J Allen

J Allen

Assistant Professor



J Allen


Allen joined Wayne State University’s School of Social Work faculty as an assistant professor in Fall 2017. Allen received his PhD (2017) from the University of Georgia, his MSW (2008) from Florida International University, and his Bachelors (2004) from Hampden-Sydney College. His research interests, over the years, include the exploration of issues associated with gender and sexuality, HIV policy and advocacy, mental health and Black/African American gay men, community mobilization, program evaluation, masculinity, mental health, depression, substance abuse, and gender inequality. His dissertation, “Parent-Child Communications with Self-Identified Out Gay Men: A Qualitative Study”, helped to unearth some unique insights regarding how to better improve policies, procedures, and interventions that may effectively reduce HIV infection rates, improve self-esteem among gay men, address potential mental health issues among gay males, and expand the various communication styles and techniques within this sub-group.

Over the years, he has amassed a vast amount of social work clinical experiences as well as helped to coordinate, oversee, and evaluate several public health, mental health, HIV/AIDS, and STI infection programs that affected LGBT individuals. Research wise, his quest for knowledge and understanding were further enhanced by the various micro and macro research projects, which he undertook as a graduate student. In these studies, he collaborated with mentors and professors to examine what options and differences, if any, existed for gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals in comparison to heterosexual counterparts, when accessing treatment for alcohol abuse. Another research project exploring the citation impact scholarship of high-impact women in the top 25-ranked schools of social work, examined African American faculty publication success rates and scholarship character, specifically in the top 25-ranked U.S. schools of social work, and African American men and depression. Overall, his combined work and research experiences has helped to enhance his breadth and depth of understanding on the fundamental obligations of the core social work tenets.

Click here to view Curriculum Vitae

Degrees and Certifications

  • PhD Social Work, University of Georgia, May 2017
  • MSW Master of Social Work Florida International University, August 2008
  • BA Psychology, Hampden-Sydney College, May 2004

Teaching Interests

  • Policy
  • Social Work with Diverse Populations
  • Research Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Social Work and HIV/AIDS

Areas of Expertise

  • Sexuality

Research Project

Parent-Child Communication Styles

Allen is currently using data from his dissertation to explore the various patterns of communication between parents and their gay sons. This study is being done in an effort to help improve the communication styles and frequencies between parents and children, especially on sensitive topics such as sex, sexuality, and/or HIV.

Depression and African American Males

Allen is also using previously collected data from to larger study to explore the various effects of depression on Black/African American males, as a consequence of their relationship, or lack thereof, with their family—especially their father. This study is being done in an effort to better explore the unique experiences, if any, of Black/African American males living with depression.

Office Location

5447 Woodward, #057

Grand Challenges Project

Parents are often viewed as the first, and primary, socializer that children encounter. From issues associated with relationships, sex, sexuality, dating, marriage, finance, etc., children frequently ask their parents for guidance, as well as parents often provide insight that assists children when trying to make informed decisions.  The problem however, is that research on parent-child communications often address issues that “heterosexual” youths encounter.  With limited research on parent-child communications with GLBT individuals, my goal is to explore how parent-child communications affect the health and well-being of GLBT individuals.  My research agenda will potentially address issues related to mental health before and after communications with parents, parental contexts for having conversations, and explore aspects related to racial differences in communication styles and patterns, among GLBT individuals and their parents. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that GLBT individuals are conscious of how to effectively dialogue with their parents, as well as provide parents with insights on how to engage with their GLBT children in an effort to ensure that youths have a healthy development, identify unique communication skills that can help to close the health gap between service providers and GLBT individuals, and potentially help to stop family violence by identifying how to engage parents and children using strengths based communication skills. 

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