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Joint PhD Program News

    Funds Available to Support Student Projects for Anti-Racism Work

    The School of Social Work invites grant applications from MSW and PhD students to support individual student projects for anti-racism work, with a specific focus on confronting anti-Blackness, racism against Indigenous peoples and confronting white supremacy. The goal is to inclusively support students working within SSW or in communities seeking to confront racism to the greatest degree possible. 

    Graduate and Professional Students Weekly COVID-19 Testing

    Required Weekly COVID-19 Testing

    All students – including graduate and professional students – who live on or come to campus will be required to be tested weekly through the U-M Community Sampling and Tracking Program starting February 16. Currently, over 10% of all COVID reports of students are graduate students.

    Weekly testing will be required for all SSW students (including those who have received the vaccine) who:

    • Live in Michigan housing.
    • Are registered for any in-person courses that meet on campus, regardless of how frequently the course meets in-person.
    • Are employed or have in-person field placement on campus (including Michigan Medicine).
    • Conduct research in a campus facility/building.
    • Come to campus to use facilities (e.g. libraries, unions, Rec Sports, SSW building).


    Listed below is testing information for field:

    • If your field placement is on campus and in-person, you will be required to participate in the weekly testing program.
    • If your field placement is not on campus, you only need to test if it is a requirement of the field agency/site. You can participate in the U-M testing program.
    • If you are uncomfortable with testing protocols related to field education, please contact your field faculty about options.
    • If your field placement is entirely off campus AND you do not come to campus for any reason, you are not required to be tested weekly. You are eligible, though, to voluntarily sign up for periodic testing on campus.

    If You Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

    If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you are excluded from testing for a 90-day period from the date of your test. If you were tested by the U-M Community Sampling and Tracking Program, University Health Service or Occupational Health Services, your result will automatically be captured. If you were tested elsewhere, please submit your positive results.

  3. Charles E. Williams
    Charles Williams Appointed Chair of the Bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission African American Workgroup

    PhD student Charles Williams has been appointed chair of the Bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission African American workgroup by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Housed within the Department of Health and Human Services, the commission will help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, educate the people of the state, and help protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents.

    Terri Friedline and So’Phelia Morrow call on President Biden to stop the Predatory Burden of Student Loan Debt in Ms. Magazine

    Associate Professor Terri Friedline and PhD student So’Phelia Morrow call on President Biden to stop the predatory burden of student loan debt in an article in Ms.“To advance his promises of racial and gender justice and to better ensure an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden should cancel all student loan debt—not just a meager portion of it.” Their article also cites research conducted by a team at Michigan Social Work, which focuses on the physical and mental health tolls women face due to their debts and outstanding obligations.

    PhD Student Charles Williams II Addresses African Americans Distrust of Vaccine

    PhD Student Charles Williams II spoke with the Detroit Free Press about the skepticism in Black communities about the COVID-19 vaccination.  As a clergy member who interacts with patients in hospital settings and in his church, Williams qualified to get an early vaccine.  He hopes to convince his church members that the vaccine is safe.  “As a leader, as a pastor… if I have to be the one to get my arm poked so folks can feel a little bit comfortable about them doing it, so be it,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, current PhD student.

  6. Danae Ross
    Danae Ross Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars Program

    Danae Ross, Joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology, Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars Program. The Health Policy Research Scholars is a leadership opportunity for second-year full-time doctoral students from populations underrepresented in specific doctoral disciplines and/or marginalized backgrounds. The program supports and connects emerging scholars who are committed to bringing about meaningful change and building a national culture of health, which enables everyone in America to live longer healthier lives.

    Ross’s research brings an interdisciplinary lens to the study of Black maternal/parental health. Her work centers on the physical and mental health of Black mothers and their infants in sexual and reproductive justice discourses. She investigates how anti-Black culture–particularly related to Black sexuality and parenthood–influences Black maternal/parental-infant lived experiences as well as health outcomes, standard medical recommendations, and health care policy relative to birth and breast/body feeding.

  7. Finn McLafferty Bell
    Finn Bell Named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow

    Finn Bell, Joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology, has been named a Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow. He joins a national cohort of 26 social work experts from around the U.S. and Canada, who will work together on topics ranging from social media to climate justice. Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), this initiative aspires to help prepare a new generation of the profession.

    "For the past seven years, my community-engaged research has been motivated by trying to understand how communities can build the emotional, spiritual, and cultural sustenance necessary to effectively confront the climate crisis,” said Bell. “I am honored to have been selected as a RWJF Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow, as it will give me the opportunity to receive specialized training in futures thinking and connect me with a cohort of social work leaders similarly committed to addressing the ‘wicked problems’ of the 21st century from an intersectional anti-racist lens."

    SSW Joint PhD Program 2021 Doctoral Class Enrollment Announcement

    This decision is now approved and final.

    The Joint Program in Social Work and Social Science at the University of Michigan has decided to not enroll a new doctoral class for 2021. This is a difficult decision but given the impact of COVID on our current diverse student body, it is needed to provide them the best chance for success. This would be for one year. Next year we would resume enrolling students as we previously have. We currently do not plan to offer deferments to prospective students this year. There are only eight seats per year and if we defer students this year we would not have seats available next year.

    We know this is a disappointment for those of you who would like to enroll this year, and for that we are sorry. However, we are committed first to our current students and assuring they have all the resources they need to be successful. We think this is one of the reasons you may be considering our program and would expect nothing less of us. These are hard times for everyone, which force all of us to make difficult decisions. We hope that you will be able to apply next year. You are very important to our future. At this time, we have to make the best decisions we can for our current students so that they can move forward and become the next leaders in the field of social work.

    The MSW program is still admitting a cohort for fall 2021. Please consider applying to their program.

    FAQ Regarding Students Who Have Applied

    I have already applied to the program, will my application fee be refunded?

    Yes, your application will be refunded if you applied to the Joint Program without applying to any other programs. This cannot occur until we get final approval from Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

    I would still like to be considered for the MSW program, is this possible?

    Yes, we would like to encourage prospective students to still apply to the MSW program. We will continue to forward any information you submitted to us to the MSW admissions team, and if you have any questions about your MSW application you can reach out to ssw.msw.info@umich.edu.

    • November 10, 2020
    Natasha Johnson, PhD ‘20 Receives a Racial Injustice Award From the U-M Depression Center

    Natasha Johnson, PhD ‘20, has received a $5,000 Racial Injustice Award From the U-M Depression Center for her research on racism awareness among Black youths. Her research has the potential to provide empirical support for intervention programs aimed at combating racism by developing a psychometric tool that will evaluate resilient pathways for racially marginalized youth.

  10. Joyce Y. Lee
    Joyce Lee Co-authored Children's Book on Fighting Anti-Asian Racism

    Joyce Lee, PhD student, has co-authored a children's book on fighting anti-Asian racism during COVID-19. The book is free and provides an educational resource to help generate meaningful discussions between adults and children about anti-Asian racism.

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