Campus News

UGA assistant professor wins national social work research award

Tiffany Washington

Athens, Ga. – Tiffany Washington, an assistant professor in the University of Georgia School of Social Work, received the 2014 Student Award for Social Work Research by the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work.

Washington was recognized as lead author of a manuscript written in 2013 while she was a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work. The award is given annually to an individual doctoral student or collaborative group of students whose published or in-press scholarship serves as a model for scientific rigor and shows high potential to impact social work practice, policy or research.

“On behalf of the UGA and the School of Social Work, it is an honor to congratulate Dr. Washington on this exceptional research award,” said Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work. “Doctoral students from peer and aspirational universities compete for this research award. It is a testament to the high quality of Dr. Washington’s research that GADE selected her for this outstanding honor. We are indeed fortunate to have her as a colleague.”

The paper, titled “Fidelity Decision-Making in Social and Behavioral Research: Alternative Measures of Dose and Other Considerations” addresses the problem of how to accurately measure the extent to which an intervention is delivered as its designers intended it to be delivered. The assessment methods described in the manuscript may help researchers to develop more effective programs for a wide variety of problems, such as drug addiction, elder care and support for individuals with chronic diseases.

Submissions for the award were evaluated on a scale of one to five in three categories: scientific rigor, contribution to knowledge, and potential for impacting social work policy, practice or research. The paper received high scores in all categories and was “a clear winner,” said Jill Berrick, Zellerbach Family Foundation Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and chair of the group’s 2014 awards subcommittee. The paper will be published in the journal Social Work Research.

“GADE wants to recognize the activities of doctoral students that signal the kind of scholarly work they will create as faculty,” said Berrick. The organization is made up of more than 80 social work and social welfare doctoral program directors worldwide who represent their member universities.

Other researchers who contributed to the paper were Sheryl Zimmerman, Kenan Distinguished Professor, School of Social Work, UNC-Chapel Hill; John Cagle, University of Maryland; David Reed and Lauren Cohen, UNC Chapel Hill; Anna Beeber, UNC Chapel Hill; and Lisa Gwyther, Duke University. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant number R01AG025443, and the John A. Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work.