The vision of the Faculty of Social Work is to help create and contribute to a world where there are no great inequalities of wealth or income, where economic and political power is more evenly distributed, where human need is the central value of distribution of society’s resources, where diversity of culture is celebrated, where people have greater control over their own lives, and where all persons are afforded maximum opportunity to enrich their physical, spiritual, psychological, and intellectual well-being. Being the only university-based social work program in Manitoba and the largest program in Canada, this vision also includes the Faculty playing a leading role in the socio-economic-cultural development of the Province in particular, but also to Canada and beyond, which is consistent with the University’s own vision statement. To these ends, it is necessary that the Faculty become one of the outstanding social work programs in Canada with respect to research, quality education, community service, and the accomplishments of its graduates.
Dr. Baffoe studies anti-oppression approaches to social work, focusing on immigrant and refugee organizations and international social work practice.
His PhD thesis examined the integration challenges facing new immigrant and refugee youth in their early years of settlement in Canadian society.
Dr. Baffoe has been involved in community organizing with immigrant and refugee organizations across Canada for more than sixteen years. In 1994, he launched Black Star Big Brothers, which provides mentors and positive role models to Black children growing up in single-parent families in Montreal. He has taught grassroots community organizing strategies at McGill and the Concordia University Institute for Community Development.
Dr. Bennett is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work and director of the Masters of Social Work Based in Indigenous Knowledges program at the University of Manitoba.
Her research interests include: Indigenous child welfare policy; transition of Indigenous youth from welfare care; cultural safety for Indigenous women who have experienced sexual violence; Indigenous knowledge and social work practice; Indigenous research methodologies and knowledge development; qualitative research methods using photovoice and digital storytelling.
Tracey Bone’s research interests include Deaf language and culture, social constructionism, qualitative research methods, mental health in select populations, and domestic violence.
She is involved in a research project examining pathways to inpatient mental-health care for people involved in the criminal justice system in Ghana. The results will serve to protect human rights, inform treatment, and offer direction for service planning. The aim of the study was to collect, analyze and report detailed information regarding the pathways to inpatient mental-health care and to inform the curriculum for mental-health trainees of the Kintampo College of Health and Wellbeing. Data collection occurred mid-November to mid-December 2013.
Bone is also involved in a research project with Artbeat Studio examining art and mental-health recovery by evaluating the Artbeat Studio residency experience through case-study research. It is a three-year evaluation study designed to explore the Artbeat Studio residency experience though individual artist interviews.
Colin Bonnycastle is associate professor and director of the Northern Social Work Program in Thompson. He has been or is involved in advocacy research related to drinking water as a human right and implications of hydro development for environments and Indigenous communities in Northern Canada. His other work addresses homelessness, gendered violence, new settlers, childcare, criminal and restoration justice, and poverty. He has written in areas of social work ethics, religion and social welfare, and social justice. Colin is also chair of the Thompson Community Foundation and sits on the Board of the Thompson Crisis Centre and the Domestic Violence Court Project.
With higher rates of negative outcomes like suicide and FASD, life in northern Manitoba often has unique challenges. Dr. Marleny Munoz Bonnycastle, an assistant professor in the northern social work program, addresses these and other issues in her research.
In many of her projects, Munoz Bonnycastle uses a method called PhotoVoice that empowers participants to tell their stories through photography, and in turn, influence positive change.
For example, she and her students work with homeless people living in Thompson. Through taking and sharing photographs of their experiences and reality with the Thompson public, the homeless participants increase understandings of what it means to be homeless, making homelessness more concrete and harder to ignore.
In a project with the Awasis Agency, parents’ photographs show parenting strategies that could be helpful in creating programs to support children living with FASD. This project has been developed in two northern communities – Thompson and Shamattawa.
Munoz Bonnycastle’s 2011 University of Calgary PhD dissertation was titled Continuum of success: A case study of Colombian refugee women in Canada.
Social Work professor Dr. Bracken is working to improve social work systems for clients and practitioners alike. His current research interests include family stress and torture survival, Aboriginal Peoples and the criminal justice system, and the criminal justice response to offenders with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
In past research, Bracken and his colleague Dr. Brenda Bacon wrote reports for the Manitoba government that evaluated short- and long-term interventions for working with domestic violence offenders. He also led a committee to improve the short-term shelter system for at-risk children.
Bracken was a visiting professor at De Montfort University (Leicester, UK), Trinity College Dublin, and the Glasgow School of Social Work. At the University of Manitoba, Bracken is associate dean of social work’s undergraduate programs and an associate of the Mauro Institute for Peace and Justice. He holds degrees from the College of the Holy Cross, University of Toronto and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
How can China have one of the world’s highest rates of organ transplants without having any donors? For years, China has forcibly harvested the organs of prisoners, especially members of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that emphasizes virtue. She started her advocacy work with students to raise awareness on the forced organ harvesting issue. In 2015, she joined David Matas to research on the update of this issue. The two are co-authors of a recently published paper analyzing the persecution of the Falun Gong from an interdisciplinary perspective.
An earlier research by her and colleague Terry Russell (Asian Studies) shows that this persecution doesn’t end once the Falun Gong leave China; in fact, they are often targets of discrimination and marginalization in Canadian Chinese communities.
Her present research looks into the psychological impact of torture. Data were collected from the Falun Gong community in UK, US and Canada. The respondents are mostly asylum seekers in these countries. She has another research which collaborated with two schools of social work in Hong Kong on human rights education in social work.
You can hear more about her research on the Falun Gong by revisiting the talk she gave as part of our 2011-2012 seminar series on the idea of a human rights museum.
Cheung is a research affiliate with the Centre for Human Rights Research.
Over the past 20 years, social work professor Dr. Deane has worked in community development in India, China, and Winnipeg’s inner city.
He is a co-author of the recently published Indians Wear Red: Colonialism, Resistance, and Aboriginal Street Gangs. Based on interviews with Aboriginal street gang members, women and Elders, the authors explore gang issues in the context of the racialized poverty in Winnipeg’s North End.
Deane is also involved in employment projects for inner-city Aboriginal ex-offenders and works with marginalized migrant workers in urban centers in China.
Mary Kate Dennis is an assistant professor in the new Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges program. Her research has focused primarily on collaborating with American Indian Elders around life histories, grief, holistic health, spirituality and culture, food justice, and Indigenous methodologies.
Greg Fidler is a Métis born in Dauphin, but raised in Northern Manitoba. He completed an MA through the University of Victoria, with a dissertation on Solvent Abuse Needs Assessment in a First Nation Community. Fidler is a senior instructor in the Northern Social Work program in Thompson and has been teaching for eleven years. Prior to this appointment, he was employed with Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba a child and family service as case manager for Shamattawa. He is president with Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre and an executive member with the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres. Fidler’s research interests include homelessness, solvent abuse and community development.
Harvy Frankel researches in the areas of Family Therapy and Development; and Integrating Clinical Practice and Social Justice. Community approaches to blindness prevention in developing countries. Services to individuals and families affected by FASD
Dr. Frankel’s research addresses poverty and social exclusion; population health promotion; and the social economy. Dr Frankel is a member of the Steering Committee of National Campaign 2000 to end child poverty, and has testified before House of Commons and Senate Committees on poverty eradication.
Don Fuchs researches in the areas of Social Network Intervention; Social Work and Disability; Self‐Help Then in Formal Helping; and Community Development/Organization.
The distance education program co-ordinator investigates women’s violence; indigenous ways of practice; and indigenous knowledge and indigenous research methodologies.
Dr. Heinonen is a professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. Many of her areas of specialization relate to human rights issues, including violence against women, gender relations and international social development.
Along with Dr. Julie Drolet, Heinonen co-edited International social development: Social work experiences and perspectives, a collection of experiences of social workers across the globe, all of whom work to address pressing human rights issues like poverty, gender inequality and food security. While intended for use in social work classrooms, International social development would be useful to anyone wanting to learn more about helping others in a respectful and responsible way.
Heinonen earned her PhD from the University of Sussex’s Institute of Development Studies. She received her master’s and undergraduate social work degrees from McGill University and the University of Calgary, respectively.
Hiebert-Murphy is an expert in family violence and family-centered practice. Her research explores partner violence and abuse, and therapy with couples with a history of violence in their relationships. She and Janice Ristock (Women’s and Gender Studies) received a SSHRC-funded Insight Grant for their project on power and relationship satisfaction in couples with a history of violence.
Hiebert-Murphy is also the principal investigator on a service/training/research program designed to help couples who have experienced abuse in the past and want to work towards an abuse free-relationship. The Couples Project has been funded since 1998 by the Manitoba government’s Family Violence Prevention Program. The project offers relationship therapy to couples, trains graduate students for clinical practice in family violence, and conducts research on intimate partner violence.
In other lines of research, Hiebert-Murphy examines family-centered practice in childhood disability services, as well as community-based prevention of anxiety in kindergarten-aged children.
Judy Hughes researches how professional service providers understand and respond to intimate partner violence. Hughes recently studied the ways women indirectly disclose abuse to community health nurses and how the nurses recognize these verbal cues as indicators of intimate partner violence.
On February 3rd, 2017, Dr. Hughes shared findings from a research project that documents workers’ responses to intimate partner violence within women’s shelters, which suggest a deeper meaning to the perpetration of violence.
In another project, Hughes studies the experiences of women who are negotiating child custody arrangements and/or being investigated within the child welfare system.
Khan’s research interests include poverty, human development and social policy. He studies the disparity in financial capability and wellbeing across individuals’ social locations such as age, gender, income levels and immigration status, as well as developments on basic income in Canada.
Parents can play an important role in helping children explore and pursue future career options. But what happens when parents weren’t supported this way when they were young? Dr. Kathy Levine found that history often repeats itself: these parents do not initiate conversations with their kids about finishing school or finding a job, often because they feel like they cannot help.
Levine and other researchers from Career Trek, an early-intervention program for children at risk of not finishing high school, are working with parents to address these issues and guarantee a better future for the next generation.
In addition to educational interventions for at-risk youth and children, Levine also specializes in family-centred practice and social work practice with women.
Dr. Hai Luo is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba.
Luo is the author of a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work titled “Strengthening Social Capital through Residential Environment Development for Chinese Seniors in a Canadian Context.” Her paper examines the impact of the environments in which Chinese Canadian seniors live on their trust, civic and social participation, social networks and the amount of social support they receive.
Luo’s research interests include cross-cultural aging, gerontological social work, social capital and social support for older adults, gambling and addictions among older immigrants, elder abuse in culturally minoritized groups, end-of-life issues from cultural perspectives, and caregiving and support to caregivers.
One area of Dr. Luo’s research investigates gambling among older Asian people in Canada using a cultural life course perspective. A second area investigates the perceptions of service providers on how to bridge the gap between unmet needs and accessibility to health-care services for older immigrants and their families.
Dr. Milliken is an associate professor at the inner-city social work program. She works in the areas of women’s issues/feminist perspectives; crosscultural communication; and cultural safety.
Dr. Milliken’s research interests include creating culturally safe environments; long-term effects of marginalization; transformational child welfare policy and practice, especially in inner city and Aboriginal communities; feminist/anti-oppressive practice; and communication and social work practice.
She is a member of the Centre for Human Rights Research initiative’s advisory board.
Despite various poverty reduction strategies, poverty rates in Manitoba and Canada haven’t changed for more than a decade. Scholars like Dr. Jim Mulvale argue that it’s time for a new approach – guaranteeing a basic minimum income to all as a social and economic right.
Mulvale is a faculty member in Social Work, and is on the Advisory Council for the Basic Income Canada Network. He says a basic income would ensure all adults – regardless of their status, and including those without paid jobs – have what they need.
Basic income is an amount of money available to all individuals unconditionally and on a regular (e.g. monthly) basis. It would provide a guaranteed amount so that cost of basic necessities could be met, and all persons could live with dignity and choices.
An adequate basic income doesn’t just benefit its recipients. It can benefit everyone through lessening burdens to the health-care, criminal justice and social service systems.
Find out more by reading Mulvales’s work on Possibilities and Prospects: The Debate Over a Guaranteed Income; Support and Inclusion for all Manitobans: Steps Toward a Basic Income Scheme; and Next Steps on the Road to Basic Income in Canada.
In his other research, Mulvale writes on social work theory and distance education in social work.
Before becoming a professor, Mulvale worked as a social worker in southwestern Ontario. He held community development roles in the fields of developmental disability and mental health.
Social work professor Dr. Nixon is improving understandings of violence against women, and in turn, working to prevent violence.
Through interviewing women recruited from a women’s centre in Winnipeg’s North End, she is learning about the protective strategies of abused mothers. As few studies have looked at the ways abused mothers protect their children from an abusive partner, or buffer their children from the negative effects of witnessing abuse, Nixon’s findings can help improve case management in these situations.
Nixon is also interested in structural violence, a process wherein some groups are denied access to resources by existing systems, like healthcare and child welfare. As lead of the policy working group of the Voices Against Violence project, she examines policies to identify how structural violence affects different groups of Canadian youth.
Lori Oberdorfer’s research addresses Child Welfare; Women’s Issues; and Aboriginal Issues.
Dr. Pompana researches issues related to the colonization/decolonization experience in First Nation communities; Aboriginal approaches to social work practice; and Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous research methodologies. She is acting director of the inner-city social work program.
Dr. Pompana recieved her PhD in Indigenous Studies from Trent University in 2008 and her master’s in social work from the University of Manitoba in 1997. Her areas of interest include research related to First Nations, teaching human behavior and social work practice in the Faculty of Social Work and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Native Studies.
Ranjan Roy’s research focuses on Psychosocial Aspects of Medical Disorders with Special Reference to Chronic Pain.
Kelly Scott works in the areas of Social Work Practice with Children and Adults with Disabilities; Vocational Rehabilitation; and Child and Family Services.
Dr. Rusty Souleymanov’s interdisciplinary program of study focuses on the impacts of oppression and social injustice on the health and well-being of socially and economically marginalized communities.
He is currently the Principal Investigator of a mixed-methods community-based research study titled “Manitoba Two-Spirit, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Men’s Health Study”, which is funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Manitoba Medical Service Foundation, and Winnipeg Foundation. This study seeks to: 1) examine how various forms of marginalization, discrimination, and oppression affect the physical, mental, and sexual health of Manitoba’s Two-Spirit, gay, bisexual, and queer men, and 2) explore this population’s access to, and experiences with HIV-related services and other health care and social programs in Manitoba. This project is a collaboration between the University of Manitoba, Two-Spirited People of Manitoba, Nine Circles Community Health Centre, Rainbow Resource Centre, Our Own Health Centre, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Community Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health, and the Manitoba HIV/STBBI Collective Impact Network. The research study will inform culturally sensitive models of HIV service, healthcare, and support program delivery, interventions and campaigns for sexual and gender minority men in Manitoba.
He is also a co-investigator on multiple Canadian and international community-based research projects with people living with HIV and AIDS, sexual and gender minority men, Indigenous and Two-Spirit people, people who use drugs, and commercial blood/plasma donors.
Laura Taylor’s work focuses on EAL and Adult Literacy; Immigration and Relocation Across the Lifespan; Disabilities (children and adults).