Skip to main content

Message From the Director

RPWCMSW_October_2016-277-L-(1).jpgDear MFP Fellows and Alumni:
The MFP is a place for people who occupy social intersections. These intersections are complex places with competing demands and no easy answers. In recognition of Pride Month, we highlight four fellows and alumni who are doing their part to solve the social problems faced by individuals living in intersections.
As an MFP doctoral fellow, Dr. Valli Kalei Kanuha’s (MFP Doctoral 1997) dissertation was one of the first in the MFP to examine the experiences of lesbian and gay people of color. Through her practice, research, and community service, Dr. Kanuha addresses gender-based violence and other social problems affecting marginalized communities.
The recipient of the University of Pittsburgh’s 2019 Partnership of Distinction Award in recognition of his collaboration with AIDS Free Pittsburgh, Dr. Darren L. Whitfield (MFP Doctoral 2016), seeks to identify how psychosocial stressors affect engagement in HIV prevention activities among men who have sex with men. 
Current doctoral fellow Luis Ramírez, LCSW, raises awareness about the fluidity, complexity, and intersectionality of queer experiences to challenge traditional pathologizing clinical frames of queer populations.
Current master’s fellow Elinor Lee has transitioned from intern to staff counselor at Chicago Women’s Health Center, working individually with women and trans adults.
As you can see, MFP fellows and alumni operate in social intersections to make communities safer, healthier, and happier.
Please be sure to click through to read their profiles and other resources in the newsletter!
Duy Nguyen, PhD
MFP Director


MFP Spotlight

Elinor Lee

Elinor LeeCurrent MFP master’s fellow Elinor Lee recently graduated from the University of Chicago and works as a staff counselor at Chicago Women’s Health Center. Lee offers feminist-relational counseling on a sliding scale for low-income and underinsured women and trans adults of color. Lee identifies with the LGBTQ+ community and, as being a person of color, works to highlight the experiences of these communities. Lee is grateful to be able to contribute and raise awareness about the lack of affirming services for marginalized people.


Luis Ramírez, LCSW

Luis RamirezMFP doctoral fellow and University of Pennsylvania student Luis Ramírez leads a clinical practice providing queer-affirmative therapy and serves as clinical coordinator at The Attic Youth Center, a community-building LGBTQ youth center in Philadelphia. Last year, Ramírez participated in a panel discussing challenges to popular assumptions about contemporary couple therapy practice at the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s Seventh Annual Spring Conference. Ramírez is a faculty member at the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia and teaches about diversity, intersectionality in relational psychoanalysis, and is creating training curriculum for clinicians on queer-affirmative therapy. Connect with Luis on LinkedIn and Instagram.


Darren L. Whitfield, PhD, MSW

Darren WhitfieldDarren L. Whitfield (MFP Doctoral 2016) is chair of direct practice and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry. His research examines the role of mental health in HIV prevention. Dr. Whitfield is a 2018–2019 HIV Prevention Trial Network Scholar studying the associations of biomedical HIV prevention among Black men who have sex with men. In April Dr. Whitfield was honored with the 2019 Partnership of Distinction Award by the University of Pittsburgh for his community work with AIDS Free Pittsburgh—a collaboration between community, health care, and academic partners to eliminate HIV in Allegheny county.

Valli Kalei Kanuha, PhD, MSW

Valli Kalei KanuhaValli Kalei Kanuha (MFP Doctoral 1997) serves as assistant dean for field education at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Dr. Kanuha builds policies and procedures that address the social and mental health needs of the diverse student body. Her work focuses on social problems affecting populations and communities at the intersection of margins: people of color, women, native/indigenous, and LGBTQ2Māhū communities. Māhū is the Hawaiian term for two-spirit peoples in Hawaiian culture. Dr. Kanuha is actively involved in gender violence work as a board volunteer, research partner, consultant, and trainer.




The Diversity Center’s Educator|Resource of the Month
Visit CSWE’s Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice to view the June Educator|Resource for a recap of the previous seven issues that provide creative teaching resources on diversity, social, economic, and environmental justice created by scholars in the field. These resources provide ways to encourage empathy and critical thinking in students and offer innovative diversity practice models in areas such as disability, behavioral health, and immigration.

Film: Foster
HBO’s documentary film Foster explores the misunderstood world of foster care through firsthand accounts of five individuals at the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. The documentary depicts social workers working in collaboration with other professionals in caring for vulnerable children navigating the largest county child protection agency. Learn more and watch the film here.

Webinar: Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Use Disorders
SAMHSA’s webinar on Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Use Disorders reviews current data on populations with dual diagnosis, concepts of integrated treatment, and most effective practices for treatment. Guest speakers will cover the impact of culture in co-occurring disorders, the principles of integrated treatment, and evidence-based programs for co-occurring disorders. Watch the webinar here.

PowerPoints: 32nd Annual Research and Policy Conference
The conference presentations from the 32nd Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health held in March are now available. Access the presentations here.

Report: National Suicide Prevention Strategies: Progress, Examples, and Indicators
The World Health Organization report outlines strategies for developing, implementing, and evaluating national suicide prevention strategies. View the report here.

MFP Fellow and Alumni Features
We want to feature your work in MFP Connect! Please use this form to tell us about your current work with underserved racial/ethnic communities. We are especially interested in examples that build and foster connections between current fellows and alumni!  


Council on Social Work Education
Director of Accreditation

Accreditation Specialist 

National Institute of Mental Health & Boston College
Postdoctoral Diversity Supplement

Salisbury University  
Clinical Assistant Professor (open to MSWs) 
Indiana University
Assistant Research Professor 
Health Workforce Connector Search