Kimberly Bender

Kimberly Ann Bender

Professor, Associate Dean for Doctoral Education, and Interim Associate Provost for Research

What I do

I partner with young people facing adversity, and the community-based agencies that serve them, to make life more hopeful and society more just.

Specialization(s)

addictions and substance use, children and youth, civic and community engagement, evidence-based practice/implementation science, housing and homelessness, intervention research, marginalized populations, mental and behavioral health, social innovation and entrepreneurship, social justice

Professional Biography

Professor Kimberly Bender is passionate about developing and testing interventions to empower young people to reach their full potentials. The majority of her work partners with young people experiencing homelessness to understand their needs, engage them in social change projects and develop skills that can prevent adverse experiences.

Bender serves as co-PI on a six-state multi-site research project with youth experiencing homelessness through shelter, drop-in and transitional housing services to better understand risk and protective factors in this population. She also serves as principle investigator on a three-year randomized trial of a mindfulness-based cognitive intervention to prevent victimization and substance among youth residing in emergency shelters funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

More recently, Bender has published in the area of youth participatory action research with youth experiencing homelessness – an approach she finds rewarding and meaningful. Her extensive publication record in the area of adolescent and youth risk earned her the university-wide Distinguished Scholar Award. She has also been designated Public Good Faculty of the Year in acknowledgement of her outstanding commitment to the public good through community-engaged research.

Bender prioritizes training students as research team members on her community-engaged research projects and has been recognized with several student-nominated awards, including the Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students Award and the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin, 2008
  • MSW, Colorado State University, 2002
  • BS, Psychology, University of Colorado, 1999

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Social Work Research (SSWR)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Other

Media Sources

Research

The majority of my work partners with young people experiencing homelessness to understand their needs, engage them in social change projects and develop skills that can prevent adverse experiences. My research includes large-scale survey research, intervention trials, and participatory research methods.

Key Projects

Featured Publications

Anyon, Y., Bender, K. A., Kennedy, H. L., & Dechants, J. (2018). A systematic review of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) in the United States: Youth outcomes, methodologies, and future directions. Health Education and Behavior.
Wilson, J. H., Bender, K. A., & Dechants, J. (1970). Beyond the classroom: The impact of a university-based civic hackathon addressing homelessness. Journal of Social Work Education.
Bender, K. A., Barman Adhikari, A., Dechants, J., Haffejee, B., & Anyon, Y. (2017). Asking for Change: Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a manualized Photovoice intervention with homeless youth. Children and Youth Services Review.
Bender, K. A., DePrince, A. P., Begun, S., Jessica, H., Haffejee, B., & Nick, S. (2016). Enhancing risk detection among homeless youth: Effects of a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Santa Maria, D., Cuccaro, P., Sibinga, E., Fine, M., Cron, S., & Bender, K. A. (1970). Feasibility of Implementing a Mindfulness-Based Intervention with Youth Experiencing Homelessness: A Mixed Methods Study. Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Presentations

Kennedy, H., Dechants, J., Bender, K. A., & Anyon, Y. (2019). A systematic review of the environmental outcomes associated with Youth Participatory Action Research in the United States. Society for Social Work and Research. San Francisco, CA.
Wilson, J. H., Bender, K. A., & Dechants, J. (2019). Beyond the classroom: Using interdisciplinary hackathons to understand and address homelessness. Council for Social Work Education. Denver, CO.
Dechants, J., Kennedy, H., Anyon, Y., & Bender, K. A. (2018). A systematic review of youth participatory action research studies. Society for Social Work and Research.
Bender, K. A., Barman Adhikari, A., Begun, S. J., Dechants, J., Anyon, Y., Haffejee, B., et al. (2016). Asking for change: Discoveries from a community-based Photovoice project with homeless youth. . American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Denver, CO.
Bender, K. A., Begun, S. J., Haffejee, B., Kaufmann, S., Hauffman, A., DePrince, A. P., & Chu, A. (2014). Effects of a randomized clinical trial to enhance risk detection among homeless youth. Society for Social Work and Research.

Awards

  • Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students Award, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, Society for Social Work and Research
  • Kay M. Stevenson Faculty Citizenship Award, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Early Career Social Work Research Scholarship, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)