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Chowa, Cuddeback and Goings appointed distinguished professors

UNC School of Social Work faculty members Gina Chowa, Gary Cuddeback, and Trenette Clark Goings have been recognized for their service to teaching and their commitment to innovative research in the social work profession with appointments as distinguished professors.

Dean Gary Bowen recently announced the appointments, which are effective immediately:

Gina Chowa, Ph.D.
Gina Chowa, Ph.D.

Gina Chowa, Ph.D.: Johnson-Howard-Adair Distinguished Professor of Social Work

This endowed professorship recognizes a leading scholar whose work is focused on the impact and influence of poverty on individuals, families and communities.

Chowa, who joined the School in 2008, serves as associate dean for global engagement and is the founding director of Global Social Development Innovations, a research center that works closely with university, state, national and international partners to improve the lives of vulnerable and marginalized people around the world.

Since arriving at Carolina, Chowa has earned widespread recognition for her groundbreaking work in examining the effects of economic security on youth and their families in resource-limited countries. In 2016, she was named a Wallace Kuralt Early Career Distinguished Scholar, and two years earlier, she was one of four highly promising Carolina faculty members awarded the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty, one of the most prestigious research awards at UNC.

Today, Chowa is considered an international leading scholar, whose work focuses to advance the well-being of vulnerable and marginalized populations across the globe, particularly youth and their families who live in poverty.

Her research mainly centers around developing holistic and impactful interventions that positively affect the root causes of poverty, including unemployment, financial exclusion, poor educational outcomes, and ill-health – work that has been supported by major funders, including USAID, the MasterCard Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre in London.

Chowa praised the colleagues on her team, her international partners and current and former students for supporting and helping to drive this research agenda. The professorship will further support that work, she added. 
“I look forward to the future with excitement for the continued research that my team will do and the new research areas that will be created as a result of this recognition,” she said. “I am thrilled that I can be a part of bringing hope and changing systems.”

Gary Cuddeback, Ph.D.
Gary Cuddeback, Ph.D.

Gary Cuddeback, Ph.D.: Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor of Community Social Work 

Cuddeback joined the School faculty in 2008 and is considered a national expert in examining the connection between mental illness and the criminal justice system.

“I am grateful and honored to be named the Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor of Community Social Work,” he said. “I will work hard to ensure my research agenda, focused on evidence-based interventions for individuals living with severe and persistent mental illnesses, especially those involved with the criminal justice system, and my engaged scholarship with the criminal justice and other systems, exemplifies the vision for this distinguished professorship.”

Over the years, Cuddeback has conducted research on the physical health needs of persons with severe mental illnesses, the prevalence of individuals with severe mental illnesses in prison and probation settings, the role of Medicaid on mental health service use, and recidivism after jail release. His research also includes the characteristics of persons with mental illnesses who are incarcerated in jails versus prisons, and he has used large administrative datasets to develop methodologies for estimating the prevalence and service needs of severe and persistent mental illnesses in a community. 

Cuddeback is currently conducting a large, randomized controlled trial of specialty mental health probation here in North Carolina.

His work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation.

In 2016, Cuddeback was named a Wallace Kuralt Early Career Distinguished Scholar.

In addition to his role with the School of Social Work, Cuddeback serves as director of the Community Outcomes Research and Evaluations Center with the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.


Trenette Clark Goings, Ph.D.
Trenette Clark Goings, Ph.D.

Trenette Clark Goings, Ph.D.: Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professor of Social Work

This endowed professorship recognizes a leading scholar whose work is focused on improving the lives of children and their families and communities.

Goings, who joined the School in 2010, is a nationally recognized researcher, whose academic interests focus on racial and ethnic health disparities, epidemiology, etiology, prevention, consequences of adolescent substance use, and developmental trajectories over the life course.

Her work has been largely funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most recently, she was awarded an R01 grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the most highly competitive federal awards that is generally designated for leading research scholars across the country.

For Goings, the appointment signifies another step in the progression of her career and reflects the impact expected of leaders within the academy and within the social work profession.

“In addition to research impact, I also hope that I can use this new appointment as an avenue to acquire additional seats at tables where people of color have historically not been permitted,” she added. “I will use my voice on the behalf of groups who are marginalized and oppressed.”

Since arriving at the School of Social Work, Goings has received the Society for Social Work and Research Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award, the “Making a Difference” Ph.D. Alumni Award from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work, and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Scholar award.

In 2016, she was named a Wallace Kuralt Early Career Distinguished Scholar.