Elder abuse and neglect expert Joy Ernst receives National Adult Protective Services Association award

Joy Ernst smilingAssociate Professor Joy Ernst from the Wayne State University School of Social Work has been named the 2020 Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Award recipient by the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA).

Ernst received the 2020 award at a virtual ceremony held on November 17 in acknowledgment of her years of dedicated research into elder abuse and Adult Protective Services (APS) practice. Formed in 1989, the goal of NAPSA is to provide APS programs a forum for sharing information, solving problems, and improving the quality of services for victims of elder and vulnerable adult mistreatment. The Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Award was created to honor Wolf who dedicated her career to preventing and reducing elder abuse while advancing community awareness through education, policy, research and practice.

Elder abuse affects at least 1 in 10 older adults each year, and Adult Protective Services is the first responder in cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.  My work is part of larger efforts of a dedicated community of researchers and practitioners to expand research on Adult Protective Services to better serve vulnerable older adults who are at risk for abuse and neglect. – Joy Ernst

Ernst joined the Wayne State faculty in August 2016 and served as associate dean for academic affairs until 2019. Prior to that Ernst was a professor and director of the BSW Program at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland, School of Social Work in 1999 and has published articles on elder self-neglect, the use of multidisciplinary teams in APS, geriatric enrichment in social work education, the neighborhood correlates of child maltreatment, child welfare practice in New Zealand, and several book chapters on elder abuse and neglect.

As a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar Ernst’s research interests include elder mistreatment and adult protective services (APS) programs. She has worked closely with local and national organizations to support the School’s mission of advancing long and productive lives as part of the Grand Challenges for Social Work, an ambitious multi-platform agenda to eradicate 13 of the most pressing social challenges affecting individuals and communities.

Ernst currently serves as a member of the NAPSA Research Committee where she has worked on projects including a review of the research on APS published in the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, a review of the literature on self-neglect among older adults, and a web-based resource on evidence-based practice for APS workers. Ernst was also a member of the second Expert Working Group that made recommendations related to the Final National Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for State Adult Protective Services Systems, published by the ACL in 2016. In 2019, she served on Technical Expert Panels related on ACL-funded projects related to self-neglect and outcomes research in APS.

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