About GADE - Group for Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work


Dr. Denise Burnette
Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Denise Burnette is the Samuel S. Wurtzel Professor of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focuses on global mental health, with an emphasis on health and psychosocial problems and related service needs of older adults in resource-constrained settings. She has held Senior Fulbright fellowships in India and Botswana, and served as an International Scholar with the Open Society in Central Asia and the Balkans for almost a decade. Burnette’s program of research aims to inform the development and delivery of effective, appropriately targeted services in locales where there is a significant mental health treatment gap for older adults. Her current research examines the knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward COVID-19 among older adults in Puerto Rico.

Burnette has taught extensively across MSW and PhD curricula and in related disciplines. A core component of her research agenda in low- and middle-income countries is capacity-building with faculty and students in collaborating schools of social work and public health. Examples include dissertation supervision, classroom teaching, community lectures, seminars, training workshops, and individual and departmental faculty development initiatives.

She has held several academic administrative appointments. She currently directs the School’s Ph.D. Program and serves as president of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE).

Burnette has extensive direct social work practice experience in medical and public psychiatric settings. She holds a certification in Management Development for College and University Administrators from Harvard University and is Professor Emerita at Columbia University School of Social Work.


Past Presidents

2021-2022: Dr. G. Lawrence Farmer, Fordham University & Dr. Julia R. Henly, The University of Chicago

2019-2021: Dr. Mo Yee Lee, The Ohio State University

2017-2019: Dr. Cynthia Franklin, The University of Texas at Austin

2015-2017: Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Lightfoot, University of Minnesota

2013-2015: Dr. Theresa Early, The Ohio State University

2012-2013: Dr. Kia J. Bentley, Virginia Commonwealth University

2009-2011: Dr. Barbara Rittner, University at Buffalo

2006-2008: Dr. Paul H. Stuart, Florida International University

2004-2006: Dr. Jeane Anastas

2000-2003: Dr. Rowena G. Wilson

1997-1999: Dr. Ann Nichols-Casebolt

1993-1995: Dr. Enola K. Proctor

1992-1993: Dr. Sheila B. Kamerman

1989-1991: Dr. Richard Estes

1985-1988: Dr. Barbara K. Shore

1981-1983: Dr. Elizabeth Timberlake

1978: Dr. Aaron Rosen

*Prior to 2015, the president position was chair.