During the 2020-2021 academic year, the CEC in Homewood was joined by two phenomenal Master of Social Work Fellows, Chandler Dangerfield and Mikhaila Fogel. We asked them to reflect on their experience, projects, and how this field placement impacted their long-term goals.
When asked about what they have learned about Homewood, both students referenced the resiliency of the community. Chandler specifically spoke about the connection to her roots in West Philadelphia “Both communities and their residents have experienced inequities and loss…Historically, communities of color have been viewed from a deficit perspective, which undermines their value and worth.”
Mikhaila was inspired by watching the community mobilizing to provide vital resources historically and during the pandemic, noting that “Homewood does not need to be saved by outsiders; instead, external partnerships should enhance what the community has already mastered.”
Both students are committed to continuing to utilize a strength and asset-based framework.
Chandler discussed her work with the Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me program, led by Dr. Burgette from the School of Dentistry, as an impactful project. “Due to the effects of COVID-19, Dr. Burgette and I experienced challenges in recruiting participants for the program. This allowed me to think critically about the program and shift the perspective from marketing to community outreach.”
Mikhaila explained the personal impact of working on the COVID-19 Hotline, pointing out that “listening to the concerns from residents about the health care discrepancies…it reminds me that community health is more than just health care.”
As a result of this placement, Chandler’s long-term interests shifted from the intersection of legal and social work to research in race and social problems, specifically “the impacts of racialized policy on communities of color and how access or lack thereof impact Black Americans’ quality of life.” Influenced by her work with the vaccine hotline, Mikhaila will continue to focus on community health this summer as a Community Health Summer Intern with Bridging the Gaps Pittsburgh.