We are all tied together in a garment of a mutual destiny - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jodi Melesia Helbert
BSW Program Coordinator/Assistant Professor
School of Behavioral and Health Sciences
Bristol Campus: 209 Sells Hall
As human beings, our life journeys are inextricably linked – first and foremost to our creator, and then to each other. Our personal stories have far reaching implications for the next generations. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our offsprings, to our significant others, to God, and to society to speak life and make our truths positive ones! When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk; therefore, each of us provides a vital thread in the tapestry of another. As a more naïve, younger woman, I did not fully understand this concept. Through education and research, as well as lived experience, I know this to be factual. The knowledge of this premise lends to the passion I feel for social work - not just an understanding of the human condition, but a desire to be an agent to improve it and perpetuate and instill that desire in others.
I became a member of the King faculty following the closing of my previous college, Virginia Intermont College. With hopes high, I have embraced my new home at King. I am the Coordinator for the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at King. In addition to the administrative responsibilities of this position, I also teach classes each semester. I love teaching and the ability to revisit concepts and expound on them. I am eternally grateful for this honored and entrusted position I hold. My hope is that while teaching students the skills necessary to make communities whole, that God is given all the glory! I do not take this appointment lightly.
My scholarly interests are many: My past research has held a clinical basis, while my current research leans more to social justice. My dissertation topic related to regional attitudes toward interracial relationships, seeking to extrapolate causality for the development of positive and negative attitudes, as well as exploring the role of the historicity of the academy in feeding racial animus.This research has been fueled by a fascination for our diverse world. I am able to bring this empirical research into the classroom, in many instances sharing the bases of social constructs, history, and oppressive forces, as well as scientific findings, brain research, and various other dynamics that impact humanity and human behavior.
I believe in service to others. I provide pro bono addictions counseling weekly. I serve on various boards within the community and volunteer my time and resources in numerous ways. I am a member of the American Academy of Christian Counselors (AACC), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), as well as North American Christian Social Workers (NACSW), the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and Phi Alpha Social Work Honors Society. In 2013, I received the honor of being named Social Work Today magazine’s Top Ten Deserving and Dedicated Social Workers. I received the 2008 Public Service Award for Distinguished Citizenship and in 2013, I received the honored appointment of Kentucky Colonel. Additionally, I am an ordained reverend. On the King University campus, I serve as the chair of the Social Work Advisory Board, Faculty sponsor for the Social Work Action Group and the King chapter of the national Social Work Honor Society, Chi Omega.
One thing I want my students to take away from their academic experience is that the learning does not stop with a degree in hand – and it shouldn’t! The educational process ignites the fires of knowledge-seeking, turning us into lifelong learners – ever evolving with a desire to dig deeper and ask why, not just to accept what is. It’s how we derive meaning from those experiences and grow, while honoring God in thoughts and actions.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. ~Isaiah 1:17
...I believe Isaiah was a Social Worker
SOCIAL WORK AND RELATED COURSES TAUGHT:
Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Life Course Perspective
Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Person in Environment Perspective
Contemporary Issues in Social Work
Human Diversity and Ethical Issues in Social Work
Social Work Practice I: Understanding Generalist Practice
Social Work Practice II: Family and Group Practice
Social Work Practice III: Community and Organizations Practice
Social Work Practice IV: Integrative Practice
Social Work Research
Social Work Honors Seminar
Social Welfare Policy
Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues in Social Work
Cultural Diversity in America
Writing for Social Workers
PhD in Social Work, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Masters of Social Work (MSW), Radford University, Radford, VA
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, VA
Recent Publications and Presentations
I have given presentations and provided in service education on Addictions, Neuroplasticity, Brain and Behavior, Asepsis, medication management, cultural and human diversity, human behavior, Alzheimer's Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Death and Dying, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and other clinical issues.
My recent research is entitled Psychiatric Institutional Recidivism Among Consumers with both Axis I and II Diagnoses. My current research project is entitled Attitudes of College Students toward Interracial Relationships: Fifty Years Following Loving v. Virginia