Ortega-Williams, Anna | MSW | PhD

Assistant Professor
Phone: (212) 396-7726
Email: Anna.Ortega-Williams@hunter.cuny.edu
Room 427

Areas of Expertise:
Historical trauma and systemic violence recovery among Black youth
Post-traumatic growth and social action
Peer-led mental health and collective wellbeing approaches among youth
Anti-oppressive and anti-racist social work practice and youth development
Group work
Participatory program evaluation and participatory action research

PhD, Fordham University
MSW, Stony Brook University (SUNY)
BA, Hunter College (CUNY)

Download CV (PDF)


Ortega-Williams, A., Wernick, L.J., DeBower, J., & Brathwaite, B. (2018). Finding relief in action: The intersection of youth-led community organizing and mental health in Brooklyn, NYC. Journal of Youth & Society, 1-21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X18758542

Forgey, M.A. & Ortega-Williams, A. (2016). Moving beyond the question of if to how social work practice can be taught effectively online. Advances in Social Work, 17(1), 59-77. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18060/20877

Smeltz, M. T., Gonzalez, S. K., Fuentes, L., Kwan, A., Ortega-Williams, A., & Cowan, L. P. (2013). Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: A community response in Brooklyn, NY. Journal of Urban Health, 90(5), 799-809.


Black youth, exposed early to the violence of structural racism and systemic inequities, within the context of historical trauma, are disproportionately at risk for psychological and physiological distress. In the midst of this, Black youth are using creative peer-led approaches and social action to generate mass group-level wellbeing. Dr. Ortega-Williams' research investigates the role of organizing among Black youth, to interrupt social injustice, as an action-oriented trauma recovery practice and pathway of post-traumatic growth. An additional area of interest is how youth access and employ cultural traditions and historical legacies of social resistance to pursue wellbeing.