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Amy B. Smoyer

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 Assistant Professor

 Dr. Amy Smoyer has been an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University since 2015.  Her current program of research includes:

  • Incarcerated women & health:  What is the impact of incarceration on women’s health outcomes? This work, which focuses on food-related wellness, includes collaboration with staff at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic, CT, and with community-based programs that support women returning from prison to New Haven.
  • Incarcerated people living with HIV:  Dr. Smoyer leads a mixed-methods NIMH-funded pilot study about the prison food experiences of incarcerated people with HIV in Rhode Island and the prevalence of obesity and other weight-related health outcomes among this population. She also runs a group for HIV-positive women at York CI.
  • Cross-cultural analysis of prisons life:  In 2014, Dr. Smoyer spent two months in Denmark teaching and conducting research about Danish prison food systems as a US Fulbright Scholar. She has also studied harm reduction programs in Spain and collaborates with the World Health Organization’s Prison Health group.
Prior to joining the Southern faculty, Dr. Smoyer worked at the Yale School of Public Health and she continues to be affiliated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale. She speaks English and Spanish and is an active resident of the New Haven's Fair Haven Heights neighborhood.
Areas of Expertise 
  • Correctional Systems (Prison, Parole, Probation)
  • Structural Health Interventions
  • Food-Related Wellness
  • HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention
  • Qualitative Methodologies
  • Gender Studies
Ph.D.                  City University of New York/Hunter College, New York, 2013
M.S.W.              Florida State University, Tallahassee, 2001
M.P.A                 Florida State University, Tallahassee, 2001
B.A.                     Columbia University, New York, 1992
Courses Regularly Taught
SWK 350, Social Work Research Methods (Undergraduate)
SWK 561, Social Work Research Methods (Graduate)
SWK 572/573, Social Work Practicum and Capstone (Graduate)
Recent Scholarship
Smoyer, A.B. (in press).  It’s the Black girls that have the most’:  Foodways narratives and the construction of race in a women’s prison. Food & Foodwaysdoi: 10.1080/07409710.2015.1102480
Smoyer, A.B., Kershaw, T.S., Blankenship, K.M. (in press). Confining legitimacy: The impact of prison experiences on perceptions of criminal justice legitimacy. Journal of Forensic Social Work. doi: 10.1080/1936928X.2015.1092905
Smoyer, A. B. (2015). Making Fatty Girl cakes: Food and resistance in a women’s prison.  The Prison Journal. doi: 10.1177/0032885515596520
Smoyer, A.B. (2015). Feeding relationships:  Food and social networks in a women’s prison.  Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 30(1), 26-39.  doi: 10.1177/088610991453749
Smoyer, A.B. (2014). Good & Healthy:  Foodways and construction of identity in a women’s prison. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 53 (5), 525-541. 

doi: 10.1111/hojo.12097