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Joint PhD Program News

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

    • November 10, 2020
    Shanna and Leo Kattari Edit New Book Social Work and Health Care Practice with Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals

    Assistant Professor Shanna Kattari and Lecturer Leo Kattari have edited a new book “Social Work and Health Care Practice with Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals.” Assistant Professor Ashley Lacombe-Duncan and Joint PhD student Matthew Bakko contributed chapters. 

    The book examines issues across the lifespan of transgender and nonbinary individuals whilst synthesizing conceptual work, empirical evidence, pedagogical content, educational experiences and the voices of transgender and nonbinary individuals.

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Natasha Johnson
    Natasha Johnson Defends Dissertation

    Congratulations to Natasha Johnson, Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Psychology, for successfully defending her dissertation, "You Must Work Twice as Hard for Half as Much: Racial Socialization, Racial Identity, and Racism Awareness in Adolescence." Her committee chairs were Daphne Watkins and Stephanie Rowley. Johnson was awarded the Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and will be working as a postdoctoral fellow with the U-M School of Public Health.

  10. Change Kwesele
    Words Matter: Insights on Conversations About Race

    PhD student Change Kwesele recently published ‘It’s Not a Quick Fix.’ Notes for the ‘good’ white people: Insights on conversations about race at work” on Medium.  Kwesele breaks down why the choice of words matters.  “White people must be mindful of how certain ‘polite’ words and conversations have been used to harm Black people.”

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