Clinical Research Institute

The Clinical Research Institute (CRI) at the Smith College School for Social Work supports research by faculty, students and the wider social work academic community.


The CRI was initially developed with a generous gift from the Brown Foundation, a Houston-based organization that supports education, the arts and community service. In alignment with the Brown Foundation's aims, the CRI enhances faculty development, serves as a hub for social work practice-based research and supports collaborative work among students, faculty and local communities, with a focus on mutual learning and mentorship. These objectives serve Smith College School for Social Work's goal of fostering excellence in clinical practice through research.

Supporting Research at the School for Social Work

The CRI supports the research development and activities of Smith College School for Social Work faculty and students. CRI's internal activities include:

  • Providing small grants to School for Social Work faculty and doctoral students to support ongoing and new research efforts and their dissemination.
  • Supporting community-based research and evaluation projects initiated by faculty or community partners.
  • Disseminating information about the School for Social Work's scholarly activities.
  • Increasing the mentorship of graduate students in research-related activities.

The CRI's other priorities include an ongoing evaluation of the School for Social Work's Anti-Racism Commitment, research assistance for community-based organizations and funds for faculty to present at conferences.

Supporting Research in the Broader Social Work Community

The CRI is poised to generate new investigations among doctoral students from the broader social work academic community as funds become available. For the current cycle, the priority will be research on interpersonal violence in same sex relationships. This theme was developed with a gift from an M.S.W. class of 1991 alumna Laurie Peter and her partner Betsy Bernard.


Professor James Drisko is the chair of the CRI.