Amber Holbrook, MSW, PhD, LSW
- BA: Hampshire College
- MSW: University of New England
- PhD, Social Work: Bryn Mawr College
Main areas of interest
- Program evaluation and implementation research
- Mental health
- Substance use disorders
I first became interested in issues of social justice during my undergraduate education, when I worked for the campus women's center and volunteered with the local Khmer refugee population. Following college, I volunteered for a domestic violence hotline for two years before entering an MSW program. I continued my advocacy for victims of intimate partner violence for five years before expanding my clinical practice and research to individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. Today my work focuses on ways that providers and communities can optimally support individuals in recovery to achieve wellness.
Program evaluation and implementation research
One of the ethical responsibilities of the social work profession is to ensure that social services are effective in meeting the needs of our clients. I collaborate with community agencies to evaluate interventions and programs and am dedicated to finding ways to engage social work students in critically evaluating their practice.
Students in my classes have assisted programs offering mobile psychiatric rehabilitation and homeless case management services to design evaluation plans. I am currently working on a project to evaluate the impact of training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy for direct care staff in residential programs.
- Holbrook, A., Hunt, S., & See, M.R. (2017, January). Implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in a Residential Setting: Dissemination and Evaluation. Poster session to be presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Social Work Research, New Orleans, LA.
- Berger, C., & Holbrook, A. (2016, November). Development and implementation of standardized simulations for macro-level practice. Panel to be presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
- Holbrook, A. (2016, November). Building capacity for program evaluation: A university-agency collaboration model. Paper presented at WCU Research Day, West Chester, PA.
- Holbrook, A. (2016, April). Implementation of an evidence-based practice in a community agency. Paper presented at WCU Research Day, West Chester, PA.
- Holbrook, A., & Hunt, S. (2016, January). Implementation of an evidence-based practice in a community agency: Dissemination, evaluation, and lessons learned. Poster session presented at annual meeting of the Society of Social Work Research, Washington, DC.
- Holbrook, A., & Chen, W. (2015, October). Teaching program evaluation to social work students: An agency collaboration model. Interactive workshop presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.
- Chen, W., & Holbrook, A. (2015, October). Learning by doing: An experiential approach to teaching program evaluation. Paper presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.
- Holbrook, A.M., & Chen, W-Y. (2016). Learning by doing: An experimental approach to program evaluation. Social Work Education: The International Journal. Advance online publication.
- Holbrook, A., & Nguyen, V. (2015). Medication-assisted treatment for pregnant women: A systematic review of the evidence and implications for social work practice. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research, 6(1), 1-19.
- Holbrook, A., Jones, H.E., Heil, S.H., Martin, P.R., Stine, S.M., Fischer, G., Coyle, M.G., & Kaltenbach, K. (2013). Induction of pregnant women onto opioid-agonist maintenance medication: An analysis of withdrawal symptoms and study retention. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 132(1-2), 329-334.
- Holbrook, A.M., & Kaltenbach, K.A. (2011). Effectiveness of a smoking cessation intervention for methadone-maintained women: A comparison of pregnant and parenting women. International Journal of Pediatrics, 2011, 1-6.
- Holbrook, A. (2015, January). Do specific dimensions of male gender role stress predict choice of coping strategies? Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Social Work Research, New Orleans, LA.
Substance use disorders
I have been conducting research in the field of substance use disorders for nearly a decade, with a specialization in maternal addiction. My research has included studies of treatment effectiveness for opioid dependence and nicotine abuse, the prevalence of co-occurring mental health disorders, and neonatal outcomes. I am currently collaborating with the Living Proof Recovery Center in Voorhees, N.J., to assess the effectiveness of Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) for individuals recovering from substance use disorders. This project expanded services in the peer recovery center and will evaluate the impact of WRAP on achievement of key recovery-related outcomes.
- Holbrook, A. (2015). Methadone versus buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid abuse in pregnancy: Science and stigma. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 41(5), 371-373.
- Holbrook, A.M., Baxter, J.K., Jones, H.E., Heil, S.H., Coyle, M.G., Martin, P.R., Stine, S.M., & Kaltenbach, K. (2012). Infections and obstetrical outcomes in opioid-dependent pregnant women maintained on methadone or buprenorphine. Addiction, 107(Suppl 1), 83-90.
- Kaltenbach, K., Holbrook, A.M., Coyle, M.G., Heil, S.H., Salisbury, A.L., Stine, S.M., Martin, P.R., & Jones, H.E. (2012). Predicting treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome in infants born to women maintained on opioid agonist medication. Addiction, 107(Suppl 1), 45-52.
- McNicholas, L.F., Holbrook, A.M., O'Grady, K., Jones, H.E., Coyle, M.G., Martin, P.R., Heil, S.H., Stine, S.M., & Kaltenbach, K. (2012). Effect of HCV status on liver enzymes in opioid-dependent pregnant women maintained on opioid-agonist medication.Addiction, 107(Suppl 1), 91-97.
Additional areas of research
- Holbrook, A.M., & Akbar, G. (2016, November). Incorporating environmental justice into social work education: A theoretical framework and application. Interactive workshop presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
- Buck, P.W., Tennille, J., & Holbrook, A. (2015, October). Beyond implicit and explicit curricula: A third dimension for social work education. Paper presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.
Graduate Faculty Appreciation Award, West Chester University - 2016
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