Deana Morrow and Molly Gavin
“Involvement and mentorship in research projects will not only give us hands-on experience with the communities and populations the social work profession endeavors to serve, but also enhance our education.” — Molly Gavin

Growing up in Charleston, West Virginia, West Virginia University School of Social Work alumnus Mike Dooley (BSW, ’74) learned the importance of taking care of families, neighbors and communities. It was this lesson that ultimately led him to study social work at WVU.

Today, he aspires to support WVU’s mission as a land-grant university and its commitment to improving the lives of West Virginia families and communities, and he asks fellow alumni do to do the same.

“We can support our School as it continues our tradition of meaningful collaboration toward solutions for West Virginia and communities like ours,” Dooley said.

The School of Social Work is advancing community-based research and educational programming in West Virginia. Faculty and students are researching suicide screening, disaster recovery and resilience, child welfare, behavioral health and addiction prevention, finding solutions for human and social problems that West Virginians face.

Through the West Virginia Rising Together Fund, which Dooley recently established, the School of Social Work will expand its capacity to pursue research projects most needed for building stronger families and communities. The fund will also support student mentoring in research projects, preparing them for high-caliber research-informed practice.

“Involvement and mentorship in research projects will not only give us hands-on experience with the communities and populations the social work profession endeavors to serve, but also enhance our education,” said Master of Social Work student Molly Gavin. “This opportunity will give students experience in developing, assessing and enhancing evidence-based practice in a way we may not otherwise have had.”

This fund will support research to improve the lives of West Virginia families and communities to address social problems ranging from the foster care crisis, to the opioid epidemic, to the needs of an aging population.

“The need is great, and now is the moment to provide financial support to help the School of Social Work make a transformative impact for West Virginia families and communities,” Dooley said. “We have an opportunity to build something.”

Through rigorous research, academic innovation and public service, the School of Social Work is committed to improving the lives of individuals, families and communities in West Virginia.

“The need for research and statewide outreach to boldly address problems such as the opioid crisis, suicide, mental illness, child welfare and chronic health problems is urgent, making our commitment to innovative research and education more vital than ever,” said Deana Morrow, director of the School of Social Work. “With the many challenges and barriers our citizens face, West Virginia is in great need of cutting-edge community-based research to help resolve the social and human problems of our time – and we want to do just that.”