Joshua Mersky, PhD

Professor
Social Work

Dr. Joshua Mersky is a professor of social work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and founding co-director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being (ICFW). Dr. Mersky’s research interests include the study of adverse and traumatic experiences that undermine health and well-being over the life course. He applies his expertise to developing, testing, and disseminating effective strategies in community settings to promote resilience.

Education:

  • Ph.D., Social Welfare, Minor and Certificate in Prevention Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
  • MSW, Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2001
  • B.A., History, University of Mary Washington, 1995

Professional Interests:

  • Trauma and resilience
  • Prevention and intervention
  • Program evaluation
  • Translational research

Current Funding:

  • 3/1/21-2/28/22: Co-Investigator (with James Topitzes, PI), Milwaukee Equity Action Plan. Funding: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • 3/1/21-6/30/21: Co-Investigator (with Colleen Janczewski, PI), Home Visiting and Child Welfare Population Analysis. Funding: Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
  • 11/1/20-4/30/22: Principal Investigator, Innovations in Social-Emotional Development: Evaluation of Birth to 3 Grantee Program. Funding: Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
  • 8/1/20-12/31/21: Co-Investigator (with James Topitzes, PI), Evaluation of the Boys and Men of Color Initiative. Funding: Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin.
  • 9/30/19-9/29/21: Principal Investigator, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Grant Program (Lead Partner Agency: Wisconsin Department of Children & Families). Funding: U.S. DHHS, Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • 1/1/19-6/30/20: Principal Investigator, Family Connects Racine County: Impact Evaluation (Lead Partner Agency: Central Racine County Health Department). Funding: Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board.
  • 10/1/18-10/1/21: Principal Investigator (with James Topitzes), Family-Centered Systems: A Two-Generation Strategy (Lead Partner Agency: Higher Expectations for Racine County). Funding: Strive Together.
  • 9/30/17-9/29/22: Principal Investigator, Trauma and Recovery Project (Lead Partner Agency: Wisconsin Department of Children & Families). Funding: U.S. DHHS, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • 9/30/17-9/29/22: Principal Investigator, Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Family Treatment Drug Courts (Lead Partner Agency: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division). Funding: U.S. DHHS, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • 1/1/17-12/31/21: Co-Investigator with James Topitzes (PI) and David Pate (Co-I), Healthy Workers, Healthy Wisconsin (Lead Partner Agency: Community Advocates Public Policy Institute). Funding: Wisconsin Partnership Program, UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • 9/30/19-9/29/21: Principal Investigator, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Grant Program (Lead Partner Agency: Wisconsin Department of Children & Families). Funding: U.S. DHHS, Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • 10/1/18-10/1/21: Co-Principal Investigator (with James Topitzes), Family-Centered Systems: A Two-Generation Strategy (Lead Partner Agency: Higher Expectations for Racine County). Funding: Strive Together.
  • 9/30/17-9/29/22: Principal Investigator, Trauma and Recovery Project (Lead Partner Agency: Wisconsin Department of Children & Families). Funding: U.S. DHHS, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • 9/30/17-9/29/22: Principal Investigator, Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Family Treatment Drug Courts (Lead Partner Agency: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division). Funding: U.S. DHHS, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • 1/1/17-12/31/21: Co-Investigator with James Topitzes (PI) and David Pate, Healthy Workers, Healthy Wisconsin (Lead Partner Agency: Community Advocates Public Policy Institute). Funding: Wisconsin Partnership Program, UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Select Publications (last three years):

  • Mersky, J. P., Choi, C., Plummer Lee, C, & Janczewski, C. E. (accepted). Disparities in adverse childhood experiences by race/ethnicity, gender, and economic status: Intersectional analysis of a nationally representative sample. Child Abuse & Neglect.
  • Janczewski, C. E., & Mersky, J. P. (accepted). A brief measure of workplace environment for health and human service professionals. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance.
  • Gilbert, R., Mersky, J. P., & Plummer Lee, C. (in press). Prevalence and correlates of vaccine hesitancy in a sample of low-income mothers. Preventive Medicine Reports.
  • Zhang, L., & Mersky, J. P. (in press). Bidirectional relations between adverse childhood experiences and children’s behavioral problems. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.
  • Plummer Lee, C., Mersky, J. P., Marsee, I., & Fuemmeler, B. (in press). Child maltreatment and marijuana use in adolescence and early adulthood. Development and Psychopathology.
  • Mersky, J. P., Plummer Lee, C., Janczewski, C. E. (Advance online publication). Advancing the assessment of adverse adult experiences: A validation study of the Adult Experiences Survey. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
  • Zhang, L., Mersky, J. P., & Topitzes, J. (2020). Adverse childhood experiences and psychological well-being in a rural sample of Chinese young adults. Child Abuse & Neglect, 108, 104658.
  • Choi, C., Mersky, J. P., Janczewski, C. E., Lee, C. T. P., Davies, W. H., & Lang, A. C. (2020). Validity of an expanded assessment of adverse childhood experiences: A replication study. Children and Youth Services Review, 117, 105216.
  • Mersky, J. P., Janczewski, C. E., & Plummer Lee, C., Gilbert, R. M., McAtee, C., & Yasin, T. (2020). Effects of home visiting on breastfeeding and bedsharing in a low-income urban sample. Journal of Health Education and Behavior. 1-8.
  • Plummer Lee, C., Mersky, J. P., Marsee, I., & Fuemmeler, B. (in press). Child maltreatment and marijuana use in adolescence and early adulthood. Development and Psychopathology. 
  • Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., Janczewski, C. E., Plummer Lee, C., McGaughey, G., & McNeil, C. (2020). Translating and implementing evidence-based mental health services in child welfare. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services, 47(5), 693-704. 
  • Mersky, J. P., Plummer Lee, C., Gilbert, R., Goyal, D. (2020). Prevalence and correlates of maternal and infant sleep problems in a low-income US sample. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 24(2), 196-203
  • Blair, K., Topitzes, J., & Mersky, J. P. (2019). Brief, group-based parent-child interaction therapy: Examination of treatment attrition, non-adherence, and non-response. Children and Youth Services Review. 
  • Topitzes, J., Mersky, J. P., Mueller, D. J., Bacalso, E., & Williams, C. (2019). Implementing Trauma Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (T‐SBIRT) within employment services: A feasibility trial. American Journal of Community Psychology, 64(3-4), 298-309.
  • Herrenkohl, T. I., Mersky, J. P., & Topitzes, J. (2019). Applied and translational research on trauma-responsive programs and policy: Introduction to a special issue of the American Journal of Community Psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 64(3-4), 281-285.
  • Mersky, J. P., & Plummer Lee, C. (2019). Adverse childhood experiences and poor birth outcomes in a diverse, low-income sample. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 19(387), 1-7. 
  • Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., & Britz, L. (2019). Promoting evidence-based, trauma-informed social work practice. Journal of Social Work Education, 55(4), 645-657.  
  • Mersky, J. P., Plummer Lee, C., & Gilbert, R. M. (2019). Client and provider discomfort with an adverse childhood experiences survey. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57(2), e51-e58. 
  • Blair, K., Topitzes, J., & Mersky, J. P. (2019).  Do parents’ adverse childhood experiences influence treatment responses to Parent-Child Interaction Therapy? An exploratory study with a child welfare sample. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 41(2), 73-83
  • Janczewski, C. E., Mersky, J. P., & Brondino, M. J. (2019). Those who disappear and those who say goodbye: Patterns of attrition in long-term home visiting. Prevention Science, 1-11. 
  • Mersky, J. P., & Janczewski, C. E. (2018). Adverse childhood experiences and postpartum depression in home visiting programs: Prevalence, association, and mediating mechanisms. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(7), 1051-1058.
  • Mersky, J. P., Janczewski, C. E., & Nitkowski, J. C. (2018). Pathways to poor mental health among low-income women in the U.S.:  Exploring the role of adverse childhood and adult experiences. Social Science and Medicine, 206, 14-21.
  • Mersky, J. P., & Janczewski, C. E. (2018). Racial and ethnic differences in the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences: Findings from a low-income sample of US women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 76, 480-487.

Curriculum Vitae