Malitta Engstrom, PhD, LCSW
Substance use and intersections with criminal justice system involvement, victimization, HIV, and mental health, particularly in relation to women across the life course and families
Informing, developing, and testing interventions to address co-occurring concerns
Enhancing the value of scientific findings for use in practice
Multigenerational social work practice with families
Malitta Engstrom is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice. With the aims of advancing understanding and services, her research focuses on substance use and intersections with criminal justice involvement, victimization, HIV, and mental health, particularly in relation to women across the life course and families; informing, developing, and testing interventions to address these intersecting concerns; and enhancing the value of scientific findings for use in practice. Dr. Engstrom’s research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Penn Center for AIDS Research, and other sources. Her research on childhood sexual abuse and HIV risk behaviors among women in methadone treatment was recognized by the Society for Social Work and Research in 2017 (Engstrom, Winham, & Gilbert, 2016, SSWR Excellence in Research Honorable Mention).
Dr. Engstrom has taught social work practice courses for over 15 years, including courses that focus on foundation practice, substance use practice, and practice with families experiencing physical and mental health concerns. She received the Excellence in Teaching Award for Standing Faculty in the School of Social Policy & Practice in 2014 and 2015. Dr. Engstrom has mentored many doctoral students who have conducted innovative research related to substance use, criminal justice system involvement, trauma, mental health, and HIV. Her teaching and scholarship are informed by numerous years of practice experience with individuals, couples, families, and groups and by her experience as a clinical supervisor and field instructor.
Dr. Engstrom has held institutional leadership positions at multiple institutions. These positions include serving as Personnel Committee Chair (Penn), Foundation Practice Sequence Chair (Penn), Clinical Concentration Chair (University of Chicago), Admissions Committee Chair (University of Chicago), and Morningside Institutional Review Board Student Representative (Columbia University). Dr. Engstrom has also served as a faculty advisor for multiple student organizations, including international social welfare, student support, and publication groups.
Before joining the SP2 faculty, Dr. Engstrom held appointments at the University of Chicago and Columbia University. She received her PhD in social work with distinction from the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where, as a National Institute of Mental Health National Research Service Awardee, she focused on mental health services research. Dr. Engstrom also holds a master’s degree in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University with an AB in educational studies (with honors) and in women’s studies.
3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
Department(s)Standing Faculty | MSW Program | Faculty | School Administration | Degree Programs
Program(s)MSW | DSW | PhD
Research Areas(s)Mass Incarceration, Homelessness, Substance Use