Dr. Deborah Padgett came to NYU Silver School of Social Work in 1998 with a background in anthropology to teach courses on research methods in social work. As a prominent researcher and advocate in the field of social work, she has also been an incredible asset to the McSilver Institute’s Advisory Committee. Recently, Dr. Padgett was honored by being the first faculty member at the Silver School to be inducted into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and was appointed to their board this year. Additionally, Dr. Padgett has served as a Board Member and President of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), culminating in the establishment of the “Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Fellowship” in recognition of her contributions.
Her research focuses on housing and homelessness and highlights attributes that contribute to recovery after individuals have lived on the streets. This summer, she is expanding her work on mental health to a new global research initiative in Pune, India in collaboration with Dr. Vikram Patel of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Sangath Centre in Goa, India. The project will explore the similarities and differences in mental illness and recovery in individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in India and the United States.
Dr. Padgett has also been Principal Investigator on two NIMH-funded grants and co-investigator on both NCI- and CDC-funded studies of underserved women and breast cancer screening, focusing these efforts primarily in Harlem and the Bronx. She continues to work closely with colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in their HealthLink project which educates low-income Queens residents through the public library system.
Dr. Padgett has published extensively on the use of qualitative methods in research, including textbooks on qualitative methods for the fields of social work and public health. In this capacity, she has given workshops and lectures in the U.S. and abroad and continues to mentor students and junior faculty.
She is currently the Interim Director of the Global Health Leadership concentration and teaches courses on socio-behavioral health and qualitative/field methods in the NYU Masters of Public Health program.
Dr. Padgett stated, “I am delighted to have my work recognized as part of McSilver’s mission and believe that my research on homeless adults with serious mental illness speaks to the challenging work that McSilver has undertaken to address the root causes of poverty.” Dr. Padgett’s research, as well as her rigorous methods, have deeply influenced social work research and set a precedent for qualitative research in many areas of social welfare, including homelessness, health and mental health, and services for vulnerable populations.