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Tar Heels well represented at 2024 SSWR Conference

by Chris Hilburn-Trenkle, Matthew Smith and Barbara Wiedemann

Faculty members, students and researchers filled the Marriott Marquis DC in Washington, D.C., beginning Jan. 11 for the 28th annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference.

Despite the large crowd, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work stood out against its peers, from impactful research presentations to award winners and an alumni celebration to remember.

“This is one of the most important weeks that we spend in our academic lives because it gives us a chance to come together with our peers that produce knowledge,” Dean Ramona Denby-Brinson said. “The science shared here really impacts intractable problems. Getting to see these innovative ideas and rich research findings and then processing that together and talking about what it means for our profession is so important.”

The School led more than four dozen presentations, ranging from symposiums on childhood care to economic security in sub-Saharan Africa. Faculty also examined diversity in National Institutes of Health funding and who makes up our behavioral health workforce.

Faculty members were also recognized for their contributions to the field of social work.

Four professors received prestigious honors during the conference, including Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development Sheryl Zimmerman, who received the 2024 Distinguished Career Achievement Award. She was joined by Associate Professor Amy Blank Wilson and Assistant Professor Rebecca Rebbe, who were inducted into the 2024 class of Fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research, becoming the 13th and 14th selections from the School since SSWR’s inaugural class in 2014.

John A. Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need Emily Putnam-Hornstein was also recognized as one of eight fellows inducted into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Class of 2024. The selection committee nominates fellows based on their accomplishments in social work practice or their influence on social good and policy.

And finally, Tar Heels from across the country celebrated at the School’s conference reception on Friday, Jan. 12, welcoming faculty members, students and alumni to celebrate their successes.

Check out coverage from the conference below and learn more about SSWR.