Monday, May 15, 2023

Susan Barkan, principal research scientist and director of research at the School’s Partners for Our Children (P4C), retired after 15 years. She will continue to collaborate on scholarship and disseminate research.

With more than 25 years of experience in epidemiology and parent and child health, Susan’s research, scholarship and service roles were varied and included social determinants of health, elimination of disparities in health and wellness, child welfare, HIV/AIDS, and community-based collaborative intervention research and evaluation.

In announcing Susan’s retirement, Emiko A. Tajima, associate professor and executive director of P4C, said: “We are so grateful for Susan’s many contributions to the field and her congoing commitment to the well-being of all children, youth and families, to systems change, and to equity in addressing social determinants of health.”

At P4C, Susan was principal investigator on the Strive Supervised Visitation Program, a parent-support and education program designed for families involved with the child welfare system. As a recent recipient of a UW CoMotion Innovation Gap award and with funding from an alumni award from Antioch’s Winning Victories for Humanity, Susan helped adapt Strive into an online training program to increase statewide access. During the pandemic, when in-person parent-child visits were prohibited, Susan was part of the team that created online training to support parents until in-person visits could safely resume. She also worked with a local Tribe to adapt Strive for Native families.

With the knowledge that adolescents in foster care are at risk for a variety of adverse outcomes, Susan helped adapt, develop and test a preventive interview to assist these youth and their families in reducing the chances of engaging in risky behaviors. Her efforts were carried out in collaboration with the School’s Social Development Research Group and the public child welfare system.

Susan received a BA in psychology and biology from Antioch College, a PhD in epidemiology from Yale University, and a post-doc from Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital. Active in anti-racist initiatives and focused on eliminating disproportionality in the child welfare system, Susan was a longtime member of the King County Racial Disproportionality Coalition and the Washington State Racial Disproportionality Advisory Committee. For 20 years, she was a clinical assistant professor affiliated with the Department of Epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.