Wayne State MSW student receives fellowship to improve health outcomes for racial/ethnic minority populations

Nancy Williams, a student in the Wayne State University Master of Social Work program, has received a 2020-21 master’s fellowship from the Council on Social Work Education’s Minority Fellowship Program. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Center for Mental Health Services, the fellowship is designed to enhance the training of practice-focused social workers who can provide mental health and/or substance use disorder services or prevention programming to racial and/or ethnic minority populations. 

Nancy Williams headshotHoused in Detroit for over 85 years, the School is deeply rooted in the success of our urban home and its residents. For Williams, this connection to Detroit and commitment to providing an immersive learning experience for our students through hands-on field education drew her to Wayne State. “Learning in an urban location was extremely important to me,” stated Williams. “The location in Detroit combined with Wayne State’s reputation as the practice school in Michigan sealed the deal. I knew I would get the training I needed here.”

Williams’ natural desire to help others was fostered by a childhood spent witnessing her father, a Vietnam veteran, navigate the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center and encounter roadblocks accessing the resources he needed. “I knew I wanted to help others and social work gave me the skills to do just that,” noted Williams. Williams is currently enrolled in the MSW interpersonal practice concentration with a cognitive-behavioral track emphasis and hopes to focus on direct practice in mental health and substance use disorders upon graduation. “There is a progression in this service area for racial/ethnic minority populations and I feel I can contribute to that progression. Ultimately I plan to be employed at a VA Medical Center in an urban city working with veterans who experience mental health and substance use disorder concerns.”

Associate Professor Jun Sung Hong recommended Williams for the fellowship. “Nancy has more than demonstrated passion and dedication to providing culturally relevant social services to vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities,” said Hong. “Nancy has the skills and passion to address mental health and health disparities. I have no doubt she will make a tremendous difference in her community.”

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know my education at Wayne State will start me off on the right path. I can make a difference in the lives of those who are often overlooked and give racial/ethnic minority veterans the opportunity to enjoy the freedom they fought so hard to protect. – Nancy Williams 

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