Wednesday, May 19, 2021

In the past six months, we welcomed seven outstanding new faculty members to our community, each bringing new levels of expertise to the classroom or research setting. Here is a brief look at their backgrounds. We hope you will welcome them warmly to the School.

Lecturer Arden M. Hellmann joined the Office of Field Education. She began her career in Seattle, partnering with communities, schools and families to help children and youth thrive in schools. She went on to manage a family support center and then provided grant administration and program oversite for several private and public organizations. She provides organizational and program development support for the HealthyGen Center. Arden received her MSW from the UW and a BA from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.    

Research Assistant Professor David Huhcurrently director of the methods division at the School’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, joined the faculty in August. A quantitative and clinical psychologist, David focuses his research on ways to increase the accessibility of statistical approaches to more powerfully and accurately assess behavioral health interventions and test theoretical models of health and health disparities. He received a BS in psychology from the University of Oregon and an MS and PhD, both in clinical psychology, from the UW. He completed his residency at the UW School of Medicine and was a postdoctoral fellow at the UW’s Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors. Read a Q&A with David and find out why he thinks research can make a real difference.

Lecturer Caroline James is passionate about serving the underprivileged, immigrant and domestic violence community. At the School, she’ll be teaching and facilitating student field education placements. After working first as an immigration officer and then in library services in Singapore, Caroline changed careers, receiving a bachelor of arts and sciences degree in social work and communication and then a master's degree in social work in 2003, both from the UW. For the past 17 years, she has held positions at the Interim Community Development Association, most recently serving as director of housing services.  

Professor Michelle Johnson-Jennings joins the School community as a professor and director of the division of environmentally based health and land-based healing at the School’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. A Choctaw Nation-enrolled tribal member, Michelle has co-developed health interventions rooted in ancestral guidelines that encourage a renewed commitment to health and the revitalization of medicine, food and land-based practices. As a clinical health psychologist, her expertise lies in working with Indigenous communities and decolonizing healing while transforming narratives of trauma. She received her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.

Professor E. Roberto Orellana's research focuses on health issues affecting Indigenous and Latinx communities. His areas of interest include substance abuse and HIV interventions as well as the impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority populations. Orellana earned an MSW and MPH, both from the University of Washington, and a PhD in social work from Columbia University, as well as a master’s degree in philosophy from the same institution. His post-doctoral training included a research fellowship with the School’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute and advanced prevention science training at the National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research. Read more about his scholarship and teaching here.

Assistant Professor Meghan Romanelli studies the multisystemic factors that lead to mental health disparities among LGBTQ communities, with an emphasis on service access and treatment engagement. A licensed clinical social worker, she was a pre- and postdoctoral research fellow at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University, where she earned her PhD in 2019. She holds a master’s of science in social work degree from Columbia University and a BA in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross. Read a Q&A with Meghan and find out what attracted her to the School of Social Work.

Lecturer Karen Wollemborg moved from New York City to join the School’s Office of Field Education. Her interest in increasing access to supportive mental health care for youth stems from her work as a licensed clinical social worker providing community-based child and adolescent outpatient mental health services and, later, as a clinician and consultant focused on improving school-based mental health. She was a field advisor and adjunct lecturer in the Field Education departments at Columbia School of Social Work and Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, both in New York City. Wollemborg received her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University.