Richard Ager

Richard D. Ager
, Associate Professor; Director, Porter-Cason Institute; Director, Center for Life Long Learning; LCSW, Ph.D., University of Michigan in Psychology and Social Work.
Dr. Ager’s major areas of interest and research expertise are substance abuse, treatment outcome, family practice, and teaching/training counselors and students in evidence-based practices. As Director of the Porter Cason Institute, Ager facilitates the development and provision of training in advanced family practice to students, faculty and community practitioners. As Director of the Center for Life Long Learning, Ager brings in expert speakers to provide workshops to help social workers keep abreast of current practices in our field.  Ager’s current research interest focuses on adapting an evidence-based practice employed in substance abuse to intimate partner violence. Dr. Ager’s teaching background includes clinical and community practice, organizational theory, family practice, human behavior and the social environment, qualitative research, and addictions. Click here to view Dr. Ager's CV.


Stephanie Baus
, Clinical Assistant Professor; Ph.D., MSW, Tulane School of Social Work.
Professor Baus has practice experience in clinical social work, clinical supervision, research and administration. She currently teaches in the areas of critical thinking, team building, Evidence-based Practice, knowledge generation in social work (qualitative and quantitative research methods), data analysis and preparing students to complete the professional project. Her primary research interests are adult cognitive development and learning, innovations in social work education, and curriculum development and evaluation. Click here to view Dr. Baus' CV.

Catherine Burnette

Dr. Catherine Burnette
, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Iowa.
Dr. Burnette’s area of focus is working with indigenous communities on the relationships between historical oppression, family violence, and mental health disparities. She currently is working on projects that critically examine these relationships along with re-envisioning healthy families and bolstering individual, family, and community resilience. In her spare time, the mother of two enjoys listening to live music, yoga, exercising and experiencing the outdoors as well as enjoying all the festivities and fun of New Orleans. Click here to view Dr. Burnette's CV.

Fred Buttell

Fred Buttell
, Professor; Director, Wisner Center for Research on Children and Families, Tulane School of Social Work; MSW, Ph.D., University of Alabama.
Dr. Buttell has extensive experience in providing social work intervention services to clients in community-based correction programs and in evaluating the effectiveness of these social work interventions. He teaches courses in clinical practice, HBSE, and research methods. Buttell's latest research interests focus on improving family functioning through the elimination of domestic violence and his primary research interest is on improving the effectiveness of batterer intervention programs. Click here to view Dr. Buttell's CV.

Reggie Ferreira

Dr. Reggie Ferreira
, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work.
Dr. Ferreira joins the faculty from the University of Louisville, where he completed his dissertation focusing on Louisiana's disaster resilience pre and post Hurricane Katrina. He earned a BSW degree and his masters degree (cum laude) from the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky. Reggie has worked on several international research projects related to disaster risk reduction in Africa, Europe and the United States. His main research focus is on disasters, focusing on social vulnerability and disaster resilience. His other  research interests include international social work, evidence-based practice research and pet loss. Dr. Ferreira, is a third generation social worker, and a second generation Ph.D. from South Africa. Click here to view Dr. Ferreira's CV.


Charles R. Figley, Associate Dean for Research, Professor & Paul Henry Kurzweg Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health; Director, Tulane Traumatology Institute; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Figley was named the Paul Henry Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health at Tulane University in 2008 when he joined the faculty as its senior professor from Florida State University. At FSU Professor Figley served as the senior professor in the area of trauma and Director of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family. Dr. Figley brought his Traumatology Institute to Tulane which was recognized as the best program of its kind by the University Continuing Education Association in 2000.

Dr. Figley attained full professor status in 1983 at Purdue University with a joint appointment as professor of psychological sciences. Dr. Figley established the renowned Purdue University Family Research Institute and established two Journals as Founding Editor, the Journal of Psychotherapy and the Journal of Traumatic Stress.  In 1995 became Founding Editor of Traumatology, the International Journal. Also Dr. Figley is founding editor several book series (e.g., the Innovations in Psychology book series with Taylor & Francis).

Currently, Dr. Figley is editor of the oldest book series on trauma (established in 1978), the Psychosocial Stress Book Series. He has published more than 200 scholarly works including 25 books and 130 refereed journal articles. Collectively, his work reports on more than 35 research projects focusing primarily on traumatic stress and resiliency of individuals, families, and communities. This latest book published in 2013, First Do No Self Harm: Understanding and Promoting Physician Stress Resilience (Oxford University Press) was highly praised by the American Psychological Association.

He is an elected fellow of five of the leading national professional associations and received many other honors in recognition for his scholarship.

Dr. Figley is the recipient of numerous lectureships and other honors throughout the world including Northern Ireland, South Africa, England, Australia, Canada, and universities through the United States. He was awarded a senior Fulbright Research Fellowship to conduct research in Kuwait in 2004 and follow-up on work that was started in 1992, shortly after the liberation from and end of the occupation by Iraq. In 2004, Dr. Figley was named lifetime Alumni Fellow by the Pennsylvania State University, the highest honor awarded to its graduates. Most recently, Figley was honored by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York with an honorary degree in June 2014 in recognition of his career-long achievements in social justice for the traumatized.

Click here to view Dr. Figley's CV.


Heather Gillis
, Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Field Education and Coordinator of TSSW's Community Service/Federal Work Study Program; Ph.D., Tulane School of Social Work; MSSW, University of Tennessee.
Since 1999, Dr. Gillis has focused her teaching efforts on field education, methods of practice, learning and research for practice, and preparing students to complete the professional project. Dr. Gillis is a licensed clinical social worker and a board-approved clinical supervisor who has worked in direct practice for more than 20 years. Click here to see Dr. Gillis' CV.

Laura Haas

Laura Haas
, Clinical Associate Professor; Ph.D., Tulane University; MBA, Georgia State University.
Dr. Haas joined the School of Social Work in May 2012 after spending several years as a highly productive member of the Payson Center for International Development and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She has served as the full time country director based in Rwanda and was responsible for overseeing numerous large scale research and capacity building projects in Rwanda. At Tulane, Dr. Haas will provide the School with a wide variety of grant and programmatic support. See her CV for a full listing of her academic projects.

With the School of Social Work, Dr. Haas is based full time in Washington, D.C., where she is the director of the Knowledge Center of the National Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).  The Knowledge Center was developed in 2007 to strengthen the capacity of African higher education institutions through the development of partnerships between African and U.S. higher education institutions.  Laura, in her role as director, will be concentrating on the following goals:

  • Increase investments in long term African-U.S. higher education partnerships;
  • Increase awareness of the importance of higher education (HE) to development in Africa;
  • Assist in the development and strengthening of African-U.S. higher education partnerships; and
  • Build capacity for HE institutions to be more effective in development.

M Lewis

Marva L. Lewis
, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in Sociocultural Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Lewis' program of research focuses on the development of culturally valid research methods and measures of racism-based stress during pregnancy, Colorism in African American families, and parental acceptance or rejection of children. Specifically her basic and applied research includes:

  1. Basic research on racism-based stress as an unrecognized factor in racial disparities in perinatal infant outcomes in African American women.
  2. Applied research using narrative therapy techniques and measures to strengthen African American family intergenerational relationships based on issues of Colorism as a legacy of the historical trauma of slavery.
  3. The prevention and reduction of child abuse and neglect and strengthening parent-child attachment through the use of the hair combing task, and a parent-education curriculum, Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Hair, for use with a  community-based parent support group using visualization methods and peer support, infant mental health concepts and techniques.
  4. The development of an evidenced-based tool for use by individuals, organizations, and groups on the topic of Diversity, Privilege and Oppression.

Click here to view Dr. Lewis' CV.


Ron Marks

Ronald E. Marks
, Dean; M.P.H., M.S.W., Ph.D.
Dr. Marks is dean of the School of Social Work at Tulane University where he has been a professor for twenty years.  Prior to becoming dean, he served in various capacities at the School including associate dean and director of the MSW program, director of the doctoral program and director of the gerontology center.

As Dean of the school, he supervises 18 full time faculty and 15 adjunct faculty, 12 staff and oversees the operation of the programs which serve about 250 graduate students each year. Dr. Marks has supervised over 30 master’s theses and chaired and served on over 25 doctoral dissertations.  Many of his publications are studies of community based social service programs in the areas of adolescent life, homelessness, and family and aging services addressing the stress associated with providing care to frail aging relatives.

His Ph.D. is in social welfare from the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh.  He also has an MSW and a masters degree in public health.

Over the last six years, Dr. Marks has been working to establish international field opportunities for the MSW students at the School and has led programs to Central America, Cuba and most recently in north India where for the last four years he has been developing a project working with Tibetan refugees.  These programs are designed to provide opportunities for students to grow personally and professionally and see the linkage between the two.

Jennifer McCleary

Dr. Jennifer Simmelink McCleary
, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Minnesota.
Dr. McCleary has a background in mental health research with refugees and survivors of war trauma and torture. She has also worked extensively in drug and alcohol treatment with adults. She recently completed her dissertation about alcohol use in communities that have been displaced by political conflict and during her research, she worked extensively with the Karen refugee community from Burma, many of whom are currently living as refugees in Thailand. Another interest area includes how community and families are responding to displacement. In her spare time, Dr. McCleary enjoys spending time with her husband, Kyle and their chocolate lab, Blue. Click here to Dr. McCleary's CV.


Jane Parker
, Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Psychosocial Health; Ph.D., Tulane School of Social Work; LCSW, MPH, Tulane School of Public Health; MSW, University of Southern Mississippi.
Dr. Parker is a licensed clinical social worker, teacher and administrator whose practice and research interests are in leadership development and effective crisis interventions with individuals, groups and communities. She consults with national and international companies on issues of organization development and programs to boost resiliency in primary responders.  In addition to coordinating the Certificate Program in Disaster Mental Health at TSSW, Professor Parker provides community training in supervision and psychosocial health. Click here to see Dr. Parker's CV.

Reginald Parquet

Reginald Parquet
, Clinical Assistant Professor; MSW, Ph.D., Tulane University.
Dr. Parquet joined the Tulane School of Social Work in August 1999. His teaching expertise is in practice, research and field seminar.Dr. Parquet's primary research interests are in substance abuse intervention and treatment of at-risk, inner city children, families, and communities utilizing a strengths perspective and capacity building. Additionally, he is involved in designing and delivering community-based services and interventions, which draw upon the culture, subjugated knowledge, assets, and wisdom of the indigenous population. His current research examines the effectiveness of service variables on self-sufficiency attainment among residents of public housing. Click here to view Dr. Parquet's CV.

Heather Storer

Heather Storer
, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Washington School of Social Work.
Dr. Storer is an Assistant Professor at the Tulane School of Social Work. She earned her PhD at the University of Washington School of Social Work. She has worked nationally in the fields of dating and domestic violence prevention, girl’s leadership, and positive youth development. Heather’s research agenda focuses on exploring strategies to meaningfully engage youth as partners in the primary prevention of adolescent dating violence, sexual assault, and other high-risk behaviors. She is interested in infusing youth empowerment, cumulative adversity and place-based frameworks into the design and implementation of community-level approaches to dating violence prevention and adolescent health promotion.

Heather’s dissertation research explored the representation of dating violence in young adult literature, a media genre marketed directly to adolescent women. Findings underscored how structural and community-level determinants of TDV have been overshadowed in the media’s portrayal of dating violence. Her current work is exploring the framing of intimate partner violence on social media sites including Twitter. Heather has published her work in a handful of journals including: Violence Against Women, Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, and Children & Youth Services Review. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health Prevention Training Fellowship, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to research, Heather has a strong commitment to preparing the next generation of social workers with the skills, competencies, and humility to engage in ethical and socially just practice. Click here to view Dr. Storer's CV.

Tonya Thurman

Tonya Renee Thurman, Research Associate Professor; Country Director, Tulane International South Africa; MPH, Ph.D.

Dr. Thurman has a Masters of Public Health and PhD in International Health & Development. Dr. Thurman specializes in the areas of program design, evaluation methodologies, operations research and capacity building pertaining to initiatives for highly vulnerable children. She serves as Director of the Center for Research on Highly Vulnerable Children, a multi-disciplinary initiative dedicated to compiling an evidence base for programs serving disadvantaged children. She currently resides in South Africa as Country Director for the Tulane International office while directing several major USAID-funded longitudinal evaluation studies focused on in-country programs for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Her activities in South Africa extend beyond rigorous evaluations to include participation in the development of individual case studies of OVC program models supported by PEPFAR, with 36 in press to date, along with ongoing technical assistance to community and government OVC stakeholders.  Also in sub-Saharan Africa, she led the first and largest U.S. government-funded series of OVC public health evaluations in Kenya and Tanzania, and played a central role in the longitudinal evaluation of a mentoring program for youth-headed households in Rwanda. Her focus on highly vulnerable children is complemented by her prior research on AIDS-related issues, such as a sexual violence study in Lesotho, Priority Local AIDS Control Studies (PLACE) in Lesotho and Malawi, and an evaluation of a case management program for people living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda. Her experience pertaining to vulnerable children extends beyond Africa to include efforts to strengthen the design, monitoring and evaluation of programs for street children and child prostitutes within Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Closer to home, Dr. Thurman served as an evaluation specialist analyzing the impacts of a school-based psychosocial program for elementary school students affected by Hurricane Katrina. Beyond the methodological rigor of these activities, each of the projects she leads is carefully geared toward improving policy and programming for vulnerable children. Click here to view Dr. Thurman's CV.

Qingwen Xu

Qingwen Xu
, Associate Professor; LL.M., New York University; PhD, University of Denver.
Qingwen Xu received her Ph.D. in social work from the University of Denver in 2002 and LL.M. from New York University in 2000.  Before joining Tulane School of Social Work, she taught at Boston College and San Francisco State University.  Her research adopts a comparative perspective and focuses on analyzing the social service law and studying its relationships with other legal systems, particularly the migration system; investigating the impact of legal vulnerability on individual and family’s health and mental health; and studying people’s perception of and behavior in the community and exploring community-based interventions to improve the health and mental health outcomes among community members. Click here to view Dr. Xu's CV.