79°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Professor Profile: Russell Schutt

Courtesy of UMass Boston

Courtesy of UMass Boston

Russell Schutt, Ph. D, is the director of the Applied Sociology program and professor of Sociology at UMass Boston. Dr. Schutt is working on a variety of interesting and socially imperative research projects including work on examining health disparities between different racial and ethnic groups.

Schutt is currently responsible for evaluating the state of knowledge amongst community health workers and their experiences with and attitudes about cancer research for a project funded by the National Cancer Institute. Schutt will also be examining the effects of a project between Dana Farber and UMB, developed with Dr. Judy Ann Bigby, MD, director of Community Health Programs at Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital, director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Excellence in Women’s Health and one of the leading African American physicians in the country, and Dr. Lidia Schapira, a prominent Massachusetts General Hospital oncologist and specialist on translation issues. Bigby and Schapira’s training and outreach programs have been an effort to narrow the health disparities between different racial and ethnic groups. Two Applied Sociology students, Jennifer Manites and Jessica Santiccioli, and two other UMass Boston students, Silas Henlon and James Chery, were recruited as research assistants for the project.

Schutt finds this research of utmost importance because it asks why people of color are underrepresented in much of the research that is leading to advances in cancer treatment. Furthermore, the project gives UMass Boston students an opportunity to participate in research in health disparities and to develop relationships with leaders in the healthcare field.

Schutt is working on a project with Professor Norm Hursh, Ph. D, of Boston University, as the qualitative consultant looking at what influences job retention amongst disabled persons with substance abuse issues and psychiatric disorders. The study’s conceptual framework builds upon the work of Robert Sampson, a well-known sociologist and chair of Harvard’s sociology department, who also spoke at this year’s Applied Sociology Career Conference.

As co-investigator, Schutt is writing articles on an evaluation study that looked at case management in the women’s health network in Massachusetts. The project was funded by the Department of Public Health (DPH) three years ago and the evaluation study was designed to assess whether case management was being implemented in a consistent way across the state and to identify best practices. Schutt is working alongside Jacqueline Fawcett, Ph. D, RN, a professor in UMass Boston’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences. In Spring 2005, Schutt directed a project that reviewed evaluation research on this study to suggest improvements. Schutt led a panel of 82 field experts, supported by a team of Applied Sociology graduate students, which developed a recommendation-based report. The findings of this research were presented on June 1 this year at a Harvard Medical School conference.

To culminate this project, Schutt anticipates a report, a nationally available training program and multiple articles in scholarly journals.

In 1990, together with psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Goldfinger, formally of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Dr. Larry Seidman a Harvard Medical School neuropsychologist and others, Schutt received impressive funding from NIMH (3.1 m) and HUD (10 m). The purpose of this research, in which Schutt has acted as co-investigator, primary data analyst and the author of numerous articles, has been to study the impact of group or individual housing on housing retention, cognitive functioning and other outcomes for homeless people staying in shelters. Schutt was recently awarded funding from UMass Boston to do a long-range follow-up study.

Schutt earned his Ph. D at the University of Illinois- Chicago and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University.