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College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Nikki Wooten, Ph.D., LCSW-C

Title: Associate Professor
Coordinator, Social and Behavioral Health with Military Members, Veterans and Military Families Certificate program
College of Social Work
Phone: 803-777-2973
Office: Hamilton 302
Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Nikki Wooten


Professor Nikki Wooten joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 2013. She is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and was previously a commissioned officer in the District of Columbia National Guard from 1997 to 2014. Prior to joining the University of South Carolina, Wooten was an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Social Work.

Wooten’s research interests include substance use and psychological problems in active military and veterans, and gender differences in military behavioral health. She is currently principal investigator on a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research on behavioral health care in Army Warrior Transition Units. The goal is to examine military service and deployment-related factors associated with substance use and mental health problems and behavioral health service utilization. Wooten and her team will also examine health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities and women in the military. This is the first study to characterize deployed Army service members assigned to Warrior Transition Units. She is also co-investigator on another NIDA-funded award on the longitudinal study of Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatments. Using data from the Department of Defense and Veterans Health Administration, the goal is to assist decision-makers from both agencies to improve current patterns of care and reduce the distress and morbidity among injured and ill service members.   

From 2013 to 2016, Wooten was co-investigator on a feasibility study to design and test an educational intervention using an academic detailing approach for physicians treating military personnel and veterans. The study promoted the use of the South Carolina Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for increasing safe prescribing practices and prescription drug monitoring practices among primary care physicians at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia and the Moncrief Army Community Hospital at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Wooten has recently co-authored journal articles on topics including, community stakeholders calling for action to curtail the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the South, purchased behavioral health care received by military health system beneficiaries in civilian medical facilities and comparing behavioral health models for reducing risky drinking among older male veterans. Her articles have appeared in scholarly journals such as, Health & Social Work, Military Medicine and The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. She also co-edited, A History of the Research into Methods for Selecting and Classifying U.S. Army Personnel 1917-2011, which was published in 2012.

Wooten has 10 years of professional social work practice experience in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. Her experience included working as a social worker for the Prince George’s County (Md.) Department of Social Services. She was also a social work consultant for issues regarding child maltreatment for the Department of Defense at the Armed Forces Center for Child Protection at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. 

Wooten received her Master of Social Work from the Howard University School of Social Work. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

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