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Dr. Ramona Denby-Brinson is dean of the School of Social Work. She began her appointment on Aug. 1, 2021. She also holds an appointment as the Kuralt Distinguished Professor of Public Welfare Policy and Administration. She is the 13th dean in the School’s history.
Recognized nationally for her research on culturally adapted child welfare services, Denby-Brinson joined UNC-Chapel Hill with more than 30 years of experience in social work education and 17 years in administration. Her
scholarly interests involve policy, programming, treatment and community development issues relevant to children and families; children’s mental health and substance use disorders; juvenile justice; and culturally responsive service delivery. Recognized as one of the leading national experts in culturally adapted child welfare services, Denby-Brinson has published extensively on the topic and is the author of the book Kinship Care: Increasing Child Well-being through Practice, Policy, and Research.
Denby-Brinson received the 2014 Senator Harry Reid Silver State Research Award in recognition of her research, which is highly regarded, community-engaged and responsive to the needs of vulnerable communities and populations. She has been funded significantly at the federal level to conduct research related to child and family well-being including
funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - U.S. Children’s Bureau, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Her work is articulated in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, chapters, technical reports, issue briefs, media presentations and professional papers/presentations at state, regional and national juried conferences. She has been active in several national social work professional associations, including the National Association of Social
Workers (NASW), Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).
Currently, Denby-Brinson uses her social work experience to assist local nonprofits and public agencies in building their capacity to better serve their clients. Likewise, using curricular innovations, Denby-Brinson focuses on academic preparation that equips social work students with solution- and evidence-oriented approaches to address protracted and future
social challenges. Denby-Brinson completed her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University, MSW from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. Prior to her academic career, Denby-Brinson served children and families in various social service settings. She is a social worker who has been licensed since 1989. Simply put, Dean Denby-Brinson is someone who cares deeply about people and their well-being.
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