HALUK SOYDAN, who joined the USC School of Social Work in 2005, serves as associate dean for faculty affairs and is a senior fellow for global research impact. He is specifically responsible for clinical faculty, research professors, professors of practice, and part-time and adjunct faculty. Previously, he oversaw the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services, where he helped the center’s portfolio grow from $3 million to more than $49 million. He also served as associate dean of research.
Soydan has been professor of social work at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm University, dean of social work at Orebro University, and visiting professor at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. For 10 years, he was the research director of the Institute for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice, which is part of Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare. His research experience includes program evaluation, systematic research reviews, qualitative studies of how human services organizations work, service delivery among ethnic clients and patients, and core theoretical issues in social work research.
Soydan has supported the movement for evidence-based research in practice on an international level by serving as an invited expert at the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada; as the organizer of the 2002 Evidence-based Knowledge and Sustainable Social Development seminar at the United Nations; as a scientific adviser to the What Works in Crime and Justice Panel of the Swedish National Board of Correctional Services; and as board member of the Swedish National Integration Office. He is co-founder of the International Campbell Collaboration, which he co-chaired from 2001 to 2007.
He is the recipient of more than 10 prestigious awards, including the Zealous and Devoted Service to the Kingdom honor from the Swedish government in 2004 and the Excellence in Leadership and Creativity Award from the USC School of Social Work in 2011.
The central preoccupation of social work in the 21st century has been the establishment of an evidence base for its models and practices—a paradigm shift championed by Dr. Haluk Soydan. As director of the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services at the USC School of Social Work, Soydan is internationally known for promoting evidence-based practice and pioneering new evaluation measures to ensure the positive outcomes of social work interventions.
Prior to moving to the United States, Soydan served as the research director of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, a major government agency responsible for the quality development of health and social services. In Sweden, social work preoccupies itself with macro-level issues such as social policy and systems research. In the United States, the focus is placed on improving the lives of individuals and families. As a social worker with decades of international experience, Soydan has experience working from both perspectives but appreciates the micro-level focus of American social work, as it provides firsthand evidence of positive outcomes.
In fact, it was Soydan’s interest in improving the lives of others that initially drew him to social work. Struck by the widespread poverty as a child in his native Turkey and during a globe-trotting trip after high school, he decided to study in Sweden due to its dedication to social equality and received a doctorate from Uppsala University’s prestigious sociology department.
During his years in the United States, Soydan became known as a champion of evidence-based practice and has worked at the forefront of its development throughout the world. He cofounded the Campbell Collaboration, an international organization dedicated to transitioning social work to an evidence-based model. As part of this effort, he conceptualized and implemented an innovative systematic research review of intervention outcomes in which evidence-based practices are assessed against rigorous quality standards.
Since joining the USC School of Social Work in 2004, Soydan has continued to pioneer new ways of promoting a culture of evidence-based practice both in the United States and abroad, with a recent focus on Asia. In 2010, he helped established the Chinese Clearinghouse for Evidence-Based Practice and Policy, an online effort to aggregate and disseminate evidence-based interventions in Chinese. He also contributed to the development of evidence-based clearinghouses in child welfare, chronic diseases, geriatric care and social work services. Soydan also recently authored a book on translational research with Dr. Lawrence Palinkas.
Soydan’s main responsibility is overseeing the Hamovitch Center, which has seen its research portfolio grow to more than $40 million in little more than a decade. He also supports faculty researchers and students as they work toward ensuring equality and social justice in societies on a local, regional and global level.