College of Arts and Sciences

Amelia Seraphia Derr, PhD

  • Amelia Seraphia Derr, PhD
    MSW, Social Work
    PhD, Social Welfare
    Assistant Professor
    Phone: 206-296-5387
    Building/Room: Casey 303



    I have taught courses across the social work curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate level. My teaching, practice, and research experience have prepared me to specialize in integrated social work practice, qualitative and quantitative research methods, social justice, social work history, social work with immigrants and refugees, and international social work.


    I have received substantial training in both qualitative and quantitative research methods that has prepared me to pursue independent scholarship as a mixed methodologist. I am committed to building my research agenda in partnership with community members and social service agencies.

    My program of research explores immigrant wellbeing, specifically the characteristics of the immigrant experience that contribute to health and mental health. My research has been informed by ten years of working for and with immigrant communities in the United States and abroad. I have drawn on these experiences to develop a scholarly program of research examining specific challenges to immigrant wellbeing and specific strategies for wellness promotion at the micro, meso, and macro levels. These lines of research have led me to ask the following questions:  How do experiences of institutionalized discrimination and societal exclusion influence immigrant mental health?  What individual characteristics relate to help-seeking and mental health service utilization? What role do social service agencies and providers play in the immigrant integration process?


    Amelia Seraphia Derr is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work. Originally from Chicago, Amelia completed her undergraduate work at Macalester College and her graduate work at the University of Washington.

    Amelia has over ten years of social work practice experience – primarily in the areas of immigrant social services, bias-based violence and discrimination prevention, and international human trafficking. Most recently, she spent five years post-MSW as a program director for a nonprofit founded in the aftermath of 9/11/01 to respond to backlash against immigrant communities in the U.S.   Prior to her doctoral work, Amelia spent six years as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Washington School of Social Work where she taught social work practice, history, research methods, and social justice courses. Amelia is currently studying discrimination and acculturative stress during the migration process. She has been a National Institute of Mental Health Prevention Research Trainee, a National Institute of Health Clinical Translational Research Trainee, a Clarke Chambers Social Welfare History Fellow, and a Magnuson Health Sciences Scholar. Her dissertation examines disparities in mental health care access for immigrants and the role of social and religious support in the help-seeking process.