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School of Social Work Community

Morgan State University School of Social Work Amasses More Than $6.9 Million in Research Grants and Contracts

by Morgan State U
December 16, 2021

Awards Support Transformative Programs Spanning Behavioral Health, Care Management, Child Welfare and More than $680,000 in Student Scholarships


Researchers, clinicians and investigators from Morgan State University’s School of Social Work (SSW) have received more than $6.9 million in grants, contracts and foundation awards supporting critical research, field work and advanced practicum for Morgan students studying social work. The five-year cumulative award amount garnered is the highest recorded amount for SSW during a comparable time span in the school’s history.

The funding was awarded from more than 10 private foundations as well as state and federal agencies to support programs uniquely rooted in addressing longstanding disparities of care in Baltimore’s underserved communities. In addition to aiding SSW faculty-led research, these funds provide necessary subsidy to students who are afforded the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in various research areas as early as their first year and through doctoral study.

“These funding opportunities will continue to advance the momentum of our faculty’s urban focused community-based research designed to mitigate socio-economic issues facing children, youth, families, neighborhoods and communities,” said Anna McPhatter, Ph.D., LCSW, dean of the School of Social Work at Morgan State.

Anna McPhatter, Ph.D., LCSWDuring this five-year span, Morgan BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. students have received more than $680,000 in tuition assistance, stipends, scholarships, and research assistantships that has enabled them to continue toward their graduation goals. Nearly 50 students simultaneously received state-of-the-art training and expertise in social work practice and research fields, many of which included front line, critical areas such as substance abuse, pediatric primary care, public child welfare, and behavioral and mental health.

“SSW undergraduate and graduate students not only take advantage of stipends, scholarships, and assistantships to build on their research knowledge and practice experience in unique areas, but they also tremendously benefit through reduction in student loans for tuition and other expenses critical to their successful matriculation in their degree programs.” Added Dr. McPhatter.

Notable grants and contracts awarded to Morgan SSW further cementing the university’s engagement and value to Baltimore and its surrounding communities include:

  • Title IV-E Education for Public Child Welfare Program
    Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Anthony Estreet, LCSW-C
    Multi-year $1.3 million-grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to Morgan, the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) and the University of Maryland Baltimore. Trained MSW students serve as DHS clinicians in the Title IV-E Education in Public Child Welfare Work-Study Program and receive up to $9,000 per year in assistance with tuition, books, and fees.
  • Substance Use Disorder and Health Initiative for Education and Leadership Development (SHIELD)
    PI Dr. Anthony Estreet, LCSW-C and Co-PI Dr. Taqi Tirmazzi
    The Maryland Behavioral Health Administration awarded Morgan $983,942 in spring 2021 to train 30 students participating in the Substance Use Disorder and Health Initiative for Education and Leadership Development (SHIELD) program, which utilizes the highly specialized assessment methodology, Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) — an evidence-based approach to identifying patients who use alcohol and other drugs to reduce and prevent related health consequences, disease, accidents, and injuries.
  • Substance Use Disorder Training, Education, and Practice with Urban Populations (STEP-UP) Expansion Program
    PI Dr. Anthony Estreet, LCSW-C
    The Substance Use Disorder Training, Education, and Practice with Urban Populations (STEP-UP) Expansion Program funded 10 MSW student, who specialize in addictions treatment, with internships to support substance abuse and behavioral health treatment programs. Totaling more than $291,903, the STEP-UP award is a collaborative workforce development program in partnership with the University of Maryland Baltimore and Salisbury University MSW Programs.
  • Child Support Research Project
    PI Dr. Laurens VanSluytman, LCSW and Co-PI Dr. Minli Liao
    Morgan SSW students served as community research scholars working with the Child Support Research Project — an initiative dedicated to addressing the needs of low-income African American fathers — where they develop and hone qualitative and quantitative research skills. The $251,153, three-year contract is funded by the Maryland State Department of Human Services and the Child Support Administration.

    School of Social Work
  • Maryland Behavioral Health Integration Program for Pediatric Primary Care Program (BHIPP)
    PI Dr. Anna McPhatter, LCSW, and Co-PI Dr. Laurens VanSluytman, LCSW
    The Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) of the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) awarded Morgan a $960,641 contract spanning three years to provide frontline support services to pediatric and primary care providers in the assessment and treatment of Baltimore City families and youth mental health needs. MSW interns provided instrumental support in early intervention and reducing long-held stigmas associated with health conditions related to mental illness.
  • Title III HBCU Part-F (Formerly SAFRA)
    PI Dr. Anna McPhatter, LCSW
    As a part of an existing five-year, nearly $1-million ($998,955) Title III Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) award, Morgan’s SSW was awarded a supplemental $25,000 in FY21 to implement the Virtual Intern Learning Center (VILC). The VILC assists students in reaching specific educational goals, including Telemental Health internship training, and increasing licensure exam pass rate.
  • Health Disparities, Stress Pathways, And Stress-related comorbidities among MSM living with HIV
    PI Dr. Jordan White
    Assistant Professor Dr. Jordan White is the recipient of a $158,558 NIH Diversity Supplement award from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities for his public health and social work experience in substance abuse and HIV prevention research. Dr. White’s research utilizes scale development, longitudinal and social network methods to examine how Black and Latino sexually active men and their networks use assets and resources to maintain their well-being.
  • Next Generation Scholars Program
    PI Dr. Anna McPhatter, LCSW and Co-PI Dr. Annette Woodroffe
    School of Social WorkThe Office of Community Service, housed within the Morgan’s SSW, is in the fifth year of a $906,000 award granted by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). The Next Generation College Discovery Program addresses the underrepresentation of youth in urban secondary schools due to the disproportionately high rates of poverty, mental health needs, educational deficiencies, and higher rates of incarceration. The Morgan-led program offers tutoring, mentorship, visits to college campuses, and workshops for up to 30 students annually from middle and high school and focuses on career and college readiness at partner schools including Baltimore City College High School, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, Patterson High School, National Academy Foundation School, and Coppin Academy High School.
  • Aerial Surveillance Project
    PI Dr. Anna McPhatter, LCSW and Co-PI’s Dr. Kevin Daniels, Dr. Michael Sinclair
    The Abell Foundation awarded Morgan a $300,000 contract to conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impact of aerial surveillance on crime reduction (homicides, non- fatal shootings, carjacking, robberies,) and the community’s sentiments toward the use of this technology.
  • Christ the Redeemer Foundation Award
    PI Dr. Laurens VanSluytman, LCSW
    Morgan’s SSW received a $25,000 award from Christ the Redeemer Church to underwrite the environmental learning and training for three MSW students to further hone and develop competencies in interviewing, generalist counseling, assessment and interventions.
  • Gilchrist Endowed Scholarship Award
    PI Dr. Laurens VanSluytman, LCSW
    The Gilchrist Foundation established a $200,000 endowed scholarship benefiting SSW students, particularly those on gerontology track, who have documented academic achievement and demonstrated financial need. In addition, SSW will utilize up to $10,000 annually (for a five-year term) to host a co-sponsored community-oriented seminar with Gilchrist.
  • Project STEP
    PI Dr. Rhonda Wells-Wilbon
    Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) awarded Morgan $299,992 to support Project STEP – Supporting Through Empowerment and Prevention. In partnership with TurnAround, Inc. and Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI). Project STEP employs eight student peer-educators who are tasked with conducting outreach and elevating education activities and awareness surrounding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking prevention throughout the campus community and among key stakeholder groups.
  • Perspectives and Service Needs of Low-income Families Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) and Transitional Support Services (TSS) Recipients
    PI Dr. Laurens VanSluytman, LCSW
    Through an interagency agreement with the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the Maryland Department of Human Services, Morgan was awarded a $254,071 contract to conduct assessments of low-income families currently in receipt of TCA or TSS benefits and the impact of their benefit status on financial and psychological well-being. The contract underwrites stipends and trains four undergraduate students to become community research scholars in their development of highly critical qualitative and quantitative research skills.

Morgan’s School of Social Work was officially established the in 2009, after 40 years of offering degrees through the Department of Social Work. Since its establishment, the school has uniquely focused on urban social work practice and research and offers the B.S.W., and M.S.W (both fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education), and a Ph.D. in social work. Students in the School of Social Work are placed and gain valuable experience helping and supporting the citizens of the Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland in numerous social work venues.