A Foundation of Strengths. A Vision of Justice. A Mission of Change.



Supporting access, equity and quality in health service delivery and outcomes.

The School of Social Welfare integrates micro and macro social work and builds collaborations across systems and disciplines to create multi-level change.  From early life experiences of children and adolescents, through adulthood, and older adult life stages, health is essential for all populations throughout the lifespan.  We work in collaboration with other disciplines to advocate for policies and practices that are empirically driven and generate positive change in the health of all individuals in the context of broader systems.  Health is connected, even central, to many aspects of life and certainly many facets of social work education, practice and research.



Research Projects


Kansas Strong Children & Families

  • PI: Akin, Becci; Co-PI: Byers, K.
  • Funder: Administration on Children & Families
  • Dates: 10/1/18 to 9/1/23

Engaging Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers in Healthcare Research

  • PI: Holmes, Cheryl; Co-PI: Levy, Michelle
  • Funder: Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Integrated Health Scholars

  • PI: Levy, Michelle; Co-PI: Matejkowski, Jason
  • Funder: Administration on Children & Families

Assessing the Acceptability, Feasibility, and Efficacy of a Novel Intervention to Reduce Cervical Cancer Risk Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

  • PI: Bagwell-Gray, Meredith
  • Funder: American Cancer Society


Migrant and Seasonal Agriculture Workers and Health Research: Developing Capacity for PCOR

  • PI: Holmes, Cheryl
  • Funder: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute


Cervical Cancer Prevention among Survivors of Partner Violence: Technological Innovations for a Trauma-Informed Approach

  • PI: Bagwell-Gray, Meredith
  • Funder: KU Research 
  • Dates: 7/1/20-6/20/2022



Meredith Bagwell-Gray, Assistant Professor

Meredith Bagwell-Gray Scanlon

Scholarship Focus
Reduce health disparities for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV); sexual safety planning intervention to address HIV/STI risk, substance use, and trauma.

 Grand Challenge
Stop family violence.


Cheryl Holmes, Research Project Director

Cheryl Holmes

Scholarship Focus
Frontier and rural; integrated care; behavioral health.

 Grand Challenge
Closing the health gap. Eradicating social isolation.

Sarah Jen, Assistant Professor

Sarah Jen

Scholarship Focus
Intersections of social work, gerontology, and sexuality; support the sexual needs of aging populations and to improve the health and well-being of LGBTQ midlife and older adults.

 Grand Challenge
Achieve equal opportunity and justice. Close the health gap. Advance long and productive lives.

Michelle Levy, Research Project Director

Michelle Levy

Scholarship Focus
Recruitment, retention and workforce issues; health and behavioral health; interprofessional education, integrated care; prevention; rural perspectives; engagement; organizational intervention; cross-systems collaboration.

 Grand Challenge
Ensure healthy development for all youth. Close the health gap. Achieve equal opportunity and justice.

Social Welfare Research Office Contacts
Amy Mendenhall, Associate Dean for Research
amendenhall@ku.edu | 785-864-4792
Jenni Atwood, Manager
atwoodj@ku.edu | 785-864-7368
Social Welfare Research Events
Recent Publications & Presentations

Cai, H., Spreckelmeyer, K., Mendenhall, A., Holmes, C., & Levy, M. (2018). A Regional Survey on Residents’ Preferences on Patient Centered Medical Home Design in Rural Areas. Health Environments Research & Design Journal.

Cui, H., Spreckelmeyer, K., Mendenhall, A., Li, D., Homes, C., & Levy, M. (2018). A regional survey on residents’ preferences on Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) design in rural areas. Health Environments Research & Design Journal

Choi, S., Lee, S., & Matejkowski, J. (2018). The effects of state Medicaid expansion on low-income individuals’ access to health care: Multilevel modeling. Population Health Management, 21(3), 235-244.

Bagwell-Gray, M. E. (2018). Establishing positive sexuality and reducing HIV risk: Women’s healing journey from intimate partner violence. Qualitative Health Research.

Holmes, C., Mariscal, S., & Levy, M. (2018). Serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers: Exploring needed healthcare research and information

Levy, M., Holmes, C., & Mariscal, S. (2018). Engaging migrant and seasonal farmworkers in identifying motivators, facilitators, and barriers to health care: Literature review. 

Levy, Michelle, Navigating Rural Health Resources, "Integrated Health Scholars Program," Webinar. (April 2019).

Rogers, Mish, and Michelle Levy, University of Kansas Medical Center Psychology Didactic, "Self-care for health care students," Kansas City, KS. (April 2019).

Lee, Bethany, Shauna Aquavita, and Michelle Levy, Council on Social Work Education 64th Annual Program Meeting, "Preparing MSW students for interprofessional practice:  Three programs share lessons learned.," Orlando, FL. (2018).

Wellner, Z, Ashley Crowl, Michelle Levy, Christina Boyd, Jessica Bates, Jessica Barnes, and Sarah Shrader, Faculty Academic Day & Interprofessional Preceptor Summit, "Determining the impact of an interprofessional simulation focused on social determinants of health with pharmacy and social work students.," University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas. (November 2018).

Levy, Michelle, Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, Mo-Kan Chapter, "Educating social workers for health care practice.," Overland Park, KS. (July 2018).

Kepple, Nancy J, Michelle Johnson-Motoyama, and Becci A Akin, Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Ending Gender Based Family and Community Violence, "Resilient Parenting Project: Exploring the Role of OB/GYN Clinics in the Prevention of the Intergenerational Transmission of Child Maltreatment," San Francisco, CA. (January 2019).

Kappas, Andrea, Meredith Bagwell-Gray, Jill Messing, and Megan Brown, Society for Social Work and Research, "Increasing Access to Evidenced-Based Care for Survivors of Domestic Violence: Year One," San Francisco, CA. (January 2019).

Canda, Edward R, Symposium on Spiritual, Religious and Existential Wellbeing in Health and Social Care, Brunel University, London UK, "The path of creative scholarship: Creating a research agenda in spirituality, religion, and existentialism for health and social care.," Brunel University, London, UK. (June 2019).

Holmes, Cheryl, Suzanne Gladney, Michelle Levy, Elizabeth Reid, and Kaylee Uland, Research Impact Talks, "Engaging Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers in Healthcare Research," Overland Park, KS. (February 2019).

Jen, S, Gerontology Pro-Seminar (Gerontology required PhD course), "Aging at the intersections: Later life, sexuality, and health." (March 2019).