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Zerden approved for permanent tenure

Lisa de Saxe Zerden, Ph.D., has received permanent tenure as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The University’s Board of Trustees recently approved the distinction, which is effective Jan. 1.

“Please join me in congratulating Dr. Zerden on this honor, which is based on her significant contributions and achievements as a faculty member in the School of Social Work,” praised Dean Gary Bowen in an announcement to the School.

Zerden has served as the senior associate dean for MSW Education at the School of Social Work since 2016. In addition, she is an associate professor, the School’s director of interprofessional education and practice, and a founding member of the Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice at UNC-Chapel Hill. The office oversees the development of educational programs, research and clinical experiences that enhance collaborative learning across the participating schools, including business, dentistry, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health, and social work.

Zerden is recognized nationally as a research leader in social work within integrated health care. Her research interests focus on the social drivers of health, including disparities that exacerbate drug use and behavioral health conditions. Her work explores inequitable access to treatment and prevention, the role of social workers in integrated health care settings, and interprofessional education.

Since joining the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, Zerden has been awarded more than $5 million in federal funding. As a research fellow with the Health Workforce Research Center at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, she has received several federal grants to explore the role of social work in a health workforce.

Zerden came to the School of Social Work as an adjunct faculty member in 2010 and was named associate dean for academic affairs in 2015. In 2017, she was awarded the John A. Tate Early Career Scholar for Children in Need professorship.

A year later, the Council on Social Work Education awarded her the Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award, a prestigious national award that recognizes the achievements of a social work educator within the last 10 years.