Gwendolyn J Elliott Institute

Vision & Mission

The Gwendolyn J. Elliott Institute supports research, provides training and serves as a clearinghouse for best practices in research and programming that empowers young girls and women.

The mission of the Institute is to provide expertise in the fields of research and training for individuals and organizations working with girls.

Kathi Elliott, DNP, MSW, CRNP, Chief Executive Officer, Gwen’s Girls

Kimberly Booth, Allegheny County Juvenile Probation

Betty Braxter, PhD, CNM

Britney Brinkman, PhD, Point Park University

Randi Congleton, PhD, Chatham University

Amanda Cross, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development

Willa Doswell, RN, PhD, FAAN

Sara Goodkind, PhD, MSW, University of Pittsburgh

Nancy Hubley, Esq., Education Law Center

Andrea Joseph, PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Lynn Knezevich, Gwen’s Girls Volunteer and past Executive Director

Azadeh Masalehdan Block, PhD, MSW, California University of PA

Jessica Ruffin, MBA, Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Ryan Scott, Carlow University

Angela Steele, MSW, Allegheny County Office of Children Youth and Family Services

Melissa Swauger, PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania



Adagio Health

Allegheny County DHS CYF

Allegheny County Juvenile Probation

Amachi Pittsburgh

Brilliantly Blessed Community Health and Wellness

Center for Family Excellence

Center for Victims

Chatham University

Communities in Schools

Educational Compliance Associates

Education Law Center

FISA Foundation

Healthy Start, Inc.

Infinite Life Solutions

Jewish Healthcare Foundation

The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health

New Voices Pittsburgh

Office of Mayor Peduto, City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Action Against Rape

Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition

Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania

Social Justice Institutes at Carlow University

University of Pittsburgh Department of Pediatrics, Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine

University of Pittsburgh, Office of Child Development (OCD)

university of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work

Women and Girls Foundation

Women’s Law Project

Youth Support Partner Unit


Azadeh Masalehdan Block, MSW, PhD

Lynn Knezevich

Zabi Mulwa

William Peduto

Dr. Christine White Taylor

Caroline Zieth


Friends Service Committee Pittsburgh

The Rock Family Foundation

Rosalie Smiley, PhD, MPH< LSW

Cecile Springer

Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR)/American

More info to come!


  • Identify, plan, and implement new research projects
  • Provide support for research, education, and outreach efforts.
  • Build partnerships with and among non-profit, government and research communities.
  • Develop training and education programs aimed at addressing knowledge gaps for African American girls and young women.
  • Participate and organize local, state, regional, and national conferences.
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for documents, reports, and relevant educational materials for educators and professionals on the needs and strengths of African American girls and young women.
  • Advocate for policy changes and improved practices within organizations that serve or otherwise engage with African American girls.