Two NYU Silver Faculty Awarded University Research Challenge Fund Grants

Dr. Wen-Jui Han (left) and Dr. Rohini Pahwa (right)
Dr. Wen-Jui Han (left) and Dr. Rohini Pahwa (right)

NYU Silver School of Social Work Professor Wen-Jui Han and Assistant Professor Rohini Pahwa have been awarded 2017 NYU University Research Challenge Fund (URCF) grants for their respective projects, “Comparative Study of Parental Work Schedule and Child Well-Being” and “Community Integration of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness – The Social Networks Qualitative Study.”

Dr. Han is one of the foremost researchers on the impact of parental nonstandard work schedules, which have become increasingly common in the global economy, on children’s cognitive, social and emotional well-being. Her new project is a multi-national study, conducted in collaboration with scholars across the globe, which builds upon existing scholarship on parental employment, family studies, and child development. The study team will use large datasets from countries on four continents to understand how parental work schedules outside the standard parameters of Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM are affecting children in different countries, what distinctions exist between those countries, and what factors account for those differences. They will also explore and make recommendations regarding policy and practice solutions to address adverse impacts. According to Dr. Han, “The grant from the URCF provides critical seed money that will facilitate the initial stage of this new research and will position us to secure external funding from each participating country. By conducting cross-national comparisons, we will gain a macro-level view of how social policy may shape the link between parents’ work schedules and child well-being.” Dr. Han has started to lay the groundwork for this multi-national effort by writing a news piece published in Germany with her global collaborators.

Dr. Pahwa’s URCF-funded study is a continuation of her research on the process of community integration for individuals with severe mental illness (SMI), with the aim of identifying the barriers and developing an intervention to facilitate the ability of people with SMI to lead productive lives in general society. Her prior studies have used quantitative social network analysis to examine cross-national differences between people with SMI in the US and India, with a particular focus on how people with SMI’s social connections and the intensity of services received affect their sense of belonging in the non-mental health vs. mental health community. Her new study will apply qualitative and social network methodologies to deepen her understanding of how individuals with SMI experience community and community integration, and the role that the people in their lives play in those perceptions. Dr. Pahwa said, “This new study, made possible by the URCF, will give voice to the lived experience of individuals with SMI, who are expected to integrate into the community in order to move toward recovery. As I work toward developing an intervention to increase community integration for individuals with SMI, it is critically important that I understand the consumer perspective.”

NYU’s URCF supports faculty-initiated research on a competitive basis and is administered by the URCF Advisory Committee. The Fund aims to encourage investigators to explore new areas of research that are likely to attract outside support, and support faculty engaging in productive scholarship in areas where there are few sources of support.