The USM School of Social Work serves as a bustling center of scholarly activity for both faculty and students. We manifest our commitment to social justice through research partnerships with community organizations, giving voice to the experiences of community members and evaluating the effectiveness of current social service interventions. Experts in the social work field, Faculty publish in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and present at international conferences, often in collaboration with students. In addition to completing courses in research methods, BSW and MSW students translate their research skills to the real world through a variety of co-curricular learning experiences such as the annual Thinking Matters Student Research Symposium.

School of Social Work Faculty Research & Publications

The below is a select list of recent peer-reviewed publications submitted by the faculty of the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work.

Sorenson, C. J., Jones, T., & Casey, R. C. (2024). The in-class experience of social work students based on their political ideology. Social Work Education. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2024.2307527

Casey, R.C. (2024). Social work practice in correctional settings. In K. Bolton, D. McLeod, & A. Natale (Eds.), Handbook of Forensic Social Work. Oxford University Press.

Gentles-Gibbs, Natallie (2023) Will Social Work Ever Be Truly Antiracist? Reflections on Furthering Antiracist Social Work Education, Journal of Progressive Human Services, DOI: 10.1080/10428232.2023.2257118

Addo, R. & Ivey D. (2022). I don’t wanna be around nobody. A retrospective of homeless networks. Journal of Social Service Research.

Chalmers, E., Gerstenblatt, P., & Hodgdon, R. (2022). The COVID whirlwind on the veterinary world: End-of-life care and euthanasia during the Covid-19 pandemic. People and animals: The international journal or research and practice.

Gerstenblatt, P., Shanti, C., & Fisk, S., (2022). Community member experiences in an arts-based community-university partnership. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.

Gerstenblatt, P., Rhodes, D., & Ivey, D., (2022) Making the case: A case study for veterinary practice from the social work perspective. People and animals: The international journal or research and practice.

Layton, D., Gerstenblatt, P., (2022). They’re just, like, there:” A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study of Student Experiences with School Resource Officers., Journal of Community Psychology.

Shedletsky, L., Andonian, J., Bantz, D. and Gilbert, D. (2022), “Launching into Life after College”, Sengupta, E. and Blessinger, P. (Ed.) ICT and Innovation in Teaching Learning Methods in Higher Education (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 45), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 89-118.

Tyron, R., Gerstenblatt, P., & Bove, A. (2022). “It’s Just Flourishing Hope Everywhere”: The experiences of incarcerated men Sharing their stories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/0306624X221102834

Ivey, D. (2022). A systematic review of program outcomes for the national family caregiver support program using a theoretical approach. Journal of Mental Health and Social Behaviour 4(1): 154.

Addo, R.& Gerstenblatt, P. , (2021). Housing First: A Policy Analysis of the HEARTH Act. Journal of Policy Practice and Research. 2, 90–104.

Gerstenblatt, P. (2021). What COVID-19 has brought us to: Art, activism and changes in social work education. Qualitative Social Work 2021;20(1-2):595-603. doi:10.1177/1473325020973440

Giamportone, K.E. (2021). A journey to hospice: Reflection on one patient’s barriers to service. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care. 1-4.

Kohli, H. K., Shanti, C., & Gerstenblatt, P. (2021). Asian Indian mothers’ experiences raising bicultural children: A phenomenological study. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work.

Kohli, H. K., Shanti, C., & Gerstenblatt, P., (2021). Reflections on raising bicultural children: Asian Indian mothers’ experiences. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work. 

Kohli, H. K., Wampole, D., & Kohli, A. K. (2021). Impact of online education on student learning during the pandemic. Studies in Learning and Teaching Journal, 2(2), 1-11.

Shanti, C., Gerstenblatt, P. & Fisk, S., (2021). Putting the pieces together: Critical service learning and social work education. Social Work Education. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1924663

Xu, L., Liu, Y., He, Hui., Fields, N., Ivey, D., & Kan, C. (2021). Caregiver intensity and caregiver burden among dementia caregivers: The moderating roles of social support. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 94.

Casey, R. C., Bentley, K. J., & McDonald, S. E. (2020). Mental health difficulties of incarcerated women: The influence of violence perpetration and victimization. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2020.1713258

Fineran, S., & Kohli, H. K. (2020).  Muslim refugee women’s perspectives on intimate partner violence.  Journal of Family Social Work, 23(3), 199-213 Work. DOI:

Kohli, H. K., & Fineran, S. (2020). Latino fathers’ narratives on child abuse and neglect. Critical Social Work, 21(2), 1-17. 

Kohli, H. K., & Fineran, S. (2020).  “The rain grows plants, the thunder does not”: Refugee and asylee women’s narratives on child abuse and neglect.  Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 18(2), 224-238.

Kohli, H. K., & Fineran, S. (2020) “If they misbehaved, we took a stick to discipline them”: Refugee mothers’ struggles raising children in the United States. Journal of Child and Family Social Work, 25(2), 488-495.

Kohli, H. K., Shanti, C., & Gerstenblatt, P., (2020). “A drumbeat underneath the child”: Asian Indian mothers’ perceptions of their multiethnic children’s lived experiences. The Journal of Business Diversity, 20(2), 111-122.

Kohli, H. K., Shanti, C., & Gerstenblatt, P., (2020). “A drumbeat underneath the child”: Asian Indian mothers’ perceptions of their multiethnic children’s lived experiences. The Journal of Business Diversity, 20(2), 111-122.

Fields, N.L., Xu, L., Richardson, V.E., Parekh, R., Ivey, D., & Calhoun, M. (2020). Utilizing the senior companion program as a platform for a culturally informed caregiver intervention: Results from a mixed methods study. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Policy and Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1471301219871192

Ivey, D. (2020). It takes a village: A policy analysis on the TX permanency care assistance program. Journal of Mental Health and Social Behaviour 2:110.


Casey, R. C., & Bentley, K. J. (2019). Individual factors associated with women’s use of mental health services during incarceration: Anticipating programmatic needs. Corrections: Policy, Practice and Research. doi: 10.1080/23774657.2019.1623134

Casey, R. C., & Bentley, K. J. (2019). Psychotropic medication experiences of incarcerated women: A qualitative inquiry into conundrums of access and identity. Women & Criminal Justice, 29(1), 1-13. doi: 10.1080/08974454.2017.1389331


Lee, A., Hae Jung, K., Faulkner, M., Gerstenblatt, P., & Travis, D. (2018). Work engagement among child care providers: Application of job demands and resources (JD-R) model. Child and Youth Care Forum


Fields, N., Xu, L., Richardson, V.E., & Parekh, R., Ivey, D., Feinhals, G., & Calhoun, M. (2017). The Senior companion program plus: A culturally-tailored psychoeducational training program for senior companions. Journal of Dementia

Gerstenblatt, P., Rhodes, D., & Holst, L., (2017). Spaces in between: Text poems from community practice and research. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal.

Hohn, K., Ivey, D., McCoy, M., Ude, P., & Praetorius, R. (2017). Integrating faith and practice: A qualitative study of staff motivations. Journal of Social Work and Christianity.

Ivey, D. (2017). Feeling wanted: A film review. Journal of Social Work.


Kohli, H. K., Ross, F., Kohli, A. S., & Peng, C. (2016). Universal-Diverse Orientation of Business, Education, and Social Work students.  International Journal of Management in Education, 10(2), 111-130.


Gerstenblatt, P., (2015). Blogs as a Representation of Student Experiences in a Service Learning Course. Metropolitan Universities. Vol. 25.3


Faulkner, M., Gerstenblatt, P., Lee, A., Viana, V., & Travis, D. (2014). Child care workers: Work stress and personal well-being. Journal of Early Childhood Research

Gerstenblatt, P. (2014). Community as Agency: Community Partner Experiences with Service Learning. Journal of Community Engagement.

Gerstenblatt, P., Faulkner, M., Lee, A., Thy Doan, L. & Travis, D. (2014). Not babysitting: work stress and personal well-being for family child care providers. Early Childhood Education Journal

Gerstenblatt, P., Gilbert, D.J. (2014). Framing service learning in social work: An interdisciplinary elective community development course embedded within a university-community partnership. Social Work Education: The International Journal.

Travis, D., Lee, A., Faulkner, M., Gerstenblatt, P. (2014). Cultivating a thriving childcare workforce: a theory-driven qualitative analysis. Community, Work & Family. DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2013.850402


Gerstenblatt, P. (2013). Collage portraits as a method of analysis in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods


Doel, M., Shardlow, S.M., and Johnson, P. G. (2010) Contemporary Field Social Work. Integrating Field and Classroom Experience. Sage Publishers.

St. Thomas, B., and Johnson, P.G. (2007) Empowering Children Through Art and Expression: Culturally Sensitive Ways of Healing Trauma and Grief. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Research Opportunities for Students

Master of Social Work (MSW) Thesis

MSW thesis students conduct an original social science research project under the guidance of a School of Social Work Faculty member. Learn more about the Master of Social Work on the Program Information page. Below is a select list of Theses from former MSW students.