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The Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity (CRECD) established this award to recognize doctoral students and junior faculty members with outstanding scholarship in the areas of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in social work education. An award will be given to a doctoral student and a junior faculty member during the CSWE Annual Program Meeting.

2021 CRECD Awards

Junior Faculty Award Recipient—Anna Ortega-Williams

Dr. Anna Ortega-Williams is a social work scholar, practitioner, researcher, and organizer who is inspired by the healing alchemy of social action, youth development, and well-being. Dr. Ortega-Williams is an assistant professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. As a social work educator, she is committed to uncovering trauma recovery interventions that push the boundary of where micro-level clinical practice ends and macro-level practice begins. Her approach to social work centers cultural humility, anti-racist, intersectional, and anti-oppressive frameworks. Dr. Ortega-Williams’ area of research focuses on historical trauma, posttraumatic growth, and social action in trauma recovery. Her scholarship, research, and teaching are grounded in her 20-year journey as a social worker providing individual, group, and family counseling, in addition to working as a director, program developer, capacity builder, and evaluator. She is deeply inspired by local, national, and global social justice movements; in particular, Black youth-led responses to interrupting systemic violence. She received her bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York, Hunter College; master’s degree from the State University of New York, Stony Brook; and PhD in social work from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. As a Black queer mom, activist, organizer, and poet born and raised in public housing in the Bronx, she believes social work practice can promote joy, healing, imagination, and hope when rooted in transforming social and economic justice and protecting human rights.

Doctoral Student Award Recipient—Dashawna Fussell-Ware

Dashawna Fussell-Ware is a proud native of Miami, FL. She received her bachelor of arts, with honors, in psychology with minors in English and human and social development from the University of Miami in May 2013 and her master’s of social work, with a certificate in nonprofit management, from the University of Georgia in May 2018. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Also, she serves as a doctoral fellow for the Center on Race and Social Problems at the University of Pittsburgh and Steel Smiling, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Black Pittsburgh residents' mental health.

During her undergraduate career, Fussell-Ware accumulated a plethora of research experience with diverse populations, including children in Head Start/Early Head Start programs, children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, and youths living with mood/anxiety disorders. After graduating she joined the fight for social justice through education as a Teach for America corps member, teaching 11th and 12th-grade students at her alma mater in the Miami neighborhood of Liberty City. While earning her MSW, Fussell-Ware served as a clinical services liaison for a transitional housing nonprofit and as a clinician for a mental health service provider.

Fussell-Ware's current research focuses on promoting mental health literacy among Black, Latinx, and Hispanic children, adolescents, and transition-age youths as a pathway to eliminating mental health disparities. She has been honored for her work on racial/ethnic minority youth mental health with fellowships from the Council on Social Work Education and the American Psychological Association. Her career goals are to conduct groundbreaking research that positively influences policy and social work practice as well as serve communities of color through partnerships with resource-rich academic institutions.