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Meet our new doctoral students

Denise Yookong Williams, LCSW, CFLE, MSW graduated summa cum laude with a BS in family and human services from Towson University in 2012 and earned her MSW from University of Maryland School of Social Work in 2015, where she specialized in mental health and trauma-informed clinical interventions. Denise’s experiences in treatment foster care, private practice, community-based outpatient mental health clinics, and in the Baltimore City and Baltimore County public school systems fostered her passion for culturally relevant, accessible mental health treatment with a focus on trauma, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and resiliency, from a social-justice framework. While Denise worked with individuals and families across the lifespan, her areas of research interest include mental health and intersectionality, with a focus on BIPOC and LGBTQAI+ adolescent youth, to better understand mental health experiences and disparities, and to create more evidence-based interventions within the communities and school systems. Denise’s research assistantship is supervised by Dr. William J. Hall.

Spenser R. Radtke, MSW, LCSW, earned her BS in psychology in 2010 and her MSW in 2018 both from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before obtaining her MSW, she served as the research program manager of the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics at Duke University led by Dr. Ahmad R. Hariri. During this time, she was the project coordinator for multiple National Institute of Health-funded projects and was a co-author on peer-reviewed publications. After completing her MSW, Spenser worked as a clinical social worker in the Duke Center for Child and Family Studies at Duke University. Her work focused on providing a range of clinical services to children and their families, including performing clinical evaluations, leading short-term interventions, conducting safety assessments, connecting children and families to community services, and providing in-depth therapy to children and adolescents experiencing a range of clinical mental health concerns. Going forward, Spenser’s research interests are focused on strategies and interventions to enhance children and adolescents’ mental health and well-being, as well as to ameliorate family violence and other traumas. Dr. Rebecca J. Macy is serving as Spenser’s primary research mentor.

Wan-Ting Chen earned her BA in medical sociology and social work from Chung Shan Medical University in 2015 and her MS in public health from National Yang-Ming University in 2017 in Taiwan. Her research interests include substance abuse, child maltreatment, and maternal/child health. Before arriving at UNC, she worked as a research assistant at the Center for Neuropsychiatric Research, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan, for the research grant “Long-term prognosis and course of substance users in Taiwan: integrated big data approach.” Her previous research focused on linking multiple administrative data (e.g., National Health Insurance Research Database) to examine health outcomes in heroin-involved women seeking methadone maintenance treatment and young children receiving child protective services in Taiwan. Wan-Ting’s research assistantship is supervised by Dr. Emily Putnam-Hornstein.