Institutes & Centers


The Florida Institute for Child Welfare

The Florida Institute for Child Welfare (FICW) seeks to promote safety, permanency, and well-being among the children and families of Florida involved with the child welfare system. To accomplish this mission, the FICW proposes to engage in interdisciplinary research and evaluation, the foundation of which lies in partnerships between Florida universities, schools of social work, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), sheriffs, community-based care lead agencies and provider organizations and others across Florida. The FICW proposes to collaborate with community agencies and statewide training resources to translate knowledge generated through research, policy analysis, and evaluation into practical, developmentally appropriate strategies for children and families. The FICW will serve as a resource for policy-makers, programs, and practitioners on best-practices related to safety, permanency, and well-being with attention to diverse and underserved populations. The FICW will also work to strengthen the child welfare workforce through assessing the readiness of workers to assume job responsibilities, evaluating pre- and in-service training, determining adaptive and resilient responses of workers to stressful work environments, developing leadership capacity, and identifying innovative and effective methods in the management of human service organizations.

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The Trinity Institute for Addictions

The Trinity Institute for Addictions (TIA) is an endowed social work institute focused on biopsychosocial approaches that aim to prevent and treat substance use, abuse, and dependence. The TIA advances research emphasizing intervention strategies to address the effects of addictive processes on body, mind, and spirit. The Institute’s scope encompasses the conduct of and training essential to advancing state-of-the-art clinical practice. In a broader sense, the TIA strives to advance behavioral healthcare by addressing the critical factors that underlie addiction and other related conditions. The ultimate aim of the Institute is to promote research from the leading edge of addiction science into innovative treatments and services for people in need.

Recent research project:

  • Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement for Chronic Pain Patients Receiving Opioid Therapy: Exploration of Cognitive, Affective, and Physiological Mechanisms, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – NIDA R03 DA032517. This study explores the differences between two forms of psychological treatment for persons diagnosed with chronic pain who are prescribed opioid analgesics: (a) Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), a new intervention that integrates mindfulness training, cognitive therapy, and techniques from positive psychology, or (b) a conventional support group, the standard of care for people suffering from this condition. This study aims to address the problem of prescription drug misuse, a public health threat of great significance nationally and to the State of Florida.
  • Improving Will-Power Based Self-care for Hypertension-Related Risks. Research evidence suggests that individuals’ daily practice of will power may promote well-being and enhance coping with health risks (e.g., smoking, drinking, or stress), yet which strategy may particularly benefit remains unknown. This pilot RCT will assess two will power training interventions for adults with hypertension to determine which strategy is most beneficial.

For more information, contact:  Dina Wilke, 


The Institute for Family Violence Studies

The Institute for Family Violence Studies (IFVS) conducts cutting-edge research on community solutions that employ both law and social services to end family violence. Our goal is to guide practice and shape real-world decisions in both the public and private sectors to keep families safe.  To fulfill this mission, Institute staff, affiliated faculty, multiple stakeholder advisory boards, and graduate students from across the FSU campus undertake the following:

  • Research on family violence and related research domains such as homelessness, financial literacy, and poverty. Multidisciplinary team projects include The Law Enforcement Families Partnership (funded by the Verizon Foundation) and Increasing Family Economic Self-Sufficiency (funded by the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
  • Education through our work developing online curricula for supervised visitation providers, judges, faith-based groups, and child protective service workers. Our collaboration with community organizations is evident in projects like the Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation (funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families) and the Alliance for Faith-Based Efforts to End Domestic Violence.
  • Action in support of innovative programs to reduce family violence. We participate in state and local fatality review teams, evaluate the effectiveness of family violence interventions, and disseminate the findings of our research at the local, state, national, and international levels
 Leading the way to healthy families, the IFVS is directed by Karen Oehme, JD,(850) 644-6303 x1).

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The Multidisciplinary Evaluation & Consulting Center

The Louise R. Goldhagen Multidisciplinary Evaluation and Consulting Center (MDC) is a university-based diagnostic and training center that serves preschool and school-aged children presenting complex academic, medical, emotional and/or behavioral problems in school programs.  Comprehensive diagnostic, consultation, and counseling services are provided to 20 school districts in the Florida Panhandle (including the research schools at FSU and Florida A&M University) and a number of medical and community agencies that primarily serve low-income families (e.g., Children’s Medical Services).  Children and their families in the school districts we serve are ethnically diverse and many are low-income families living in rural areas.  Thirteen of the counties served are classified by the Florida Department of Education as “small and rural” with limited resources for psychological services.  All eighteen counties are considered Medically Underserved Areas and/or Medically Underserved Populations.  All eighteen counties also meet criteria for Health Professional Shortage Areas in primary care and fifteen counties meet the criteria for Health Professions Shortage Areas for mental health.

The MDC staff includes professionals from clinical, school, and counseling psychology; counseling education; and, social work. The MDC frequently collaborates with several FSU entities to provide services, including: the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, the School of Communication Science and Disorders, the Department of Psychology, the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, and the FSU College of Medicine.  Pre-service training placements are also provided for graduate and undergraduate students from the FSU school, counseling, and clinical psychology programs; the College of Social Work; and the art and music Therapy programs.  In-service training for school personnel is provided through seminars, workshops, and conferences.

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Health and Aging Initiative

The Health and Aging Initiative (HAI) is an interdisciplinary group involving social workers, geriatricians, psychologists, lawyers, pharmacists, and doctoral students. We aim to assess the benefits, values, and cost-effectiveness of certain health and social service programs that service disadvantaged populations, including the elderly. We provide multiple perspectives concerning the programs under-investigation and directives regarding best practices and enhancements. Consistent with a focus of the University of Florida on longevity and healthy aging for all, our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of care and professional practices based on rigorous research evidence and best-practice guidelines.

Recent research projects:

  • Qualitative Evaluation of the MEDS-AD Waiver Program 2011-2013 (funded by a multi-year contract with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) of Florida). This evaluation employs qualitative methods to assess whether goals of Medication Treatment Management have been achieved for the waiver period from June 1, 2011 through September 30, 2013 from perspectives of participants, pharmacists, and physicians.
  • Social Work Involvement at the End of Life in Long-Term Care (funded by the John Hartford Foundation). This mixed-methods study compares findings from focus groups held with residents, family and staff to gain the social workers’ perspectives on their roles at the end of life, supportive factors that enable them to fulfill those roles, and potential barriers to social work involvement.
  • Effect of Spiritual Coping on Long-term Outcomes of Open-heart Surgery Patients (funded by the NIH, and John Templeton and Hartford Foundations). The ongoing analyses are demonstrating its positive yet complex influences.
For more information, contact: Jean Munn, PhD, & Amy L. Ai, PhD,