Vashti AdamsVashti Adams CV

Vashti Adams, MSW, is a doctoral candidate interested in weight-inclusive care. She is expected to defend her dissertation in spring 2025. 

Previous Education  

MSW, Columbia University 
BA, Social Welfare, University of California Berkeley 

Significant Accomplishments 

During her time in UMSSW’s PhD program, Vashti Adams has authored and co-authored 4 manuscripts that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal for Society of Social Work and Research, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, and Health and Social Work. She has also co-authored technical reports, and as of Spring 2024, has 3 additional manuscripts under review.  

Vashti has also presented her work at several different conferences, including the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, and the Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting.  

In 2021, Vashti was named a CSWE Minority Fellow. This highly competitive award recognizes social work doctoral students who are equipped to provide leadership in practice, research, teaching, and policy promulgation in government and private organizations addressing mental health and/or substance use disorders with individuals, groups, and communities. 


Research Experience 

Vashti is broadly interested in exploring how anti-fatness shapes perceptions and pursuits of health, as well as how approaches to health promotion and care may be reimagined from a weight-inclusive perspective. Vashti’s work centers the experiences of Black women; her dissertation research seeks to explore perceptions of weight-inclusive health principles (i.e., weight inclusivity, eating for wellbeing, and life-enhancing movement) among Black women, and to ground such perceptions within the context of health beliefs and life experiences informed by varying relationships to privilege and oppression.  

Vashti’s dissertation research fits within her wider body work related to Black women’s physical, mental, and sexual health. She has worked with faculty members both within and outside of the University of Maryland School of Social Work to explore Black women’s conceptualizations of physical health, perceptions of mental health communication, experiences with medical mistrust, sexual health decision-making, and desires for sexual health interventions.  


Teaching Interests and Experience 

In Fall 2023, Vashti was awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She supported Dr. Melissa Smith in the course, SOWK 610: Structural Oppression and its Implications for Social Work Practice.   


Practice Interests and Experience 

As a MSW intern, Vashti worked to support Black youth in school settings. As part of her work, she developed eating disorder prevention materials and engaged students in conversations around health, weight, and body image. Her practice experience informs her interest in utilizing research to challenge weight-centric health narratives and explore tangible weight-inclusive alternatives that may benefit Black communities.  


Selected Publications 

  1. Adams, V. (2023). Validation of the Modified Weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS-M) among first generation Asian immigrants. Health and Social Work, 49(1), 17-24.
  2. Adams, V., & Craddock, J. (2023). Patient-provider communication quality as a predictor of medical mistrust among young Black women. Social Work in Public Health, 38(4), 334–343.
  3. Adams, V., Gladden, A., Craddock, J. (2022). Perceptions of health among Black women in emerging adulthood: Alignment with a Health at Every Size perspective. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 54(10), 915-923.  

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