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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

June Fellow of the Month

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Jessica Cho Kim

June 2021 Fellow of the Month Profile Photo
Jessica Cho Kim is a licensed clinical social worker, certified clinical trauma professional, and a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania; she completed her M.S.S.W. at Columbia University. She is a traditional doctoral-level fellow with the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) with an anticipated graduation date of May 2023.

Jessica is passionate about improving culturally reflexive mental health care for Asian American youth and families, providing community consultation and training to empower Asian American stakeholders, and working with social sector organizations to expand on conventional models of service delivery. She published a blog post titled A Call to Healing Asian Racialized Trauma, which has circulated widely, garnering her multiple speaking engagements and invitations across the country to provide further education and training to healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations, and academic departments.

Jessica with Congressman Andy Kim

Most recently, Jessica was among various Asian American speakers, including Congressman Andy Kim of New Jersey, to address the crowd gathered at the Unite Rally sponsored by Bergen County Diversity Coalition. Bringing awareness to racialized trauma during a time of rising hate crimes seen across the country toward Asian Americans, Jessica called on the local community to build their racial literacy MUSCLE - an acronym she created to educate individuals about resisting racism. You may view her full remarks by visiting YouTube.

Jessica was initially drawn to the MFP because she wanted to take advantage of the mentorship and professional development opportunities offered by the program. She shared, "I was in need of mentorship and a robust social work network to support my research, training, and professional development work in Asian American mental health."
Jessica Kim rally speech

When reflecting on how the MFP has enriched her academic and professional career, Jessica shared that the program has provided mentorship and opportunities to dialogue with others in her field. She explained, "The MFP has connected me with Korean American mentorship as well as expanded my peer network of practitioners and researchers committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in mental health." She has been able to build and expand her professional network and shared, "The contacts I have made have opened up opportunities for collaboration in research and consulting."

After completing the MFP, Jessica hopes to advance culturally reflexive mental health practice for the Asian community through research, consulting, and community leadership. She shared, “I intend to continue using my voice to advance scholarship in disaggregated Asian American mental health research that informs meaningful interventions in respective ethnic communities for individuals and families.” Her post-MFP plans also include providing clinical consultation to train and equip mental health providers, students, and community stakeholders in centering Asian American perspectives in mental health policy and practice. She explained, "I want to focus on bridging research and practice knowledge about issues unique to specific Asian ethnic groups while engaging the lay community, who are the experts of their own lived experience."

When asked if she had any advice for anyone thinking about applying to the MFP, Jessica said, "Reapply if you don’t get accepted. It took me two applications. The support is unmatched and fills the gap where your school program may be missing!"

In closing, Jessica had this to share, "The MFP provides an invaluable space of support and training for racially minoritized students that is not traditionally available in predominantly white institutions. The MFP experience has provided the support and network I’ve needed to feel empowered to use my voice. CSWE has done a wonderful job of sustaining the program through this difficult pandemic."

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