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DSW Research

To learn more about research at the Department of Social Work please read our Research Profile.


RMATRIX AND OLA HAWAII at JABSOM. Principal Investigators: J. Hedges and N. Mokuau aim to decrease health disparities experienced by Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos in Hawai`i by supporting university and community-based research. N. Mokuau is Co-Principal Investigator, K. Braun is lead of the Community Engagement Core, and C. Browne serves as a project reviewer for the pilot project applications. Several faculty (S. Hong, F. Julien-Chinn) received pilot funding for their research. Past projects include the development and testing of a multicomponent, multilevel, multisite intervention aimed at preventing young child obesity in the US-Affiliated Pacific, and a study of houselessness among Native Hawaiians. Funder: NIH/NIMHD.

Hawai`i Coordinated Access Resource Entry System (CARES). Principal Investigator: C. Bersamira, Co-Principal Investigators: V. Fan and S. Hong. Hawai`i CARES is the state’s new multiple entry-point and coordinating center for adult and adolescent addiction treatment services. Hawai`i CARES has three primary functions: 1) a call and referral center for addiction services using a universal intake process; 2) a managing entity for clinical service authorization; and 3) a mechanism for continuous services and systems quality improvement. The program is a collaboration between the MBTSSW and its funder, the Department of Health (DOH) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD).

State Opioid Response Project. S. Hong is Co-Principal Investigator together with Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Victoria Fan, Office of Public Health Studies. The State Opioid Response (SOR) Project aims to design, develop, and implement workplans that achieve the objectives of the 7 Work Groups of the Hawai`i Opioid Initiative (HOI) and produce an Evaluation Report of the SOR. This evaluation project is funded by Hawai`i Department of Health (DOH) to support Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division’s (ADAD) evaluation needs for the SAMHSA-funded opioid projects.

Hawai`i State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) Project. S. Hong is Co-Principal Investigator together with Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Victoria Fan, Office of Public Health Studies. This project aims to design, develop, and implement a pilot course “Introduction to Medicare” in Spring 2020 and to assist the Hawai`i State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) with services and activities that support, directly and indirectly, efforts to facilitate and support a statewide training program for Medicare with community volunteers and community members. This project is funded by Hawai`i Department of Health (DOH), Executive Office of Aging (EOA), the Hawai`i State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

Hā Kūpuna National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders at MBTSSW, DSW. Principal Investigators: K. Braun. Hā Kūpuna, one of three federally funded resource centers for native elders, examines health, longevity, disparities and resilience of Native Hawaiian elders in Hawai`i and on the Continental US. Recent projects with Hā Kūpuna include the examination of resilience in Native Hawaiian elders living in and away from the islands, case studies of kūpuna and kumu loea who are practicing and teaching Hawaiian traditions, and cross-ethnic comparisons of disease trajectories and healthy life expectancy. Partners in the DSW are Y.J. Lee and R. Burrage, partners in OPHS are Dr. YanYan Wu and Olivia Uchima. Community partners include Alu Like, Hawai`i DoH, State and County units on aging, Lunalilo Home, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Lilio`uokalani Trust, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Maui and Kauai County Offices on Aging, and the State Executive Office on Aging. Funder: US Administration for Community Living, previous funding from the HMSA Foundation.

The Healthy Aging Partnership. The Hawai`i Healthy Aging Partnership implements evidence-based lifestyle programming for older adults. K. Braun provides technical assistance to the project’s recent evaluation that examined the over-time impact of the EnhanceFitness program on elders in Hawai`i.

Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at JABSOM. Principal Investigator: Dr. Aida Wen, Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Kamal Masaki. The Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program aims to improve the skills of families and providers caring for older adults, especially those with dementia. Former (B.J. Kim, C. Cheung) and current social work faculty (Y.J. Lee) compose the social work faculty lead. K. Braun is the project evaluator, and C. Browne is on the advisory board. Funder: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Hawai`i Child Welfare Education Collaboration. Principal Investigator: F. Julien-Chinn. In partnership with the State of Hawai`i Department of Human Services, MSW students are trained to work in the field of Child Welfare. Funded by the State of Hawai`i Department of Human Services.

Empowering Hawai`i’s Homeless: A Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Education and Resilience Initiative. Principal Investigator: Dr. Marjorie K. Leimomi Mala Mau, Co-Principal Investigator: F. Julien-Chinn. F. Julien-Chinn serves as the Clinical Scholar and Co-Principal Investigator of this project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Houselessness in Hawai`i. Principal Investigator: F. Julien-Chinn. Funded by the Hawai`i Medical Service Association Foundation and Ola HAWAII Team-Science Pilot Projects Program.

The exploration of race and class formation in Hawai`i. Principal Investigator: M. DeMattos. A study that examines the Portuguese experience in Hawai`i.

College Students Addiction Behaviors Survey. Principal Investigator: S. Hong, Co-Principal Investigator: Soo Mi Jang, Cheongju University. This project examines addictive behaviors, specifically drinking alcohol and gambling, among college students with the goal of identifying possible factors that might influence college students’ addictive behaviors. The study also aims to provide evidence to help with the improvement and creation of University programs, services, and policies around addictive behaviors to help students.

Korean Immigration and Identity Project – Beyond Korea: Seeking Korea’s Place in the Asia Pacific and in the World. Co-Principal Investigator: S. Hong. This project is funded by the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa Center for Korean Studies, the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea, and the Korean Studies Promotion Services of the Academy of Korean Studies on the issue of “Diversity, Identity, and Universality in Global Korea.”

Care Coordination and Case Management Training and Capacity Building Project. Sub-contract to Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) Project. Co-Principal Investigator: S. Hong together with Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Victoria Fan, Office of Public Health Studies. This project aims to develop training and workshops, assist practitioners in counties/cities/communities implementing evidence-based, data-driven prevention activities, and provide workforce to build prevention capacity in communities targeting high-burden local areas and people who may have been affected by all drug and opioid overdoses directly or indirectly. This project is funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to Hawai`i Department of Health (DOH), Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD).

Bias against Micronesians in Hawai`i. Principal Investigator: R. Stotzer. This study examined the relationship between experiencing bias or discrimination and the impact of those experiences on an individual’s ability to acculturate and adapt to their new home in Hawai`i. This study was in partnership with the We Are Oceania, a project of Partners in Development Foundation. Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

PILI Tech Pilot Project: Examining the experiences, attitudes, and preferences among Native Hawaiian college students. Faculty Mentor: S. Hong, working together with Mei Linn Park and Tyran Terada, Social Welfare doctoral students. The 2018 Social Work Grand Challenge Research Award for Graduate Team-Science Research Project.

A Life Course Approach to Employment and Income for Women. Principal Investigators: J. Guo and C. Browne. With an international comparison of national policies, this study examines gender inequality, work employment, and their potential impact on women’s economic status in later life. Funded with support from the Takasaki Endowment, MBTSSW.

The association between the model minority stereotype and mental health literacy among Asian groups. S. Kim.

Global gender inequality, older women, and the call for change. Principal Investigator: C. Browne, J.Takamura, J.Y. Seo. This study examines gender inequality from an international perspective,reviewing recent global reports on the status of women, and suggests policy directions for the US toadopt if gender equality is the goal. Funded by the Takasaki Endowment, MBTSSW.

Work Complexity and Cognitive Health in Later Life Project. Principal Investigator: Y.J. Lee. This study employs longitudinal data to understand how different types of occupational complexity are related to changes in cognitive functioning in later life (Partner: New York University). Funded by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future (2018).

Women and Men’s economic status in Hawai`i. Principal Investigator: C. Browne. In collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Washington, D.C., C. Browne and researchers from IWPR analyzed State of Hawai`i demographics on gender, race, age, and economic status. Funded by the Takasaki Endowment, MBTSSW.

Ho`omaopopo He Wahi `Ike Hawai`i – Understanding “Hawaiian Place of Learning”. Principal Investigator: R.L. Burrage. In collaboration with Rosanna Prieto, MSW student, R. Burrage is conducting an investigation into resilience among Native Hawaiian students, as well as their perceptions of the School of Social Work’s efforts to implement Hawaiian Place of Learning and indigenous-centered professional competencies. Funded by: University of Hawai`i at Mānoa SEED-IDEAS Grant.

Want to learn more about these and other studies? Check out these articles in the Hawai`i Journal of Social Welfare and Health about these featured collaborations and research:
•Seunghye Hong, Addiction behaviors in college students in S. Korea
•Francie Julien-Chinn, How humor helps foster families
•Meripa Godinet, Lokahi Wheel and culturally competent Child Welfare services
•Rachel Burrage, Indigenous historical trauma and health
•Amanda Yoshioka Maxwell, Former foster care youth and risk for HIV
•Jing Guo, Analysis of a family leave policy in Hawai`i
•Colette Browne, Long term care service and care preferences of Native Hawaiian elders
•Theresa Kreif and Noreen Mokuau, Ke A`o Mau
•Mike DeMattos, Community demand, academic partnership, and the birth of the Bachelor of Social Work distance education option
•Shelley Muneoka and Colette Browne, Hā Kūpuna: Listening to stories of challenge and resilience through data


R.Arndt – Region XII Representative, National Association of Social Workers, Past President NASW-Hawai`i, Commissioner on CSWE Commission on Membership and Professional Development, and serves on the UH-Mānoa Hawai`i Interprofessional Education Committee.

C.Bersamira – Serves on the Hawai`i State Department of Health – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division Hawai`i Opioid Initiative, State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup.

K.Braun – Serves as president, Active Aging Consortium Asia Pacific, a network of gerontologists from 30+ countries committed to promoting positive views of aging and supporting programs to enhance life long learning and productivity; Member, National Research Mentoring Network.

C.Browne – Gubernatorial appointment to the State’s Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs (PABEA); Board, American Society on Aging (2012-2018).

K.Caldwell – Provides technical assistance as Social worker/Social Media manager for Hawai`i Women in Film making (Making Media That Matters program); Speaker on chronic illness and self-care for the SIBO SOS Symposium (SIBO is a chronic illness/condition); consultant for Girls Who Lead program; Founded and co-manage the largest online support group for a chronic illness condition.

M.DeMattos – Mr. DeMattos partners with JABSOM’s Native Hawaiian Center on Excellence to implement the Native Hawaiian Interdisciplinary Health Program.

M.Godinet – Editorial Board member, Urban Social Work; Peer Reviewer: Journal of Social Work,Journal of Child and Family Studies, Asian American Journal of Psychology, British Journal of Social
Work, Current Psychology, European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry; Program committee member, Susannah Wesley Community Center.

J.Guo – Serves as a member of the UH Mānoa Study Abroad Council; served as the 2018 Convener for Special Interest Group (SIG) on work, family and social policy at the Annual Conference of Society of Social Work Research (SSWR); Current Chair, CSWE Social Welfare Policy and Policy Practice Track;Member, CSWE Council on Global Learning and Practice; Associate editor, Journal of Family and Economic Issues; Member, Hawaii Maternal and Infant Health Collaborative, breastfeeding strategic planning team.

S.Hong – Serves on the Board of the Korean Immigration Research Institute in Hawai`i; Member, Korean Adoptees of Hawai`i (KAHI); Vice President, Ewha Women’s University Alumnae Association in Hawai`i.

T.Kreif – Advisory Board Member, We Are Oceania; NASW Hawai`i Legislative Committee Chair & PACE member; Member, Council on Social Work Education Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work; Non-Veterinarian Member, Hawai`i Veterinary Medical Association Ethics and Peer Review Committee.

Y.J. Lee – Dr. Lee collaborates with faculty from Boston University to study social support/strain and depression among older adults, using nationally representative data (Partner: Boston University).

R.Stotzer – Mānoa Commissioner on the President’s Commission on LGBTQ+ folks (UH system commission); Expert Witness on a case for the Civil Rights Commission; 07/17-present: Advisory Group Member, “An International Exploration of Trans Male Practices of Reproduction”, Principal Investigator:Dr. Sally Hines, University of Leeds; Ad Hoc Reviewer: Journal of Homosexuality, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Violence and Victims, Journal of the Society for Social Work Research, American Journal of Public Health; Editorial Board: Sex Roles.


The Department of Social Work faculty are experts in substantive areas such as behavioral mental health, health equity, addiction, child and adolescent welfare, and gerontology.

Robin Arndt, MSW – Technology in practice and education, interprofessional education, lifelong learning and professional development/competency, values, ethics, & reflective practice, and leadership

Clifford Bersamira, AM, PhD – Substance use disorders, addiction treatment and recovery support services, social and behavioral health policy and quality improvement, treatment access, mixed methods, qualitative case studies, implementation research

Kathryn Braun, MPH, DrPH – Social behavioral health sciences, gerontology, indigenous health, minority health, health promotion and disease prevention, community-based and translational research, mixed methods, active aging

Rachel Burrage, MSW, PhD – Indigenous peoples, mental health, resilience, collective trauma, historical trauma, trauma-informed social work practice, qualitative methods, suicide prevention, culturally grounded intervention

Katie Caldwell, MSW – Practice, gender studies, gender violence, toxic positivity, chronic illness

Aimee Chung, MSW – Field Education Coordinator, field education, undergraduate education, asynchronous training and education, power-based personal violence, child welfare, differently-abled populations

Mike DeMattos, MSW – Chair of BSW program, youth and families, substance abuse training, indigenous social work practice, culturally relevant practice, program development, curriculum design

Meripa Godinet, MSW, PhD – Delinquency prevention, social and adjustment issues of Pacific Islander youth, multi and cross-cultural issues

Jing Guo, MA, PhD – Chair of Doctoral Program, social welfare policy, child and family issues, gender equity, international and comparative social welfare

Seunghye Hong, MA (MSW equi.), PhD – Chair of MSW Program, health/behavioral mental health, health disparities, healthcare access and service utilization, immigration, social, cultural, and developmental contexts

Francie Julien-Chinn, MSW, PhD – Child welfare outcomes including: permanency, well-being, kinship, and foster care, resilience, homelessness, houselessness, organizational workforce, mixed methods, and qualitative methodology

Sophia Kim, MSW, PhD – Socio-cultural determinants of health, stereotype/bias, mental health disparities, mental health literacy

Jennifer Kishida, MEd – Higher education administration, history of education

Theresa Kreif, MSW – MBT School of Social Work Assistant to the Dean, MSW Distance Education Guam Option Program Director, in collaboration with the University of Guam. International Social Work – geographic Region of Micronesia, higher education social work administration, community development, and social & economic development

Yeonjung (Jane) Lee, MA (MSW equi.), PhD – Productive aging, gerontology, health equity and disparities, quantitative research, social work education

Wendy Lum, MSW – Immigrant and refugee rights, equity and social welfare, international/global social work

Shelley Muneoka, MSW – intergenerational wellness, aging and later life, kānaka maoli population

Mari Ono, MSW – Director of Student Services, mental health, substance abuse recovery, cross-cultural practice

Pua Paul, MSW – Child and adolescent mental health, Native Hawaiian well-being

Rebecca Stotzer, MSW, PhD – Director of Distance Education, prejudice, stereotypes and hate crimes

Jill Sur, MSW, MBA – Disability studies, student success and distance learning in social work education, nonprofit management

Amanda Yoshioka-Maxwell, MSW, PhD – Homeless youth, child welfare, HIV, behavioral health, social network analysis, applied statistics

Emeritus Faculty
P. Adams, MA, MSW, DSW
L. Lister, MSW, DSW


Jing Guo
2019 Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching, UHM

Mike DeMattos
2008 Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, UHM

Kathryn Braun
1998 Board of Regent’s Excellence in Teaching Award, UHM


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