New PhD Cohort

2022 PhD Cohort WMYJRSSW Welcomes 2022 PhD Cohort

Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work Welcomes 2022 Fall Ph.D. Cohort

The Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work of Clark Atlanta University is proud to introduce our newest cohort of six doctoral students. These outstanding scholars have far-ranging research interests that include mental health intervention for police officers, family violence, maternal and perinatal health, homeless needs, and juvenile justice The Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work is delighted to welcome them to our community.


MESHAL ALOTAIBI (He/Him) He is working as a faculty member at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia. He earned his Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Texas at Arlington in the United States. He completed his undergraduate in Social Work from the Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh. He co-authored a book titled ‘Introduction to Social Work’ in Arabic language to promote the basic understanding of social work in a comprehensive manner. He is looking for solutions to address the problem of inequality in society. He focuses on social initiatives with the Saudi government. His research interests include family violence, social police, and social services role in the fight against terrorism.

OHUD ALSULAMI (She/Her) earned her MSW at Clark Atlanta University.  With a Bachelor of Social Work from Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, her research interests center around managing psychological stress; meeting the needs of the homeless; the receptions/attitudes of working with Alzheimer’s patients among caregivers at long term facilities; substance abuse, domestic violence, and digital media.  Ohud has worked as a lecturer at Umm Al-Qura University where she has taught various curriculum-related social work courses.  Also, when she presented at a Research Symposium her thesis, "Texting While Driving," her work was uniquely awarded for its creativity and global community-sensitive relevance.

 SYLVIA ANNAN, (She/Her) earned her MSW in the School of Social Work from the University of Vermont and worked as a certified Child Welfare Case Manager with the Vermont Department of Children and Families. She continued with Child Welfare work as a Child Protection Social Worker covering Child Protective Services, Foster Care Case Management and eventually assuming the position of County Social Services Director leading the Ward County Social Services for many years. Sylvia then shifted gears and became a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Therapist when she received her Clinical Social Work license. She functioned as Social Work Provider, Psychotherapist, and Behavioral Health Social Worker within inpatient and outpatient settings. Sylvia is currently employed as a Behavioral Health Advocate with United Health Group. Her research interests include Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Justice assessment tools, Immigration, and Social Work Licensing.

 LACRESHA (CREE) CUNNINGHAM (She/Her) earned her MSW in social work from the University of Southern California with a specialization in military social work and mental health. Her research interests include maternal health, perinatal mental health, and ancestral connections to birth among women of color. During her supervision period, she worked with community agencies and private practices to gain experience in family mental health leading to her designation as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  Cree has specialized training in perinatal mental health and holistic integrative medicine alternatives.  As the Founder of Healing Sacred Scars, LLC and The Healing Sacred Scars Foundation(501c3), her goal is to bridge mental health, spirituality, and cultural practices to promote whole wellness for mothers and families. Ms. Cunningham is also a Perinatal & Holistic Wellness Advisor; a Master Speaker and Trainer for the Inspire 2 Empower Me International Training Team; a Mental Health Partner with Blu Magnolia Doula Collective, Malawi’s House and Omorose Blessings Midwifery; and a Clinical Therapist with Restoring the Whole U, LLC.

 EMMA ODOTEI, LCSW (She/Her) obtained her MSW at State University of New York @ Stony Brook.  She worked with a non-profit agency in New York providing case management for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Additionally, Emma worked children and youth in the child welfare system who have juvenile justice, serious emotional disturbance as well as medically fragile issues. Since 2014, Emma has worked with Veterans in a primary care setting for providing care coordination and psychoeducation and addressed psychosocial concerns that have impacted complex medical issues and overall wellbeing. Emma also facilitated monthly behavior modification group. Presently, Emma works with medication assisted treatment program for dual diagnoses of opioid addiction and mental illness. Her research interests include juvenile justice as well as improving health literacy among African Americans with ambulatory care sensitive conditions. 

 AARON QUICK (HE/HIM) earned his MSW at North Carolina State University. His research focus centers around the lack of mental health intervention for police officers and how a lack of intervention can lead to officer misconduct. His goal post-graduation is to run for local, state, and federal positions in order to continue to advocate for new policies which will better the community-police relationships across the nation.