Professor Glisson Combines Passion and Research to Help At Risk Children and Young Adults

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UT Chancellor’s Professor Charles Glisson brings passion and science to a critical task: helping at-risk children and young adults.

Chancellor's Professor Charles GlissonAs a prodigious researcher and the founding director of UT Knoxville’s Children’s Mental Health Services Research Center in the College of Social Work, Glisson gained national recognition for helping human service organizations deliver effective treatment to this often underserved population.

"People don’t realize the number of kids who are at risk," said Glisson, a Distinguished Professor in the School of Social Work. "It’s a critical problem. Each year in Tennessee alone, more than 60,000 kids are referred to juvenile courts statewide."

His early work in mental health led him to search for answers to significant questions about how to remove bureaucratic barriers to treating children effectively. As a member of the team that worked to implement the nation’s first federal "right to treatment" guidelines in Alabama’s state mental health system in the early 1970s, he learned firsthand how service organizations created barriers to effective service.

"It was clear to me that the bureaucracy and red tape was debilitating to effective outcomes," Glisson stated.

Glisson’s enthusiasm for research is infectious.

"I’m especially committed to research that has practical implications for improving systems. What’s exciting to me is finding ways that help organizations achieve the best outcomes for the resources they spend."

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He passes his enthusiasm for research on to his students, who learn about his research in his classes and work on his studies as research assistants.

"Students like being able to talk to you about the specifics of the studies and get the inside scoop on how things were done and on what you found."

Glisson and his colleagues at the center are committed to the education, research and service mission of the university.

"It’s all intertwined very tightly," he explained. "Everything we do here links service to the community, teaching and research."

Glisson’s family includes his wife, Joyce L. Feld, a health psychologist, and his two children, Matthew and Erin. Matthew is a junior in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and Erin is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh.

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