September 11, 2017

A commitment to innovation and social justice, a focus on diversity, and a passion for promoting the Grand Challenges for Social Work attracted six new faculty to join the School of Social Work. They are: Angelique Day, Danae Dotolo, Charles H. Lea, Jane J. Lee, Justin Lerner and Ryan Petros. Each brings a stellar record of research and scholarship, a passion for social change, and a fresh perspective on some of the most pressing social issues of the day.

The School’s leadership role with the Grand Challenges drew Ryan Petros (left) to join the faculty. This initiative advocates for social progress powered by science and across sectors to address 12 key areas—from closing the health gap to ending homelessness. “School faculty members and students have a particularly strong commitment to innovation and social justice as evidenced in their prolific research and leadership in the Grand Challenges,” said Petros, who earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and focuses his research on mental illness, community integration and homelessness. “Everyone I met was welcoming and excited about their contributions to the field.”

Scholarship and research around vulnerable youth populations drove Charles Lea (right) to accept an assistant professorship at the School.  “The opportunity to partner with scholars and research centers that examine vulnerable youth populations and develop community and school-based interventions was endless,” he said, noting that this aligns closely with his research interests. Lea, who earned a PhD from UCLA and an MSW from the University of Michigan, has studied the reentry processes of black youth and men from correctional facilities to urban settings.

A diverse student and faculty community—in fact, the School is the most diverse professional school on the University of Washington campus—was a deciding factor for Angelique Day (left) Day earned her PhD in interdisciplinary health science from Western Michigan University and had been an assistant professor at Wayne State University. She focuses her research on studying college retention rates between foster care youth and other low-income first-generation college students, as well as kinship and foster care and the Indian Child Welfare Act.

For Justin Lerner (left), it was the School’s commitment to impacting lives that attracted him to join the faculty as a lecturer. Lerner has studied health care use among the transgender population as well as social justice and equity, and the science of happiness. “When I came to visit the School I instantly felt a warm, welcoming environment and knew that this would be a wonderful home for me,” he said. Lerner received his PhD from New York University and earned an MPA from New York University and an MSW from Washington University.

Assistant Professor Jane Lee (right) was impressed by the “illustrious faculty and bright students” at the School, commenting that it is “a place where I’ll be challenged and be able to grow and learn.” Lee earned her doctoral degree from New York University and focuses her research on health disparities, migrant and immigrant populations, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Danae Dotolo (left) brings extensive cross-disciplinary experience to the School with expertise in social work and bioethics along with 15 years’ experience in policy and administrative social work practice. As a new lecturer, she is looking forward to “teaching in a research-rich environment …where interdisciplinary work is strongly valued.” Dotolo, who received PhD from the University of Washington this past June, has studied healthcare interactions and how LGBTQ adults experience discrimination when caring for an ill or dying partner.