Black History Spotlight

Dr. Paula Allen-Meares

Photo of Brother Jihad Muhammad Paula Allen-Meares assumed the Chancellorship of the University of Illinois at Chicago in January 2009. She is a renowned national and international expert in social work, with a special emphasis on mental health of vulnerable and low-income individuals across the life span and the communities, organizations, and institutions that serve them. Major themes in her research include improving the mental health/health of poor children and adolescents of color; adolescent pregnancy; and the strengths of African-American parents and communities. Her research is supported by leading federal and foundation funders and is cited around the world; her theoretical model on school social work for at-risk youth has been translated into practice in South Africa, and principles of this model are also used in South Korea, Australia, China, and Europe.

She has an extensive record in academic research and publishing, and she serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals and publications. She is a New York Academy of Medicine Trustee and Fellow and serves as the Chair of the National Advisory Panel—Practicum Partnership Program Adoption Initiative. Dr. Allen-Meares was inducted as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2005. Previously, she served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the William T. Grant Foundation from 1999-2008, and as University of Michigan Senior Fellow.

Previously, Dr. Allen-Meares served as Dean and Norma Radin Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Professor of Education at the University of Michigan. Earlier in her career, she was Dean and Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

While at the University of Michigan, Dr. Allen-Meares successfully raised $34 million between 1995 and 1998 in private and public funds, ensuring that social work students could enjoy a world-class social work library, enhanced technology capacities in the classroom, and an open and inviting space for learning.

Dr. Allen-Meares received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, she received the Management Institute Certificate from Harvard University; completed the Executive Development Center’s Senior Administrator Seminar at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana’s College of Commerce and Business Administration; and received the Management of Managers Certificate from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration.


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