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School of Social Work

Leading the way

We take pride in recognizing our graduates who persistently contribute to the expansion of the social work knowledge foundation, all the while focusing on the lives and experiences of urban communities.

Lushin, V., Rivera, R., Chandler, M.*, Rees, J., & Rzewinski, J. (2023). Emotional Distress in a Marginalized Population as a Function of Household-Level Social Determinants of Health. Social Work, swad024.

Abstract: Depression disproportionately burdens poverty-affected minority communities. Racism and racial discrimination are well-known determinants of depression among members of marginalized minority communities. Less is known about potential buffers of the discrimination effects on depression, particularly those that could serve as targets for efficient community-based policies and interventions. Our secondary analysis of data from a community needs assessment survey (N = 677) in an urban minority neighborhood of low socio-economic status revealed that high school completion and current employment significantly weakened the association between discrimination and depression. Our findings frame community-level efforts to foster high school completion and employment as potential strategies to reduce the footprint of racism on the mental health of marginalized community members. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.

Geyton, T. A.*, Town, M., Hunte, R., & Johnson, N.* (2022). Magnifying inequality: How Black women found safety in the midst of dual pandemics. Journal of Social Issues.

Abstract: In 2020, COVID-19 in tandem with racial tensions spurred by various occurrences throughout the nation proved detrimental to minoritized persons. Black women, who are often the heads of households, familial and communal caregivers, and organizers, were tasked with protecting themselves, their families, and their communities from racialized violence and infection. This article explores the idea of safety and the responsibilities of Black women to ensure, secure, and maintain safety. The intersection of these two forces creates dual inequities. Whether sacrificing safety for the sake of racial equality or experiencing medical racism while seeking treatment for COVID-19, the duality of Being black and a woman during two prevalent threats exacerbate existing inequities. Using symbolic interactionism to illustrate the function of structures and roles in defining Black women’s positionality and intersectionality to examine the policies and systems that act on the lives of these women, we discuss the ways in which Black women created safety for themselves and their families at the intersection of both threats emphasizing the inequity in home, health, and financial outcomes among Black women.

Slay, Z. M., Robinson, D. L.**, & Rhodes, D. J.* (2023). Shared Perspectives of Strength Among Black Women Social Work Educators in a Global Pandemic. Journal of Social Work Education59(2), 361-371.

Abstract: Social work faculty have had to manage the complexities of delivering quality education amid the coronavirus pandemic. While some faculty had support from their institution, factors of service, scholarship, student advising, and technology capacity became meaningful lessons for faculty development. The authors relied on strength as a mechanism to navigate through this unprecedented time. Strong Black Woman (SBW) schema and resilience theory are the anchors of this continuum on opposite sides. The shared perspectives of three Black women faculty as (a) an instructor with an administrative appointment, (b) a teaching fellow, and (c) an adjunct instructor at varying institutions will demonstrate how the SBW schema and resilience theory have guided their ability to adapt to changes during the global pandemic.

*Ph.D. Alum **Ph.D. Candidate