Ed Saunders is a tenured associate professor and Director of the School of Social Work at The University of Iowa (UI). He earned his MSW degree from St. Louis University in 1979. He subsequently earned his MPH (with a specialization in maternal and child health) and PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. After completing his graduate studies, Ed joined the UI Social Work faculty in 1985. During the past 29 years in Iowa, he has long been involved in research on adolescent pregnancy and other factors that put youth at risk (including substance abuse and school dropout).
Ed has served as the principal evaluator for more than a dozen federally-funded and state-funded projects focused on the adolescent pregnancy prevention, services for pregnant and parenting teens, substance abuse treatment for mothers and children, chemically-exposed infants, adolescent health, school-based health clinics, and persons with disabilities. He has conducted evaluations for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Office of Adolescent Health, US DHHS; Division of Reproductive Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Iowa Department of Human Services [IDHS] and Iowa Department of Public Health [IDPH]. Interestingly, at the same time that Ed was the principal evaluator for all state-funded comprehensive sexuality education programs [IDHS], he was also the principal evaluator for all state-funded abstinence-only sexuality education programs [IDPH]. These dual roles are testimony to his unbiased professional evaluation skills.
Nationally, Ed has consulted with Head Start on child mental health issues and with Advocates for Youth (Washington, DC) on issues of adolescent pregnancy prevention and organizational capacity building. In Iowa, he has worked as an evaluation consultant to the United Way of Central Iowa, Children and Families of Iowa, the Chrysalis Foundation, the Young Women’s Resource Center, and numerous other non-profit health and human service agencies. He is equally skilled in collecting, analyzing and reporting quantitative and qualitative data. He has given dozens of presentations at state, national and international conferences on his research findings. He is the author of three book chapters, 15 research monographs, 29 refereed articles, and eight articles in non-refereed publications.
Ed has served on numerous state task forces and councils, including the Iowa Council for Early Intervention Services (of which he is past-Chair) and the Iowa Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Council. He has devoted much of his professional service to the Public Health Social Work Section of the American Public Health Association, of which he is past-Chair. In recognition of his long commitment to public health social work, Ed was named the 2008 “Public Health Social Worker of the Year” by the American Public Health Assn.
In addition to his interests in maternal and child health and child well-being, Ed has focused his attention on the globalization of social work education as a result of his semester-long teaching assignment at Wuhan University in the People’s Republic of China in 2005. Ed enjoys the distinction of teaching the first semester-long course on Public Health Social Work in the People’s Republic of China. Ed has used his time away from his teaching and research to travel. He has been fortunate to visit 47 of the US states and 65 foreign countries. He seriously embraces the journey to cultural competence in his travel.