Spring 2020 PhD Graduate
Empowerment building strategies for addressing sexual violence and trauma
Sexual violence and trauma in later life
Community kitchens and gardens to foster empowerment and address trauma
Art and horticulture-based therapy solutions to address post-traumatic stress
Diversity and inclusion in sexual violence research, practice, policy and education
Michelle D. Hand received her Ph.D. and MSW from the Ohio State University and is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in both rural and urban community mental health and medical social work. Hand’s research interests include empowerment building strategies to address sexual violence and trauma among underserved non-dominant populations, particularly in later life. This consists of art and horticulture-based interventions, such as community farms, gardens and murals, to promote empowerment and healing from sexual abuse and trauma. Hand has extensive interdisciplinary experience in addressing social injustice to foster empowerment using transformative mixed methods approaches to explore the lived experiences of Korean Comfort Women, perceptions of sexual violence across the life course, food access issues in later life, and LGBTQ+ community needs, to address trauma and support resilience. Her dissertation is entitled “Perceptions of Sexual Violence in Later Life.” Select publications (among several scholarly manuscripts) include: “Korean Survivors of the Japanese ‘Comfort Women’ System: Understanding the Lifelong Consequences of Early Life Trauma” and “The Use of Autobiographical Poetry to Process Trauma, Promote Awareness and Shift Views on Sexual Violence: Exploring the ‘Against Our Will’ Campaign.” Hand has independently taught several generalist social work and social welfare policy courses as well as lifespan development, and helped lead a study abroad course in Nicaragua. She was awarded the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) Student Teaching Award in 2019, in recognition of outstanding teaching, the College of Social Work Alumni Scholarship for 2019-2020, The Selma and Alexander W. Erlen Award for excellent service, academics and scholarship for 2016-2017, the Doctoral Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award, both for 2019-2020 and 2016-2017, and the Dodie Thomas Memorial Scholarship in 2010. She also successfully defended her dissertation in Spring semester of 2020.