Heather Larkin

Homelessness, adverse childhood experiences (ACE), Restorative Integral Support (RIS), mind/body/spirit interventions

The World Within Reach
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Heather Larkin

Associate Professor
School of Social Welfare
Department: Social Welfare

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and ACE consequences, including substance abuse and co-occurring disorders; Restorative Integral Support (RIS), including Healthy Environments and Relationships That Support (HEARTS), meditation interventions, and emerging practices; Service Outcomes Action Research (SOAR); Post-Trauma Wellness; intergenerational and lifespan perspectives; aging

Campus phone: (518) 591-8779
Campus email: [email protected]


Heather Larkin, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the University at Albany and co-Director of the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services. She also volunteers as a consultant on research and education for the Center for Post-Trauma Wellness.

Larkin has researched the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and service use among homeless people, and co-developed the Restorative Integral Support (RIS) model. RIS is used to integrate evidence-supported interventions and emerging practices within intentionally developed restorative contexts. Heather leads ACE Think Tank and Action Team meetings and works with local service agency directors to strengthen ACE response through the Healthy Environments And Relationships That Support (HEARTS) Initiative. This includes support for Service Outcomes Action Research (SOAR).

Her practice background includes psychosocial assessment; emergency services; individual, family, and group counseling; clinical supervision; and interagency collaboration. She extends research on adverse childhood experiences (ACE); integrates social work prevention and intervention research for trauma response; investigates emerging mind/body/spirit interventions; and develops national and international partnerships with policymakers, program directors, and practitioners focused on ACE-informed programming that serves the whole person.

The National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services emphasizes partnerships among schools of social work; leadership development within and across agencies serving those experiencing homelessness; guidance regarding innovative funding opportunities, especially those made possible by Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act; and integration of evidence-based and emerging practices. The Center is informed by ACE research and applies the Restorative Integral Support (RIS) model. Currently, the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative seeks to create leadership paths for students entering the homelessness field and support current homeless service leaders through innovations exchanges and curricular developments.