Tuesday, October 5, 2021

This fall quarter, the School of Social Work welcomes five new doctoral candidates. The diverse group of scholars represents a variety of research interests and come from all parts of the country.

Tess Abrahamson-Richards, a member of the Spokane Tribe, received her MPH from the University of Washington in Health Services/Maternal and Child Welfare. For the past five years, she has worked on a multisite study partnering with 17 tribal home visiting programs in an effort to better understand what is needed to successfully implement early childhood programs in Native communities. She lives in northeast Seattle with her husband and two children. She will be working closely with Associate Professor Tessa Evans-Campbell on her new research project with indigenous youth.

Matthew Frank, a member of the Navajo Nation from Shiprock, New Mexico, received his MSW and MPH from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests focus on racial and ethnic health disparities and the role of social determinants of health, particularly among Native Americans, and he is looking forward to learning more about quantitative data analysis. He moved to Seattle with his “support system,” which includes his partner and younger brother, and his dog Macey. Matthew will be working with Professor Roberto Orellana on issues related to health disparities.  

Kilohana Haitsuka comes from Kānaka Maoli of Anahola, Kauaʻi, and Japanese settlers from Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu. She is a proud member of her community and is dedicated to ensuring her research is culturally guided and grounded in Indigenous methodologies that advocate for community participation and respectful engagement. She recently completed work at Hā Kūpuna, the National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders. Kilohana is looking forward to working with Professor Michael Spencer, director of the School’s Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander & Oceanic Affairs, and other Indigenous Pacific Islanders.

Brittany Jones, who moved in January from Atlanta with her spouse and their dog, received her MSW in 2008.  Since that time, she has worked with older adults as a nonprofit clinician and research assistant at Georgia State University. One of her goals is to develop interventions targeting the social isolation and loneliness of older adults at the intersection of oppressions, particularly those with dementias or physical disabilities. She is also interesting in studying various models of housing and long-term care for this population. Professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen will be mentoring Brittany on projects related to elder wellness.

Natalie Turner was born and raised in upstate New York, receiving a BASW in 2017 and an MSW the following year, both from the University of Albany. Her research interests include health disparities and service use disparities among older adults and she has worked at a specialty outpatient neurology clinic for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. As a social worker who also loves math, she is looking forward to improving her skills in data analysis. Natalie will be working with Associate Professor Clara Berridge on issues related to aging and health disparities.