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 an elected Fellow of the national American Academy of Social Work and of Social Welfare –for which she serves on the Board of Directors--and of the Society for Social Work & Research. She is the inaugural recipient of the GADE National Leadership in Doctoral Education Award and was named one of social work’s top 25 female scholars on the basis of her scholarship impact and among the top 100 scholars in social work by the H-index.
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 environment (e.g., air pollution, neighborhood characteristics, green spaces) in multi-level models to explain stress responding and disparities in health and functioning outcomes. She works with field associates in examining effects of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) on health, learning, and development outcomes in Washington state.
Dr. Nurius serves as the Associate Dean for Transdisciplinary Scholarship, bringing extensive experience teaching and collaborating within interdisciplinary frameworks, and serving to bridge the UW School of Social Work with a range of national organizations and missions. 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 two terms on the Society for Social Work & Research (SWWR) Board of Directors and of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education Board as Vice-President. She has maintained active participation through a SSWR committee 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 career training. She has UW campus affiliations with the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences, the Center for Studies of Demography and Ecology, the West Coast Poverty Center, Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center, the Institute for Translational Health Sciences, and the Center for Child and Family Well-Being.