Trina Salm Ward, PhD, APSW

Associate Professor
Social Work

Dr. Trina Salm Ward joined the faculty of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in August 2017. Dr. Salm Ward's primary teaching responsibility is social work methods: groups, organizations, and communities at the graduate level. She is also a center scientist at the Center for Urban Population Health.

Dr. Salm Ward’s research focuses on disparities in infant and maternal health, and specifically, on infant mortality. She is currently investigating infant sleep practices and risk of sleep-related infant deaths with a long-term goal of developing culturally-salient interventions aimed at reducing racial disparities in infant mortality.

Prior to her current position, Dr. Salm Ward was an assistant professor at the University of Georgia. This position was a joint appointment in the School of Social Work and the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior (College of Public Health) where she coordinated the MSW MPH program. Prior to earning her Ph.D., Dr. Salm Ward worked as a researcher at the Center for Urban Population Health, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Research, and as a family therapist at Wheaton Franciscan Services.


  • Ph.D., Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2012
  • M.S.W., Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1998
  • B.A., Psychology, St. Norbert College, 1996

Research and Professional Interests:

  • Infant sleep practices
  • Infant and family health
  • Racial disparities in maternal and infant health
  • Community-based research
  • Public health social work

 Recent Grants:

  • 2017-2019: Sleep Baby Safe: An ecologically tailored safe sleep coaching intervention for African American infant caregivers. American SIDS Institute. Role: Principal Investigator.
  • 2016-2017: Contract to evaluate the statewide Safe to Sleep Hospital Initiative. Georgia Department of Public Health. Role: Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Phaedra Corso).
  • 2015-2017: Contract to evaluate a crib distribution and safe sleep education program in Fulton County. Georgia Department of Public Health. Role: Principal Investigator.
  • 2014-2016: Reducing racial disparities in sleep-related infant deaths. National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program.
  • 2015: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Health Disparities Course. National Institutes of Health. Competitive award for NIH-funded training course.

Select Publications:

PubMed bibliography: