AUSTIN, Texas – University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work Professor Namkee Choi has received the 2011-2012 David Austin Award for Excellence in Social Work Research.

The award was presented to Dr. Choi by Dr. Mary Velasquez, associate dean for research and director of the school’s Center for Social Work Research, at the annual Field Instructors’ Workshop held January 27.

“It is fitting that this award be presented here today because Dr. Choi’s work is conducted in the field. Its impact is felt by our community, and it has important implications for social work practice with older adults,” said Velasquez.

Dr. Choi is a dedicated researcher in the field of gerontology, particularly in the area of relieving depression among older adults. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Mitte Foundation, and St. David’s Foundation. In designing her intervention research, Choi works closely with non-profit organizations and state agencies. She is also a volunteer for the Meals on Wheels and More program in Austin and for a local food pantry. Information about Choi’s current research can be found in the article, “The power of the Internet over depression,” appearing on the university’s Web site.

The purpose of the David Austin Award for Excellence in Social Work Research is to recognize an investigator who has a well-developed and rigorous research plan showing potential to significantly advance the profession. Nominations for the award are made by School of Social Work faculty members and researchers.

The award is named for the late David Austin, Ph.D., and honors his extensive teaching career at the School of Social Work and administration of the school’s Center for Social Work Research (1974-79). He also served as the school’s acting dean from 1991-1993.

“I never met David Austin, but his towering presence in social work has influenced my career, and his influence lives on in this school and in the profession,” said School of Social Work Dean Luis H. Zayas in his remarks during the award presentation.