Greater Good

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Professor Gene Brody and his colleagues in UGA’s Center for Family Research implement evidence-based outreach programs that help families thrive.

A new ranking finds that the University of Georgia is the state’s top university for research in the social and behavioral sciences, fields in which our faculty are contributing evidence-based solutions to some of the toughest challenges facing our nation and world.

UGA researchers garnered nearly $13 million in federal funding for social sciences, psychology, law, communications, and social work research, according the latest annual ranking from the Consortium of Social Science Associations. In addition to being ranked first among Georgia universities, UGA is ranked 25th among public universities nationwide.

More than 65 researchers are affiliated with the University’s Owens Institute for Behavioral Research, which fosters interdisciplinary collaboration while also offering grant writing mentorship for junior faculty and pre- and post-award grant support. Research in the Owens Institute includes projects that are helping better understand mental disorders such as schizophrenia, enhancing literacy and math education, and exploring ways to reduce risky health behaviors.

Professor Pamela Orpinas, for example, has conducted research that can guide educators and policymakers as they develop programs and practices to reduce the high school dropout rate. Her research also seeks ways to reduce accident-related injuries and risky behaviors such as cigarette smoking and violence among youth. For older adults, a study recently published by assistant professor Orion Mowbray in the School of Social Work has identified ways that health care providers can help prevent problem drinking and encourage treatment. To help businesses and other organizations be more effective, Professor Lillian Eby conducts research whose results can be used to maximize the impact of mentoring and workplace wellness programs.

UGA has a strong track record of success in conducting impactful social sciences research. The Strong African American Families Program, which was developed by faculty in our Center for Family Research, has been shown to improve the health and well-being of African American youth by protecting against the negative effects that growing up in poverty can have on learning, memory and the ability to cope with stress.

The comprehensive nature of the University of Georgia creates extraordinary opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. UGA’s Center for Health and Risk Communication includes researchers in fields such as public health, journalism, psychology, sociology and economics. Collectively, they conduct research that helps federal agencies, state and local health departments, and healthcare providers more effectively communicate the threats associated with infectious diseases, the benefits of vaccine use and how social media can be used to encourage physical activity and better dietary choices.

Thanks to our faculty, the University of Georgia is a leader in social sciences research; our state, nation and world are healthier and more prosperous as a result.