Donna Van Alst - MSSW

Donna Van Alst

Associate Professor of Social Work


Ph.D Social WorkColumbia University
M.S.W.Social WorkRutgers University
M.B.A.EconomicsNew York University
B.A.CommunicationsCollege of New Rochelle

Professional Experience

Assistant Research Professor and Director, Office of Research and Evaluation, Rutgers School of Social Work. Joint appointments to Institute for Families and the Child Welfare and Well-Being Research Unit. Developed and managed a portfolio of research and evaluation projects covering a wide array of social work-related issues with a strong focus on child welfare, addiction services, disaster recovery, psychosocial dimensions of health, and community planning.

Teaching Interests

Generalist social work practice; research methods and program evaluation; social welfare history and contemporary policy; community intervention; management and administration; strategic and program planning; grant-writing and fundraising; child welfare services; poverty and income inequality.


Research/Creative Works

Adlin Bosk, E., Van Alst, D., Van Scoyo, A. (2017). A chronic problem: competing paradigms for substance abuse in child welfare policy and practice and the need for new approaches. British Journal of Social Work, 47(6), 1669-1685.


Fox, T., Hager, M., Thompson, A., & Van Alst, D. (2017). The many roles of the social worker in shaping the quality of care in transdisciplinary teams as we get to zero. In (ed. Mark Henrickson) Getting to Zero Global Social Work Responds to HIV. Joint publication of the International Association of Schools of Social Work and UNAIDS.


Koivunen, J., Van Alst, D., Ocasio, K., and Allegra, C. (2017). Understanding engagement in mental health services for preschool children: an analysis of teacher, clinician, and parent perspectives. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(3), 313-320.


Ocasio, K., Van Alst, D., Koivunen, J., Huang, C., & Allegra, C. (2015). Promoting preschool mental health: Results of a three-year primary prevention strategy. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(6), 1800-1808.