M.S.W., Virginia Commonwealth University
B.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
David Conley (pronouns he/him/his) is a doctoral candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work. Conley’s research focuses on political social work, specifically the impact that social workers (and other advocates) can have on creating and influencing policy and politics. His dissertation focuses on how stigma in state mental health legislation affects subsequent voting outcomes in the state legislature.
Conley views teaching as a political act. He seeks to spark critical consciousness in the classroom that will encourage students to combat social injustice and create positive social change. He aims to facilitate political interest and efficacy through Mezirow’s conceptualization of transformative learning: learning that transforms problematic frames of reference to make them more inclusive, reflective.
Prior to his Ph.D., Conley completed a B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an M.S.W. at Virginia Commonwealth University. He then completed a post-graduate internship with Senator Jennifer McClellan’s office and served as Public Policy Manager for the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, the state’s publicly-funded service system for mental health and disability services. Representing Virginia’s 40 community services boards and their clients, Conley learned the behavioral health system of care through clinical practice, policy, and politics. Through these experiences, he gained an understanding of the political processes that shape behavioral health legislation, and it is this understanding that shapes his research and teaching.
Recent and current funded projects
Adverse childhood experiences and adolescent tobacco use during the transition to adulthood [PI: Sunny Shin]
Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth
Graduate Research Assistant
Longitudinal Infant and Family Environment study: The LIFE study [PI: Sunny Shin]
United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Notable awards, honors and appointments
- David N. Saunders Legislative Award- 2019
- Student Representative, Promotion and Tenure Committee- 2018
- Judge, VCU School of Social Work Research Symposium- 2018
- Dean’s Search Committee- 2017-2018
- Doctoral Programs Committee- 2016-2017
- Doctoral Student Association- 2016-2017
Conley, D. (in preparation). Behavioral health legislator voting behavior: A systematic review. Manuscript in preparation.
Shin, S., Conley, D., & Ksinan Jiskrova, G. (in press). Adverse childhood experiences and e-cigarette use during young adulthood. The American Journal on Addictions. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajad.12890
Shin, S., McDonald, S., & Conley, D. (2018). Profiles of adverse childhood experiences and impulsivity. Child Abuse & Neglect, 85, 118-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.07.028
Shin, S., McDonald, S., & Conley, D. (2018). Patterns of adverse childhood experiences and substance use among young adults: A latent class analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 78, 187-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.11.020
Shin, S., Conley, D., & Ksinan Jiskrova, G. (2019, January). Adverse childhood experiences and e-cigarette use during young adulthood. Paper to be presented at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington D.C.
Shin, S., McDonald, S., & Conley, D. (2019, January). Patterns of adverse childhood experiences and substance use among young adults: A latent class analysis. Paper presentation at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, San Francisco, CA.
Conley, D. (2019, January). Behavioral health legislator voting behavior: A systematic review. Poster presentation at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, San Francisco, CA.
Conley, D. (2018, November).Behavioral health legislator voting behavior: A systematic review. Paper presentation at the Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education, Orlando, FL.