student, staff & faculty recognition

Social Work faculty partner with CEHD faculty on $1.92 Million Interprofessional Grant

"This four-year award will support the Interprofessional Peer Education and Evidence for Recovery (I-PEER) program, which was established to provide workforce training in best practices to better serve rural and medically underserved communities in southwestern Michigan. A significant portion of the grant funds will be used to provide direct financial support in the form of $10,000 stipends for Western students in clinical mental health counseling and social work internships." Read the full WMU News article here.

Faculty Member Appointed to NASW-MI Social Justice & Anti-racism Committee 

Dr. Dee Ann Sherwood, faculty member and Grand Rapids MSW program coordinator for the School of Social Work, has been appointed to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)-Michigan Chapter's, Social Justice and Anti-Racism Committee. The Social Justice and Anti-Racism Committee will work with agency, university, and legislative partners to coordinate statewide collective action, provide education on anti-racism and systemic oppression, and develop resources for social workers to lead conversations in organizational settings.  The Committee will also serve NASW-MI with the development of official statements, position papers, and updates to the diversity, equity, and inclusion plan. 

Researchers Awarded National Institute on Drug Abuse Diversity Supplement

Drs. Stephen Magura (The Evaluation Center) and Bridget E. Weller (School of Social Work) have received a diversity supplement funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This one-year grant will support research examining the prevalence of substance use, using three approaches to drug screening (self-report, oral fluid, urine), by gender and race/ethnicity. It will also provide Dr. Weller with the opportunity to enhance her knowledge of epidemiology and treatment of substance use disorders for women and individuals from racial/ethnic minority groups. This supplement complements Dr. Magura’s current R01-funded study.

We Walk Together Grant Seeks to Prevent Suicide Among Gun Lake Tribe Youth

The Gun Lake Tribe, in partnership with Cheryl Endres, and WMU School of Social Work faculty Dr. Dee Sherwood received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for youth suicide prevention. This grant expands existing services from The Gun Lake Tribe (GLT) for  citizens ages 10-24 of federally recognized tribes who reside in Allegan, Barry, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Ottawa counties of Michigan. The grant uses The Zero Suicide Model to develop team-based guidance and support to operationalize a suicide care plan into practice, while evidenced-based Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is used to systematically screen, assist and refer people with substance abuse, suicide and suicide risk factors. The project will also incorporate staff and community training to better identify, assess and increase referrals.  

Faculty awarded $1.35 Million Grant to expand opioid workforce

Dr. Bridget Weller and Dr. Jennifer Harrison were awarded the Opioid Workforce Expansion Project (OWEP) grant for the Michigan Youth Prevention and Recovery from Opioid Use Disorders (MY-PROUD) project.  This three year program will run through August 2022. The MY-PROUD project was awarded a total funding of $1.35 Million, 60% of which will go directly to our CHHS graduate students in the form of stipends! The goal of the program is to fundamentally transform the behavioral health workforce in Southwest Michigan toward greater competency in preventing, treating, and supporting recovery from Opioid Use Disorders, particularly with youth and transitionally aged adults. MY-PROUD will  partner with healthcare and school providers in areas with the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths and the lowest access to behavioral health care, including Calhoun, Jackson, Muskegon, and Van Buren counties.

Congratulations to Dr. Bridget Weller and Dr. Jennifer Harrison on this incredible opportunity! Our congratulations extend to the entire MY-PROUD team, including Amy Jessop, Tiffany Lee, and Lisa Brennan who bring specific strengths in SBIRT, overdose prevention and tracking systems, healthcare workforce programs, and Dr. Ann Tyler, Robin Brown, and Alicia Dorr, who bring expertise in grant funding and execution, continuing education, and community outreach.

Trauma program recognized as #1 by!

The WMU School of Social Work has been recognized as the top choice for MSW students interested in working with traumatized populations by We offer two specializations, Trauma Specialization: Trauma Across the Lifespan and the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy evidence-based training project, with a total of seventeen courses. These programs were founded by Dr. Karen Van Deusen and Dr. Ineke Way. Additionally, courses have been designed and taught by Dr. Y. Unrau, Dr. B. Weller, Dr. D. Sherwood, Dr. J. Gladden, C. Black-Pond, Dr. J. Harrison, Dr. M.McCormick and C. Roberts. This program wouldn't be possible without all our wonderful faculty advisors, field coordinators, field instructors, school directors, and our excellent administrative support staff.

Interested in more information? Contact us at (269) 387-3180 or We are honored to be a part of your educational journey, and hope to continue to set the bar for excellence in evidence-based treatment of trauma!


WMU graduate students have been busy writing grants to improve their communities! 

  • Advanced standing students Alyse Lange and Emma Tervonen (with advisor Jennifer Klauth) were awarded full funding, totaling $17,200, for their Products for Menstrual Sustainability (PMS) proposal by the Student Sustainability Grants Allocation Committee. The PMS project addresses several issues associated with sustainability, period poverty, accessibility and stigma that affect our campus community. The project will provide menstrual cups for 1000 WMU students and host an educational kick-off event highlighting the anatomical, environmental and global impacts of menstrual cups. One hundred menstrual cups will be donated to the Invisible Needs Project and the remaining cups will be distributed by the School of Social Work.

    The project aims to reduce safety and personal comfort concerns surrounding gaining access to menstrual products experienced by transgender and gender nonconforming students by practicing discretion in cup distribution. 
    The supplier chosen for this project, Dot, will provide an additional 1000 cups to individuals in developing countries, doubling the environmental, economic and social impact of the project. In total, this project will prevent an estimated 6.5 million sanitary products from ending up in landfills and save cup recipients an approximate combined total of $2.4 million over the 10-year lifespan of the menstrual cups. It is the hope that Products for Menstrual Sustainability will serve as a pilot program that can be adopted and expanded by the Office of Sustainability. 
  • MSW students Johnny Anderson and Angeliaca Rhan (with advisors Dr. Bridget Weller and Dr. Jennifer Harrison) were also awarded a WMU Student Sustainability Grant for their proposal, Reduce, Reuse, Regalia (RRR). This grant will allow the School of Social Work to purchase graduation regalia for students to borrow for graduation and return to the school for future use. This initiative will reduce the waste of regalia going unused and eventually into landfills, while also saving students the cost of the regalia they will likely only wear once. 
  • MSW concentration student Levi Soto is currently interning at the Van Buren Intermediate School District. He saw the need for various rural school districts in the Van Buren County to develop and strengthen school wellness teams. With the help of Tom Richardson (Administrator for Business Development and Partnerships) and Gale Knight (Nutrition Education Coordinators), Hartford High School applied for and received the Step Up for School Wellness Grant. This grant provides students, teachers and administrators with training, curriculum, equipment, funds, communication tools and external coaches to create a healthy school environment that supports a culture of wellness. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Action for Healthy Kids are all partners for this grant.

Congratulations to our incredible students on their grant successes!


Professor Don Cooney, a long-time WMU School of Social Work legend, is completing his final term as City Commissioner in Kalamazoo. However, he's still fighting for justice in our city and teaching our students how to lead! Watch this interview with Professor Cooney. 


Ever wonder what our students do after they graduate? Recent graduate Katherine Reeber, MSW, shares on the WMU career website about her new role and experiences as a WMU student. Check it out!  

On October 29, 2019,  the White House Press Secretary announced the President's intent to appoint WMU School of Social Work alum Bella Hounakey of Michigan, to be a Member of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking for a two-year term. Congratulations, Bella, on this incredible honor! 


Each year, the School of Social Work celebrates an amazing field instructor for their hard work and dedication to educating WMU social work leaders. Field instructors meet weekly with their students for supervision and train them to become an integral part of their field agency's daily work. This is a volunteer role, so we are deeply grateful to their investment in WMU students and the future of our profession.

This years' awardee is Dr. Margaret Richardson, Research Director at the Child Trauma Assessment Center at WMU's Unified Clinics. Thanks, Dr. Richardson, for your service!

Students, faculty and alum co-author research

Our faculty are actively contributing to the wealth of knowledge in the profession through research publications, and often students join them in these efforts. Recent publications include:

- Harrison, J., Chapleau, A., Schell, M., Vaughan, V., & Colzin, C. (2019). Leveraging technology in field education for digital natives: Using goal attainment scaling. Social Work Education, 1-11. doi:10.1080/02615479.2019.1642318  

- Harrison, J., Morehouse, B., & Thelen, J. (n.d.). Sentinel issues in social work in the united states: National context, practice trends, and application to military members. In  Austerity social work and welfare policies: A global perspective. (pp. 195-214).

MSW Student Presents at National Men of Color Summit

Levi Soto (second from left) with his colleagues at the Men of Color National Summit, 2019.

MSW Student Levi Soto presented at the  Clemson University Men of Color National Summit in April 2019. In partnership with the WMU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Levi and his colleagues, Lauren Carney (Director of KPSP), and Irving Quintero (Kalamazoo Promise Senior) presented a workshop titled, “Somos El Futuro” “We Are The Future”- Effectively working with Hispanic/Latino students. Levi Soto, who facilitated the workshop, grew up as a migrant, first generation college student and minority which inspired him to advocate for those who are often unheard. Congratulations on your outstanding scholarship and contribution to our profession!

CHHS Committee Recognized for Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Faculty member Marian Tripplett was honored alongside her fellow  College of Health and Human Services Diversity & Inclusion committee members, with the University Rising Star in Diversity Award. The committee has worked diligently to promote an inclusive environment, and hosted a diversity and inclusion conference for the university and community members. Thank you for your work towards promoting diversity at WMU! Learn more about the award and read the story in WMU News.