Wayne State University

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Tam Perry

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Assistant Professor
(313) 577-4402 (Phone)

Tam Perry is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. She recently received her PhD in Social Work and Anthropology from the University of Michigan. Her ethnographic research addresses housing transitions of older adults from a network perspective. As health, mobility and kin and peer networks alter, she explores how older adults contemplate their homes and its contents. She studies housing transitions because, while aging in place is often preferred and cost-effective, inevitably some older adults will undertake the emotional and physical labor, as well as the negotiation of medical, financial and long-term care infrastructures, involved in relocation. Her research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. She plans to begin a new research project in Detroit on relocation in older adulthood funded by the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research as well as conduct a longitudinal study of older adults who participated in her dissertation project funded by a University Research Grant from Wayne State University.

Click here to view Curriculum Vitae



Degrees and Certifications
  • Ph.D. (Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Anthropology), University of Michigan
  • M.A. in Anthropology, University of Michigan
  • M.S.S.W., University of Texas
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University
Teaching Interests
  • Theories of aging
  • History of social welfare policy for older Americans
  • Macro social work
  • Qualitative methods/Mixed methods
  • Social work in diverse populations/International social work
Areas of Expertise


  • Transitions, built environment and aging
  • Gerontological social work
  • Long-term care issues


  • Qualitative
Research Project

  • Katrina: Is there a role for anthropology and gerontology?
  • Navigating the conference spectrum.
  • That model is sooooo last millennium! Residential long term care as a system, not a place

For further details on other research, see Center for Social Work Research: http://research.socialwork.wayne.edu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1826&Itemid=282

Office Location
5447 Woodward Avenue, Rm 051
Courses Taught

SW 7820 Research Methods in Social Work
SW 9230 Theories for Practice & Research with Communities and Organizations