Kent School Faculty Receive UofL 2020 Distinguished Faculty Awards

Every year, the University honors faculty who bring distinction to the university through their commitment to the areas of service, teaching, and outstanding scholarship, research, and creative activity. This year five Kent School faculty members were recognized for their service, teaching and/or research. The Kent School recipients of the 2020 UofL Distinguished Faculty Awards are listed below:

Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity


Dr. Martin HallMartin Hall (Social Sciences)

Dr. Hall’s research is broadly focused on establishing predictors of substance use and developing and evaluating effective interventions. He currently serves as the evaluator for Kentucky’s Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START), a child welfare intervention for families with co-occurring substance use and child maltreatment. The START program evaluation is currently funded through the Administration for Children & Families Title IV -E Child Welfare Waiver awarded to the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services. Previous studies of the program have shown that children in families served by START are removed from the home at about half the rate of comparison families. Additionally, a recent study demonstrated that medications for opioid use were associated with improved child welfare outcomes.

Dr. Hall also has a longstanding research interest in the epidemiology of the non-medical use of prescription drugs, particularly in understudied populations (e.g., rural Appalachians; institutionalized youth; women on probation and parole). A previous study established distinct sub-types of individuals who report non- medical prescription drug Subsequent work described the relationship of psychological distress (e.g., PTSD) and physical health status (e.g., pain symptoms) on non-medical prescription drug use.



Distinguished Service

image of Dr. KayserKaren Kayser (National International Service)

Dr. Kayser’s research focuses on 1) the understanding of interpersonal and cultural factors that influence the adjustment to cancer and 2) how to make system changes to improve the delivery of cancer prevention programs and psychosocial care to cancer patients and their caregivers. She conducts research on cancer-related stress with individuals, couples, and families both in the United States and internationally. Her recent research addresses the critical need for effective cervical cancer prevention programs for subpopulations that are at high risk for cervical cancer. Using a Community-based Participatory Research approach, she has launched two projects to prevent cervical cancer in rural Kentucky and in inner-city Louisville.

A Fulbright-supported sabbatical in 2018 gave Dr. Kayser the opportunity to work with psychologists and social workers at the Cancer Institute in Chennai (Madras), India. Her work focused on building the research capacity of the psycho-oncology services. To sustain her work in India, upon returning to the States, she formed a team of psychosocial researchers and using the telementoring model of ECHO®, they met with the Cancer Institute’s psycho-oncology staff bi-monthly for 12 video-conference sessions. Dr. Kayser believes that the ECHO® model is an effective way to translate and disseminate research into practice.



Distinguished Service

image of Dr. SarBibhuti Sar (Service to U of L)

Dr. Sar’s research focus is on identification of factors and practices for the improvement of quality of life of vulnerable families and children. The emphasis is on community-based research utilizing multiple perspectives and methodologies to better understand child and family functioning and wellbeing in the context of the broader community and societal conditions and circumstances. Some specific topics of interest are trauma, services impact and effectiveness, workforce training and development, and curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.

Currently, Dr. Sar is the Principal Investigator of the 1) SAMHSA funded and National Child Traumatic Stress Network NCTSN partnered Center for Promoting Recovery and Resilience (CPRR) (2012-present) which partners with community based child serving organizations to provide evidence-based trauma informed interventions to traumatized children and adolescents, 2) the SAMHSA funded Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) for Allied Professionals (2018-present) who provide services to children and youth in settings other than mental health, 3) the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) funded Survivors of Torture Recovery Center (STRC) (2019- present) which focuses on trauma informed care of refugees and immigrants with past history of being victimized by torture, and 4) the Director of the Credit for Learning Program (CFL) (2002-present), which aims to professionalize the child welfare workforce through teaching and coaching new and tenured child welfare workers on critical elements of delivering.

Dr. Sar has been previously funded by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau to develop and evaluate Culturally Specific Trauma Services for Spanish Speaking Refugees and Immigrant Families Impacted by Domestic Violence (2013- 2017), by the Administration for Children & Families, Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) to implement a demonstration project that promoted academic stability and success of foster youth in 6th thru 8th grade at risk for dropping out of school (2012-2014), by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), to investigation of the effectiveness of a developmental mentoring model as an intervention/ prevention strategy for juveniles of varying levels of risk among middle school youth (2011-2013) and Training and Evaluation of Preventing child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency through evidence based community education and intervention (2007-2009) , and by the U.S. Children’s Bureau to implement and evaluate the strengthening marital relationships and post adoption services through community of care teams (2006- 2011).




Distinguished Teaching Professor

 Lori Paris (Part-Time)

Lori Paris is a part-time instructor at the Kent School of Social Work. Ms. Paris received a MSSW from Kent School of Social Work in 2007 with a specialization in gerontology. She also has an MA in Human Resources Development. Ms. Paris is a licensed clinical social worker in Indiana and Kentucky and has worked at Department of Veterans Affairs for the past eight years as the Medical Foster Home Program Coordinator and Veteran Community Partnership Coordinator. She is also the Chair of the Professional Development Committee for all social workers in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Paris joined the faculty at Kent School of Social Work in 2013 and has a passion for teaching. She has taught courses across multiple specializations within the Kent School. Ms. Paris also works as a therapist at Associates in Counseling and Psychotherapy in New Albany, IN and specializes in working with all ages who have experienced trauma. She is also a trainer for EMDR Consulting which trains therapists throughout the country on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.

Ms. Paris is the President of the Mental Health and Aging Coalition and is currently working on a grant through the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health focused on trauma-informed care with older adults. Ms. Paris has received awards from the Social Work Leadership Institute at the New York Academy of Medicine, the Dr. Jef Frank Recognition Award from Kent School in 2018, and a Distinguished Practitioner Award for services in the Field of Gerontology in 2019 at the Optimal Aging Conference. She has presented at several national conferences including The Council for Social Work Education, National Association of Social Workers, Aging in America, and the National Area Agency on Aging. Ms. Paris and is one of the opening panel speakers for the Indiana National Association of Social Workers scheduled for September 2020.



Distinguished Teaching Professor

Sharon SandersSharon Sanders (Full-Time)

Sharon Sanders graduated from Kent School with a specialty in Comprehensive Health. She has been teaching at Kent since 1997, and has taught all the practice courses for both years along with the electives Social Work and the Law, and a former elective Child and Family. Sharon has also been an active field liaison. She currently teaches the second year practice courses, the elective Social Work and the Law and serves as a field liaison. She also teaches in the online program. Prior to teaching at Kent School, Sharon taught at Carver School of Social Work.

Sharon's professional work history has centered on children and families. Her professional social worker history includes working as a CPS investigator and also was one of the social workers in the pilot program of pairing social workers with police officers to respond to high risk situations (this now has evolved into Crimes Against Children team), working at Home of the Innocents, and at Seven Counties in the Child and Family Division. While her last years have been spent in management, supervision and training she has an LCSW. Currently, Sharon serves on the Kentucky Board of Social Work. Research interests: children and families; mental health; child abuse, neglect and dependency; teaching, training and developing new social work professionals.


Congratulations to all of the Kent School faculty award recipients! All award recipients for the entire University are listed online here.