“My research looks at housing as a social determinant of health, exploring the intersection of homelessness and health issues, such as addiction recovery, food insecurity and HIV/AIDS, with an aim of informing policy. I’m excited about the potential social work has to advocate for both health and housing as human rights.”
Addiction recovery and recovery capital; health disparities for people experiencing homelessness; health of permanent supportive housing residents; homelessness in emerging adulthood; and trauma-informed social policy analysis
A community-based urban researcher and educator, Associate Professor Elizabeth Bowen joined the School of Social Work in 2014. Bowen’s research centers on the health and resilience of people experiencing homelessness. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, Bowen’s work examines the pathways that link homelessness and health conditions. A subset of her research focuses on the developmental and place-based experiences of youth and young adults who are homeless and navigating service systems.
In a secondary trajectory, Bowen addresses the upstream determinants of health and well-being through social policy analysis, including co-authoring an innovative policy analysis framework based on the principles of trauma-informed care. “My research looks at housing as a social determinant of health, exploring the intersection of homelessness and health issues, such as addiction recovery, food insecurity and HIV/AIDS, with an aim of informing policy,” she says. “I’m excited about the potential social work has to advocate for both health and housing as human rights.”
Bowen recently led an NIH-funded study to develop a new measure of recovery capital for diverse populations of people in recovery from alcohol problems, the Multidimensional Inventory of Recovery Capital (MIRC). She has published widely in journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and Housing Studies. An active member of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), Bowen co-leads the SSWR Special Interest Group on qualitative social work research and was named a 2022 SSWR fellow. Bowen is the UB School of Social Work liaison to the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative and is the co-convener of the Initiative’s New York-New Jersey regional network. She frequently collaborates with local housing and social service providers, such as the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, Compass House and Buffalo City Mission/Cornerstone Manor.
Bowen teaches in the MSW and DSW programs, including courses on substance use and addiction, social welfare history and policy, and evidence-based practice. She also mentors and frequently collaborates with PhD students on research and writing projects.