Do you have questions in your practice with limited research capacity?
We may be able to help!

Who We Are
SIM Social Work Research Lab (Directors Dr. Sarah Todd and Katherine Occhiuto) aims to Strengthen, Innovate, and Mobilize simulation-based research on social work education and practice. This is the first and only social work-specific, simulation-based research lab in North America. Simulation refers to a situation where a student or a practitioner engages with a simulated “client” (i.e., actors, artificial intelligence technology) portraying a designed character and scenario similar to those encountered in practice.

The SIM Lab
The SIM Lab is designed to reflect a realistic practice environment and includes a waiting and counselling room. The furniture in these rooms is moveable to replicate a broad range of agency and institutional settings, and to accommodate work with individuals, families, and small groups. The rooms are equipped with the latest AV technologies. The counselling room includes a large screen for interacting with AI clients, and shares a one-way mirror to the observation room with computer equipment and access to a variety of research software.

What We Offer
We work with community agencies, partners, researchers, and funders to engage in research on social work practice. Are your agency’s interventions effective? Is a new model of treatment feasible within your agency context? Are there any clinical skills you would like to work on or train the social workers within your agency? These are the sorts of questions we can support you in answering.

How Much Does It Cost?
Your agency does not have to pay to do research with the SIM Lab. The SIM Lab has all of the infrastructure necessary to support these projects and the Lab Director will take the lead on developing funding applications to support your agency’s individual projects.

How Your Agency Can Benefit

Partner With SIM
My agency is interested. Now what?

1)   Get in touch with us using our contact information below.
2)   Meet with us to brainstorm research ideas and plan your research goals.
3)   We will take the lead on developing funding applications for your agency’s research project.
4)   The SIM Lab will work with you to research the topic of your agency’s choice, develop guidance, and identify gaps in order to advance social work practice at your agency.

Some of Our Current Research Projects Include:

  • Exploring Trauma-Informed Approaches with Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) who are Immigrants using Simulation-Based Research Methods
  • Knowing and Not Knowing: Navigating Uncertainty in Social Work Practice

Get In Touch
If you are interested in learning more about our work and SIM Lab, please visit our website at

If your agency is interested in discussing research ideas or acquiring more information about our work, please contact the Lab Co-Director Katherine Occhiuto at