispanic White Women ,” published in the Journal of American Medical Association: Psychiatry in 2015.

“Dr. Himle was extremely generous with his time and consistently provided me with quality mentorship and support for my independent research. To have weekly interaction and collaboration with a leading expert in the field is an uncommon advantage. I could not have designed a better fit for my postdoctoral placement.” PhD, University of Pittsburgh. In the recent postdoctoral fellowship with the Curtis Center, Addie was mentored by Joseph Himle, Curtis Center Director, on research projects aimed at improving rural access to mental health services.

 

Cristina Bares

2009-2011

Cristina Bares, previously Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University will join the U-M School of Social Work as an Assistant Professor. She will teach MSW level infant and child development classes.

She is a graduate of U-M’s Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Developmental Psychology, and was the Center’s first selected postdoctoral fellow. Under the mentorship of Professor Jorge Delva, Cristina’s research integrated mental health and substance abuse in Hispanic adolescents with the intention of developing culturally informed interventions.

In 2011 she was named one of five Early Career Hispanic Scientists for participation in the first cycle of a NIH-funded R25 mentoring program, and in 2014 was awarded a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for research on "Genetic Contributions to Smoking and Internalizing Problems in Adolescence."

“During my fellowship, I learned just how much research, writing, publishing and external funding are valued. Dr. Delva was very open and encouraging of me to craft my own direction and allowed me the time to focus on these critical aspects.”

 

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