Stacey L. Barrenger

Assistant Professor of Social Work; McSilver Faculty Fellow
(212) 998-5945

Areas of Expertise

Mental health services, intersection of mental illness and other social problems (criminal justice involvement, substance use, housing, education, and poverty), dissemination and implementation of empirically supported treatments, and mixed methods research


Stacey Barrenger is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She received her PhD in Social Welfare from the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned an AM (MSW equivalent) from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

As a mental health services researcher, Dr. Barrenger’s work examines the intersection between the mental health system and other social problems: criminal justice involvement, homelessness, substance use, social exclusion, and poverty. She is also interested in implementation research that considers the community or structural factors that can impact the effectiveness of empirically supported treatments in high-risk environments. She received an individual NRSA pre-doctoral training grant from the National Institute of Mental Health in support of this research.

Her current focus of research is community reentry from jail and prison and Dr. Barrenger is working towards developing a multilevel intervention that addresses the social-structural production of risk for recidivism among men with mental illnesses leaving prison, along with supporting recovery and desistance pathways in individuals, and the role of peer specialists in helping individuals towards community integration. Current research projects to support eventual intervention development include examining incarceration healthcare experiences; understanding the role of hope, self-efficacy, and identity in the processes of recovery and desistance; and using critical participatory methods to examine the role of education and
gentrification in the lives of returning citizens.

Previously, Dr. Barrenger worked in a community mental health center in Chicago where she supervised two Assertive Community Treatment Teams, developed a program to transition individuals from the state psychiatric hospital to the community, and worked on initiatives to increase communication between Cook County Jail and local mental health providers. These experiences in public mental health inform her current research agenda.

Dr. Barrenger’s teaching areas include social determinants of health, human behavior in the social environment, qualitative research methods, and policy. She is committed to integrating criminal justice content into social work curriculum as increasingly social workers come into contact with individuals who have been impacted by mass incarceration.