Kenny Kwong, Ph.D., LMSW

Chair, Research Sequence

Professor

Graduate School of Social Work

Biography

Practice and Teaching

Dr. Kwong has more than 20 years of professional social work experience in health and mental health sectors including 15 years of administrative, managerial, supervisory and consultation experiences as well as grant development experiences. He has extensive experience in fostering agency and community-based partnerships and is committed to advance social work practice with diverse and vulnerable populations in urban settings. Dr. Kwong held a Post Masters Certificate in Social Work Administration and completed Post Graduate Program in Social Work Supervision and Training at Hunter College School of Social Work. Before joining the Touro faculty, he taught full-time at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College for 7 years and served as the Chair of the Health and Mental Health Field of Practice. At Touro GSSW, he serves as the Chair of the Social Work Research Curriculum and directs the Asian American Social Work Initiative. He teaches social work research courses, Human Behavior and the Social Environment III, Identity and Social Justice, and an advanced clinical elective in social work practice in health care. His teaching embraces the opportunities put forward by pedagogical software to enhance student skill development.

Social Work Pedagogical Research

Dr. Kwong’s research is closely aligned to his social work practice interests and his teaching, through its focus on value-based knowledge, and relevance to social work education. In one study, “Advancing Social Work Practice Research Education – An Innovative, Experiential Pedagogical Approach”, he presented the experiential activities that form the basis of our research curriculum. This article and presentation of its findings further the important and often overlooked effort to raise the bar in research training for social work students—especially important given the increasing role of data in guiding our practice decisions. In another article “Understanding Work-Related Stress and Practice of Professional Self-Care”, he described and evaluated three sets of experiential learning activities with graduate level social work students, designed to increase their self-awareness and understanding of work-related stress, establish professional boundaries with difficult clients, and practice professional self-care. In his most recent article “Teaching Microaggressions, Identity, and Social Justice: A Reflective, Experiential and Collaborative Pedagogical Approach”, he described and evaluated five sets of reflective, experiential, and collaborative activities in a social justice course designed to help students examine the histories of various identity groups that have experienced discrimination and oppression and increase their self-awareness of both privilege and personal bias in one’s life. 

Health Disparity Research

Dr. Kwong has developed strong interest in research pertaining to health disparities and health care experiences of low-income immigrant populations. His past research program had covered a range of critical domains in health and mental health, namely health care access, cancer, depression, chronic disease, and tobacco use. A key element in his research entails understanding and addressing cultural and systemic barriers and socioeconomic constraints that limit access to effective treatment and impact the success of interventions for immigrant populations.

Prolonged Separation and Reunification Research

Dr. Kwong completed extensive research on the phenomena of prolonged separation and reunification among New York City Chinese immigrant population - the practice of sending infants back to China to be cared for by relatives until they reach school age. This practice, undertaken to facilitate parents’ ability to work as well as to preserve extended family support, has profound impacts on child development, adjustment, and parenting. His study “The Developmental Impact of Reverse-Migration Separation on Low-Income Chinese-American Children—Provider Perspectives” used qualitative methods to follow up on 2009 research that established trends in this community to examine the on-going developmental impacts on children. Another paper “Prolonged Separation and Reunification among Chinese Immigrant Children and Families: An Exploratory Study” was a qualitative study of Chinese immigrant families who have experienced prolonged separation and reunification.

Asian-American Social Workers’ Career, Stress, and Well-being Study

Dr. Kwong has also been a lead scholar in his latest groundbreaking research that documented the career experience, stress, and well-being among Asian-American social workers. His completed study, “Career Choice, Barriers, and Prospects of Asian American Social Workers” with two published articles following the study in 2018, was the first survey of more than 200 Asian American social workers and graduate students in the U.S. Among the topics explored were relationships between immigration status and family influence of career choices, perceptions of glass ceilings, discrimination, organizational fairness, and career prospects; work-related stressors and health problems; and factors contributing to job satisfaction or burnout; and how stress is managed. Because of the significance of this research, Dr. Kwong was frequently invited to share his insights and research findings at various organizations and networks, which was a catalyst for an in-depth exchange among health, mental health, social service, and educational professionals to address critical issues related to Asian American helping professionals’ career experience.  

Education

B.S.W, Hong Kong Shue Yan University; M.S.W., University of Alabama; Ph.D., the Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York