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Degrees & Programs

Hand, Michelle

PhD Candidate

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests
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, policy and education
Trauma-informed care


Michelle D. Hand received her MSW from The Ohio State University and is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health and medical social work.  Hand’s research interests include empowerment building strategies to address sexual violence and trauma, with a focus on diverse, under-studied, non-dominant populations, particularly in later life, as well as art and horticulture-based interventions, such as community kitchens and gardens, to promote empowerment and healing from sexual abuse and trauma.  Hand has extensive transdisciplinary experience in addressing social injustice to foster empowerment using mixed methods approaches to explore the lived experiences of Korean Comfort Women, perceptions of elder sexual abuse, food access issues in later life, and LGBTQ+ community needs.  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 “Promoting Community Food Security and Empowerment among Somali Bantu Refugees: A Case for Community Kitchen Gardens.”  Hand has independently taught several generalist social work and social welfare policy courses as well as lifespan development and co-led a study abroad course in Nicaragua as a resident director in 2014.  Additionally, she was awarded the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) Student Teaching Award in 2019, in international 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 for 2016-2017, and the Dodie Thomas Memorial Scholarship in 2010, She is anticipated to graduate with her PhD in Spring semester of 2020.