Andy Frey

Andy Frey



Research at a glance

Research Topics

Research Summary

Dr. Frey's research focuses on the prevention and treatment of young children with challenging behaviors in school settings.


  • PhD, University of Denver, 2000
  • MSW, University of Michigan, 1994
  • BA, Rollins College, 1993

Research interests

School mental health, school social work, motivational interviewing in school settings, the First Step Next early intervention

Teaching interests

School Social Work, Foundation and advanced research, Motivational interviewing, Teaching in Social Work, Professional seminars (PhD)


  • 2017 Stan Frager Award for Community Service (University of Louisville)
  • 2015 Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity in Social Sciences Award (University of Louisville)
  • 2015 University of Denver School of Social Work Master Scholar
  • 2010 Gary Lee Shaffer Award for Academic Contributions to the Field of School Social Work at the School Social Work (School Social Work Association of America)
  • 2010 Distinguished University Teaching Award

Research and scholarly activity

Dr. Frey’s research and scholarly activity focuses on the provision of school-based mental health services and the effectiveness of promotion, prevention, and treatment strategies to foster school success and remove barriers to learning within an interdisciplinary context. This work involves describing models of service delivery within the context of education reform, synthesizing the current knowledge base, applying lessons learned from implementation science research, and providing recommendations for future research and practice. His focus on support services within an interdisciplinary context has resulted in invitations to write chapters in influential books, guest edit special issues of interdisciplinary journal journals, reach a scholarly audience beyond social work through peer-reviewed publications, and secure extramural funding to both provide and evaluate mental health services.

A narrow subcategory school mental health involves the provision of school social work services. This work maintains school social work on the cutting edge of school-based mental health services by locating it within research, practice, and policy-related educational reform movements. Dr. Frey is the senior author of the national model for school social work practice.

Another area involved has several lines of research related to the application of motivational interviewing (MI) for improving behavioral health outcomes of vulnerable children and youth. MI is a counseling approach having substantial empirical support for improving intervention and treatment efficacy in substance abuse and health care settings. In these settings, MI has demonstrated repeatedly that it is an effective mechanism for improving engagement in treatment, adherence to treatment protocols (i.e., implementation fidelity), and that improvements in these areas result in outcomes that exceed those of no treatment control groups, as well as standard treatment comparison groups.

The last area of Dr. Frey’s research agenda involves the continued development and evaluation of the First Step Next (previously First Step to Success) early intervention program. First Step Next is a collaborative school intervention program geared for regular classroom settings (grades prek-2) and designed to help at-risk children embark the best start possible in their school careers.

Dr. Frey recently served as the PI for an IES Development & Innovation grant (R324A080137- PD/PI: Frey), two IES Efficacy grants (R32A150179- PD/PI: Frey; R324A150221- PD/PI: Feil), and an NICHD R01 efficacy trial (1R01HD055334-01A2/- PD/PI: Feil). He is an Associate Editor for School Mental Health and currently serving as key personnel (PI and Co-I) on one IES Development & Innovation grant (R324A190173: PD/PI Frey) and one Follow-up Efficacy grant (R324A150221- PD/PI: Feil). He has a successful record of disseminating research findings, having had over 95 peer-reviewed articles and chapters accepted for publication.

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