A Social Work Scholar driven by:

About Anna:

Dr. Anna Ortega-Williams has been a social worker since 2001.  Her work has primarily been in community-based organizations focusing on the mental health and overall well-being of young people, families, and communities.

Her social work practice is grounded in cultural humility and centers anti-racist, intersectional, and anti-oppressive frameworks. Additionally, her work uplifts and embraces modalities that promote joy, social justice, hope, human rights, dignity, racial and economic equity, and collective power. A longtime activist and organizer, born and raised in public housing in the Bronx, she believes deeply in accountable social work practice, research, and education that aims to create the world we hope to live in.

Formal Education:

Dr. Ortega-Williams earned her Ph.D. from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service, her Master’s degree from the State University of New York, Stony Brook and Bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York, Hunter College.


She is a proud alumna of the Council on Social Work Education’s and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Minority Fellowship Program and was a Fahs Beck Scholar for Research and Experimentation. She is also a 2017 winner of the NASW-NYC Chapter Mid-Career Leadership Award. Her research and practice specialty areas are youth development, historical trauma and post-traumatic growth among African Americans, peer-led mental health promotion, community based participatory research, participatory program evaluation and community organizing.

  • Teaching Philosophy

    My teaching is focused upon uncovering practice interventions that push the boundary of where micro-level clinical practice ends and macro-level practice begins.

    As a social work educator, I assert that strong micro-level practice requires organizing for social justice and protecting human rights. Developing students’ anti-oppressive practice skills is a key entry-point to
    further promoting social change.

  • Research Philosophy

    My research centers the voices of Black youth initiating creative strategies to heal. Black youth, exposed early to the violence of structural racism, are disproportionately at risk for severe psychological distress although they are unlikely to engage in mental health services.

    Stigma, racial microaggressions within institutions, and inaccessibility have been noted as obstacles. I am interested in surfacing the approaches of Black youth to not only disrupt social injustice but also recover from mass group-level historical trauma.