ATLANTA — Dean Sally Wallace of Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) has announced Dr. Y. Joon Choi will join as professor and director of the School of Social Work effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Choi’s scholarship focuses on intimate partner violence, substance abuse and health disparities among immigrant and minority populations, especially in developing, implementing and evaluating socio-culturally appropriate community intervention and prevention strategies.
“This is what I’m most passionate about — finding solutions to complex social problems in partnership with communities,” Choi said. “Currently, I’m working with ethnic domestic violence service providers to increase the capacity of faith leaders for domestic violence prevention and intervention. Partnering with community organizations is essential for advances in this area to be sustainable.”
Choi has received significant research grants and contracts from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and nonprofit agencies. She has published her research in leading journals such as the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Journal of Family Violence, Journal of American College Health and Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Choi holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from the City University of New York and a B.A. from Ewha Womans University (Seoul).
Formerly a faculty member at the University of Georgia School of Social Work, Choi served as the interim associate dean for academic and faculty affairs (2021-22) and as director of the Ph.D. program (2017-21). She received the Ph.D. Program Teacher of the Year Award in 2018, 2019 and 2021. She serves as a commissioner on the Georgia Commission on Family Violence and is core faculty at the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory (IPRCE).
“Joon’s work to bring ethnic domestic violence service providers together with faith communities to create sustainable improvements fits like a glove with our school’s focus on community partnerships,” said Wallace. “We’re immensely excited about all the wonderful ways Dr. Choi will serve and lead the school.”
Choi admits she was attracted to AYSPS for several reasons.
“Georgia State University and our School of Social Work serve a diverse student body. Educating future social workers who look like the populations they will serve is critically important. Social work is not well known as a profession in immigrant communities, and we need more social workers representing diverse racial and ethnic groups,” she said. “As a first-generation immigrant woman of color, one of my priorities would be encouraging more immigrant and minority students to consider social work as a profession. I want this profession to be the one they look to in the future.”
She also considers its location an advantage, both geographically and institutionally.
“Being within the Andrew Young School is a significant benefit for our school. Many social problems social work is trying to address are complex and require many disciplines working together to solve them. Our location within the AYSPS makes collaboration so much easier.”
The school’s community partnership focus is also a powerful draw.
“I value the school’s focus on developing community partnerships as a profession,” Choi said. “This focus takes us back to the root of social work as a profession and prepares students to address the challenges communities face. Our students will be the leaders in efforts to develop collective solutions with others in the community to address these problems.”
Choi will receive the Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education (CORSW) Community Impact Award during the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting Nov. 12 in Anaheim, Calif.
She’s looking forward to joining Georgia State in January.
“I’m a city girl, born and raised in Seoul, a city of 12 million people,” she said. “Georgia State’s campus is like going back to where I came from — very energizing. There’s something dynamic and lively about the city. I’m looking forward to joining this dynamic and vibrant urban university.”