November–December 2023

From the MFP Director: Greetings From Dr. Cooke 

Happy Winter, MFP Community! 

It is with great enthusiasm that I extend my warmest greetings to CSWE’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) community as the newly appointed Director of the MFP. I am so honored to be selected to serve as the director of a program that has been instrumental in nurturing social work students. I look forward to continuing the amazing legacy of the program and supporting MSW and doctoral students as they learn how to find their voices as social workers and tackle head-on the challenges of being both a student and a young professional.

October marked the commencement of the 2023–2024 MFP grant cycle. It is an opportune moment to congratulate each of the 2022–2023 MFP fellows for their outstanding contributions and ongoing impact in addressing the needs of underrepresented and underserved persons with or at risk for mental health and/or substance use disorders. 

As we embark on this journey together, let us take a moment to celebrate MFP’s 50th anniversary! For 5 decades, MFP fellows have been dedicated to social work leaving a legacy that will continue for many years to come. This year will be a true celebration of MFP’s 50th anniversary as we showcase the magnitude and reach of the MFP program. 

I am genuinely excited about the journey that lies ahead. Here's to embracing the new season and to all the accomplishments that await us!

Warm regards,
Collina D. Cooke, PhD, LCSW-C 

Indigenous Heritage Month

November marked the National Native American or Indigenous Heritage Month, a time to extend extra appreciation and acknowledgement for the tremendous contributions Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives make year-round.

TeachingGuide_Repairing-Harms-Done-to-Indigenous-Tribal-Peoples.jpgLast year, CSWE introduced a teaching guide, "Repairing Harms Done to Indigenous and Tribal Peoples," to incorporate content on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in social work courses covering five areas: Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in the United States and its territories, child welfare, health, research ethics, and commitments: present and future. The teaching guide is a supplement to the CSWE Statement of Accountability and Reconciliation for Harms Done to Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.

The teaching guide follows pedagogical approaches that aim to engage students through the use of multimedia materials, critical reflection and discussion, collaborative learning, and research for further exploration. The learning materials include, in addition to analytical readings, interactive websites, e-learning modules, archival audiotapes, historical and other documents, recorded interviews, documentaries, and tool kits and other practice guides.

We invite our fellows to familiarize themselves with these resources and prepare for next year's Annual Program Meeting, where the theme will be "Indigenous Knowledge Sovereignty and Environmental Justice."

MFP Connects… With You! 

Fellows want to hear from you! Based on inquiries from current fellows, the MFP team has created space for you to share your experience. What are important aspects to include or consider when building a social work résumé as fellows emerge into the profession?

MFP-Share-Your-Insights-Button.pngFollow this link and share your insights and advice!

Celebrating MFP’s Legacy

Did you know that 2024 will mark 50 years since CSWE’s MFP was awarded a grant by the National Institute of Mental Health to increase the number of minority doctoral students majoring in mental health research? This first award was the catalyst for the program we celebrate today. Please take time to acknowledge those who paved the way with our ongoing MFP Legacy section highlighting those fellows who first were awarded fellowship. Find information on all 15 of the 1975–1976 cohort of MFP doctoral fellows here. Below is one fellow’s biographical profile from when they were a fellow.

Rodolfo Borrego received his MSW degree from California State University at Fresno in June 1972. His professional experience includes clinical social work and community organizing with the Visalia Community Counseling Services, Visalia, CA. He will leave this organization, where he was chief of outpatient services, to enter the doctoral program at Columbia University School of Social Work. 


2023 Annual Program Meeting Recap

Twenty-three doctoral fellows joined MFP staff and alumni in Atlanta, GA, for CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting (APM) at the end of October. Following the MFP welcoming session hosted by MFP staff with special guest CSWE President and MFP alumni, Dr. Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi, fellows emersed themselves in the theme of “Defining and Reckoning With Anti-Racist Social Work Education” by attending a plethora of learning sessions. In addition to the general sessions, the MFP team hosted several MFP-exclusive events in collaboration with the Interprofessional MFP (IMFP). Topics covering leadership, interdisciplinary impact, and anti-racist research were explored with notable MFP alumni and affiliates. The MFP thanks Dr. Janice Haskins, Dr. Duy Nguyen, Dr. Kesslyn Brade Stennis, Dr. Carl Algood, Dr. Michael Spencer, Dr. Sharon Parker, Dr. Tonya Perry, Dr. Isok Kim, Dr. Amber Khan, Jermaine Lowery, and others for their contributions in making MFP-specific learning opportunities possible. 


Above: Eighteen of the 25 doctoral fellows with Carl A. Scott Memorial Lecturer, Dr. Jenny L. Jones, PhD, MSW, ACSW, dean and professor of social work at the Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University.

Throughout learning sessions, the doctoral fellows were able to celebrate their acceptance into the program or renewal by attending the MFP reception. Here the MFP and IMFP gathered to share words of gratitude and connection with one another. The opportunity to network with alumni and fellows from across the United States was the highlight of the event. Individuals left with a sense of connection to the MFP community and an understanding of the powerful impact the program continues to provide in many individuals’ experiences. The MFP team is excited to cultivate events with a similar impact in the future. We look forward to seeing you all again at the 2024 APM in Kansas City, MO!

The MFP team would like to thank our sponsors for making MFP events a reality. Thank you:

  • Boston College School of Social Work
  • Case Western Reserve University-Mandel School
  • Columbia University School of Social Work
  • Fordham University
  • Howard University School of Social Work
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Social Work
  • NASW Assurance Services, Inc.
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Sacred Heart University School of Social Work
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Tennessee College of Social Work
  • University of Washington School of Social Worl
  • Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work   


Above: Fifteen doctoral fellows and one MSW fellow at the MFP Reception at the 2023 APM in Atlanta, GA.

We Need You! Volunteer With CSWE's MFP


There are many opportunities to volunteer with CSWE’s MFP this upcoming fellowship year. You do not have to be an MFP alumnus to volunteer, volunteering is not time consuming, you do not need to be a social work educator to serve, you get back what you give, and the time to apply is now! Here’s how you can help:

1.    Mentor a master’s or doctoral student: Support the academic and career development of a student passionate about meeting the needs of BIPOC communities.

2.    Be a guest speaker: Share your subject matter expertise by speaking on one of the topics, requested by incoming students (see below). Alternatively, if there’s a topic you believe to be of value to this group, please reach out to discuss it with our team.

  • Abolitionist social work
  • Disability-centered social work practice
  • Grants 101
  • Grief
  • Inclusive sex therapy
  • Innovative research methods
  • Innovative treatment modalities
  • LGBTQ youth mental health
  • Narrative therapy
  • Pathways to clinical licensure
  • Postgraduation trials and tribulations
  • Program evaluation
  • Role of social work in reentry
  • Social work and the arts
  • Strengths-based approaches to working with BIPOC communities
  • Supporting international students

3.    Join our advisory committee: Put your great ideas to great use—steer the program and provide input on key areas, including programming, alumni engagement, and applicant recruitment.

4.    Become an application reader: Support the selection of the next cohort of master’s and doctoral MFP fellows!

Find more information about getting involved and apply today!

Update Your Contact Information

Have you changed jobs in the last few years? Changed your primary email address? The CSWE’s 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.


Article: Supporting Your Mental Health During the Holiday Season
By: Tanner Bommersbach, MD, MPH, Policy Fellow, Center for Mental Health Services

iStock-1351935692.jpgIn the 2003 holiday movie classic, “Elf,” the main character, Buddy, shares a particular fondness for the holiday season, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” No matter what traditions you celebrate this winter, not everyone shares Buddy’s enthusiasm for this season. While the holidays can be a time of celebration and joy for many, it also can be a period of stress, sadness, and loneliness for others—and sometimes can be particularly difficult for people living with mental health and substance use conditions. Read more