Jeanne Saunders, PhD

Dr. Jeanne Saunders

Jeanne Saunders is a tenured associate professor and the MSW Program Director of The University of Iowa School of Social Work.  She earned her MSSW degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1981.  After graduating she was employed in the child welfare and child abuse prevention fields in both direct practice and administrative roles over the next 15 years.  In addition, she also was a research team member for the cross-site evaluation of pregnancy prevention programs in Iowa.  She has been licensed as an LISW in the state of Iowa since 1993.  Jeanne received her PhD (Social Work) from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis in 2001.  Her dissertation research examined multiple outcomes of teen parents three years after completing or leaving high school.  After graduating from Washington University Jeanne joined the social work faculty at The University of Iowa where she has primarily taught in the research and policy sequences for graduate students.  She has mentored more than one dozen doctoral students and an equal number of Master’s students in the completion of their thesis and comprehensive exam requirements.

Jeanne has served as a research consultant or evaluator for Advocates for Youth, the Iowa Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Iowa School Social Work Association, and the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs in addition to a number of private agencies.   These research studies and program evaluations, funded by local, state and federal entities, examined health and mental health issues across the lifespan (primarily adolescents and elders) and the impact of federal, state and school policies on older adults and marginalized groups within school settings.  Most recently, her research has focused on increasing an awareness of diversity, privilege and social justice issues among social work students and educators.

She has a particular interest in the development of the social work profession and social work education in China as a result of teaching at Wuhan University in the People’s Republic of China in 2005.  She is looking forward to returning to China to strengthen collaborative relationships with Chinese counterparts that will assist in the development of indigenous social work practice and education models.  Her work has been reported in over 20 peer-reviewed publications, nearly one-dozen research monographs, and nearly three-dozen peer-reviewed national and international conference presentations, as well as a number of state and local presentations.

Jeanne has been an active member of the American Public Health Association, Public Health Social Work Section, for many years and was recently recognized as the 2014 Insley-Evans Public Health Social Worker of the Year.  The award was given in recognition of her many years of service, including chair of the section, and the number of elected leadership positions held within the organization.  She has also been an active member of the Iowa Chapter, NASW.   She has served as a manuscript reviewer for a number of national and international journals and for textbooks.

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