From the MFP Team

Dear Fellows and Alumni, 

Welcome to Month 11 in the MFP’s fellowship year! Though the 2021–2022 fellowship year will wrap up in a few short weeks, MFP staff remain committed to enriching their educational experiences and career readiness. Notably, the program has made more than $50,000 worth of funds available to 44 master’s and 26 doctoral fellows to use toward licensure and professional development expenses. In partnership with Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley, the staff held a phenomenal writing intensive for doctoral students. 

In the coming months, many of these students will transition from MFP fellows to alumni. It is the aim of the MFP, and a priority of MFP staff, to continue to engage with program alumni beyond the one to three years spent as fellows. MFP Connect is one tool we use to continue engagement. Another is Spark, CSWE’s online community for social workers and educators. If you haven’t already, we invite you to make an account and join the MFP community to stay up to date on all things MFP. If you’ve already taken this step, you’re invited to further increase your engagement by sparking discussion with posts about a professional development opportunity, a job announcement, or words of wisdom for the incoming cohort of students. In the coming weeks, look out for more information on Spark about our 2022–2023 cohort of master’s and doctoral fellows and our activities at the upcoming Annual Program Meeting in Anaheim, California. We also invite you to check out our new “Get Involved” webpage for up-to-date information on how you can contribute to the mission of MFP. 

Support in the form of volunteerism is especially needed as we prepare to bring on brand-new fellows this fall. The MFP is successful in its aim to address the mental health and substance use needs of underserved communities and respond to gaps in the social work workforce because of the tremendous support of our committed volunteers. MFP volunteers serve on our advisory committee, as application readers, and as mentors to our master’s and doctoral fellows. Our current need is for mentors and guest speakers—learn more and apply today! 

In fellowship, 
Ameera Bhanji, MSW 
Assistant Director, Minority Fellowship Program 




Five Misconceptions about Being an MFP Volunteer

1. You must be an MFP alum to be a volunteer. 

The MFP has openings for application readers, advisory board members, mentors, and alumni committee members. Only one of these five open positions requires that volunteers have experience as part of the MFP—can you guess which it is? If you are committed to addressing the mental health and substance use needs of BIPOC communities and interested in supporting either students or programming, then you are fit to volunteer, regardless of whether you’ve had direct experience as an MFP recipient in the past. 

2. Volunteering is time consuming. 

Here in the MFP, we recognize how important it is to live a well-balanced life. We understand that volunteers are generously offering their time and expertise to the program, and we are dedicated to ensuring that every volunteer has an enriching experience. Volunteer positions entail no more than four to five meetings per year, of which not all are mandatory. In fact, even meetings that are required of volunteers, such as application review trainings and board meetings, are always recorded and made available so that volunteers can review them at times that are convenient to them. If you are unsure about whether you can fit a position in with your current set of personal, professional, and/or academic responsibilities, feel free to reach out to our team. We would be glad to discuss ways to serve that are suitable for your schedule. 

3. You must be in academia and/or have a doctoral social work degree to serve. 

We’d be honored to have those leveraging social work skills in a variety of alternative scopes, including those with lived expertise related to mental health/substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery, as part of our dedicated volunteer pool. Applicants are therefore eligible to volunteer with MFP so long as they meet one of the below criteria. 

  • Hold/have held faculty appointments at a social work program 

  • Have lived experience related to mental health and/or substance abuse 

  • Are alumni of the CSWE MFP and graduates of doctoral social work programs 

  • Hold/have held current faculty appointments at minority-serving institutions 

  • Have graduated from practice doctorate programs in social work 

  • Are members of the social work practice community 

  • Represent diverse geographic regions 

4. Volunteering is all give and no get. 

No, no, no! In addition to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve supported the academic and professional development of leaders in mental health practice, research, and teaching, being an MFP volunteer connects you with an invaluable network of MFP fellows and alumni. Volunteering with the MFP is a résumé builder, something you can use toward toward tenure applications and more. It is mutually beneficial engagement where both the volunteer and the program can achieve more than what either could alone.

5. It’s too late to apply. 

The best time to apply is whenever you can. While certain positions, such as those on the MFP’s advisory committees, are governed by specific timelines and terms, other positions, such as guest speakers, are constantly in demand. 

Find more information about getting involved and apply today! 

Summer Writing Intensive: Article Development for BIPOC Scholars and Communities

On July 27–28, Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley joined MFP director Dr. Kesslyn Brade Stennis and the current cohort of doctoral MFP fellows for a summer writing intensive focused on article development for BIPOC scholars and communities. 

Dr. Bent-Goodley is team clinician for the Baltimore Ravens, professor emeritus at Howard University, and a graduate professor of public health at the Howard University Graduate School. With more than 27 years’ worth of expertise in mental health and trauma-informed care, systems engineering, and organizational leadership, Dr. Bent-Goodley is an experienced licensed clinical social worker and researcher. Her research, administrative, and clinical career has included a specialized focus on addressing trauma and violence with a focus on community-based interventions, culturally specific care, and working with professional athletes. She has substantive scholarly publications, including books in the areas of marriage, social policy, domestic violence, and social work entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, she is the immediate past editor-in-chief of Social Work, the flagship journal of the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Bent-Goodley is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 

Summer Writing Intensive: Article Development for BIPOC Scholars and Communities screenshot

Her unique perspective and wealth of experience shone throughout her presentation as she shared considerations to make when writing for publication, offered tips for developing a systematic process for writing, and responded to questions from participants. Questions included the following: 

  • What is the best way to start submitting an article for publication? 

  • When writing with a team, how do you tie in everybody’s ideas to ensure they are aligned with the journal goals? 

  • How do you consider your writing/research agenda within the context of your professional career aspirations? 

  • What are the common mistakes that emerging scholars make when submitting for publication? What can be done NOW to resolve them? 

Sessions such as these serve to strengthen the capacity of the mental health and substance use disorder workforce to deliver culturally competent services to BIPOC communities, which is well aligned with the goals of MFP as well as those of fellows who attended the 2-day intensive. 

New Cohort, Coming Soon!

CSWE’s MFP is pleased to share that four new doctoral students and 35 master’s students have made it through three rigorous rounds of review and received official fellowship offers. This would not have been possible without the support of the MFP’s tremendous team of volunteer application readers and advisory committee members. The MFP staff team is grateful to those involved at every stage of the application cycle—from partners who aided recruitment efforts to students who submitted applications and volunteers who made well-informed recommendations. 

Look out for additional details on the newest additions to the ever-expanding MFP community in next month’s newsletter! 

Register for CSWE's Annual Program Meeting

This year, the Annual Program Meeting (APM) is focusing on “Leading Critical Conversations: Human Rights Are Global Rights.” Educational sessions will explore topics addressing human rights in the United States and internationally and raise critical issues about practices, policies, and structures that hinder or advance human rights. The event will also feature opportunities to connect and build lasting partnerships with thousands of social work educators, and it will offer hundreds of educational sessions (encompassing 40 tracks), specialized training institutes to develop your skills and expertise, and much more! Register today

APM photo

Update Your Contact Information 

Have you changed jobs in the last few years? Changed your primary email address? The MFP relies on current contact information for our internal database, which we use to contact alumni and help us prepare our reports for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Please use this link to share your updated contact information. Additionally, you are encouraged to reach out to MFP alumni you are connected with and request that they share their updated information too. Thank you in advance for supporting MFP staff efforts to enhance connectedness in the MFP community.  

CSWE Diversity Center’s August Educator|Resource

Visit CSWE’s Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice to view the latest Educator|Resource.