Social Work student awarded CSU Office of Vice President for Research fellowship

shivani kaushik
Shivani Kaushik

Colorado State University School of Social Work doctoral student Shivani Kaushik has been selected to receive a fellowship from the office of CSU’s Vice President for Research, to support excellence in graduate research and promote interdisciplinary work across campus.

Kaushik joins 12 students in the 2021-22 cohort of the VPR Graduate Fellows Program. The fellowship provides scholarship and travel support as well as opportunities to engage in monthly professional development.

With significant clinical experience as a medical social worker, including extensive training and practice experience in palliative care, Kaushik is especially interested in end-of-life care and supporting diverse and vulnerable populations.

Kaushik’s research focuses on end-of-life interventions in correctional settings. She was selected for the fellowship based on her presentation “Dying for a Change: End-of-life Care in US Corrections.”

“It’s a very well deserved honor and an acknowledgment of her powerful research,” said Associate Professor and Ph.D. Program Director Anne Williford. “I am confident Shivani will make a significant and lasting impact on the field of social work in general, and on palliative care for dying individuals in correctional facilities in particular. This is such important work.”

Social work research for end-of-life care in corrections

As a doctoral student in CSU’s School of Social Work, Kaushik views her research through the lens of addressing two significant social problems outlined by the Grand Challenges for Social Work: Close the health gap and promote smart decarceration.

“My work concentrates on improving the access to and quality of end-of-life interventions in correctional settings, including the utilization of compassionate release policies which allow terminally ill inmates to die in their community,” said Kaushik.

Kaushik also serves as a graduate research assistant to Assistant Professor Jen Currin-McCulloch in the School of Social Work.

“As Shivani’s mentor, I am so proud of her achievement,” said Currin-McCulloch. “She has turned her passion and research acumen into a foundation of research that is guiding the field in understanding how we can improve the end-of-life experiences for individuals who die in correctional facilities.”

Kaushik says she is honored to be recognized for her research, and looks forward to engaging with other students outside of her field. “I hope to increase an awareness and understanding of barriers to end-of-life care, as well as the imperative benefits of peer-inmate, hospice-based programs.”

The School of Social Work is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.