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Paula Nurius

Grace Beals-Ferguson Scholar
Associate Dean, Transdisciplinary Scholarship
PhD, University of Michigan

Dr. Paula Nurius received her joint doctorate in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan where she also received her MA in psychology. She received her MSW from the University of Hawaii. During her graduate training she was awarded an NIMH traineeship award and the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship and Dissertation Grant Awards. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

Professor Nurius studies processes and effects of stress and trauma focusing on vulnerable and socially disadvantaged populations, early/preventive intervention and fostering resilience. Her research on life course stress integrates structural, psychosocial and biobehavioral mechanisms, distinguishing direct, cumulative and interactive effects of early and later life stress exposures alongside protective factors. A mental health specialist, she is increasingly focusing on comorbid physical, mental, and behavioral health outcomes as well as incorporating effects of the physical environment—such as air pollution and neighborhood characteristics—in multi-level models to explain stress responding and disparities in health and functioning outcomes.

Dr. Nurius brings extensive experience teaching and collaborating within interdisciplinary frameworks. She served as doctoral program director for 7 years, directed a Prevention Research Training program funded by NIMH for 16 years, has been a faculty mentor and advisor across multiple training programs, and has taught a range of interdisciplinary graduate courses. She has served as vice-president of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) and the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education, co-leads SSWR efforts relating to national research capacity building and advancing research career supports within social work, and is active in university and national initiatives focused on evolving models of transdisciplinary research, translational pathways between research and its societal impact, and implications for research and professional degree training.

Dr. Nurius has University of Washington affiliations with the Center for Statistics and Social Science, Center for Demography and Ecology, Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center, Center for Child and Family Well-Being, and the Institute of Translational Health Sciences.