BENJAMIN HENWOOD is a licensed clinical social worker who has served as an administrator, clinician and researcher for organizations serving adults experiencing homelessness and serious health conditions, including mental illness, physical disease and addiction. He helped start and served as the clinical director for Pathways to Housing, Inc., a Housing First agency in Philadelphia, where he also served as the principal investigator of clinical research that sought to develop more effective models of integrating primary and behavioral health care.
Henwood received a dissertation-training grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and is a co-investigator of the five-year, NIMH-funded New York Recovery Study of homeless adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse. He is also the lead evaluator of a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Servcies Administration grant to expand Housing First services in the state of Vermont.
As an assistant professor, Henwood will continue his ongoing research agenda on the complex service environment for individuals with serious mental illnesses who have experienced homelessness. He is currently involved in the evaluation of Los Angeles County’s integrated physical and behavioral health care initiative, where his task is to develop a measure of integration that can be used across diverse organizational settings.
When assistant professor Benjamin Henwood started working at Pathways to Housing, a New York City nonprofit organization, he didn’t realize it would be a pathway in his own life for what was to become the focus of his academic career. Although he studied philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Henwood realized he wanted to engage in work with more real-world application.
While working at Pathways to Housing, he learned about Housing First, a program that aims to support and promote a healthier lifestyle and reintegration into society for chronically homeless individuals and families by placing them in a permanent home and providing treatment services. As he helped people transition from treatment facilities into housing, Henwood realized this was the sort of work he found rewarding and decided to pursue a doctorate in social work, in addition to taking a position as director of a new Pathways branch in Philadelphia.
Henwood moved to Philadelphia to serve as director for a new branch of Pathways for two years. After successfully completing his dissertation at New York University, he faced a difficult choice. “I liked the clinical work, but I had become interested in research work outside of that. It was hard to balance both,” he said. “I thought I would have more reach into the discipline if I did more research into the issues surrounding homelessness.”
Joining USC was a strategic decision for Henwood, who views chronic homelessness as a significant issue in the southwestern region of the country, particularly given the large population of individuals experiencing homelessness in Southern California. “It seemed like a good fit with the USC infrastructure and the other faculty here interested in similar research,” he said.
Henwood uses qualitative methods to conduct his research and teaches a course on mixed methods and qualitative research at USC. He hopes his research will help create a platform for promoting the health and well-being of the chronically homeless population.
“By using qualitative methods, we give vulnerable populations a voice and have the ability to take a broader look at the issues and how they are implemented,” he said. “We can look at the services as they’re being delivered and see what’s working and not working. It’s a complicated issue, but an important one.”
Compounding the issue is the serious mental and physical health issues faced by many members of this disenfranchised population. The lifespan of many homeless individuals is more than two decades shorter than the average person, Henwood said, and chronic health issues are often never addressed.
“There needs to be integrated services for mental and physical health, as well as community integration,” he said. “Housing, community, and health services all contribute to the larger context of positive outcomes.”
Tsemberis, S. & Henwood, B. (in press). Housing First: Recovery Program for Homelessness. In Vandiver, V (Eds.) Best Practices in Mental Health: A Pocket Guide. New York, NY: Lyceum Press.
Tiderington, E., Stanhope, V. & Henwood, B. (in press). A Qualitative Analysis of Case Managers' Use of Harm Reduction in Practice. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.
Tsemberis, S., Henwood, B., Yu, V., Whoriskey, A. & Stefancic, A. (2012). The role of psychiatry in supportive housing. In McQuistion, H.L., Feldman, J.M., Ranz, J. & Sowers, W.E (Eds.) Handbook of Community Psychiatry. New York, NY: Springer.
Stanhope, V., Padgett, D.K. & Henwood, B. (2012). Housing first Approaches to addressing homelessness. In Fitzpatrick, S., Fox, L. & Smith, S (Eds.)International encyclopedia of housing and home. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
Padgett, D.K., Smith, B., Henwood, B.F. & Tiderington, E. (2012). Life Course Adversity in the Lives of Formerly Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness: Qualitative Analyses of Context and Meaning. Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(3), 421-430.
Henwood, B.F., Padgett, D.K., Smith, B. & Tiderington, E. (2012). Substance abuse recovery after experiencing homelessness and mental illness. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 8(3), 238-246.
Padgett, D.K. & Henwood, B.F. (2012). Qualitative research for and in practice: Findings from studies with homeless adults who have serious mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 187-193.
Stanhope, V., Tiderington, E. & Henwood, B.F. (2012). Labeling service disengagement as "sabotage": Implications for recovery oriented services.Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 261-267.
Padgett, D.K. & Henwood, B.F. (2011). Commentary: Moving into the fourth decade of ACT. Psychiatric Services, 62(6), 605.
Tsemberis, S. & Henwood, B. (2011). Pathways’ Housing First: A consumerdriven approach to ending homelessness and promoting recovery. In Estrine, S., Hettenbach, H. & Messina, M (Eds.) Service Delivery for Vulnerable Populations. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
Henwood, B.F., Padgett, D.K. & Nguyen, D. (2011). Consumer/case manager agreement on needs assessments within programs for homeless adults with serious mental illness. Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research, 2(2), 143-148.
Henwood, B.F., Weinstein, L.C. & Tsemberis, S. (2011). Creating a medical home for people experiencing homelessness and serious mental illness.Psychiatric Services, 62(5), 561-562.
Weinstein, L.C., Henwood, B.F., Cody, J., Jordan, M. & Lelar, R. (2011). Transforming Assertive Community Treatment into an Integrated Care System: The Role of Nursing and Primary Care Partnerships. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 17(1), 64-71.
Weinstein, L.C., Henwood, B.F., Matejkowski, J. & Santana, A. (2011). Moving from street to home: Health status of entrants to a Housing First program. Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, 2(1), 11-15.
Henwood, B.F., Stanhope, V. & Padgett, D.K. (2011). The role of housing: A comparison of front-line provider views in Housing First and traditional programs. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 38(2), 77-85.
Padgett, D.K., Stanhope, V., Henwood, B.F. & Stefancic, A. (2011). Substance use outcomes among homeless clients with serious mental illness: Comparing Housing First with treatment first programs. Community Mental Health Journal, 47(2), 227-232.
Padgett, D.K., Stanhope, V. & Henwood, B.F. (2010). Housing First services for homeless adults with co-occurring disorders: An evidence-based practice. In Roberts-DeGennaro, M. & Fogel, S.J (Eds.) Using evidence to inform practice for community and organization change. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Press.
Stefancic, A. & Henwood, B. (2010). Commentary: The role of an Australian homeless health outreach team. Part 2: A case study. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 17(8), 442-443.
Stanhope, V., Henwood, B.F. & Padgett, D.K. (2009). Understanding service disengagement from the perspective of case managers. Psychiatric Services, 60(4), 459-464.
Padgett, D.K. & Henwood, B.F. (2009). Obtaining large-scale funding for empowerment-oriented qualitative research: A report from personal experience. Qualitative Health Research, 19(6), 868-874.
Henwood, B.F. & Padgett, D.K. (2008). Social networks and isolation: The role of trauma among women with histories of substance abuse, mental illness and homelessness. In Eggar, K.S. & Moser, L.H (Eds.) Women and addictions: New Research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers.
Padgett, D.K., Henwood, B.F. & Stanhope, V. (2008). New approaches in the third decade of the homelessness ‘crisis’ in America: Innovation inspired by practice and supported by research. Issues and Actions in Social Work.: NYU Silver School of Social Work.
Henwood, B. (2008). Involuntary in-patient commitment in the context of mental health recovery. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 11, 253-266.
Padgett, D.K., Henwood, B., Abrams, C. & Drake, R.E. (2008). Social relationships among persons who have experienced serious mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness: Implications for recovery. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78(3), 333-339.
Padgett, D.K., Henwood, B., Abrams, C. & Davis, A. (2008). Engagement and retention in care among formerly homeless adults with serious mental illness: Voices from the margins. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 31(3), 226-233.
Henwood, B. & Padgett, D.K. (2007). Reevaluating the self-medication hypothesis among the dually diagnosed. The American Journal on Addiction, 16(3), 160-165.