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Stefani N. Baca-Atlas

Doctoral Candidate
Mental Health First Aid Trainer

Stefani Baca-Atlas, Doctoral Candidate



Suite 524-B

325 Pittsboro Street

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Stefani N. Baca-Atlas is a doctoral candidate at the UNC School of Social Work and a scholar of structural racism and health in-/equities. Her three-paper dissertation entitled “Exploring Structural Racism as a Determinant of Violence Against Women” (chair: Dr. Trenette Clark Goings) consists of a scoping review and two secondary analyses using the National Crime Victimization Survey. For her scoping review, Baca-Atlas is leading an interprofessional team to examine structural racism in housing policies that disproportionately burden or target Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color compared to white women. Her secondary analyses examine associations between structural racism and violence against women using survey-weighted logistic regression and latent class analysis.

Stefani uses critical social work and public health frameworks to examine structural, political, and ideological contributors to unjust and inequitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIPOC). She has co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics related to sexual violence, trauma, substance use and HIV treatment. Baca-Atlas is an advocate for equity in graduate education, collaborating with colleagues at UNC and across the nation to present at refereed conferences and publish popular articles about BIPOC student perspectives and gatekeeping.

Baca-Atlas also strives to create equity in the classroom by implementing anti-racist social work principles. As an independent instructor for SOWO 500: Human Development in Context, Baca-Atlas acknowledges the centrality of racism in the lives of all people, forefronts the voices of minoritized groups by incorporating literature from BIPOC scholars, and independently discusses minoritized students’ interest in offering their perspectives to ensure they feel safe in class and to avoid their undue emotional labor.

Baca-Atlas has demonstrated leadership at the national and university level. She served two years on the Doctoral Student Committee of the Society of Social Work Research (SSWR) and on the Advisory Board of UNC’s Diversity and Student Success program. Stefani is also committed to service in the community; she provided consultation to the state of North Carolina in the development of a statewide public outreach campaign to prevent human trafficking and the development of a curriculum for judges to identify victims of human trafficking.

Baca-Atlas received her MSW with a dual concentration in clinical social work and community action and social policy from University of Maryland, Baltimore, and she received her BA in psychology from Arizona State University.

Primary Program

Doctoral Program

Research and Professional Interests

Structural Racism
Health In-/Equity
Violence and Exploitation
Critical Theories
Equity in Doctoral Education