Research, Centers, and Multidisciplinary Partnerships

The School of Social Work hosts a broad range of research activities, from large-scale grant-supported projects to smaller faculty-directed and student-directed studies. Most (but not all) grant-supported projects are managed within one of the affiliated research units.  The School of Social Work has a robust research engine that comprises 20% of the overall external research dollars at Portland State University.

Kids running through park

Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services (CCF)

CCF's research, training, and consultation are designed to improve equity and effectiveness in services for children, youth, and families. Founded at the School of Social Work in 1993, we work across Oregon and beyond in child welfare, early childhood, family support, and cross-systems integration.

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Students in juvenile capstone project

Regional Research Institute (RRI)

Our faculty, students, and staff at the School of Social Work’s Regional Research Institute work at the intersection of research, program evaluation, and training in direct partnerships with local, state, regional, national, and international agencies to address numerous critical and social issues.

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Multidisciplinary Partnerships


BUILD EXITO is an undergraduate research training program that supports students on their pathway to become scientific researchers. The BUILD EXITO Model aims to identify students early in their college career and engage them in finding solutions to today's major health problems. Students at PSU and our BUILD EXITO partnering community colleges and universities will have hands-on research experience at every stage of their undergraduate education.

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EASA Center for Excellence

The EASA Center for Excellence at Oregon Health & Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health provides support to Oregon’s dissemination of early psychosis best practices as well as participating in national development of the field.  Oregon was the first state  in the U.S. to launch regional and statewide dissemination of early psychosis evidence-based practices.  EASA Center for Excellence continues to work toward improvement of services and outcomes for this important population.

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Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative

HRAC addresses the challenges of homelessness through research that uncovers conditions that lead to and perpetuate homelessness. Our goal is to help reduce homelessness and its negative impacts on individuals, families and communities, with an emphasis on communities of color.

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Social Determinants of Health Initiative

The SDHI supports and conducts community-engaged, interdisciplinary research, education, and action to promote health equity, bringing together individuals from Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, community organizations, governmental agencies, and local health systems.

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Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring

The Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring was launched in 2007 and has become one of the premiere professional development opportunities in the field of youth work. The Institute is under the leadership of Thomas Keller, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research and Campbell Professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Each Institute features leading mentoring researchers in a small-group format. The result is a think-tank atmosphere for delving deeply into program practice and innovation. The issues and themes discussed are wide-ranging, including all aspects of quality practice in recruiting, training, matching and supporting mentors and mentees. Each Institute focuses on a theme of high importance to the field, such as mentoring in juvenile justice and child welfare systems, diversity in mentoring relationships, and mentoring in school settings.

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