Wayne State School of Social Work welcomes Professor Bridget Weller

This fall, Wayne State University’s School of Social Work welcomed a new Professor, Bridget Weller, PhD, an expert in intersecting areas related to mental health among Black and multiracial individuals and families.

Prior to joining WSU, Weller worked as a social work professor and director of research at the College of Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University. Weller earned her doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina and her Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Art degrees from the University of Michigan. Weller, a licensed clinical social worker, participated in two post-master clinical fellowships at Yale University and received clinical training at the Duke Child and Family Study Center and the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Weller will be teaching Evidence for Social Work Practice (SW7820) and Quantitative Research Methods in Social Work (SW9410) this fall.  

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with scholars and community members dedicated to promoting the mental health of Black and multiracial individuals and their families. I hope to expand my research and involvement in the community with colleagues who share a similar interest in addressing individual, community, and systemic issues that hinder an individual’s ability to thrive. I’m also looking forward to working with graduate students and supporting them in their journey using research to address major issues that influence the world,” Weller said.

Weller intends to expand on her current projects focused on meeting the mental health needs of Black and multiracial individuals and their families. Her research falls into three intersecting areas: descriptive epidemiology, risk and protective factors, and intervention research. She also plans to continue to conduct research that examines workforce development, specifically the professional development of behavioral and mental health providers.

Throughout her career, Weller has earned multiple accolades, including four “Excellence in Discovery Awards” from Western Michigan University, a “Peer Mentoring Award” from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a “Multicultural Leadership Award” from the University of Michigan. She was also inducted as a fellow into the Society for Social Work and Research. She’s published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, has presented at many national conferences, and served on dissertation and thesis committees. She’s also received numerous research grants and awards.

“Pursuing my research is important to me because of my experience as a mental health provider and because Shon, a young person I mentored for many years. His perspective on and approach to life both inspired and humbled me. My ultimate goal is to identify mechanisms (and interventions) that will allow Black and multiracial individuals to thrive,” Weller said.

Recently, Weller received a five-year HRSA Health Careers Opportunity Program grant to implement the Detroit Tri-County Social Work Health Career Opportunity Academy. Weller will serve as program director, working with WSU faculty members Shantalea Johns, Suzanne Brown, and Anwar Najor-Durack, as well as several local colleges and community partners.

The goal of The Detroit Tri-County Social Work Health Career Opportunity Academy is to prepare 475 current and future allied health and social work professionals to provide culturally responsive health care in the Detroit Tri-County area by August 31, 2028.

Weller’s volunteer endeavors include serving as a Big Sister at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for six years, a tutor and mentor at local schools in Chapel Hill, and serving as a board member for the Ministry of Community, a daytime shelter, and Mothers of Hope, an organization whose mission is to empower women, families, and communities to rise above the effects of substance use disorders, poverty, violence, and system inequities. In her spare time, she enjoys walking and hiking, spending time with her family, and time with her dog, Maggie.

Author: Laura Hipshire laurahipshire@wayne.edu, Editor: Betsy Vanderstelt fq0994@wayne.edu  

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