Gehlert named senior fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research

Sarah Gehlert, PhD, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, was recently appointed senior fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).

In her role, Gehlert will represent social work research to federal agencies and policy makers. She will meet with leaders of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and their related institutes and centers to discuss how ongoing and current social work research aligns with their missions.

Gehlert also will attend the public portions of National Advisory Council meetings at pertinent NIH institutes to comment on their plans from the standpoint of social work research.

Gehlert, a faculty member in the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine, focuses her scholarship on social influences on health, especially the health of vulnerable populations.

She currently is working on the influence of neighborhood and community factors, such as community violence and unsafe housing, on psychosocial functioning among African-American women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, with an eye toward how these factors “get under the skin” to affect gene expression and tumorigenesis.

Gehlert is an editor for the Handbook of Health Social Work, Second Edition, a key resource for social workers, offering a comprehensive and evidence-based overview of social work practice in health care.

At WUSTL, Gehlert, a scholar in the Institute of Public Health, is co-program leader of the Prevention and Control Program of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center; co-director of the Transdisciplinary Center on Energetics and Cancer (TREC); and training program director of the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD).

She serves on the executive committee of the university’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (a CTSA) and is co-chair of the Center for Community-Engaged Research. 

On a national level, Gehlert is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH. She is co-chair of the Population Health Advisory Committee of the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at NIH.

Gehlert is a charter member of NIH’s Community-Level Health Promotion Scientific Review Panel and a member of the scientific review panel for Oncology Social Work at the American Cancer Society.

She is a fellow in the American Association of Social Work and Social Welfare. She also is past president of the Society for Social Work and Research and serves on the editorial boards of Health & Social Work, Social Work Research, Social Service Review, Research in Social Work Practice, and Oxford Bibliographies Online (Social Work).

SSWR is dedicated to the advancement of social work research. The organization works collaboratively with a number of other groups that are committed to improving support for research among social workers.