The doctoral fellowship program with the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training began with the inception of the MCH social work grant.
Doctoral fellowships are available for both entry level pre-doctoral students and advanced pre-doctoral students at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Each fellowship is offered for a total of two years, contingent on grant funding.
Doctoral fellows at the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training have completed the program and continued to enjoy successful careers in both maternal/child health social work and public health social work. They have risen to astounding heights in the field and serve in leadership positions throughout the country.
The following list of previous doctoral fellows is an example of the stellar group of academics and leaders in the field of public health social work:
Dr. Bliss currently works as the Director of the Division of Social Work at the University of Wyoming. She received her MSW from the University of Maryland Baltimore in 1991 and her PhD from the University of Maryland Baltimore in 2005.
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Dr. Shauna Acquavita is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Cincinnati. She teaches various social work courses at the school including a course on Substance Use Disorders to undergraduate and graduate students. She has a decade of professional experience providing counseling services to individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. As a former smoking cessation counselor, she provided bedside counseling to patients who were admitted inpatient to a hospital, facilitated smoking cessation classes, and also aftercare groups for individuals to remain smoke-free. She completed a Pre-Doctorate Fellowship in Maternal and Child Health at the University of Maryland, Baltimore from 2007 to 2009. Dr. Acquavita also completed a Post-Doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit from 2009 to 2011, whereby she supervised several projects including research on tobacco addiction. She is the Chair of the Nicotine Node, an interest group formed by clinicians, researchers and educators from the University of Cincinnati, VA Hospital, and CCHMC who are interested in addressing nicotine and tobacco addiction. Her research focuses on tobacco use among vulnerable populations, including pregnant women. She is PI on a SAMHSA grant “Interprofessional Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT)”to train health professionals and students on SBIRT. She is also the PI of a HRSA grant “Preparing for Clinical Practice with At-Risk Children, Adolescents, and Transitional Youth: The Serving At-risk youth Fellowship Experience” to train MSW students in working with at risk children and youth. Dr. Acquavita is the Co-PI on an interdisciplinary grant though Interact for Health “UC Health: Tobacco cessation at the point of care” to implement a student tobacco cessation consultation service at University Hospital. She is a consultant on an AHRQ grant “A Mobile App to Enhance Smoking Cessation Shared Decision Making in Primary Care."
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Elizabeth Aparicio, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. Broadly, her focus is maternal and child health and mental health, particularly in the areas of teenage pregnancy and parenting, trauma (including child maltreatment), and early childhood intervention. Dr. Aparicio received her BA in Social Work and her MSW from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (2004 and 2005, respectively). She received her PhD from University of Maryland School of Social Work (2014), during which time she completed a two-year Maternal and Child Health Pre-Doctoral Fellowship through the Center for Maternal and Child Health Social Work Education (now the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training). Dr. Aparicio uses her decade of clinical practice as a springboard for community-based, engaged, and relevant research. In partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services-Child Welfare Services, she is in the midst of developing a two-generation approach to reducing racial disproportionality in child welfare in Hawaii. Dr. Aparicio is currently engaged in a mixed method study in partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Health examining sociocultural factors of teenage pregnancy among Native Hawaiian youth (whose teen pregnancy rate exceeds five times the national average) and experiences of teenage parenting (from both mothers’ and fathers’ perspective). Quantitative data for this study come from the Pregnancy Risk and Monitoring Survey (PRAMS) and qualitative data are being collected and analyzed by a team of MSW students in a leadership development program that Dr. Aparicio launched in Fall 2015. The Future Leaders Optimizing Well-being (FLOW) Program is focused on experiential learning in three key areas: (1) community-based research, (2) clinical and administrative supervision, and (3) agency-level community service and consultation. Dr. Aparicio is the Chair of the Child and Family Specialization within UH Manoa’s MSW Program and teaches both traditional and distance education courses in social work with children and families, marriage and family therapy, and foundations of social work practice.
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Nicky is currently an Assistant Professor at Boise State University School of Social Work. She graduated from the PhD program at the School of Social Work at University of Maryland Baltimore in 2015. She was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the Center Maternal and Child Health Social Work Education, and has worked on several interdisciplinary teams, including the GIS Users’ Group Steering Committee, and an interdisciplinary writing group focusing on health interventions and promotions.
Nicky has experience in undergraduate and graduate level social work education focusing on macro social work practice. Nicky has varied experience serving children and families which allows her to bring a variety of perspectives to her classroom environment. Her primary area of research interest is the health and nutrition of families, specifically: food access, the food environment, food insecurity, healthy food availability, adult and child weight status, maternal and child health, how poverty affects these areas, and the role of social work in better understanding and intervening in these areas.
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Doctoral fellows are expected to contribute at least 20 hours of work per week to the Public Health Scholars Program components. Additionally, they will have preferably completed their core or foundation curriculum and passed their preliminary exams. Each doctoral student will then be ready to develop their research agenda and contribute to the project’s goals and objectives. Fellows will function as junior faculty members within the SSW. Through their assigned activities it is hoped that each pre-doctoral fellow will:
- Develop public health clinical and management skills
- Develop teaching skills in public health
- Develop a research focus via their dissertation in public health
In pursuit of these goals the public health social work pre-doctoral fellows will have the following responsibilities:
- Under the mentorship of Dr. Pecukonis, the doctoral fellow will serve as classroom instructors for MCH, SOWK 789 research practicum for long term MCH social work trainees
- Topic selected for the practicum should be consistent with the fellow’s dissertation interest
- Doctoral fellow will serve as supervisor of leadership trainees interdisciplinary mini-semester course and community service project (August-May)
- In coordination and consultation with Dr. Pecukonis, the doctoral trainee will supervise the development and implementation of leadership trainees (6 MSW and/or MSW/MPH students per year) community service projects.
- Doctoral fellow will co-teach SOWK 714, Clinical Social Work Practice in MCH or new proposed course in public health social work
- Under the supervision and mentoring of Dr. Pecukonis the doctoral trainee will assist in the construction and teaching of this required MCH course. Doctoral students will be expected to develop and deliver at least three 3-hour lectures
- Develop and/or complete dissertation on public health topic
- As a statement of their commitment to pursuing an academic career in public health, each doctoral student will complete their dissertation on a public health topic. In addition, each doctoral trainee will compose and submit for funding to MCHB or other appropriate funding agencies, a public health dissertation grant application
- Each year fellows will select a public health mentor from a prepared list who will work with the fellow for a 12 month period and implement a research project leading to a submission of an article for publication. Mentors will be drawn from UMB School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty. The research project will be outlined in an initial written project proposal with final products being reviewed by both Dr. Pecukonis and the assigned mentor
- In support of their research skill development each doctoral fellow will complete one additional elective course in advanced research methods at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health or the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Department of Epidemiology within the School of Medicine
- In support of their academic leadership each fellow will:
- Submit one article from research practicum for professional publication
- Submit one abstract or research paper for presentation at a national Social Work conference.
The Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training is not currently accepting applications for its Pre-Docutoral Fellowship.