Letter from our Acting Director

Dear Curtis Center Community,

Michigan is finally getting some much needed sunshine, renewing our energy as we enter the spring season and shining a light on accomplishments of the winter term. In April Dr. Jody Jacobson Frey, PhD, LCSW-C, CEAP, presented "National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention: How Social Workers Can Help Implement Comprehensive Public Health Approaches" for the Curtis Center Health Equity Virtual Symposium with 61 attendees including students, staff, clinicians and faculty from across the country. The Curtis Center also hosted a joint symposium with the Rogel Cancer Center’s University of Michigan Health Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, titled, “Achieving Health Equity in Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Psycho-Oncology Care,” which was spear-headed by our Faculty Affiliate Dr. Anao Zhang and Pre-doctoral Fellow Nina Jackson Levin. In the spirit of staying true to the Curtis Center’s mission, we remain committed to continuing to facilitate conversations and generate knowledge to promote health equity at the University of Michigan and beyond. 

We have lots of great symposiums, talks, and events planned for this summer and fall so stay tuned for future events from the Curtis Center for Health Equity Research and Training!

Jaclynn M. Hawkins, PhD, MSW

Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Acting Director, Curtis Center for Health Equity Research and Training

Co-Director, Pilot and Feasibility Program, MCDTR


Click here to view the video


Dr. James L. Curtis, the founding donor and namesake of

the Curtis Center, celebrates his 101st birthday.

Happy 101st Birthday, Dr. Curtis!

Farewell, Curtis Center Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Ed-Dee Williams!

We wish you all the best as you embark on your new tenure-track faculty position with Boston College.

Dr. Hawkins received a grant through SUCCEED (Supporting Careers and Cultivating Excellence, Engagement, and Diversity) from the U-M ADVANCE Program. This funding opportunity was created to help tenure-track and newly tenured faculty in the arts, humanities, and social sciences meet career needs, with a focus on enhancing the climate for and the success of a diverse faculty. 

The grant funded a writing retreat for underrepresented pre-tenure and recently tenured faculty at the School of Social Work (within 2 years). The retreat was held at St. Johns Resort in Plymouth, MI in February 2023. A focus group was held during the retreat to brainstorm how the larger university administration can better support underrepresented early career faculty.

Congratulations, Curtis Center External Advisory Board member and previous Professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, Dr. Michael Spencer, on your appointment to Acting Dean of the University of Washington School of Social Work, and forthcoming promotion in July as the Ballmer Endowed Dean of the UW SSW!


This year, we welcome back our previous Faculty Affiliates and welcome our matriculated Signature Program Initiative Faculty Leads into their new roles as Faculty Affiliates! Here is the complete list of our Faculty Affiliates.

  • Nkemka Anyiwo, PhD, MSW
  • Jade Burns, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC
  • Fernanda Cross, PhD, MSW
  • James Ellis, PhD
  • Paul Fleming, PhD, MPH
  • Janelle Goodwill, PhD, MSW
  • Natasha Johnson, PhD, LLMSW
  • Lenette Jones, PhD, ACNS-BC, RN
  • Jamie Mitchell, PhD
  • Gretchen Piatt, PhD, MPH
  • Katie Schultz, PhD
  • James Smith, PhD
  • Anao Zhang, PhD
  • Kara Zivin, PhD, MS, MA


Reagan Warnock

The University of Michigan

Undergraduate Student Research Assistant


Curtis Center External Advisory Board member, Dr. Tanya L. Sharpe, the recipient of the Society for Social Work and Research and the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, 2023 Aaron Rosen Lecture Award, will present her lecture titled: Beyond a Seat at “The Table”: Building a Legacy of Research for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims, virtually, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, 1-2 PM ET. Click here to access the free registration page.


Three Curtis Center undergraduate research assistants are graduating! Congratulations, Ash Chandrakapure, Keion Harris, and Reagan Warnock! We are so proud of you and can't wait to see the impact you make on the world!


On March 30, Dr. Watkins gave a keynote speech titled, "Reimagining Mental Health, Manhood, and Social Support Through the YBMen Project" at the Black Men's Mental Health Symposium hosted by the Morehouse College Black Men's Research Institute.

Morehouse College YouTube channel.

On March 18, our Acting Director, Dr. Hawkins, presented on the Curtis Center’s health equity outreach, training and research activities at the NextGen Educated Conference, a University of Michigan student-led health equity event.

Our Faculty Affiliate, Dr. James Smith, Director, Dr. Daphne Watkins, and External Advisory Board member, Dr. Derek Griffith just released a new book titled Health Promotion with Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour (Springer, © 2023).

Our Faculty Affiliate Dr. Zivin was quoted in the New York Times article Maternal Deaths Rose During the First Year of the Pandemic (02/23/2022).

Our Faculty Affiliate Dr. Goodwill wrote a research brief for The Conversation titled, “Black College Students Who Turn to Their Faith Think Less About Suicide” (01/31/2023).

The Curtis Center Co-hosted the AYA CARE Symposium, Achieving Health Equity in Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Psycho-Oncology Care: A Dynamic Conversation with Four Experts in the Field (02/07/2023).

Our Faculty Affiliate Dr. Schultz presented Strengths, Community, and Frameworks to Advance American Indian and Alaska Native Health Equity, for the NIH Health Disparities Research Group (03/14/2023).

The Curtis Center partnered with Peers for Progress at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research to present A Continuum of Community Engagement in Research: Reflections on Power and Control (03/23/23).

Our External Advisory Board member Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey presented “National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention: How Social Workers Can Help Implement Comprehensive Public Health Approaches” for our Health Equity Symposium Series (03/30/2023).


A recent photo from a monthly meeting of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund funded "Behavioral Health Collaborative for Young Black Men and Boys" (Curtis Center and Packard Health), held at Ozone House in Ypsilanti, MI.

Through May 1, the Curtis Center is partnering in the A2-ADVANCE (ADVAnciNg Community hEalth) 2023 spring fundraising drive for the House by the Side of the Road. View the current needs of their clients and make donations via this Amazon Gift Registry



Abaddi, R., Pickens, L., Burns, J., …& Duffy, E.A. (2023, March). Feasibility of a Universal Suicidality Tool for Adolescents. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Acquati, C., Miller-Sonet, E., Zhang, A., & Ionescu, E. (2023, January). Social Wellbeing in Cancer Survivorship: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Self-Reported Relationship Closeness and Ambivalence from a Community Sample. Current Oncology.

Anderson, R.E., Anyiwo, N., Gumudavelly, D., et al. (2023, January). Racial Socialization Provision in African American and Black Caribbean Families. Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Burgess, J.G., Maust, D.T., Myron Chang, M.U., Zivin, K., & Gerlach, L.B. (2023, March). Identifying Quality Indicators for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: A Modified Delphi Method. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology.

Casanova, A. & Watkins, D.C. (In Press). “Sometimes You Just Need to be Heard”: Forms of Social Support for Black College Men. Forgotten Realities of Men. Book Chapter.

Cleary, A., Griffith, D.M., Oliffe, J.L., Rice, S. (2023, February). Editorial: Men, Mental Health, and Suicide. Frontiers Media SA.

Delva, J. & Abrams, L.S. (2022, November). Social Work Researchers: From Scientific Technicians to Changemakers. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Frey, J. J., Osteen, P. J., Sharpe, T. L., Mosby, A. O., Joiner, T., Ahmedani, B., ... & Gilgoff, J. (2023, February). Effectiveness of Man Therapy to Reduce Suicidal Ideation and Depression Among Working-Age Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior.

Gilgoff, J. N., Wagner, F., Frey, J. J., & Osteen, P. J. (2023, February). Help‐Seeking and Man Therapy: The Impact of an Online Suicide Intervention. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior.

Goodwill, J.R. (2023, March). Reasons for Suicide in Black Young Adults: A Latent Class Analysis. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Griffith, D.M. (2023, January). Abstract IA014: Precision Public Health Approaches to Health Equity. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Precision Prevention, Early Detection, and Interception of Cancer. Cancer Prevention Research.

Griffith, D.M., & Jaeger, E. C. (2023, March). Becoming: An Intervention to Promote Mental Wellbeing of Young Black Men in the United States. In: Smith, J.A., Watkins, D.C., Griffith, D.M. (Eds.) Health Promotion with Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour. Springer, Cham.

Griffith, D.M., Smith, J.A., Watkins, D.C. (2023, March). Conclusion: Future Directions in Global Health Promotion with Young Men of Colour. In: Smith, J.A., Watkins, D.C., Griffith, D.M. (Eds.) Health Promotion with Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour. Springer, Cham.

Hamby, S., Hervey, G., Land, J., & Schultz, K. (2023, March). A Qualitative Exploration of Institutional Betrayals in Rural Communities: An Emerging Typology. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.

Hamby, S. Schultz, K., & Taylor, E. (2023, March). Health-Related Quality of Life Among American Indian People: Victimization, Other Adversities, and Strengths. Health and Social Work.

Hawkins, J., Sengupta, S., Kloss, K., Kurnick, K., Ewen, A., …, Mitchell, J., Jones, L., & Piatt, G. (2023, March). Michigan Men’s Diabetes Project II: Protocol for Peer-Led Diabetes Self-Management Education and Long-Term Support in Black Men. Plos One.

Jackson Levin, N., Tan, C. Y., Stelmak, D., Iannarino, N. T., Zhang, A., Ellman, E., ... & Zebrack, B. (2023, January). Banking on Fertility Preservation: Financial Concern for Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients Considering Oncofertility Services. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.

Jones, T.M., … & Spencer, M.S. (2023, January). University–School Partnerships: Successes and Challenges in Designing and Implementing Strategies to Promote Racial Equity. Children and Schools.

Jones, T.M., Williford, A., Malorni, A., McCowan, K., Becker, K., Halac, T., Lea, C.H., & Spencer, M.S. (In Press). The Role of Colorblind Racism and White Fragility in Maintaining Racist Bullying in Middle School. Psychology in the Schools.

Lee, M., Cheung, M., Robinson, M., Roundtree, M., Spencer, M.S. & Teasley, M. (Eds). (Forthcoming 2023). Dual Pandemics: Creating Racially-Just Responses to a Changing Environment through Research, Practice and Education. Routledge, New York, NY.

Mizokami-Stout, K., …Piatt, G.A., …& DeJonckheere, M. (2023, March). Clinician Experiences With Hybrid Closed Loop Insulin Delivery Systems in Veterans With Type 1 Diabetes: Qualitative Study. JMIR Diabetes. 

Oneha, M.F., Spencer, M., …, & Sakurai, M. (2023, March). Ho'oilina Pono A'e: Integrating Native Hawaiian Healing to Create a Just Legacy for the Next Generation. Hawai'i Journal of Health & Social Welfare.

Peoples, W.A., Fleming, P.J., & Creary, M. (2023, January). Working Toward Health Equity Requires Antiracist Teaching. American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Pfeiffer, P.N., Zivin, K., ...& Piette, J.D. (2023, January). Assessment of Outcome-Based Measures of Depression Care Quality in Veterans Health Administration Facilities. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.

Renn, T., Moore, J., Schultz, K., & Veeh, C.A. (2023, March). Comparing Behavioral Health Outcomes and Treatment Utilization of Justice-Involved and Non-Justice-Involved American Indian and Alaska Native Adults. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Schultz, K. & Spencer, M. (In Press). Centering Indigenous Research & Communities in Advancing Anti-Racist Research. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research (JSSWR)

Smith, J.A., Watkins, D.C., Griffith, D.M., Rung, D.L. (2023, March). Introduction: What Do We Know About Global Efforts to Promote Health Among Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour?. In: Smith, J.A., Watkins, D.C., Griffith, D.M. (Eds.) Health Promotion with Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour. Springer, Cham.

Teasley, M.L., Spencer, M.S., & Bartholomew, M. (Eds.). (In Press). Social Work and the Grand Challenge to Elliminate Racism: Concepts, Theory, and Evidence Based Approaches. Oxford University Press, NY.

Watkins, D.C., Brown, B.R., Abelson, J.M., Ellis, J. (2023, March). First-Generation Black College Men in the United States and the Value of Cohort-Based Programs: Addressing Inequities Through the YBMen Project. In: Smith, J.A., Watkins, D.C., Griffith, D.M. (Eds.) Health Promotion with Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour. Springer, Cham.

White, A., Connell, R., Griffith, D. M., & Baker, P. (2023, February). Defining “Men's Health": Towards a More Inclusive Definition. International Journal of Men's Social and Community Health.

Williams, E.-D.G., Casanova, A., & Watkins, D.C. (In Press). Black Boys’ Perceptions of Depression and Mental Health: Findings from the YBMen Project. Special Issue Journal of Social Problems.

Zhang, A., & Froerer, A. (2023, March). A Clinical Case Study of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy for Young Adult Cancer Patients’ Psychological Distress: Focusing on Positive Emotions. Clinical Case Studies.


The Healthier Black Elders (HBE)-Flint Program is hiring a Community Outreach Coordinator! To learn more or apply to this job click here.


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"We acknowledge that The University of Michigan, named for Michigami, the world’s largest freshwater system and located in the Huron River watershed, 

was formed and has grown through connections with the land stewarded by 

Niswi Ishkodewan Anishinaabeg: The Three Fires People who are the Ojibwe, 

Odawa, and Potawatomi along with their neighbors the Seneca, Delaware, 

Shawnee and Wyandot nations.”


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Twitter: @center_curtis

Website: https://ssw.umich.edu/offices/curtis-center