Associate Professor of Social Work

Dr. Jennifer Putney has extensive clinical social work experience working with individuals, couples, and families affected by substance use disorders and mental health concerns. She parlayed her clinical experience into a career in social work education teaching across the social work curriculum. Her areas of teaching focus include substance use, clinical social work practice, interprofessional practice, and social work research. 

Dr. Putney's areas of research interest include the behavioral health risks and resilience among people of diverse sexualities and gender identities over the life course; the human-animal bond; and educational interventions to decrease the stigma associated with substance use disorders. She has led efforts to secure $5 million in external funding through eight grants. A large percentage of that funding directly supported multiple, diverse cohorts of students by providing stipends to support them while they gained the knowledge and skills needed to provide behavioral health services in underserved communities. 

As nationally recognized scholar, Putney regularly presents her work at a variety of national venues. She has served as a reviewer for many leading journals, and currently serves as a reviewer for International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, Journal of American Medical Directors, and Child and Adolescent Social Work.

Research and/or Creative Works

Recent Externally Funded Grants

Harm Reduction Training (HaRT) Scholars Program funded by RIZE Massachusetts, Principal Investigator, July 2021 - July 2024

Simmons SSW Expansion of Practitioner Education (ESPE) funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Principal Investigator, April 2020 - April 2022

Simmons Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (SOWEP) funded by Health Resources and Services Administration, Principal Investigator,  September 2019 - August 2022

Simmons Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Clinical Training (SIMPACT) funded by Health Resources and Services Administration, Principal Investigator, September 2017 - August 2022

Simmons Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Clinical Training-Substance Use Disorders (SIMPACT-SUD) funded by Health Resources and Services Administration, Principal Investigator, September 2018 - August 2020


*See attached CV for full listing of publications

Selected Journal Articles

Collin, C., Putney, J. M., Halmo, R., Caputo, A., Alves, J., McNally, K., & Cadet, T. (2022). Responsive continuing education: Using a virtual platform to address substance use disorders in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education, 25(2), 32-37.

Halmo, R., Sellers, C., Collin, C., Chinamasa, G., & Putney, J. M., (2022). Changes in social work students’ attitudes and knowledge following opioid overdose prevention training. Substance Abuse Journal, 43(1), 289-293.

Paschen-Wolff, M., Putney, J. M., Corbeil, T., Choo, T., & Hughes, T. (2021). The association between hazardous drinking indicators and drinking problem concerns among sexual minority women. Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health, 2(4), 317-335.

Wyman Battalen, A., Mereish, E., Putney, J. M., Sellers, C., Gushwa, M. & O’Brien, K. (2021). Associations of discrimination, suicide ideation severity and attempts, and depressive symptoms among sexual and gender minority youth. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 42(4), 301-308.

Putney, J. M., Hebert, N., Snyder, M., Linscott, R., & Cahill, S. (2021). The housing needs of sexual and gender minority older adults: Implications for policy and practice. Journal of Homosexuality, 68(14), 2375-2392.

Putney, J. M., Collin, C., Halmo, R., Cadet, T., & O’Brien, K. (2021). Assessing competence in screening and brief intervention using online patient simulation and critical selfreflection. Journal of Social Work Education, 57(3), 598-603.

Collin, C., Putney, J. M., Halmo, R., Ogden, L., & O’Brien, K. (2019). MSW students’ use of SBIRT: Toward an understanding of the gap between classroom and field education. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 19(1-2), 100-107.

O’Brien, K., Putney, J. M., Collin, C., Halmo, R., & Cadet, T. (2019). Optimizing SBIRT training for nurses and social workers: Testing the added effect of online simulation. Substance Abuse, 40(4), 484-488.

Putney, J. M., Levine, A., Collin, C., O’Brien, K. H. M., Mountain-Ray, S., & Cadet, T. (2019). Implementation of online client simulation to train and assess screening and brief intervention skills. Journal of Social Work Education, 55(1), 194-201.

Book Chapters

O’Brien, K. H. M., Liu, R., Putney, J. M., Burke, T., & Aguinaldo, L. D. (2017). Suicide and non-suicidal self-injury. In K. B. Smalley, J. C. Warren, & K. N. Barefoot (Eds.), LGBT health: Meeting the health needs of gender and sexual minorities. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Putney, J. M., O’Brien, K. H. M., Levine, A., & Collin, C. (2018). Evaluation of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) training for social workers. In A. L. Begun, D. M. DiNitto, & S. L. Straussner (Eds.), Implementing the grand challenge of reducing and preventing alcohol misuse and its consequences (pp. 169-187). New York, NY: Routledge.

Awards and Recognition

University Award for Excellence in Research, Simmons University (2020)

Community Partnership Award, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice (2020)

Rose Dobrof Award presented by the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (2019)

Jennifer Putney

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

  • Substance use and social work practice
  • Harm reduction
  • Interprofessional practice
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Social work education


  • PhD in Social Work, Simmons University in Boston, MA
  • Master of Social Work (MSW), University of Denver in Denver, CO
  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH