Professor Christopher Groeber (Social Work Department)

DCF Family Safety Consultation and Supervisory Support

Sponsor: Florida Department of Children & Families


Amount: $34,880

The PI will work with Florida's Department for Children and Families Supervisory and Administrative staff to address ongoing supervisory issues. He will work with/facilitate their training and quality staff to ensure that practice changes occur and are undergirded by identified best practices. The PI will facilitate meetings and provide training to administrative level staff focused on structured supervision and creating healthy work cultures.

Dr. Michiel Adriaan Van Zyl (Director of the Social Work Department)

COVID-19 Workforce Disruptions: Implementation Drivers to Promote Change,

    a Follow-up Study on Child Workforce Retention

Sponsor: Florida Institute for Child Welfare


Amount: $13,265

The purpose of the project is to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on child welfare workforce in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties in Florida. Turnover among child welfare staff is common due to the difficult nature of the work, which typically involves serving children and families in crisis. Although some turnover is unavoidable or involuntary, organizations need to retain productive workers to survive. In this region in Florida the average rolling year staff turnover rate is 66%, but the monthly turnover rate for April 2020 was the lowest since reporting began in 2013 and at the same time productivity appears to be higher. The pandemic has provided a window of opportunity to study and improve retention and productivity for child welfare workers. The archival study on remote work, interviews with child welfare workers, and listening sessions with leadership will help to develop a comprehensive set of workforce retention guidelines. 

Student Accomplishments

Caroline Muster, PhD student, has been accepted into the 2021 summer Eileen Sweeney Graduate Internship in Disability Policy program to be held in Washington, DC. Here is the link.

She was also asked to submit a "blog talk" on a policy that affects people with disabilities. Here is the link:
Caroline Glover, BSW student who has been selected to become a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. A faculty committee chose her to be initiated into the Eta of Florida Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa on the basis of her outstanding academic achievement as an undergraduate at USF, and her record of having met high standards of personal conduct and academic integrity. 

Shelton K. Gilyard, PhD student’s abstract "BRIDGE: COVID-19 and Depression Among Patients Receiving Care at a Free Clinic in Tampa, FL," was accepted as a poster presentation at the upcoming Student Run Free Clinics Faculty Association Conference on March 11-12, 2021. 

Amy Nourie, PhD student’s manuscript, "Child Welfare Abolition: Critical Theories, Human Rights, and Heteronormativity," was recently accepted into the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work. Also, her proposal, "Heteronormativity in Child Welfare is a Human Rights Violation," was accepted as a poster presentation at the upcoming conference: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Research Symposium: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on LGBTQ Research in the Social Sciences, on June 3-4, 2021.

Inaugural Student Scholars of the Social Work Interdisciplinary Lab:

The Social Work Interdisciplinary Lab has continued operating virtually throughout the pandemic. Two (2) of the 5 Student Scholars have completed their CITI Training regarding Human Subjects Protection in Research. Three (3)are currently working on an abstract that will be submitted on 3/8/21 to the annual Florida HIV Community, Providers and Researchers Conference that will be held virtually this year on April 29-30, 2021. Their abstract is entitled, Associations among Sexual Violence, HIV Risk, Gender and Rape Empathy in a Community Sample of Urban Haiti.

In addition, the Florida Education Fund CEO Dr. L. Morehouse has met with the Lab students recently and committed $5000 in additional funding to support the training and mentoring of similar students in the 2021-2022 academic year. He is very impressed with their accomplishments thus far and envisions the mentoring of 2nd year undergraduate students and first year MSW and MPH students in our lab as an essential part of the pipeline between currently funded High School students entering university and doctoral fellows funded by the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship.

Conference Presentation:

Sharma, V,, Lopez-Quintero, C., Marhefka, S., Baldwin, J., Levin, B., Rahill, G. J., Luitel,  A., & Ortiz, R. M. (2021). Intersections of Discrimination: Casteism and Mental Health Outcomes Among College-Attending Nepali Earthquake Survivors. American Psychopathological Association Virtual Meeting, 2021.

Capacity Building

We have been engaged incapacity building with our Haiti-based community partners at OREZON Cite Soleil since 2010. This year, we were successful in conducting human subjects protection training that resulted in several members obtaining their certificate through Family Health International.

Last week, through our training in grant writing, OREZON was granted 16,000 Euros from AVSI to provide counseling and legal support to girls and women who survive sexual violence. We are working with them and with Dr. Simone Honikman of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative in South Africa to translate and adapt the ‘Empathic Skills” booklet, an important resource that will be used widely by community health providers in low- and middle-income francophone settings.

Professor Christopher Groeber
Dr. Iraida Carrion

Join NASW today! 1-800-742-4089

Dr. Nan Park was notified by the Florida Department of Health that she received the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer's Disease Research Program Award ($80,000) for the project led by her with the title "Building Dementia Care Network and Community Capacity for Older Asian Immigrants with Limited English Proficiency in Florida."

USF School of Social Work

Professor Melissa Thompson will be the new Director of Field starting May 5, 2021. 

Professor Reggie Vilmenay and Professor Ruth Tilden have been selected as Field Instructors of the Year for the Face to Face Field Program. 

Recent publications by Dr. Manisha Joshi and Dr. Guitele Rahill 

  • Joshi, M., Rahill, G. J., Carrington, C.**, Mabie, A.*, Salinas-Miranda, A.**, Thomas, N.**, Morales, A., Grippo, L., & Grey, A. (Published Online, March 2021). “They are Not Satisfied until They See Our Blood": Syndemic HIV Risks for Trans Women in Urban Haiti. International Journal of Mental Health.

  • Joshi, M., Rahill, G., Rhode, S.* (First Published online February 2021). Comparison of Trauma Symptoms among Non-Partner Sexual Violence Victims and Non-Victims in Urban Haiti’s Cité Soleil Neighborhood. Journal of Black Psychology.

  • Larose, S.**, Rahill, G. J., & Faustin, H. (Accepted February 2021).  Hip-hop music and teens from Haiti’s Gonaïves commune. Laboratoire art et société, théorie et terrain, INRS, Québec

John Zrebiec, MSW, CDCES, has joined the faculty of the Global Education Division at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston to develop an educational program about diabetes care for Long Gang Hospital System in Shenzhen, China.

Research Roundup


School Website:

(Updated  4/13/21)

Online Program

Congratulations to the Online MSW Program. recently ranked the USF Online MSW program as the #4 best online Masters of Social Work Program for 2020. provides prospective students with unbiased information when evaluating their next college degree opportunity and have helped countless people find the best program or school that meets their educational needs and career goals.

Faculty Accomplishments:



Dr. Michiel Adriaan Van Zyl