Ramona Denby-Brinson, Ph.D., has served as dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work since August 2021. She has taught social work for nearly three decades, previously serving in leadership roles at The Ohio State University (as associate dean of academic affairs) and Arizona State University (as associate dean of research). She also held academic, research, and administrative roles at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served for 20 years and was a co-creator of The Lincy Institute. She began her career at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she was a researcher at the first-ever National Institutes of Health-funded social work research center of children’s mental health services.
She is recognized as one of the preeminent national experts in culturally adapted child welfare services and a leading scholar in the area of kinship care. She has authored four books, including “Kinship Care: Increasing Child Well-Being through Practice, Policy, and Research” and “African American Children and Families in Child Welfare: Cultural Adaptation of Services.”
To date, she has been awarded more than $34 million in competitive grants, including federal funding to conduct research related to child and family well-being from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health. Throughout her professional career, Denby-Brinson has demonstrated a commitment to communities through work that not only fosters intellectual discoveries but also builds the capacity of nonprofit and community agencies and organizations to address local and national mental health and child welfare challenges.
Denby-Brinson has served as treasurer of the Society for Social Work and Research, as president of the National Association of Social Workers Nevada Chapter, and as a board member for the National Family Preservation Network, among other offices. She is a licensed social worker and, prior to her academic career, she served children and families in various social service settings, including medical social work, substance use disorders counseling, family counseling, and public guardianship.