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Al-Wazni selected as Social Work Health Futures Fellow

Anderson “Andy” Beckmann Al-Wazni has been chosen for the first national cohort of Social Work Health Futures Fellows. Al-Wazni is a second-year doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

The Social Work Health Futures initiative is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Portland State University. The cohort of Fellows comprises 26 social work experts (including educators, researchers, practitioners and students) from the United States and Canada who will spend the next 18 months in research on these and related topics:

  • The relationship of social media and technology to human health and well-being
  • Use of artificial intelligence in relation to health (including the exploration of algorithmic
  • racism as well as vital problem-solving opportunities)
  • Geopolitical issues shifting the nature of place and identity
  • Power and control of individual well-being, especially with regard to vulnerable people
  • The impact of climate change and climate justice on human health
  • The future of work for marginalized populations
  • The access to and use of technology as a tool of power and set of health rights

“As COVID-19 has taught us, the world can change very quickly,” said Laura Nissen, a PSU School of Social Work professor who is director of the National Social Work Health Futures Lab and principal investigator for the project. “This initiative provides a new kind of space for social work to imagine our role in the world that is unfolding right now and in the years to come, especially as it relates to the health and well-being of communities and to the future of health and human rights.”

Al-Wazni was chosen for the initiative after competing in a national call for proposals. Mimi Chapman, associate dean for doctoral education at UNC School of Social Work, will serve as a project mentor for Al-Wazni.

“I am so excited for Andy,” said Chapman. “This opportunity is a perfect fit for all that she brings to our field!”

Al-Wazni pursues research on the intersection of climate change, conflict and human displacement. She advocates for the representation of Muslim women and counters Islamophobic rhetoric in policy, practice and education.

As an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, Al-Wazni was awarded several international scholarships to study in Bangladesh, Taiwan, and India, earning bachelor’s degrees in religious studies and in interdisciplinary studies. She completed her Master of Social Work degree at Smith College.

Al-Wazni is an adjunct faculty member for Smith College School for Social Work and a trainer for North Carolina AHEC (Area Health Education Centers). She is also a writer for the Oxford University Press blog, “Academic Insights for the Thinking World.”

To learn more about the work of the Social Work Health Futures Lab, please visit its website: