Jennifer Putney

Assistant Professor of Social Work
  • School of Social Work
Jennifer Putney photo


(617) 521-3971

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  • M.S.W.
  • Ph.D. 

What I Teach

  • SW 421A & B Social Work Practice I: 2009-current
  • SW 438 Drugs, Alcohol, and Social Work Practice: 2007, 2012-current 
  • SW 569 Advanced Standing Seminar: 2013
  • SW 441 Social Work Research Methods: 2009-2013 
  • SW 401A & B Social Work Policy and Services: 2010-2011 
  • SW 568 Evidence-Based Practice with Substance Use Disorders: 2009 

SocialWork@Simmons – Fully online Master’s Program

  • Course Designer, SW 421A & B Social Work Practice I
  • Course Lead, SW 421A Social Work Practice I
  • Section Instructor, SW 421A Social Work Practice I

Research/Creative Activities

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

Muraco, A., Putney, J. M., Shiu, C., & Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. (2018). “Life saving in every way”: The role of companion animals in the lives of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults age 50 and over. Research on Aging, DOI: 10.1177/0164027517752149

Putney, J. M., Sankar, S., Harriman, K. K., O'Brien, K. H. M., Robinson, D. S., & Hecker, S. (2017). An innovative behavioral health workforce initiative: Keeping pace with an emerging model of care. Journal of Social Work Education53, S5-S16. doi:10.1080/10437797.2017.1326329

Putney, J. M., O’Brien, K. H. M., Levine, A., & Collin, C. (2017). Evaluation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training for social workers. The Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 17(1-2), 169-187.

Putney, J. M., Leafmeeker, R., & Hebert, N. (2016). The wisdom of age: Perspectives on aging and growth among older lesbian adults. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 59(3), 234-251.

O’Brien, K. H. M., Putney, J. M., Hebert, N. & Falk, A. (2016). Sexual and gender minority youth suicide: Understanding subgroups difference to inform interventions. LGBT Health, 3(4), 1-4.

Bradford, J. B., Putney, J. M., Shepard, B. L., Sass, S. E., Rudicel, S. Ladd, H. & Cahill, S. (2016). Healthy aging in community for older lesbians. LGBT Health, 3(2), 109-115.

Pugatch, M., Putney, J. M., O’Brien, K. H. M., Rabinow, L., Weitzman, E. & Levy, S. (2015). Integrating addictions training into clinical social work education. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 10 (Suppl 1), A49.

Putney, J. M. (2014). Older lesbian adults’ psychological well-being: The significance of pets. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 26(1), 1-17.

Putney, J. M. (2013). Relational ecology: A theoretical framework for understanding the human-animal bond. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 40(4), 57-80.


Training in Adolescent SBIRT for Medical Professionals
Funded by: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)
Aims: 1) Train social work students and educators in the use of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) with adolescents at risk for substance use disorders, 2) Evaluate the impact of the training, 3) Infuse SBIRT training into the social work core curriculum, 4) Widely disseminate the curriculum and training materials via national professional organizations.
Role: Site Director, Simmons School of Social Work
Principal Directors: Sharon Levy, MD, Elissa Weitzman, ScD

Workforce Behavioral Health Initiative (BHWI): Enhancing Clinical Social Work Capacity to Provide Prevention and Treatment for Children, Adolescents, and Transition Aged Youth at Risk for Behavioral Health Disorders
Funded by: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Aims: 1) Provide a clinical training program that prepares social work students to work in integrated health and behavioral health care settings and to provide specialized behavioral health services to youth with or at risk for behavioral health disorders, 2) Increase the number of clinical social work field placements in settings specializing in behavioral health services to children adolescents and transitional age youth with or at risk for behavioral health disorders, 3) Increase the number of graduates who obtain employment in clinical social work positions serving youth at risk for or with behavioral health disorders, 4) Create a sustainable institutional process for increasing the number of social work graduates who are committed to careers working with youth at risk for or with behavioral health disorders, 5) Conduct a longitudinal evaluation of the program.
Role: Co-Director of Education
Project Director: Kim Harriman, MSW

Healthy Aging in Place for Older Lesbians
Funded by: The Fenway Institute
Aims: 1) To identify factors that may facilitate or pose barriers to older lesbians’ ability to age in place, including health issues experienced disproportionately by lesbians such as obesity and depression, family and social networks, socio-cultural environment in their communities, and minority stress from experiences of stigma and discrimination, 2) To discuss older lesbians’ expectations about where and how they hope to live as they age and explore possible adaptations to aging in place programs that are designed for the general population, given the specific concerns and needs of older lesbians. 
Role: Co-Investigator & Data Analyst
Principal Investigator: Judith Bradford, PhD

Companion Animals in the Lives of Older Lesbian Adults: An Exploratory Study
Funded by: Simmons University Student Research Fund
Aims: 1) Explore how companion animals may support psychological well-being, 2) Understand the needs of aging lesbian women with respect to providing care for their companion animals, 3) Illuminate shared themes that may have implications for building theory about human-animal interactions.
Role: Principal Investigator