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Degrees & Programs

Hand, Michelle

PhD Candidate

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest
Empowerment building strategies for at-risk groups or communities
Women and Poverty
Food security among survivors of sexual assault and trafficking
Sexual exploitation among individuals who are food insecure throughout the lifespan
Community-based solutions to promoting food security
Art-based therapy to promote empowerment and address posttraumatic stress
Strategies for addressing historical trauma in later life


Michelle D. Hand received her MSW from The Ohio State University and is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health.  Hand’s research interests include empowerment building strategies for at-risk communities, with a focus on community kitchens and gardens, food insecurity among survivors of sexual exploitation, and the needs of those at risk of sexual exploitation in later life, a key gap within available literature.  Accordingly, Hand has extensive transdisciplinary experience in addressing social injustice to foster empowerment using mixed methods approaches to explore food insecurity, the lived experiences of Korean Comfort Women and the needs of LGBTQ students.  Select publications include: “The state of food mapping: Academic literature since 2008 and review of on-line GIS-based food mapping resources” and “When vacant lots become urban gardens: Characterizing the perceived and actual food safety concerns of urban agriculture in Ohio.”  Hand has independently taught several generalist practice and policy courses and helped lead a study abroad trip to Nicaragua in 2014.  She was awarded the Dodie Thomas Memorial Scholarship in 2010, The Selma and Alexander W. Erlen Award for excellent service, academics and scholarship, for 2016-2017, and the Doctoral Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award for 2016-2017.