Assistant Professor of Social Work

Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Christine Velez worked as a direct service provider with various non-profit organizations that served underserved and underrepresented populations. In particular, she has experience working with communities of color, people living with disabilities, and people with substance misuse challenges around housing, education, employment and health care related service access. Christine earned her PhD in Social Work and Social Work Research from Portland State University in 2018 and her MSW from SUNY Buffalo in 2010.

Dr. Velez's current research revolves around a range of distinct yet connected topics. Critical and anti-racist feminist theoretical and conceptual perspectives inform a common thread throughout her work. These include sexuality studies focused with Latina and Latinx people, environmental reproductive justice and social work practice, and the intersection of environmental and reproductive justice issues broadly. Her research also focuses on social work culture, education and curricula, and she is currently working on two projects about social work academics. One project explores the experience of women of color in social work academia, and the second project focuses on the experiences of social work faculty teaching human sexuality content in their departments and programs.

Dr. Velez also works on two HRSA funded grants. On one, she is the Principal Investigator on a grant called the VT TREE program which aims to provide trauma informed and resiliency-based training, as well as a small stipend, to eligible second year social work and counseling students. She also works as a part time training director for the VT LEND program.

Research and/or Creative Works

Ávila, M. & Velez, C. (2021). The Vermont Trauma, Resiliency, and Equity Education (VT-TREE) Initiative for  Diversifying the Interprofessional Behavioral Workforce. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),  $1,919,960.

Forbes, R., Velez, C., & Prussia, L. (2022). Stories of Climate Justice and Global Environmental Change. The Katherine A.  Kendall Institute (KAKI). $10,000.


Recent Publications (see attached CV for full listing)

Velez, C.M., Sloan, L., Al-Kaabi, I., Cuddy, A. & Kerrigan, J. (2022). No sex in social Work: (the lack of) human sexuality courses in US social work education. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, (in press). DOI : 10.1007/s41134-022-00230-3.

Velez, C.M., Ávila, M., Best, J. & Chalco, J. (2022). Latinas Experiences with Sexual Satisfaction, Pleasure and Desire: An Exploratory Qualitative Study. Affilia: The Journal of Women and Social Work, 1-19. DOI: 10.1177/08861099221137560.

Velez, C.M., Gilliam, C., Machado-Escudero, Y. & Sloan, L. (2022). Environmental reproductive justice and social work praxis. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 92(3), 200-217. DOI: 10.1080/00377317.2022.2123426

McFadden, M. & Velez, C.M., Avila, M.M. (2022). Pregnant Migrant Latinx Women at the U.S. Mexican Border: A Policy Analysis of “Zero Tolerance.” The Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.

Ávila, M.M., Vinning, CB., Allison-Burbank, J., & Velez, C.M. (2022). Health equity for Abenaki indigenous people: improving access to quality mental health and substance use services. Health Equity, 6.1. DOI: 10.1089/heq.2022.0091.

Velez, C.M. & Ávila, M.M. Historical Context Matters: Structural Racism, Maternal Health & Reproductive Justice. Cilenti, Dorothy and others (eds). The Practical Playbook III: Working Together to Improve Maternal Health. Oxford University Press. Accepted for publication Spring 2023.

Associations and Affiliations

  • Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) Enironmental Justice Committee
  • Society for Social Work Research (SSWR)
  • Latinx Social Work Organization (LSWO)
  • International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
  • Social Work and Sexualities Special Interest Group
  • Association of Latina/o Social Work Educators (ALLSWE)
Christine Velez

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Social work education and curriculum

  • Social work research methods
  • Sexuality, reproductive & environmental justice, racial equity
  • Health equity
  • Underrepresented and undeserved populations
  • Critical and feminist theories


  • PhD, Social Work and Social Research, Portland State University, Oregon
  • MSW, SUNY Buffalo, New York
  • BA, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine


Office Location:

447B Waterman

Courses Taught

  • Advanced Social Work Research (SWSS 327)
  • Environmental Justice & Social Work Praxis (SWSS 396)