By Nicole Cummings
For the past almost two years, Dr. Emily Ihara has served as the interim chair for the Department of Social Work, where she oversaw the MSW curriculum update and led the development of the Mason-Wiley online MSW degree program. Ihara has been appointed permanent chair and will continue to serve as an integral member of the College’s leadership.
“Under Emily’s leadership, the Department has already achieved important milestones. With faculty, she will continue to grow the Department including an eventual doctoral program. I am pleased to welcome Emily as the permanent chair and member of the College’s leadership team,” says Dr. Germaine Louis, dean and professor of the College.
In comments regarding her appointment as permanent chair, Ihara noted, “In the midst of this global pandemic, I am appreciative of everyone's flexibility and creativity and am looking forward to the day when we can reunite on campus and continue our work together to move the Department of Social Work to the next level."
Ihara’s research interests focus on interventions, policies, and system changes necessary to eliminate health inequities for vulnerable populations across the life course. She uses both quantitative, qualitative, and agent-based modeling techniques to identify the conditions that may lead to health inequities, while aiming to find the interventions necessary to decrease and eliminate them.
In May of 2018, Ihara was elected a fellow of The Gerontological Society of America. The Society is the world’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging.
Prior to coming to Mason, Ihara worked as a researcher, policy analyst, and clinical social worker for various organizations, including serving as a Congressional Health Policy Fellow in the House of Representatives. She earned her PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis University.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ihara on all of her contributions to Mason’s Department of Social Work and for all of her future endeavors to come as the new official chair.