Joy Ernst

Joy Ernst

Associate Professor

 Expert in gerontology, elder justice, elder abuse and neglect


Joy Ernst


Joy Swanson Ernst, Associate Professor of Social Work, joined the Wayne State faculty in August 2016. From August 2016-2019, she served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Before that, she was Professor of Social Work and director of the undergraduate social work program at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She received her PhD in 1999 from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. While at the University of Maryland, she was the research director for the Family Connections program. She has had social work positions in agencies that serve families and children and runaway and homeless youth.

Ernst is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and a former Hartford Faculty Scholar. Her research interests include elder mistreatment and adult protective services (APS) programs, palliative and end of life care, and the impact of climate change on older adults. She has published articles and book chapters on adult protective services and elder mistreatment, child abuse and neglect, and social work education. She is co-author, with Anissa T. Rogers, of Aging in the Social Environment (Oxford, 2023). She serves on the Research to Practice Interest Group for the National Adult Protective Services Association where she has worked on projects including the APS Administrative Data Initiative, which aims to build a network of APS practitioners and researchers to improve efforts to use APS administrative data to better understand elder abuse and how to address it.

Click here to view Curriculum Vitae

Degrees and Certifications

• PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore
• M.S.W., Rutgers University
• B.A., History, University of Chicago

Teaching Interests

• Human rights and social justice
• Social work practice with older adults
• Social welfare history
• Social policy

Areas of Expertise

• Elder Justice
• Elder Abuse and Neglect
• Adult Protective Services (APS) programs
• Gerontological social work education

Courses taught by Joy Ernst

Winter Term 2024 (current)

Fall Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

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