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Derrick Kranke - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Derrick Kranke Derrick Kranke

Adjunct Lecturer | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Health science specialist, exploring the social and psychological impact of disaster relief work.

Research Articles & Publications (3)

A "Culture of Compassionate Bad Asses": A Qualitative Study of Combat Veterans Engaging in Peer-Led Disaster Relief and Utilizing Cognitive Restructuring to Mitigate Mental Health Stigma Best Practices in Mental Health

2017 This exploratory qualitative study describes combat veterans engaged in peer-based disaster relief efforts through their volunteer participation in Team Rubicon, their use of thought restructuring strategies to promote flexible and adaptive thinking within a peer-supportive environment, and the impact of these strategies on mental health stigma reduction. The findings of this qualitative study demonstrate nuances in the ways that combat veterans engage in thought restructuring in an informal and peer-supportive environment that is similar to military experience but without the confines of the military. This study's findings also suggest that veterans may be able to successfully and independently use thought restructuring themselves or through their peer support to mitigate perceptions of stigma. The limitations include the participants' self-selection in the study and the fact that not all combat veterans may react positively to thought restructuring, particularly without the guidance of a mental health practitioner. Large-scale studies need to evaluate whether thought restructuring in a peer-led setting is effective among combat veterans in clinical settings to help guide best practices in stigma reduction and enhance help-seeking behaviors in military and veteran populations.

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“I'm in a Good Place Now”: a Case Study of Empowerment of a Combat Veteran Engaged in Peer-led Disaster Relief Social Work in Mental Health

2017 This qualitative single case study examines the lived experience of empowerment of a combat veteran with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who engages in volunteer, peer-led disaster response activities with Team Rubicon (TR), a nongovernmental organization. Team Rubicon members utilize unique skill sets of both military veterans and civilian first responders to rapidly deploy response teams to domestic and global emergencies. Minimal research to date disseminates experiences of empowerment among combat veterans. The single case study methodological approach offers a rich descriptive and contextual analysis for exploring implications for mental health stigma reduction in combat veterans through an empowerment lens. The study serves to: provide a preliminary foundation for continued theory building of empowerment in combat veterans through peer-led disaster relief settings, expand research, and offer practical implications for social workers in stigma reduction efforts.

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Social Work Faculty and Mental Illness Stigma Journal of Social Work Education

2017 Stigma is a significant barrier to recovery and full community inclusion for people with mental illnesses. Social work educators can play critical roles in addressing this stigma, yet little is known about their attitudes. Social work educators were surveyed about their general attitudes about people with mental illnesses, attitudes about practice with people with mental illnesses, and attitudes about students with mental illnesses. On average, educators’ general and practice attitudes were not negative. However, respondents did view a student with a mental illness differently from a “typical social work student.” Findings suggest that we, as social work educators, must raise our awareness and address our own attitudes to support students and uphold our social work values.

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Derrick Kranke is an adjunct lecturer at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He currently serves as a health science specialist for the Veterans Health Administration’s Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, where he explores how combat veterans are impacted from volunteering in disaster relief work.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Loyola Marymount University, and his PhD from Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Previously, he taught at the Mandel School, where he was recognized with the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award in 2010, as well as Loyola Marymount University, California State University, Northridge, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kranke applies social media and pop culture in his pedagogical approach to research courses. He has published several articles in Social Work Education that disseminate effective practices, including an article that teaches qualitative research through the analysis of Lady Gaga song lyrics. He presented the findings of the song lyrics exercise at the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching and Learning. He also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Social Work Education.

His research focuses on experiences of “differentness” among youth, young adults, military personnel/veterans and military families. He strives to empower marginalized groups so that they can maintain and capitalize on meaningful life opportunities.

Education (5)

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU): Postdoctoral Fellow, Mental Health Service Usage among College Students 2010

Case Western Reserve University: PhD, Social Welfare 2009

Loyola Marymount University: MA 2005

California State University at Long Beach: CLAD, Multiple Subject Teaching CredentiaL 2005

Loyola Marymount University: BA, Business Administration 2000

Areas of Expertise (3)

Social Work Education

Social Welfare

Veteran Health Administration

Industry Expertise (7)

Health Care - Services

Health Care - Facilities



Writing and Editing

Health and Wellness

Health Care - Providers

Accomplishments (2)

Non-Senate Faculty Development Fund Awardee (professional)

2016 Awarded by UCLA

Mandel School Hall of Achievement, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (professional)

2016 Awarded by Case Western Reserve University