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UH School of Social Work assistant professor elected to national society as early career member

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Theresa Kreif, (808) 956-6120
Assistant to the Dean, School of Social Work
Posted: Apr 13, 2017

Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio
Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio

Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio, an assistant professor at UH Mānoa’s Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, was recently elected to the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) board of directors as its first designated early career member (at large).

SSWR is the preeminent social work research organization in the U.S., and Aparicio is honored to be the first scholar to represent UH as part of the board. SSWR hosts an annual research conference, which is an important national dissemination location for social work research. Aparicio’s responsibilities will focus on supporting early career members of the social work research community. Her elected position runs from 2017-2020.

Aparicio, who has been on faculty since 2014, is a passionate advocate for community voices and participation in social work research. She is honored to co-lead successful research-practice partnerships with several health centers and state organizations. She is dedicated both to serving as a leader, especially in interprofessional settings, and to leadership development among social work students.

The principal investigator of the School’s public child welfare training program directs the Future Leaders Optimizing Well-being (FLOW) Program for MSW students, and chairs the Child and Family specialization. Continually seeking to bridge community and university, Aparicio serves on the board of the Hawaiʻi Association for Infant Mental Health, where she supports infrastructure development and training, and consults on policy relevant to early childhood mental health and well-being.

Aparicio’s research is broadly focused on examining health disparities for the purposes of informing and testing intervention programs for children, youth and families. She has a particular interest in informing and testing culturally-attuned, two-generation approaches in three interrelated areas to improve health equity: teenage pregnancy prevention and parenting support, early childhood intervention, and intergenerational child maltreatment prevention.

In partnership with the Waikīkī Health Center, Aparicio is currently refining and feasibility testing Wahine Talk, a holistic, technology-based teen pregnancy prevention, medical home and social service program for homeless and at-risk youth. She is also feasibility testing the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) program with child welfare-involved teen mothers and their infants and toddlers. Her work addresses several Grand Challenges, including ensuring healthy development for all youth, closing the health gap and stopping family violence.

Prior to joining the faculty at UH in 2014, Aparicio served the community as a clinical social worker in outpatient mental health and child welfare with a focus on multi-generational teen mother-baby and early childhood intervention. She received her BA (social work/anthropology) and MSW (clinical) from Catholic University of America. She completed HRSA-funded pre-doctoral fellowship training in maternal and child health social work and earned her PhD from University of Maryland’s School of Social Work.

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