Dr. Emily Spence
Associate Dean for Community Engagement & Health Equity and Associate Professor
Education & Experience:
I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from Florida State University and my PhD in Social Welfare from Florida International University. My direct practice experience includes victim advocacy and counseling services provided to individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence and/or stalking. I am also experienced in the development, administration and evaluation of social service programs. I have extensive experience in the assessment of community needs and assets, as well as in conducting program and community-wide evaluations.
Prior to joining UNT Health Science Center, I served as Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Research and Community Outreach at the University of Texas Arlington School of Social Work. I also served as an adjunct professor at Florida International University.
Teaching Areas & Public Health Interests:
I have taught undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses in research design, evaluation, community and macro practice, basic statistics, qualitative and quantitative methods, intimate partner violence and grant proposal development. I have served as a PhD mentor and have chaired doctoral dissertations. I also provide training to professionals in interdisciplinary and practice-based settings. In my administrative role, I oversee community engagement and health equity initiatives for the School of Public Health, including our MPH internship program and several community advisory boards.
Professional Activities & Awards:
I have served on the board of directors for local non-profit organizations, and I am currently the Community Outreach Core Director for the Texas Center for Health Disparities, an NIH (National Institutes of Health) Center of Excellence. I have served as a coach and mentor for the National Research Mentors Network (NRMN) and the Steps Toward Academic Research (STAR) Fellowship program. I have received several awards and honors, including the Charles Perry Visionary Award from the Florida International University Alumni Association.
I am a community-engaged scholar in the areas of of health inequities, program evaluation, interpersonal violence, poverty, homelessness, women’s health, lifestyle interventions and community assessment. I collaborate with groups and organizations on the design of new programs, as well as the collection and analysis of data that can be used to improve or develop solutions for a healthier community. As a program evaluator, I have assessed numerous public health concerns, including breast cancer, asthma, cradle to career development, violence, trauma, economic well-being, post-incarceration re-entry, and women’s wellness. I am particularly interested in interventions that are strengths-based and support human resiliency, such as Solution-Focused therapies, Motivational Interviewing, and asset-based community development.