COVID-19 Micro-Grants

In March 2020, the CSSW Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) offered the first round of Rapid Micro-Grants in response to the profound need for virtual advocacy and critical resources in many places navigating the uncertainty of COVID-19. Two awardees received $3500 to support their critical advocacy efforts. Six additional awardees received up to $1000 from the CSSW Dean’s Office.

Learn about the Rapid Micro-Grants awardees and their projects

Given the continued complexity and urgency of acting to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the OAA opened a second round of micro-grant applications in February 2021 to promote actions that provide aid to marginalized communities that were impacted severely by the virus. The office requested applications that would help communities receive accurate and necessary information about the vaccine, encourage them to get the vaccine and provide quick and equal access to the vaccine in their areas. After a thorough review of the excellent project proposals submitted, eight recipients, a combination of individual and group awardees, were selected.

This was followed by a third round of micro-grants, targeted to address issues and take action on the intersection of racial justice and mental health issues in the COVID era. The office received an abundance of high quality project proposals, far more than could be funded, and recipients were announced in November, 2021. The OAA was impressed by the width and depth of the work colleagues were doing. Thanks to the support of the Dean’s Office, the office was able to receive funding for five more projects, totaling seven projects for this round.

Learn about the second and third round projects below.

CSSW COVID-19 Vaccine Micro-Grant Recipients

AAFE/HOGD March Free Giveaway – Flushing, Queens

Project Intro

AAFE and it’s partner House of Good Deeds collaborates monthly to host free giveaways to the Flushing, Chinatown and LES community. Attendees come from all over the city and on average 350-400 people are served monthly. Donated clothing, household goods, linens, toiletries, books, toys and pet food are given away. We used this platform to address vaccine hesitancy monthly. In March, we invited HHC to register attendees to be vaccinated, distribute vaccine hesitancy information in multiple languages as well as distribute personal safety alarms.

Project Outcome

320 people received vaccine hesitancy and vaccine information, 100 people registered for the vaccine through HHC.

Team Members

AAFE staff, Tracy So (CSSW student), Divya Nair (CSSW student), AAFE volunteers (NYU Law School and community members), HOGD volunteers, HHC – Health and Hospital Corporation, GLOW Staff

Two articles were written about this event, one from the Chinese publication, World Journal, the other from UJA Federation.

Understanding Immunization and Care

Project intro

UIC completed the project Understanding Immunization and Care: COVID-19 Vaccine Info Dissemination in five parts facilitated by our social media platforms: we posted original COVID-19 content, reposted content created by community partners and trusted science communicators, administered a vaccination perceptions survey, hosted fireside chats over Instagram Live, and delivered raffles and care packages. We promoted the entire project through the media of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Our original content condensed the originally complicated processes of obtaining a vaccine in the so-called tristate area in which we focus our work into easily digestible slides and steps and outlined historical reasons why Indigenous folks in particular may not trust the development of vaccines. We reposted resources from educators such as Johns Hopkins, Just Human Productions, Dr Liz M, and Dr Nini Muñoz that illuminated personal risk evaluation strategies, detailed vaccine development and mechanisms, and myth busted vaccine controversies. We developed a short survey, administered through Instagram Stories and Google Forms, that examines the vaccination attitudes of our community as well as who their trusted sources of information are. The Fireside Chat Series was hosted by Ariel Richer through the Instagram Live platform, and she interviewed five Indigenous healthcare professionals, organizers, and scientists about a variety of topics surrounding the pandemic. Finally, we partnered with Yellow Project to curate a self-care package for Indigenous people living in the continental US that contained traditionally-derived medicines, wellness prompt cards, and PPE.

Project outcomes/deliverables

  • Survey: We have 160 survey responses, about 75% of which we believe are unique and human (not bot) entries. These responses were collected over the months of April and May. Of those: 84% were vaccinated at end of May; there was an 80% trust in “the vaccines” with 22% CV; and on average a 3 of 5 positive experience getting a vaccine with 26% CV. We look forward to doing an analysis in the coming weeks to determine how vaccination trust correlates with whether the respondent got the vaccine, and what their experience was getting their vaccination. We will also generate word/phase clusters depicting our respondents’ trusted sources, reasons for trusting the vaccine, and thoughts about their vaccination experiences. These results will be published to our followings on social media. From a preliminary view of the free-form responses, we see an emphasis on: getting vaccinated for the safety of the community, and making a risk evaluation between the knowns and unknowns related to COVID-19 vs vaccines against it. This emphasis is not surprising from what members of our team experience in our own Indigenous communities.
  • COVID-19 info landing page
  • IG posts and continually updated highlight reels about COVID and vaccines

Team members

Gianna Reza-Ortega | Program Manager of Research + Advocacy | Chiricahua Apache (she/her/ella)
Gianna Reza-Ortega is a queer person with roots in the Chiricahua Apache tribe and Mexico. She is a recent graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering, where she spent her undergraduate career planning and executing programming in both physical and virtual spaces to build community and raise voices of young adults from marginalized communities. Gianna is passionate about reproductive healthcare and healthcare access for marginalized communities, especially those affected by carceral systems.
Ariel Richer, LMSW (PhD candidate) | Chief Executive Officer | Venezuela/Trinidad & Tobago
Ariel is a descendant of the Indigenous people of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. Ariel is a doctoral student at Columbia University School of Social Work working within the Social Intervention Group (SIG), under the direction of Associate Professor Louisa Gilbert. Her focus is on intimate partner violence prevention at the intersection of drug and alcohol use, community-based participatory research, and working collaboratively with Indigenous and Native communities. Previously, she worked as an Impact Evaluator at the Administration for Native Americans where she worked directly with community-based organizations developing logic models, evaluation plans, data collection tools, and processes at a community-specific level and across a diverse set of communities.
Logan Tootle, MSW (candidate) | Chief Operating Officer | Cherokee Nation
Logan Tootle is a member of the Cherokee Nation. She is currently a MSW student at Columbia University specializing in Social Enterprise Administration. Logan is completing her social work fieldwork with UIC as an MSW Associate. In addition to her studies, Logan is a Research Assistant for Dr. Brooke S. West who focuses on the sociostructural factors of substance use and HIV/STIs among womxn. Logan recently relocated to New York City from Minneapolis/St. Paul where she worked at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC).


Project intro

The goals for our “Vaccinasians” COVID-19 microgrant project are as follows:

  • Support the Filipinx & Chinese communities–two of the most adversely impacted and under-resourced Asian Pacific Islander (API) populations in New York City–with intentional focus on migrants, elders, and houseless and disabled folx.
  • Share accessible COVID-19 vaccination kits with educational resources and PPE.

We hope to achieve these goals by working with local businesses facing financial challenges to share educational information with identified communities. We will set-up a public-facing space in front of two restaurants and distribute kits with (1) COVID-19 vaccine information and location pamphlets with accessible language(s) and anti-Asian violence resources; (2) Single roundtrip Metrocards; (3) PPE kit with mask and hand sanitizer wipes; (4) Cultural food or snack.

Project outcomes/deliverables

Successful tabling event with all packages distributed at respective locales to community members. Language accessible covid vaccine information pamphlets in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Tagalog.

English Infographic | Spanish Infographic | Mandarin Infographic | Tagalog Infographic

Team Members

Catherine Han (she/her/hers) is a second-generation Korean American, and a proud daughter of immigrants. She recently graduated from Columbia University School of Social Work (Class of 2021) with her method being Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming (AGPP) with a field of practice in International Social Welfare with Services to Immigrants and Refugees. Catherine is focused and committed to liberation and justice from a lens of abolition and intergenerational healing. For self-care, Catherine enjoys listening to 2000s R&B music, watching sunsets, and grounding herself through prayer.
Joshua Binag (he/him) is a recent graduate from the Columbia School of Social Work with a concentration in Social Enterprise Administration. During his time at CSSW, Josh was a co-leader for the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Caucus from 2019-2021. He is now an incoming Social Worker at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Lyons, NJ, where he is expected to start this Fall 2021.
Quyen Nguyen (she/they) is a first generation student, earning a dual degree at Columbia School of Social Work, with a method concentration in Policy Practice, and at the Mailman School of Public Health, concentrating in Sociomedical Sciences. They are passionate about reducing health disparities across racial groups and increasing access to mental health care. They are also interested in how professionals can conduct meaningful research that can inform evidence-based programs and policies, while at the same time, being ethical so it does not cause further harm to marginalized populations. They are currently volunteering at Columbia’s DEAR Project, whose aim is to provide assistance to community members in Washington Heights by assisting them in applying for government assistance programs.
Devany (she/her) is a second-year MSW student at Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) studying policy practice in social work with a focus in health, mental health, and disabilities. Currently, Devany's field placement is at the Office of Management and Budget in D.C. where she is working on the President's budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services. Last year, she was a social work intern with the Legal Aid Society with their Education Advocacy Project in the Bronx, NY. She's also at CSSW Social Intervention Group (SIG) working on the WINGS adaptation and the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) and is an RA with Professor Takamura.
Stacie Tao (she/her) graduated from Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) with her MSW in policy practice. During her MSW, Stacie was engaged in research with CSSW faculty and research centers. She is continuing her education at CSSW to pursue a PhD in Social Welfare Policy, to study intergenerational poverty and child welfare system-involvement, anti-poverty social policies, and welfare participation. Stacie is originally from Washington State.
Meryl Menezes (she/her) is a 2nd year student at Columbia School of Social Work, where she is specializing in advanced clinical practice with a concentration in health, mental health, and disabilities. In the future, she hopes to work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and practice cognitive behavioral therapy with children. She is also interested in pursuing forensic social work and plans to continue volunteering with the City Bar Justice Center this year, where she previously interned. In her free time, Meryl enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Chris Won (he/them) serves as the Program Coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW). Chris was born on the land of the Han (Corea), grew up on the land of the Massachusett (Boston), spent five years on the land of the Tlingit (Juneau), and is grateful to the Munsee Lenape whose lands (Manhattan) he is able to be a guest on. Chris is a Queer, neurodivergent, Third-Culture Kid educator, artist & advocate, passionate about Indigenization and culturally-sustaining practices. Chris hopes to honor belongingness, inclusion, and ancestral wisdom to foster equitable learning environments in his work.
Danielle Ocampo (she/her) received her MSSW from the Columbia School of Social Work in Spring 2021 with a specialization in Advanced Clinical Practice and a focus on Contemporary Social Issues. During her time at CSSW, Danielle served as a co-leader for the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Caucus from 2019-2021. Her professional interests lie within the intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system. Danielle recently received her LMSW and is currently working as a family therapist for a juvenile justice program at The New York Foundling.
Ramya Chunduri, LMSW, LSW (she/her) recently graduated from Columbia School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work concentrating in Advanced Clinical Social work (health, mental health, and disabilities field of practice). She is currently a Domestic Violence Social Worker at a not-for-profit organization that serves underserved South Asians. She is also a therapist at a mental health tech start-up organization. Ramya’s debut novel about mental health is being published in May 2022. Ramya enjoys reading, writing, and going to museums in her free time.
Esther (Est) Park (she/her) is a proud first-generation college student from a Korean immigrant family. She recently graduated from the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) with a Master’s of Science in Social Work and a concentration in Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities. During her time at CSSW, Est founded the First-generation and/or Lower SES Caucus and served as a co-leader of the Aging Caucus. Est is passionate about culturally humble community-level research and interventions. Previously, Est has conducted research at the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC) at Claremont Graduate University in California, and she has also engaged in research at the Columbia Population Research Center and the Social Intervention Group at Columbia University. Outside of the world of academia, Est enjoys producing educational creative content on Instagram (@pups.coffeecups).
Ana Angeles (she/they) is the Associate Director of Student Leadership and Engagement at the Columbia School of Social Work. Outside of higher education, Ana serves as the League Commissioner of a queer and trans adult basketball league. Ana is proudly from both Vallejo, California and Manila, Philippines. They value social justice, community, wellness, and adventure.
Caitlin Kay (she/her) graduated from Columbia School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work Degree in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice Method Concentration (Health, Mental Health & Disabilities) and a Minor in Public Policy & Administration. She is currently serving in the U.S. Federal Government as a Presidential Management Fellow.

Using Photovoice to assist Community-Based Social Workers Reflect on Community Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Project Intro

The projects that the COVID-19 vaccination grant funded took two forms. First, the grant was used to engage staff at New Life Centers of Chicago (NLC) in a community based participatory research (CBPR) project. During this CBPR project four NLC staff collaborated with a Columbia University PhD student to understand how social workers who live in the community in which they work see resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic? The PhD student and NLC staff met four times to complete the project with results being used to build upon the strengths of the community to promote public health best practices and vaccine information.

Secondly, additional funds were used to purchase necessary PPE for the organization as they interface with the community on a regular basis. For example, prior to the pandemic the organization’s food pantry served 100 families a week and now serves over 10,000 families. As a result, funds were allocated to provide these workers with PPE in order to enhance their safety while providing the community with resources. Additionally, NLC leads outreach efforts to reduce violence through engaging residents who are most likely to be perpetrators and victims of community violence. Thus, funds were used to provide these outreach workers with not only PPE but reflective jackets to keep them safe and visible while intervening in community conflict and conducting mediations.

Project outcomes/deliverables

The CBPR project has been completed thanks to the COVID-19 micro-grant. NLC staff were able to be compensated for their time in creating a unique research project that focuses on the strength of the community rather than their deficits. The staff were very thankful for the opportunity to be engaged as local experts since they are not often seen as such. Mike, one of the staff and participants in the CBPR project stated “I feel like my voice did matter, yeah, I think that’s the beauty of this…similar to (restorative justice) circles, right? When you’re in a circle where your thought process kind of evolves and changes, while you hear other people speak.” The staff has since used the strength and resiliency that they discovered in the project to promote public health best practices and vaccine information to the many community residents and participants that they engage with on a daily basis.

Additionally, all of the PPE and safety equipment for the organization was purchased and delivered. Where staff were able to have all the necessary equipment to serve and engage a community that has been struggling with COVID-19 cases and instances of community violence.


Nathan Aguilar, LCSW, is a third year PhD student at the Columbia School of Social Work. Prior to doctoral studies he was a social worker for five years in Chicago where he worked in a community-based organization with gang involved young men. He I also worked at a hospital violence prevention organization where he provided clinical support to gunshot survivors throughout the city. His research interests pertain to the experiences of gunshot survivors as well as the well-being of street intervention workers. He is looking to understand how technology can play a role in supporting these two populations.

Additional information

Did the project take on any new directions, and how will it influence your future research agenda?

The only new direction that the project took was that we did not produce flyers regarding the COVID-19 vaccination. It was important for the Columbia student to let the community lead efforts to promote the vaccine given their expertise. After working with staff through the CBPR project it was determined that it would be more effective to use the funds for PPE and community violence safety gear than produce flyers for the vaccine. However, such a change provided an opportunity for the researcher to work with the staff to understand the hesitations of the community regarding the vaccine as all staff members live in the community as well. These meetings took place during the CBPR project and assisted staff in creating efforts to communicate with organizational participants and community residents about COVID-19 and the vaccine given their standing in the community as credible messengers. The additional PPE and safety gear allowed NLC staff to engage with residents in a safe manner and promote public health best practices and vaccine information through their actions.

This project has taught me the importance of community engagement throughout the research process. I think I made a mistake of coming in with a plan rather than sitting down with the community to understand what they think is the best way to move forward. By working with the community as co-producers and co-leaders of the project I was able to get more buy in and used the gracious COVID-19 micro grant to assist the community in a way that they needed rather than what I assumed they needed. This will no doubt influence my future research agenda as I now understand the importance of engage the community I plan on studying in order to create effective interventions and relationships that value true collaboration and the expertise of the community.

Empowering Self-Care in ECE Affiliates and Friends: Enhancing Vaccine Confidence Among Low-Income Latina Childcare Providers in New York City

Project intro

The purpose of this project was to engage members of historically marginalized communities in discussions to address institutional mistrust and vaccine confidence relating to the COVID-19 vaccine. We partnered with ECE on the Move, a grassroots organization to support the needs of early childhood educators (ECE) working in home-based childcare settings. The ECEs within the organization represent primarily low-income Latina women whose first language is most often Spanish.

Using an anti-oppressive, psychoeducation-based approach we developed an interactive, informational webinar held in English and Spanish to ensure outreach to our target audience. The content included scientific facts about the development of the vaccine and ways in which it works and functions in the body. It also covered issues of historical racism and invited participants to engage in discussions about institutional mistrust and its impact on vaccine confidence. We worked with three experts in the scientific/medical field who were also bilingual speakers: Maria Sierra, Vanessa Estrada, and Chris Gonzalez. Their ability to provide the most current COVID-19 data and information about new regulations was crucial in delivering correct information to the participants during this ever-evolving time of the pandemic.

Within six months, we held eight webinars with a total of 112 participants. Four of the webinars were held exclusively for ECE on the Move. Given their shifting needs and increased uptake in receiving vaccinations, we connected with another community organization, WHEDco, to reach more people. This collaboration bolstered WHEDco’s ongoing Vaccine Education Initiative, which began in January 2021, in an effort to improve vaccine equity and health outcomes in the South Bronx, a neighborhood particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The last two webinars were streamed on Facebook and can be viewed by the public. (English / Spanish)

At the end of each webinar, participants were asked to fill out an exit survey which asked about their likelihood to seek out the vaccine, whether or not the informational-discussion webinar was helpful, and if they had any additional questions. This exit survey was also used to collect payment information for the stipends for participant stipends. We received 99 exit survey responses and distributed $2,970 in stipends.

We received matching funds from the Mason Lab to extend our ability to provide stipends for participants. We are grateful to both Columbia School of Social Work and the Mason Lab for investing in this project and empowering Latina childcare workers in New York City to feel confident in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Team Members

Juliana Pinto McKeen (she, her) was born in Bogota, Colombia and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. As a previously undocumented person, Juliana worked as an in-home caregiver for over a decade. Later, she co-founded and directed an early childhood program in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. The program was open for six years before being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the crisis, Juliana became a founding member of the Brooklyn Coalition of Early Childhood Programs and a member of the Empire State Campaign for Childcare. Most recently, Juliana was the Policy and Program Manager at Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap. Juliana holds a BA from Hunter College in Psychology with a minor in African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies, and a master’s degree from Columbia University in Social Work. She is published in the 2021 edition of the Columbia Social Work Review with an article titled, “Mind the Gap: Addressing Childcare Inequalities for Children and Caregivers.”

Nicholas Hakimi (he//him/él) is a dual degree student at Columbia’s School of Social work and Mailman School of Public Health. His concentration is in global mental health epidemiology and clinical treatment for psychiatric disorders. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, but spent part of his childhood in Mexico City and Southern California, before moving to New York City for graduate school. He currently works for the New York State Psychiatric Institute as a bilingual research assistant, while also providing bilingual mental health therapy at the Visiting Nurse Service of NY’s FRIENDS Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Clinic. He looks forward to publishing various scientific papers he’s working on as a co-author, and gain clinical experience once he graduates to achieve an LCSW. He wants to continue working on advocating and providing mental health treatments for children and adolescents around the globe.

Angie Monreal (she/her) is a first year sociology Ph.D. student at the University of California, Irvine, where she studies the intersections of incarceration, immigration, and criminalization. She has a M.S.W. from Columbia University and is B.A. is sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work titled, “ The Testimonios of System-Impacted Daughters of Color on Healing from Parental Incarceration”, has been published in the Columbia Social Work Review Journal. Angie was born and raised in Anaheim, California and is the proud daughter of immigrants from Mexico.

Emma Harger (she/her) is a recent graduate of Columbia School of Social Work. Before attending graduate school, Emma spent time teaching English in Chile and living in Washington, DC working with nonprofits as a fundraising consultant. She currently works as a social worker at Jericho Project in their rapid rehousing program, where she assists young adults experiencing homlessness in obtaining housing, gaining employment, and promoting overall financial stability. She also provides direct therapy to individuals, and plans to pursue her clinical license. Emma hails from Pittsburgh, PA and spends her time outside of work enjoying the outdoors. She holds a B.A. in developmental psychology and German from Carnegie Mellon University.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Amy Kapadia is a Lecturer in Discipline at the Columbia School of Social Work. Dr. Kapadia’s research interests stem from community-based clinical work within the field of serious mental illness, and include the mental health effects of discrimination and stigma among marginalized groups, and psychoeducation intervention development to enhance mental health within the community. Most recently, Dr. Kapadia’s work has focused on addressing the impact of COVID-19 among community and spiritual leaders within marginalized communities to enhance recovery and resilience, and to address disparities caused by structural forces. Dr. Kapadia teaches within the Clinical and Advanced Generalist Programming and Practice tracks. She embodies an anti-oppressive, strengths-based approach that centers on collaborative learning and shared experiences. Her goals are to elicit students’ capacities, encourage vulnerability and self-reflective work, nurture a belief in themselves and encourage the use of their voices. Dr. Kapadia holds a PhD from the Columbia School of Social Work.

Creation of a community clearinghouse of vaccine trial community education and community engagement materials focused on COVID-19

Project intro

TAG Disseminated lay-friendly, vaccine-centered community educational materials through a hub on TAG’s website and hosted community webinars to address questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Over the past 24 months, through TAG’s work with both CoVPN and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), we have created a wealth of community-oriented vaccine literacy materials that answer common questions and hesitations about vaccine development, with a specific emphasis on engaging Black, Latinx, and other communities of color. These materials have now been made available to a wider community network. In such critical times for vaccine access, it is essential that health and research advocates from a broad spectrum of communities– particularly those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic– can access this information. TAG solicited community advocate perspectives on key questions related to ethical conduct for COVID-19 clinical trials, novel recruitment strategies, and the complexities of emerging initiatives to develop effective prevention and treatment options for COVID-19.

Project outcomes/deliverables

The resultant community advocate and engagement materials and information created through this work have now been made easily accessible to a broader community within a single access point within TAG’s COVID-19 web portal.

Please see PDFs below, or visit this link.

  • Understanding the Vaccine Development Process
  • Report Summary: Breaking Barriers: Surveying Community Perspectives of COVID-19 Vaccine Research
  • COVID-19 Variants and Vaccine Boosters — Where Are We?
  • Team Members

    Emily Ward is a second-year CSSW student on the clinical track and hopes to work as a school social worker after graduation. Previously, she received her Bachelor's in Psychology at the University at Albany, SUNY. In undergrad, she worked in three distinct research labs. She is extremely passionate about being an advocate to help dismantle targeted health disparities in the mental health community and aims to help alleviate stigma of mental illness as a whole. In her free time, she likes running, painting and taking pictures with her cat!
    Abraham Johnson is a public health educator and HIV/AIDS Advocate whose experience in the community health arena spans 6 years. Abraham joined TAG in 2020 as the HIV Community Engagement Officer where he supports the community engagement efforts for the HIV project. He has a strong theoretical background in public health education, as well as practical experience both inside and outside academic and rural settings.
    Prior to joining TAG, Abraham worked at FHI 360 as the community programs associate for the HIV Prevention Trials Network, International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trails Network and the Microbicides Trials Network. He holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Georgia Southern University and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Savannah State University. During his free time, Abraham enjoys traveling, trying different restaurants, and listening to his favorite artists.

    Peers in the pandemic: Examining beliefs and attitudes about the COVID-19 vaccine among harm reduction peer outreach workers in New York City

    This project is still in the progress. We will share the research results after the project is completed.

    Team Members

    • Bethany Medley, MSW: Ph.D. student – Advanced Practice, CSSW; Graduate Research Assistant, SIG
    • Lyla Yang, LMSW: First-year Ph.D. student, CSSW
    • Sara Landers, LMSW: Second-year Ph.D. student, CSSW; Graduate Research Assistant, SIG
    • Advisor: Louisa Gilbert, Ph.D.

    Read more info here.

    CSSW COVID-19 Racial Justice and Mental Health Micro-Grant Recipients

    Telehealth “verzuz” Radical Telehealing: Reimagining Digital Social Media as Virtual Healing Spaces for Black Women

    Project Intro

    This study will examine the ways in which social media is being utilized to facilitate healing and self care among Black Women. Inspired by online community spaces that promote positive collectivism and connection created by DJ D-Nice such as the VERZUZ live music battles and “Club Quarantine”, the study aims to reimagine mental health technologies in a way that prioritizes the care and needs of Black Women. Researchers will use observational methods to gather information from social media surrounding how platforms engage healing and self care. The study will be used to analyze the impact of creating a telehealth model specifically for Black Women developed entirely void of white supremacist ideals that are historically and systematically foundational to medical care services.

    Team Members

    • Chelsea A. Allen (CSSW student)
    • Zuleka Henderson (CSSW Lecturer)
    • Jalana Harris (CSSW Lecturer)
    • Rachel Chang (CC student)
    • Errica Williams (CSSW student)
    • Courtney D. Cogburn (CSSW Associate Professor)

    Share information with the Harlem and Morningside community about Prolonged Grief Disorder

    Project Intro

    This project will provide information and resources to communities in Harlem and Morningside Heights about Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD). A recent addition to the DSM -5-TR, PGD results in significant impairment in functioning and is likely to be highly prevalent after pandemic related deaths. The project will address the impact of PGD in Harlem and Morningside Heights by developing educational materials and mental health resources to supplement the disparity of mental health care typically experienced by communities of color.

    Team Members

    • Gaelle Bottex (CSSW student)
    • Amy Cuzzola-Kern (CSSW student)
    • Shanequa Perry (NYU MSW student)
    • Julio Martinez (CUNY MPH student)
    • Lena Green (Director of HOPE Center)
    • Katherine Shear (Director of Center for Prolonged Grief)

    Healing as we Build: Black Women Centering Mental Health amid COVID-19

    Project Intro

    This project will create an affinity space for Black Women focused on healing and Black futurism. While Black Women play a pivotal role in communities, families and the national economy, they are continuously devalued and dismissed by public policies and institutional practices. COVID-19 has exacerbated these injustices as well as putting many Black Women at high risk as they fill frontline positions with disproportionately minimal benefits and low wages. This affinity space will prioritize healing, developing skills and tools to navigate chronic stress, and community building while crafting a plan for Black Futurism. Twelve to fifteen Black women in New York City will be enrolled in four three-hour meetings.

    Team Members

    • Tiffany Younger (CSSW Lecturer)
    • Chandler Phillips (CSSW Student)
    • Mishael Sims (CSSW student)
    • Tyese Brown (Community Leader)
    • Lashawn Butler (Community Leader)

    Supporting BIPOC Agency and Mental Health: A Resource Guide Informed and Developed by BIPOC Mental Health Advocates and Social Work Students

    Project Intro

    Created by members of Surviving Race, a collaboration among individuals who identify as having psychiatric histories, psychiatric survivors, BIPOC and LGBTQ12SA, this project will invite New Yorkers with mental health issues as well as CSSW MSW students interested in mental health careers to create knowledge around need of BIPOC New Yorkers regarding mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will yield a mental health resource guide, created by the MSW students in collaboration with BIPOC New Yorkers, that will be distributed publicly.

    Team Members

    • Chyrell Bellamy (PhD, MSW, Yale School of Medicin​e)
    • ​Teena Brooks (LMSW, M.Phil, ABD, Columbia School of Social Work​)
    • ​Celia Brown (Surviving Race​)
    • Claire R. Chang (MA, PACFA, CCTP-II, MindFreedom International)
    • Jonathan P. Edwards (Ph.D., LCSW, ACSW, NYCPS, Columbia School of Social Work)
    • Kathleen O’Hara (PhD, MSW, ​Columbia University School of Social Work)​
    • O’Toole v. Cuomo (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York​)

    Umoja Circles: A Free, Online Group Processing/Emotional Support Space for the Black & African Community

    Project Intro

    Umoja Circles is a program that offers free bio-psychosocial educational sessions to Black identifying adults in New York City. The sessions teach the power of mindfulness, relaxation, and psychoeducation grounded predominantly in cognitive behavioral therapy ideologies tailored to the Black social and cultural experience. With this grant, Umoja Circles will expand its virtual processing programming by offering financial incentives for participants, develop educational program materials , and open their services to black identifying children as young as 6 years old.

    Team Members

    • Ashley Cole, Jr.
    • Dr. Ovita Williams
    • Eva Gordon
    • Deidra Brooks
    • Chandler Phillips
    • Chantel Plummer
    • Gabriela Carrillo-Meza
    • May Lee

    ShockTalk pilot: Increasing access to culturally appropriate telemental health services for Indigenous clients

    Project Intro

    ShockTalk is a “culturally tailored telemental health platform” that connects Indigenous people with Indigenous mental health care providers. Indigenous people suffer from high rates of mental health issues as well as limited mental health resources. After conducting interviews with indigenous communities, the ShockTalk team identified the lack of culturally appropriate service providers and lack of systems to help indigenous clients seeking mental health care as two significant barriers to the community receiving appropriate care. ShockTalk is currently in beta testing and the team will use this grant to grow their network of culturally-appropriate mental health professionals.

    Team Members

    • Ariel Richer (CSSW PhD Student, ShockTalk Director of Research)
    • Austin Serrio (ShockTalk CEO)
    • Sutton King (ShockTalk COO)

    Training to Support BIPOC Workers’ Mental Health Needs During COVID-19

    Project Intro

    This project confronts the need for more BIPOC worker’s mental health support in the workplace, specifically amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Research will be done to understand how BIPOC workers perceive the mental health support that is currently offered by their organizations. Results from this research will be analyzed and used to develop training sessions for organizations to better their mental health support for BIPOC employees. The research findings will be offered on social media as well as a white paper that will be made available to other organizations.

    Team Members

    • David Bolt (CSSW Lecturer)
    • Carmen Foster (UTK SSW – Consultant)