Research Strengths

Scholarly work by the School's faculty spans a wide range of questions, problems, and populations, including public policy and poverty reduction, public health interventions, evaluation of agency-based service programs, the conceptual and philosophical foundations of clinical practice, development of clinical theory, assessment of social work education, and the needs of vulnerable populations. The faculty’s public health-related research on outreach, prevention, coping, and caretaking covers a range of disease conditions and underserved populations. The faculty’s trauma-related work includes the short- and long-term effects of disaster, immigration, and self-care for clinicians.

Faculty play key roles in major social work and social science journals. The School’s research centers and institutes foster and disseminate research targeted at issues important to social work. In addition, the School is home to the only centralized web resource covering professional news and new scholarship from around the world, Information for Practice.

Although the range of research questions addressed by the faculty is diverse, the Silver School is particularly known for its innovative and pioneering work in Poverty; Children Youth, and Families; and Mental Health and Clinical Science.


Much of the Silver School’s research on poverty is coordinated through the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. The McSilver Institute’s work concentrates on the consequences of poverty as they affect a variety of populations, including children, families, the elderly, and the homeless, as well as factors that impact poverty and poverty alleviation strategies. The Institute partners with policy makers, social service agencies, and community stakeholders in the New York City area to undertake the broad, complex, and in-depth efforts needed to meet the challenge of widespread poverty in the United States. Independent of these initiatives, the Silver School research on poverty also explores causes and consequences of poverty on a global basis, including studies in such diverse countries as China, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and South Africa.

Examples of poverty-related research by NYU Silver faculty include the effects of Hurricane Katrina on low-income families; service needs and programs for dual-diagnosed homeless adults; utilization of mental health services by low-income, urban families and individuals; processes of economic and cultural change and the ways in which families in the highlands of Guatemala cope with poverty and marginality; HIV prevention programs for low-income, inner-city youth; and support functions of family child care providers for poor, vulnerable families.

Children, Youth, and Families

The Silver School faculty is well known for the quality and diversity of research it pursues on children, parents, and the nature of family dynamics across the lifespan. The research spans important work from infant attachment to care systems for the elderly and the role of children in that care. Faculty have developed important family-based prevention programs aimed at reducing a wide range of adolescent problem behaviors, including unintended pregnancy, alcohol use, and substance use, among others. The Silver School has some of the leading scholars in the nation on Latino families and its Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health is nationally recognized. Notable research also is being conducted on children in the child welfare system.

Examples of research related to children and families include evidence-based practice implementation for children in state systems; older family caregivers of adult children with severe mental illness; youth transitions from adolescence to adulthood and its effects on health utilization; work-family policies and child and family well-being; factors related to the need for and use of post-adoption services; school-based prevention counseling; and the prevention of child maltreatment.  

Mental Health and Clinical Science

The Silver School is renowned for its research and scholarly work on mental health and clinical science. The faculty has made notable contributions to clinical practice and have published award-winning books on issues related to clinical therapy. The Silver School has an exceptional group of researchers examining mental health utilization, who have built a strong collaborative relationship with the New York State Office of Mental Health. Mental health utilization among adolescents who age out of the foster care system, as well as how youth use services during the transition to young adulthood, is a core area of work for several faculty. 

Examples of research related to mental health and clinical science include forensic mental health; mothers with psychiatric disabilities; emotion regulation and the teaching of emotion regulation skills; documentation of the mental health needs of aging in Asian immigrants in New York City; recovery-oriented practice; and the conceptual foundations of clinical theory.

Additional Research Initiatives

In addition to research around poverty; children, youth, and families; and mental health and clinical science, the Silver School has several initiatives that contribute to its general research mission.

Global Initiatives

Research at NYU Silver has a distinct international flavor, ranging from the study of immigrants in New York City to research in settings throughout the world. Research is being conducted in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe in both developing and developed countries. Faculty members have considerable expertise in conducting research abroad and bringing to bear global perspectives on issues crucial to social work.

Research Methodology

The Silver School has strength in its teaching and development of research methodology and data analysis for both qualitative and quantitative methods in social work. The faculty have authored numerous books on theory construction and creative scientific thinking, introductory statistics, the statistical analysis of interaction effects and non-linear modeling, fundamentals of design of qualitative research, and mixed methods of analysis.  Workshops are routinely offered by the faculty on topics focused on effective research design for a wide range of empirical paradigms.