The mission of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is to enhance the visibility and impact of research, education and outreach to inform decision-makers on policy issues affecting veterans and their families.
Among those issues is a focus on rapidly increasing the number of clinical social workers and behavioral health providers trained to treat the challenges service members, veterans and their families face, as well as mental health research that can be directly and quickly translated into clinical practice.
In 2009, Marilyn Flynn, dean of the University of Southern California School of Social Work, now called the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, founded the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families and appointed Anthony Hassan, a licensed clinical social worker and retired Air Force officer, to lead the organization. The school had just established the first military social work specialization at a major research university as a track in its Master of Social Work program, offering graduate-level training in evidence-based clinical practices and military culture.
Located in downtown Los Angeles, the center produces applied research and trains qualified community providers to treat service members and military families. The USC Institute for Creative Technologies, a key partner and collaborator, develops CIR’s virtual reality tools and other digital innovations at its facility in West Los Angeles.
The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and CIR have strong public acceptance among service members and veterans, and have received national recognition and investments from the Department of Defense, United States Congress, Lincy Foundation and Department of Defense Education Activity.