Rutgers School of Social Work is pleased to announce the hiring of seven new faculty members. Assistant Professor and Chancellor's Scholar for Inclusive Excellence in Research for Black American Health Ryon Cobb, Assistant Professor Caroline Harmon-Darrow, Assistant Professor Rachel John, Assistant Professor Angela Malorni, Assistant Professor & Chancellor’s Scholar for Inclusive Excellence in Racial Minority Health Michael Park, and Assistant Professor Grant Victor. Join us in welcoming them on their first day to the School of Social work! They join new faculty member, Jack Lewis, who began in his role as Associate Professor of Professional Practice & Director, Intensive Weekend Program at the School of Social Work in July.
Dr. Ryon J. Cobb, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and Chancellor's Scholar for Inclusive Excellence in Research for Black American Health. His research focuses on the health implications of socially oppressive systems among adults and the racialization of religion in the United States. His peer-reviewed articles and other publications appear in high-impact interdisciplinary outlets such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Social Science & Medicine, and the Sociology of Religion. He also disseminates his research findings at inter/national meetings and via expert panels sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Smithsonian Institute.
Several agencies within and outside the National Institutes of Health recognize his accomplishments and promise as a scholar. Early in his graduate career, Dr. Cobb acquired funding from the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Louisville Institute, and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Recently, three signature NIH programs for early-career scholars selected him, through a competitive process, as an early-career faculty fellow. These programs provide him with pilot funding and mentored training in grantsmanship to refine critical skills for writing NIH-level applications centered on reducing ethnoracial disparities and improving the renal health of older Black adults.
Dr. Caroline Harmon-Darrow, PhD, MSW, LMSW, is committed to violence prevention, criminal justice diversion, conflict resolution and restorative justice interventions, and the prevention of human trafficking. Dr. Harmon-Darrow’s mixed method dissertation “Comparing the impact of community-based mediation vs. prosecution on assault recidivism among adults” represents her longstanding commitment to criminal justice diversion and decarceration, and the craft of community-based mediation, and led to the creation of a statewide working group on intimate partner violence screening in criminal cases. She has authored and co-authored nine manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, including Trauma, Violence, and Abuse. Her research has been funded by the Maryland Judiciary, and she has assisted with research studies funded by DOJ-OVC, HHS-AFC, NIH-SAMHSA and NIH-NIDA. Caroline Harmon-Darrow was a macro social worker and community mediator serving as a community organizer, nonprofit Development Director and Executive Director for 24 years in Baltimore. She has taught foundation courses including Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations in the MSW program online, hybrid, and in person, and on Social Work Policy in the Masters and Bachelors programs. She has also delivered guest lectures in the University of Maryland College Park’s Criminology program, and the UMB School of Law’s Mediation Clinic where she has mentored law students through co-mediation. In the community, Caroline volunteers with community mediation and Baltimore Ceasefire, a grassroots public health movement to end gun violence. She served as President and founder of Creative City Public Charter School and raised nearly $1M for its launch in 2013, a nonprofit arts- and social justice-based public elementary school that both of her children attended. She serves as co-chair of the Grand Challenges of Social Work’s Smart Decarceration working group on Policing. She completed her PhD & MSW at the University of Maryland Baltimore, with a BA in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. She is a licensed LMSW macro social worker and certified mediator in Maryland.
Dr. Rachel John, Chancellor-Provost's Scholar for Inclusive Excellence for Immigrant and refugee health esearch focuses on examining health disparities among immigrants and refugees in the U.S. Specifically, she is interested in understanding cultural stress in the lives of immigrants and refugees and its impact on their health and mental health across the lifespan. Her research investigates the extent to which cultural stress, family relationships, and one’s positionality (gender, sexual orientation, social class) in society have an impact on one’s physical and mental health. Dr. John's research is grounded in more than ten years of experience as a social work clinician and public health practitioner.
Dr. Jack Lewis earned a BA in psychology from Johns Hopkins in 1979 and a MSW in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. After obtaining his MSW he spent 15 years working as a clinician, administrator, and educator at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, he began teaching as part-time lecturer and has served in that capacity for 12 years at various institutions, including University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Temple, and Rutgers. In 2009, he returned to school to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Social Work, which he was awarded in 2012. He joined the faculty of Stockton University in 2014 and taught the following courses the Master of Social Work program: Advanced Social Work Practice; Integrative Seminar; Clinical Social Work Practice in Healthcare; Clinical Supervision and Consultation and Advanced Social Work Practice. Dr. Lewis was promoted to the rank of associate professor and awarded tenure in Fall 2021.
Dr. Angie Malorni (she/her) is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work. Her research aims: (1) center racial and social justice in youth developmental research/practice, (2) critically examine/interrupt systems of oppression in youth-serving institutions (e.g. schools, youth development spaces, social services, online/virtual, etc.) and (3) develop/adapt methods for youth participatory action research (YPAR).
Most recently, she facilitated a YPAR project with youth-age community organizers to clarify social media's ambivalent impact on youth sociopolitical development. Together, the YPAR collective is identifying ways that youth, educators, youth workers, and organizers of all ages can better use social media to support youth critical consciousness and build stronger intergenerational movements. She also has over ten years of practice experience in direct youth work, program evaluation, local & federal policy advocacy, organizational development, and community organizing.
Dr. Michael Park is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work and the Chancellor's Scholar for Inclusive Excellence in Racial Minority Health at Rutgers. His research centers on investigating how social positionality within the intersection of race/ethnicity, and immigration explains health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. Specifically, his current research focuses on understanding how racial discrimination and its related stressors (e.g., racial stereotypes) contribute to disparities in mental health and mental health service utilization among Asian American immigrant youth and identifying protective factors (e.g., family racial/ethnic socialization practices) that can mitigate the harmful effects of discrimination.
His interest in examining racial/ethnic disparities in mental health care stems from his desire to improve mental health outcomes among racial/ethnic minority immigrant populations. Through his experiences working with North Korean refugees, he witnessed the critical impact of social conditions on the health of stateless North Korean families. His continued field experience in Asian immigrant-serving agencies in Chicago solidified his commitment to studying mechanisms underlying racial/ethnic disparities in mental health and mental health service utilization.
Before joining Rutgers, Dr. Park completed a NIMH postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Mental Health Services Research at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his PhD in social work and his master’s degrees in Social Work and Biostatistics from the University of Chicago.
Follow Dr. Park and his work at https://twitter.com/michaelmhpark.
Dr. Grant Victor is a social worker with interdisciplinary training in public health and clinical research. He received postdoctoral research training and support from the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University and earned his PhD and MSW from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Victor is a community-driven researcher who uses mixed-methods approaches to understand how health concerns related to substance use interacts within the context of the criminal/legal system (e.g., jails, prisons, law enforcement, and crisis response) and drug policy. The goal of his research is to mitigate the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdose by incorporating harm reduction approaches. Dr. Victor’s work has contributed to the understanding of the iatrogenic effect of criminal/legal systems on health and well-being by conducting methodologically rigorous time-to-event approaches and by leveraging administrative data to inform overdose prevention strategies. Dr. Victor’s instructional history includes Human Behavior in the Social Environment, History of Social Welfare, and the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program. He also has professional experience in program evaluation and as a mitigation specialist in capital cases.