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SAVIR Spotlight

Kelsey ConrickKelsey ConrickPhD Candidate, University of Washington School of Social Work

You were one of one of our SAVIR student science winners in 2021 and 2022 at the annual conference. Can you tell me more about your research?

My work focuses on the role of social workers in supporting clients at risk of firearm-related harm. My interest in this topic began with the 2021 paper that won the Brooks Webb Student Paper Competition, currently in press at Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. I reviewed Extreme Risk Protection Orders to describe clinicians’ role in them.

I’m also interested in anti-racist methods to understand disparities in firearm violence. The work that was awarded the 2022 Best Student Science Award, which was just published in Injury Prevention, sought to support researchers studying the effect of structural racism on racial disparities in firearm homicide. We found researchers’ standard practice of adding the percent of the population who are Black (a measure of race) did not improve models over measures of structural racism.

What are your injury and violence prevention research interests?

My dissertation is exploring social workers’ roles in preventing firearm-related harm with clients. I’m working with them now to develop educational tools to help them understand the policies and resources currently available and get their thoughts on what we can do next to support them.

What is something you enjoy about participating in a SAVIR committee as a student?

As the student representative on the SAVIR board in 2021-2022, I loved the opportunity to understand the inner workings of SAVIR while learning from the senior researchers I’ve admired my whole career. I’ve also loved being on the Student and Early Career Professionals Committee for the last few years because it gives me the opportunity to spend time with and learn from up-and-coming injury and violence prevention researchers across the country.

What motivates you every day?

Since I grew up in a small rural town, I was once driven by the prospect of finding solutions to firearm injuries and violence that were both effective and acceptable to those even in a very pro-gun culture. Now that I have a 6-month-old daughter, knowing that firearms are the leading cause of death for children makes my work feel more urgent. I think social workers are a critical but understudied way to address this issue and knowing my work could make a difference motivates me every day.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend most of my time playing with my daughter, Ellie. She’s quite an active kid, and she keeps me on my toes daily.

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