PhD candidate Lynden Bond has been accepted into both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research (BST) pre-doctoral fellowship program and the inaugural cohort of the Social Work Doctoral Student Policy Forum, co-sponsored by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), and Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE). Participation in both of these programs will strengthen her training and advance her career in homelessness and behavioral health research and policy.
Each year, the BST program, based at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, prepares nine pre-doctoral and seven post-doctoral fellows from various behavioral disciplines for careers in research on drug abuse through intensive training, seminars, mentorship, and supervised research on NIDA grants. Fellows gain hands-on experience conducting research, build their publication records, and write grants for outside funding. “The program will be a great introduction to NIH research and funding,” said Lynden, who will also be working on and getting peer and mentor feedback on her dissertation research, which looks at the relationship between housing insecurity and behavioral health service use for people who have clinically indicated behavioral health needs.
Lynden also applies her research to her activism overseeing policy for Human.nyc, a non-profit organization that advocates with homeless New Yorkers to end street homelessness. She said that she is interested in pursuing a career in substance use research, and is committed to leveraging her findings to help people experiencing homelessness access the housing and behavioral health services that they want.
As a result of her desire to bridge the gap between science and policy, she is excited to participate in the Social Work Doctoral Student Policy Forum. It was designed by CSWE, SSWR, and GADE “to create an opportunity for doctoral students to make a stronger link between their research and policy, expose social work researchers to the ways their research experience and backgrounds are used by practitioners in government to influence and inform policy, promote the value and significance of investments in social work and social work research on Capitol Hill, and cultivate a cadre of social work researchers who can advocate for investments in social work education and research as well as disseminate this information among their communities of practice.”
Lynden applied for and was accepted to the Forum in Spring 2020 but it was delayed a year due to COVID. From June 16-18, 2021 both the 11 social work doctoral students in her cohort and another 10 selected this year will attend the Forum, which is being held virtually rather than in Washington, DC as planned. “Although we will be virtual,” Lynden said, “we will be meeting with people on Capitol Hill, attending training sessions, hearing from social workers who focus on legislation and policy, and participating in breakout groups with congressional staff who specialize in our areas of interest.”
“At Human.nyc,” Lynden noted, “we use a lot of research and do some of our own Community-Based Participatory Research to push for policy change in New York, but I don’t have any federal experience or formal training in the policy arena. It will be interesting to learn how it’s typically done and how that relates to the work I’m doing, especially since so much homelessness and housing policy are set on the national level.”
Lynden expressed appreciation to NYU Silver’s PhD program for making her aware of the BST fellowship and policy forum opportunities, and thanked her mentors, Professor Deborah Padgett and Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Victoria Stanhope, for their encouragement and letters of recommendation.
Dr. Padgett, who is the chair of Lynden’s dissertation committee and has mentored her on multiple qualitative studies, said “Lynden is a promising qualitative researcher with strong interest in using participatory research methods to impact service delivery and policy for people experiencing homlessness and behavioral health challenges. She is among social work’s future policy leaders.”