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(From top left to bottom right) Richard J. Gelles, Steven C. Marcus, Phyllis Solomon, Ram A. Cnaan, Susan B. Sorenson, and Dennis P. Culhane. 

Six School of Social Policy & Practice faculty members have been recognized among the top 100 most influential social work faculty.

The Journal of Social Service Research ranked the most influential social work scholars from among 2200 faculty employed by the 76 member programs of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work. The six SP2 faculty members include Richard Gelles, Steven Marcus, Phyllis Solomon, Ram Cnaan, Susan Sorenson, and Dennis Culhane. They were recognized for their commitment to research and their interdisciplinary approach to addressing social issues.

“Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy & Practice are world class," SP2 Dean Sara Bachman told SP2 News. "As demonstrated by this article, [they] conduct research that is impactful, providing real world solutions to the most complex social work and social welfare problems."

Gelles, who was the dean of SP2 from 2003 to 2013, currently serves as the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence. He is also the managing faculty director at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, & Research, where he studies intimate partner violence, child welfare policy, and child abuse and neglect.

Solomon is a professor in SP2 and a professor of social work in psychiatry. Her research focuses on developing better medical services for patients with mental disorders. Solomon is also SP2's associate dean for research.

An epidemiologist, statistician, computer scientist, and mental health services researcher, Marcus focuses on improving quality of care and preventing medical errors in psychiatry. He also examines data to answer national policy questions regarding mental health care.

The Penn professors also published large numbers of scholarly works that were frequently cited by others, according to the ranking, which was published on Feb. 18.

Credit: Chase Sutton

One of the recognized faculty, Susan B. Sorenson, is Executive Director of Penn's Ortner Center of Violence & Abuse in Relationships and a professor of social policy and of health and societies.

Sorenson, who directs the Ortner Center on Violence & Abuse in Relationships, is a professor of social policy and of Health and Societies. Her graduate course on family and sexual violence, which she first taught in 1986, was the first violence prevention class in a United States school of public health. She was instrumental in establishing violence against women as a major health issue, and has served on multiple advisory boards in this area.

Cnaan is the program director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research and previously served as president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Cnaan's publications focus on religious organizations, community service, social policy, and development.

Named the Dana and Andrew Stone Chair in Social Policy, Culhane studies homelessness and housing policy. He was the research director of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans from 2009 to 2018, and has also studied vulnerable youth and the transition from foster care and the juvenile justice system.

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