Jennifer Zelnick, MSW, ScD

Professor, Chair, Social Welfare Policy Sequence

Jennifer Zelnick

Dr. Jennifer Zelnick has a BA from Temple University; an MSW from University of Pittsburgh; and an ScD from University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Dr. Jennifer Zelnick’s academic and practice career has focused on advocacy and organizing to improve social policies in health and social services. Before embarking on an academic career, Dr. Zelnick worked with youth and families in community-based social services that addressed domestic violence, substance abuse, and homelessness in Philadelphia, PA and Tucson, AZ; worked as a community/union organizer; and served as the executive director of a non-profit organization dedicated to health care reform. She has taught social welfare policy, community organizing, and research at the Master’s level at Salem State University and the Hunter College School of Social Work for more than 10 years.

Dr. Zelnick’s research focuses on the health and social service workplace and begins with the premise that that quality health/social services depend on decent, sustainable work environments. She is a committed public health social worker, with training in community organization and planning and occupational health and safety. Her research is geared towards useful input into policy development. Recent projects include:

  • Total worker health from the shop floor: A union-led design team process to identify workplace health protection and promotion priorities for New York City child welfare workers, a participatory research project investigating the connection between work organization, stress, health, and wellness among child welfare workers. (Primary Investigator, Center For the Promotion of Health in the New England Workforce).  In collaboration with the Health and Wellness Committee of the Social Service Employees Union Local 371, AFSCME DC 37, AFL-CIO.
  • Supporting drug-resistant tuberculosis patient medication adherence and retention in care in the transition from hospital to community-based care: An integrated training for hospital and community based social workers to enhance the M/XDR-TB HIV care continuum. A project to support the engagement of public health social workers in treatment for drug-resistant TB/HIV patients. (Primary Investigator, Center for the Programme of AIDS Research in South Africa)
  • Evaluation a multimodal behavioral intervention to reduce stigma in HIV/Drug resistant tuberculosis in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A randomized control trial of a social work intervention to reduce stigma among drug resistant TB/HIV patients in South Africa. (Co-Investigator, NIH/Fogarty)
  • Human Service Workforce Study. Workforce survey of human service workers in New York metropolitan region exploring the impact of privatization and managerialism on the human service workforce. In collaboration with Dr. Mimi Abramovitz, Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College of CUNY.

Dr. Zelnick serves on the editorial boards of Affilia: the journal of women in social work, Health and Social Work, and New Solutions: A journal of environmental and occupational health policy, a board member of the New York State Social Work Education Association, and a Carework Network steering committee member. As the chair of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work Social Welfare Policy sequence, Dr. Zelnick will dedicates her strengths and passion to engaging clinical social work students from different backgrounds in learning about the political process, social justice, advocacy, and macro-practice skills needed for change-oriented leadership in the social work field.