Professor Daphne Watkins has received the 2022 Distinguished Faculty Award. Watkins is a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor who studies behavioral interventions for historically marginalized groups, mixed methods approaches to research in context, and leadership development and organizational structures. She is the Director of the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity and Research Training.
"The SSW Distinguished Faculty Award means a lot to me. As someone trained in anthropology and public health, this acknowledgment speaks to the respect my colleagues have for the interdisciplinary nature of my work and what I bring to the School. Social work has been my home for well over a decade, but not without some uncertainty on my part. Early in my career, I wondered if I could truly embody social work’s values in my research, teaching and service. This award confirms I am not only working hard to represent the School in a positive light globally and domestically but that the faculty see me, respect my efforts and are proud to have me as a colleague.”
The Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training Center has secured a contract with the National Network of Public Health Institutes to review best or promising practices that address social and structural determinants of health related to COVID-19.
The Curtis Center was one of just four research centers contracted to support more than 100 grant recipients from the CDC in the assessment, translation and dissemination of evidence-based practices — and best or promising — practices to address COVID-19 related disparities associated with at-risk and underserved populations, including racial/ethnic minorities and rural communities.
Professor Daphne Watkins’ YBMen Project is being launched in Australia. The Freemasons Centre for Male Health & Wellbeing will use Indigenous leadership and co-design processes to adapt and contextualize the program to meet the needs of young Indigenous males across Australia. Originally developed for young Black college men in the U.S., YBMen provides social and educational support and connectedness via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
“For the past seven years, the YBMen Project has had success with Black men and boys in the United States, and we look forward to seeing what it can do for Aboriginal males in the Northern Territory,” said Watkins. “With such strong support, resources and partnerships in place, we are confident we will see improved mental health, more progressive definitions of manhood and increased social support among Aboriginal males in Australia now, and in the years to come."
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.
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.
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