MSW, University of Maryland
BA, Johns Hopkins University
Behavioral Health and Social Work Practice
Sexual and Gender Minority Behavioral Health
Social Work Practice
Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Social Work Policy
Judith Leitch is a Ph.D. candidate whose experiences as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) has fueled her research on behavioral health with the sexual and gender minority (SGM) community. Her long term research goal is to address the disproportionately poor behavioral health of the SGM community, which she saw effects of as a behavioral health provider to clients at Whitman Walker Health (WWH), an integrated health and behavioral center for clients who have HIV/AIDS or identify as members of the SGM community. Her dissertation, titled “Understanding Factors Associated with Positive Social Work Practice with Sexual and Gender Minority Clients: A Comparison of Client Types and Tools” acts as the foundation for that goal by assessing the role of social worker’s knowledge, skills, attitudes, self-efficacy, and beliefs in the social worker’s use of positive practices with SGM clients.
To perform this research, Leitch will draw on research skills such as primary data collection, large scale surveying, and online survey administration and management. These skills are first evidenced by her sole-authored, revised model of the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS). This remodeling introduced the ability to measure interprofessional prestige, and has been cited by multiple scholars inside and outside of the University of Maryland. Leitch has published several other works including a first-authored piece that both uses and discusses the use of qualitative methods. For these publications, Leitch has worked independently, as sole author, as well as collaboratively and interprofessionally. She is currently engaged in research with scholars at several institutions in the fields of social work, psychology, and public health.
As a teacher, Leitch draws on her extensive practice experience to infuse the classroom with applicable examples of clinical and macro work. Leitch has taught Human Behavior in the Social Environment (HBSE) at the University of Maryland Shady Grove Campus, with a diverse group of young adults, as well as at the main Baltimore campus, with a group of part-time students, all of whom had full-time jobs outside of class. More recently, Leitch completed a Teaching Assistantship for the Research Practicum course in the University of Maryland Ph.D. Program. This experience gave Leitch the opportunity to co-lead a small, seminar style hands-on practicum course alongside Program Director Dr. Donna Harrington. In addition to her course-leading experiences, Leitch is an annual invited lecturer in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Counseling course with lectures ranging from “Partner Violence in the Gay and Lesbian Community” to “Behavioral Health Research for SGM Clients”. Leitch is prepared to teach introduction courses, such as practice, research and HBSE, as well as courses across the clinical practice spectrum.
In addition to her academic work, Leitch is dedicated to service both with the university and the greater community. Leitch has served as the Ph.D. Program Representative as well as on the Student Orientation Committee. In the wider community, Leitch has served as a volunteer behavioral health practitioner with WWH, providing over 3,000 hours of service to low income clients in an integrated health setting.