ASPIRE Website Launched

We are excited to announce the launch of ASPIRE’s website! ASPIRE’s principal investigators are Nabila El-Bassel and Neeraj Kaushal. Dr. El-Bassel is the Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work at the Columbia School of Social Work and directs the Social Intervention Group (SIG). Dr. Kaushal is a Professor of Social Policy and Chair of the Doctoral Program at the Columbia School of Social Work.

ASPIRE: Advancing Solutions in Policy, Implementation, Research, and Engagement for Refugees: A Multidisciplinary Consortium of Professional Schools at Columbia University


Vision: A multidisciplinary and collaborative approach at Columbia University, responding to refugee health, mental health, employment, and education needs.

Mission: Professional schools at Columbia University collaborating on innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to the Syrian refugee crisis through research, education and training.

 Description: ASPIRE represents a consortium of multidisciplinary faculty from professional schools at Columbia University (CU), including faculty from social work, public health, medicine, education, nursing, and international affairs, who have the expertise, passion, and commitment necessary to constructively contribute to the global dialogue around successful refugee resettlement.  ASPIRE works in direct partnership with the Columbia University Global Centers in Amman, Jordan, and Istanbul, Turkey; faculty and students at universities in Jordan and Turkey, as well as with NGOs in each country. The project’s specific goals are:

  1. Engage CU professional schools in identifying the needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey through research, training, and educational opportunities/projects.
  2. Conduct research to assess the needs of Syrian refugees and those agencies providing services to them to inform intervention, prevention programming, and policies.
    1. Areas of focus: health, mental health, education, and structural service provision in the areas of legal consultation, employment, and housing
  3. Examine the role of institutions of higher education in the promotion of refugee educational advancement and achievement.
  4. Provide research-training opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows in all three countries.
  5. Develop, implement and refine a graduate-level course for CU students.
  6. Engage students and trainees in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Research interests: substance use professionals, medical professionals, nurses, social workers, mental health counselors, professional counselors, psychologists, employee assistance professionals, and other helping professionals that are interested in learning about SBIRT.

Want to stay connected? 
Click here to subscribe to ASPIRE’s mailing list where we send updates of our team, projects, events and publications. Click here to follow us on Twitter.

Interested in contacting ASPIRE? For general questions, please email the ASPIRE Project Director, Melissa Meinhart, at