Professor Daphne Watkins has been named a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and jointly administered by the U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), the Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship is an honor designation for senior faculty who have the highest levels of achievement in demonstrating a commitment to the university’s ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion through their scholarship, teaching or service and engagement. The initial appointment is for five years and also includes special faculty fellow status at NCID.
Watkins’ research uses an equity approach to improving mental health, expanding definitions of masculinity, and increasing social support among Black men. She is also a global thought leader in mixed method research, and uses technology and social networks to improve the health of underrepresented communities. She is the founding director of the award-winning YBMen Project, which uses popular culture and social media to provide health education and social support for young Black men.
Watkins has a demonstrated record of leadership. She is a mentor to students and faculty across a variety of disciplines, and directs the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training. She has served as president of the American Men's Studies Association (2013-2017), director of the Joint PhD Program at Michigan Social Work (2017-2018), and is the founding director of the Gender and Health Research Lab (GendHR Lab) and the Certificate Program in Mixed Methods Research. In 2018, she was recognized as an outstanding alumna at Texas A&M University and received the Thought Leadership Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the University of Michigan in this way. The NCID is a powerhouse in their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and I look forward to actualizing their mission, and that of the School of Social Work, through this amazing opportunity.”
In February, the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training announced the three inaugural awardees of the Curtis Center Signature Programs Initiative (SPI). SPI is a launch program for Michigan Social Work faculty to develop new or further existing health equity research programs.
Led by Assistant Professor Jamie Mitchell and Assistant Professor Jaclynn Hawkins, this program will address the development of behavioral and health services interventions that improve African American’s self-management of chronic diseases. The program will culminate in a symposium focusing on academic-community partnerships to reduce chronic disease self-management disparities.
Led by Assistant Professor Katie Schultz, this program will establish a research partnership between Michigan Social Work faculty and a statewide tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition. The program will identify research priorities and support the development of new community-led research to reduce violence and promote health equity in Michigan’s tribal communities.
Led by Assistant Professor Anao Zhang, this program will create a fellowship at the emergent Michigan Medicine Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Research Group (MAYA). This fellowship will address the unique developmental issues that result in significantly worse health outcomes among adolescents and young adults than their pediatric or adult counterparts, both during treatment and throughout survivorship. The detrimental effects of cancer and treatment among this age group on infertility and sexual dysfunction significantly impact their psychosocial well-being.
The Signature Program Initiative award includes $10,000 in program funds and research consultation from the Curtis Center. In addition to the three programs above, YBMen Project is also a Curtis Center Signature Program but does not receive financial support from the Curtis Center.
Associate Professor Daphne Watkins' research on black men is featured in U-M Record. Watkins researches how men and boys define themselves as men and boys, and how that influences their mental health.
Daphne C. Watkins, associate professor of social work and faculty associate at the Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research was appointed the Director of the Curtis Center effective January 2019. As director, Watkins will bring substance and leadership to advance the Curtis Center’s mission to produce knowledge that will reduce health disparities in the United States and around the world.
Watkins joined the School in 2009 and brings an accomplished record of research and leadership to this important role. Her research focuses on mental health, masculinities, and social support among Black men uses a mixed method approach and integrates information technology. She founded the award-winning YBMen Project, which uses social media to provide health education and social support for young Black men.
Watkins has a demonstrated record of leadership. She has served as President of the American Men's Studies Association (2013-2017), Director of the Joint PhD Program at Michigan Social Work (2017-2018), Founding Director of the Gender and Health Research Lab (GendHR Lab) and Founding Director of the Certificate Program in Mixed Methods Research. Watkins is currently a member of the Movember Foundation Global Men’s Health Advisory Committee and the editorial board for the International Journal of Men’s Social and Community Health. In 2018, she was recognized as an outstanding alumna at Texas A&M University.
The Curtis Center is named in honor and recognition of the generous support of Dr. James L. Curtis and his wife Vivian A. Curtis. James Curtis, MD ’46, and Vivian Curtis, MSW ’48 shared a lifetime of collaboration blending medicine and social work, and they provide ongoing inspiration to make positive change possible.
Tina Jiwatram-Negron (Curtis Center postdoctoral fellow) and Associate Dean for Research and Professor Joe Himle received a grant from the U-M SSW via the Curtis Research and Training Center for their New York City-based study which will develop and test an integrated, brief screening for a previously identified syndemic of intimate partner violence, HIV/STIs, substance use, and depression/self-harm among Hispanic/Latino women in the U.S.
Brittany Schuler (postdoctoral fellow) and Associate Dean for Research and Professor Joe Himle received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their study which contributes to a Culture of Health by enhancing our understanding of healthy-eating habits and healthy weight among children within low-resourced communities in the U.S.
Postdoctoral Fellow & LEO Adjunct Lecturer Shanna Kattari's article, "Applying a social model of disability across the life span" was published in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment.
Brittany Schuler's (postdoctoral fellow) article, "Child Development and the Community Environment: Understanding Overweight across the Income Gradient" was published in Childhood Obesity.
Tina Jiwatram-Negrón (Curtis Center postdoctoral fellow) had two articles published:
Associate Dean for Research and Professor Joe Himle and Curtis Center Manager Ebony Reddock received a grant from the Skillman Foundation to evaluate the skillset of the 482Forward membership, a citywide education organizing network in Detroit,by conducting a survey with a select group of members.
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