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Michelle D. Hand, PhD, MSW, LSW


Michelle D. Hand, PhD, LSW

Assistant Professor of Social Work | George Mason University

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I am an assistant professor and licensed social worker (with experience in rural and urban mental health and medical social work) who earned my Ph.D. and Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degrees from the Ohio State University. My research focuses on holistic, accessible, and anti-oppressive approaches to address sexual violence and trauma among at-risk non-dominant populations, across the lifespan, including in later life. Such strategies include nature- and arts-based interventions, such as through care farms, gardens, and murals, to promote multi-dimensional wellness, and healing from trauma.

My research has been informed by extensive interdisciplinary experience addressing social injustice through transformative mixed methods approaches to explore the lived experiences of Korean Comfort Women, sexual violence across the lifespan, gardens for mental health and trauma, horticulture therapy, and LGBTQ+ community needs, to address trauma and promote justice. Sample publications include "Societal, Organizational, Relational and Individual Perceptions of Sexual Violence Against Older Adults and its Prevention: A Systematic Scoping Review," “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.” 

Engaging with students and promoting their success has long been among my favorite aspects of work in higher education. I enjoy teaching trauma and recovery, generalist social work and gerontology courses, as well as lifespan development and have been thrilled to help


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launch a study abroad course in Nicaragua offered through the Ohio State University College of Social Work. I am excited to navigate challenging material, especially that which focuses on advancing social and environmental justice, antiracism, and trauma-responsive care.

I remain deeply committed to academic and professional service as well as community engagement and look forward to connecting with local community partners, scholars and students as an assistant professor of Social Work at George Mason University, while also continuing to work with community partners in West Virginia. I aim to collaborate with researchers, students and professionals from various disciplines at local, regional, national and international levels, to advance integrative trauma-informed research, policy, practice and education.






George Mason University

College of Public Health
Department of Social Work
4400 University Drive, MS 1F8
Fairfax, VA 22030, USA

Michelle Hand, PhD, MSW, LSW


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Exploring and Addressing Violence and Trauma
through Multi-level Non-pharmacological Interventions
for Greater Wellbeing and Justice

Among At-risk Communities Across the Lifespan

Professional Development

  • Public Speaking

    • Trauma, Resilience and Healing

    • Sexual Violence, Trafficking and Healing Across the Lifespan

    • Trauma-informed Teaching, Research and Practice

    • Nature- and Arts-based Strategies​ for Mental Health and Trauma

    • Social Work, Human Rights and Social Justice

    • Research (e.g., Systematic, Scoping, Rapid and General Literature Reviews)


  • Trauma-informed Consultation and Coaching                for Individuals, Agencies and Organizations

    • Trauma-informed Healthcare and Social Work

      • Trauma-informed Dentistry

    • Trauma-informed Teaching and Mentorship

    • Trauma-informed Research


  • PhD Candidate and Job Market Consultation and Coaching 

    • Highlights on Qualifications

      • Successful Dissertation Defense as a First-Gen Graduate, while Teaching and in Practice, as a Parent (Support is Essential)

      • 12 Campus Visit Invitations, Resulting in Multiple Offers ​

      • Pre- and Post-pandemic TT Market Experience (with a Spouse + Small Kids)

      • Experience Securing a Second R-1 TT Position Early on the TT 

      • Relevant Service: Candidacy, Dissertation and Search Committee Experience

Teaching Skills and Software

  • Curriculum, Syllabus and Lecture Development

  • Extensive Independent In-Person, Online and Hybrid Lecture Experience

  • Collaborative Study Abroad Leadership

  • Formal and Informal Mentorship


Advanced Quantitative Methods and Software

  • Systematic, Scoping and Rapid Reviews

  • Multiple Hierarchical and Logistic Regression Analysis

  • Chi-Square Analysis

  • Survey design and Implementation

  • Red Cap, Qualtrics and Lime, Survey

  • SPSS


Advanced Qualitative Methods and Software

  • In-depth Individual and Focus Group Interviews

  • Thematic Analysis and Synthesis

  • Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

  • Discourse Analysis

  • Grounded Theory

  • Case Study

  • NVivo and Excel


Advanced Mixed Methods

  • Multistage Transformative Methods

  • Community-Based Participatory Research


Research, Writing and Presentation Collaboration

  • Excellent Written Skills, with a Record of High Impact First-authored Publications

    • Experience Successfully Training Colleagues and Students on Research and APA Formatting​

  • Over 30 Peer-reviewed National and International Conference Presentations


Social Work Practice Skills

  • Case Management

  • Individual, Group and Family Therapy

  • Structural Family and Solutions-Focused Therapy, as well as Trauma-Informed Approaches

  • Arts-based Social Work

  • School Social Work

  • Medical Social Work

  • Urban and Rural Social Work


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