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Ravazzin Center Areas of Research

The Ravazzin Center on Aging conducts research that will help further understanding of aging and strengthen the role of social work in our aging society.

The Center’s area of research addresses the following major issues in the field of aging:

Social Work and End of Life Issues

The Center has engaged in a variety of research projects designed to examine the role of social work in helping older adults and family members understand end of life issues and planning tools. Current or completed projects include:

  • Strengthening the Role of the Healthcare Agent: Knowledge, Attitude, Comfort and Communication
    Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD
    Funded by: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

  • Strengthening Health Care Agency: A Protocol for Use with Hispanic Elders and Hispanic Elders and Adult Children Speak About End-Of-Life Planning
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD
    Funded by: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

  • Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of Korean Elders with Respect to Advance Directives
    Principal Investigator: Cathy S. Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Eunjeong Ko, MSW
    Funded by: Faculty Research Development Fund, Graduate School of Social Service

  • Evaluation of an Informational Workshop on Advance Directives for Korean Seniors
    Principal Investigator: Cathy S. Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Eunjeong Ko, MSW
    Funded by: Faculty Research Development Fund, Graduate School of Social Service

  • Advance Directives: An Emerging Role for Social Workers
    Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD

  • The Experience of Being a Health Care Agent
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Terry Peak , DSW (Utah State University)
    Co-Investigator: Jane Edwards, PhD

Social Work with Minority Elders

As the minority older population is projected to grow significantly over the coming years, more research needs to be done to understand the needs of minority elders. The Center is currently engaged in or has completed the following studies:

  • Strengthening Health Care Agency: A Protocol for Use With Hispanic Elders and Hispanic Elders and Adult Children Speak About End-of-Life Planning
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD
    Funded by: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

  • Migration at Older Ages: Insights into the Lives of Older Dominican Immigrants in New York City and Their Host Community
    Principal Investigator: Nadia Cohen, PhD

  • Older Hispanics in New York City: An Assessment of Their Circumstances and Their Needs
    Principal Investigator: Nadia Cohen, PhD

  • Culturally Competent Long Term Care
    Co-Principal Investigator: Roslyn Chernesky, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Carole Cox, DSW
    Funded by: The Foundation for Long Term Care (subcontract on a Commonwealth Foundation Grant)

  • Interpretation of Psychiatric Symptoms and Help-Seeking Preferences of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Seniors
    Principal Investigator: Cathy S. Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health

  • Evaluation of an Informational Workshop on Advance Directives for Korean Seniors
    Principal Investigator: Cathy Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Co-Prinicpal Investigator: Eunjeong Ko, MSW
    Funded by: Faculty Research Development Fund, Graduate School of Social Service

Social Work Health Care Research

The Center conducts research that demonstrates the effectiveness of social work practice in enhancing the well-being of older persons. The projects focus on improving individual, organizational, and/or systematic outcomes. Some of the work in this area has been part of the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Scholars Program.

  • Evaluation and Insights on Project Impact: Screening Depression in Older Adults
    Principal Investigator: Janne C. Heyman, PhD
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene Gutheil, DSW
    Funded by: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

  • Social Work Services and Patient Outcomes in Home Health Care
    Principal Investigator: Ji Seon Lee PhD
    Funded by: John A Hartford Foundation

  • Women’s Empowerment in Later Life (Well): An Elder Abuse Intervention Project in New York City
    Principal Investigator: Patricia Brownell, PhD, MSW
    Funded by: John A. Hartford Foundation

  • Healthy Encounters Project
    Principal Investigator: Jacquelin Berman, PhD (NY DFTA)
    Director of Research: Cathy S. Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Funded by: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

  • Reduction of Physical Restraint Use in an Acute Care Hospital
    Principal Investigator: Joyce Fogel, PhD(Saint Vincents Hospital and Medical Center)
    Director of Research: Cathy S. Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Funded by: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

Social Work Education

With the growing older population, there is an urgent need for well trained geriatric social workers. The Center is committed to preparing social workers to provide services to our aging communities. The Center has been involved in the following projects relating to social work education:

  • Master’s Advanced Curriculum Project Gero Innovations Grant
    Project Director: Meredith Hanson, DSW
    Project Co-Director: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW

  • Geriatric Enrichment in Social Work Education
    Project Director: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Curriculum Consultant: Roslyn H. Chernesky, DSW
    Funded by: The John A. Hartford Foundation

  • Andrus Scholars Program
    Project Director: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Funded by: The Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation

  • Project Jumpstart: Pilot Scholarship Program for Pre-Professional Public Sector Workers Serving Vulnerable Older Adults in New York City
    Project Director: Patricia Brownell, PhD, CSW

Social Work in a Global Context

The Center has housed several projects that provide a global perspective to social work practice:

  • Aging in Bermuda: Meeting the Needs of Seniors
    Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Roslyn H. Chernesky, DSW
    Research Director: Cathy S. Berkman, PhD, ACSW
    Funded by: The Atlantic Philanthropies

  • Grandmothers Raising HIV-Affected Orphans in Uganda
    Principal Investigator: Cynthia Cannon Poindexter, MSW, PhD
    Funded by: Faculty Research Development Fund, Graduate School of Social Service

  • Migration at Older Ages: Insights into the Lives of Older Dominican Immigrants in New York City and Their Host Community
    Principal Investigator: Nadia Cohen, PhD

Community Program Evaluation

The Center has worked with a number of community agencies and programs on evaluation projects:

  • Westchester County Millennium Aging Project: Phase II
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD
    Funded by: Westchester County Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services

  • Mount Kisco Intergenerational Community Evaluation
    Co-Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Funded by: Mount Kisco Day Care Center

  • Westchester County Speak-Up Evaluation
    Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD

  • Living History Institute Evaluation
    Principal Investigator: Janna C. Heyman, PhD
    Co-Investigator: Irene A. Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Investigator: Martha Bial, PhD

Additional Completed Research

  • Family Elder Caregiving: The Grotta Report on Philanthropic Trends and Best Practice Models
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Roslyn Chernesky, DSW
    Funded by: The Grotta Foundation

  • Cutting Edge Issues in Aging
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene Gutheil, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Roslyn Chernesky, DSW
    Funded by: The Philanthropic Group

  • Factors in Congregate Luncheon Utilization for the New York City Senior Center
    Co-Principal Investigator: Pat Brownell, PhD
    Co-Principal Investigator: Jacquelin Berman, PhD(NY DFTA)
    Funded by: New York City Department for the Aging

  • Agencies Serving Older Adults: Responses to a Changing Funding Environment
    Co-Principal Investigator: Roslyn Chernesky, DSW
    Co-Principal Investigator: Irene Gutheil, DSW