Picture of Jodi Helbert

Jodi Melesia Helbert


Social Work Program Coordinator/Professor


School of Health and Professional Sciences

Office Location:

Bristol Campus: 205 Bristol Hall

Office Phone:



We are all tied together in a garment of mutual destiny. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


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 represents 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 am the founding Coordinator for the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at King University. In addition to the administrative responsibilities of this position, I also develop and teach courses 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 heavily toward social justice. My dissertation topic was related to regional attitudes toward interracial relationships, seeking to extrapolate causality in the development of positive and negative attitudes, as well as exploring the role of 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, cognitive neuroscience (brain research), and various other dynamics impacting social justice, humanity, and human behavior.

I believe in service to others. I provide weekly pro-bono addictions counseling, training, and consultation. I serve on various boards within the community and share material resources in numerous ways. I am a Board Certified Diplomat (BCD) in clinical Social Work, and SAMHSA certified to train in Trauma-Informed Care (TIC).  I am a member of the American Academy of Christian Counselors (AACC), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), as well as North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW), the International Consortium of Social Developers (ICSD), International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and Phi Alpha, the national Social Work Honor Society. I have served on various task forces including a task force appointment from the CSWE to develop a curricular guide for a social work specialization in substance use treatment. 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 Program, chair of the Social Work Advisory Board, faculty advisor for the Social Work Action Group and the King University chapter of the Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society, Chi Omega. I serve on the Committee for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the Green committee.  I am the faculty representative for the King University Acrobatics and Tumbling team.

In our Program's pursuit to produce trauma-informed social workers, one takeaway I want my students to gain from their academic experience at King is that the learning does not stop with a degree in hand. The educational process ignites the fires of knowledge-seeking, converting us into lifelong learners – ever evolving with a desire to dig deeper and ask why, not simply accepting what is, but to challenge the status quo. It is how we derive meaning from those experiences and grow, while honoring God in thoughts and actions. My great hope is that my students to shift their perspectives dramatically from a mentality of "serve us" to "service" and that they will exemplify that in every aspect of their daily lives. 


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 



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: 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

Master of Social Work (MSW) – Radford University, Radford, VA

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) – Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, VA

Recent Publications and Presentations

I have conducted workshops, given presentations, provided in-service education, provided international consultation, and published on the following:

  • Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and creating Systems of Care
  • Pathophysiology of the Brain in Active Addiction,
  • Neuroplasticity,
  • Brain and Behavior,
  • Asepsis,
  • Psychiatric Medication Management, 
  • Cultural and Human Diversity,
  • Human Behavior,
  • Pathophysiology of the Brain in Alzheimer's Disease,
  • The Progression of Psychopathy 
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder,
  • Conduct Disorder,
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder,
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder,
  • Borderline Personality Disorder,
  • Death and Dying, 
  • Unconditional Positive Regard,
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and
  • Other clinical issues.


Helbert, J.M. & Kim, S.H. (2018). Assessing attitudes of college students toward cross-cultural relationships: Implications

                for social work practice, research, and education. Journal of Human Behavior and the

                 Social Environment. DOI: 10.1080/10911359.2018.1450797

Helbert, J.M. (2017). Interracial relationships: Fifty-years following the Loving v. Virginia decision. Journal of Human Behavior

                and the Social Environment. 

Helbert, J.M. (2005). Psychiatric institutional recidivism among consumers with simultaneous primary diagnoses on axis I and II.

              Journal of Human Behavior and the Social Environment. 


Current research


  • Damaged Relationships: Narcissism in Context 

Courses recently taught

SOWK 3180 LECT Social Work Research and Evaluation
SOWK 3620 LECT HBSE: Life Course Perspective
SOWK 4410 LECT Social Welfare Policy