Dexter R. Voisin, PhD, LCSW

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Dexter R. Voisin is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Dean in Applied Social Sciences at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

Voisin began his tenure at the Mandel School in January 2022 after serving for two and a half years as dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair in Social Work at the University of Toronto. Before this appointment, he was a full professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago for two decades, a faculty affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Culture and Politics and the Center for Health and the Social Sciences, and the director of the STI/HIV Intervention Network (SHINE) and co-director of the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE).

His research examines how structural, racial violence and interpersonal forms of violence impact health behaviors and outcomes among minoritized populations. Findings demonstrate the problems of neighborhood and racial violence exposures are correlated with youth mental health problems, school failure, negative peer networks and high rates of HIV-related risk behaviors, which are interconnected outcomes in the lives of adolescents, particularly those who live in low-resourced communities.

Voisin has authored more than 200 peer reviewed publications and commentaries, with publications appearing in such journals as AIDS, AIDS and Behavior, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, American Journal of Public Health, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Adolescent Health, and Journal of Health Psychology. As principal investigator or co- investigator, he has generated more than $16 million in extramural funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the W.T. Grant Foundation, among others.

His research has informed public policy and provided support for the passage of the Soto, Delgado Bill, approved by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, which provides a state advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on effective prevention messages to deter youths from engaging in HIV-related sexual risk behaviors. Voisin's latest project is a book entitled America the Beautiful and Violent: Black Youth and Neighborhood Trauma in Chicago, published by Columbia University Press in 2019. In this monograph, he highlights the broad historical, political, economic and racial factors that shape the construction, concentration and narratives of violence in Black neighborhoods. He explores these forces and the violence they produce, the behavioral health consequences of repeated exposures to neighborhood violence, and the ways youth, families and communities cope with such traumas. In 2022, he was recognized to be among the top 2% of scientists in the world within his field.

Voisin was appointed a visiting professor during the summers of 2004, 2005 and 2007 at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He was also appointed a consulting editor for Social Work: Journal of the National Association of Social Workers (2003–08), the Journal of HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention (2004–07) and the Journal of HIV/ AIDS and Social Services (2003–10). In 2010, he was named co-editor of the Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services and from 2012–13 he served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Adolescent Health, BMC Public Health and Social Work Research.

The Office of Governor Pat Quinn appointed him to the Illinois Statewide Committee for its Juvenile Justice Programs' Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee in 2010 and to the Illinois African American Family Commission in 2013. In 2020, Voisin was elected a Board Member of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) and became a SSWR Fellow in 2022. In 2021, he was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) and was appointed to their board in 2022. In 2023, he was elected president of the National Association of Deans and Directors (NADD).

His expertise and research findings have been frequently cited by numerous members of the international and national media, such as Al Jazeera Television, the Associated Press, BBC World News Radio, the Canadian Press, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Global News, the India Times, National Public Radio, News Nation, the Sunday Business Post (an Irish newspaper), the Star Tribune, Svenska Dagbladet (a leading Swedish national daily), The Powers Report, the Toronto Star, the Washington Times, Zacola Public Square, and numerous other news blogs.

Voisin has more than 30 years of post-MSW clinical experience with practiced expertise in the areas of substance abuse, adult psychopathology, and adolescent and family therapy. He has also delivered several keynote speeches and conducted numerous training sessions for health care providers.

He received a BA in psychology cum laude from St. Andrews College, a MSW (practice) from the University of Michigan, and a MA in philosophy and PhD (advanced practice in social work) from Columbia University.

Curriculum Vitae

The phonetic spelling of “Voisin,” which means “neighbor” in French, is waz-zin or vwah-zanListen to the phonetic pronunciation here.


Social Work
Columbia University
Columbia University
Social Work
University of Michigan
Bachelor of Arts
St. Andrews College

Additional Information

In the News

Dean Voisin elected president of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work
May 31, 2023

Dean Dexter Voisin discusses book for Cleveland Heights Public Library’s 1619 Project series
February 23, 2023

“Our Voices: Stories From Black Authors”
February 22, 2023

Dean Dexter Voisin cited in major CDC report
February 16, 2023

Nancy Rolock and Dexter Voisin named fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research
February 13, 2023

Disarming gun violence
January 03, 2023

Dexter Voisin discusses America's Black sperm donor shortage in "Washington Post"
October 25, 2022

Comparing gun violence in the U.S. and Canada
August 15, 2022

'It's extremely shocking and disturbing': Voisin
June 28, 2022

New Mandel School dean builds relationships to improve lives
June 21, 2022

Driven to act
June 02, 2022

New to the neighborhood
May 30, 2022

Gun culture: Canada compared to the United States
May 31, 2022

Coulton and Voisin Among Top 2% Most-Cited Researchers in World
March 16, 2022

5 questions with… the Mandel School’s new dean Dexter Voisin
February 08, 2022

Dean Voisin to deliver 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month keynote address
January 26, 2022

CWRU names Dexter Voisin next Mandel School dean
July 15, 2021

Selected Media Coverage

All 3 defendants found guilty of murdering Ahmuad Arbery, what happens next?
Bill Kelly Show • November 24, 2021

Why are murder rates in Chicago so high?
BBC Sounds The Inquiry • May 20, 2021

“Our fight is not done”: Guilty verdict in George Floyd murder sparks relief, hope and new resolve in Toronto
Toronto Star • April 20, 2021

Navigating the constellation of constraints on Black life.
Zacola Public Square • March 24, 2021

Law enforcement isn’t going away—that doesn’t mean it cannot be imagined.
Zocalo Public Square • December 11, 2020

What would society look like without police? 
Zocalo Public Square • December 10, 2020

We’re not mental health professionals”: Even police call for change in handling mental health checks.
Global News • November 28, 2020

Gun violence increasing across the U.S.
News Nation October 10 • 2020

Fighting racism
CTV24 • August 27, 2020

Poll: 60% of Canadians say that racism is a “serious” problem.
Global News • July 23, 2020

Family of 63-year old man who dies after police shooting in Mississauga call for inquiry
Global News • June 21, 2020

New York passes police reform package. How do Canadian policies compare?
Global News • June 16, 2020

Calls to defund and dismantle police forces are growing, but what does that mean?
The Sun Times • June 11, 2020

From taking a knee to taking a stand: Why anti Black racism in Canada cannot be ignored.
Global News • June 10, 2020

African Americans have been slowly suffocating under the chokehold of America’s systemic racism 
The Toronto Star • June 7, 2020

George Floyd Death: Minneapolis to dismantle police department—what does this mean?
Global News Online • June 9, 2020

As George Floyd’s death shines spotlight on knee-on-neck restraint, family of Ontario man speaks out.
CBC News • June 6, 2020

Nine minutes of torture, two weeks of rage: Why George Floyd killing ignited a global powder keg
The Toronto Star • June 6, 2020

Calls to defund police grow but Toronto’s mayor not buying in
National Observer • June 5, 2020

George Floyd’s death draws scrutiny over police use of force. What’s Canada protocol?
Global News • June 5, 2020

Pulling the Thread: Prudent Paranoia
WORD Media PBS Boston • June 1, 2020

Officer charged in Floyd case
CTV News • May 30, 2020

Ottawa bans 1,500 assault style weapons
CTV News • May 2, 2020

Deadly COVOD-19 toll on Black Americans” 
CTV News • April 18, 2020

Concerns about China’s influence don’t end with the WHO expert says. They’re calling for sweeping reviews of international bodies
The Toronto Star • April 15, 2020

Dexter Voisin talks about America the beautiful and violent
WVON • January 31, 2020

America the beautiful tackles structural issues in Chicago
Chicago PBS • January 29, 2020

How indirect violence gets under a child’s skin and into the brain.
 Undark  • August 1, 2018

“110,000 condoms for Winter Olympics pushes topic of sex in South Korea." 
 NBC News • February 3, 2018
National Journal • February 27, 2014

"A Chicago reporter questions news about the city's violence.
Star Tribune • March 16, 2013

“Who should be the face of Chicago violence?" 
The Root • March 15, 2013

Impact of street violence on Chicago youth.
 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Chicago Tonight • February 28, 2013

Who are Chicago’s killer kids?
The New York Daily News • February 28, 2013

Teens exposed to gun violence face tough road.
NPR • March 26, 2011

Study focuses on how black teens cope with violence."  
Chicago Public Radio • December 2, 2010 

"36 Chicago area students killed sets record.
 Washington Times • May 13, 2009

"Deadly Lessons: 24 Hours in Chicago
  CNN.COM • June 3, 2007

Measuring the Effects of Violence” (.mp3 file)
  WBEZ • May 21, 2007


Impact Talk | Dexter Voisin: Decolonizing Recovery: Strategies for Cultural Humility and Decolonizing Practice
March 29, 2023

Promoting Health Equity in African American Communities
February 22, 2023

Black Men Living with HIV in the Presence of a Violence Syndemic: Finding Hope
February 10, 2023

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month 2022 Address
February 10, 2022

Fireside Chat: Celebrating Black Excellence and Authors
February 03, 2022

Think Showcase: The Next Generation of Health
February 02, 2022