News: Berkeley Social Welfare responds to COVID-19

As the pandemic highlights longstanding social inequities, it brings a new urgency to the problems that Berkeley Social Welfare exists to address. Since mid-March 2020, faculty, graduate students, and alumni have contributed to national conversations around behavioral health, equity, and other key issues in the time of COVID-19. 


May 17, 2020

Berkeley News

Join us for a discussion of the role of digital technology and telehealth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of public health, medicine, and mental health. Panelists will discuss how we can leverage technology to reach people in need during social distancing as well as the challenges of reaching low-resourced communities with lower digital literacy.

May 16, 2020

We didn’t start this year thinking that we would be operating the School of Social Welfare out of our living rooms. But with all of California sheltering in place this spring, the COVID-19 crisis has upended the school year. Despite the disruptions and the many uncertainties, the upheaval of this school year has built our resourcefulness and reminded us of our strengths.

May 6, 2020


Doctoral student Katie Savin speaks about the experiences of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Savin's comments start at the 34-minue mark; listen at

April 30, 2020


South Korea's response to COVID-19 has been globally recognized as a model for effective containment of the virus balanced with respect for civil liberties. Alum Park Neunghoo (PhD '98), South Korea's Minister of Health and Welfare, answers questions about his country's approach and what lies ahead. 

April 28, 2020


Erin Kerrison speaks about the unequal impact of COVID-19 on disproportionately black neighborhoods in the East Bay. Her comments start at the 1:08 mark.


As incidents of domestic violence continue to rise as people shelter in place during the pandemic, technology is both a lifeline to the outside world and a means of control and surveillance for abusers. Doctoral candidate Laura Brignone is one of several experts interviewed in this examination of the double-edged role of technology.

Health Affairs

This blog post by Associate Professor Emmeline Chaung and UCLA colleagues outlines how California's Whole Person Care program helped counties respond to COVID-19.

Berkeley News

Susan Stone, a professor and associate dean in the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare, and Joyce Dorado, a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF-Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, discuss trauma-informed approaches to COVID-19 as part of the "Berkeley Conversations" series.


MSW student Daniela Medina was one of several members of the Underground Scholars interviewed by KQED on their experiences during the shelter in place.

April 24, 2020

Berkeley News

"There are various reasons COVID-19 is killing black people at six times the rate of white people, including a lack of access to health care, and poor environmental conditions in black communities. But one largely unexamined contributor to the disparity, according to a panel of UC Berkeley experts, is the trauma and stress caused by police violence in those communities, and the physical toll of that violence

April 23, 2020

More than 50 Berkeley Social Welfare alumni and current students met on Wednesday, April 22 to discuss challenges and explore solutions to the impacts of COVID-19.

Director of Field Education Greg Merrill organized these sessions as a way for practicing social work professionals to connect with each other and share their experiences and best practices as social workers in the middle of a pandemic. The session consisted of a short overview followed by breakout sessions where participants were grouped with others in their area of practice (child welfare, aging, etc.)

April 21, 2020


In a KQED Perspective, MSW student Shatesha Morris calls attention to the dangerous isolation of youth in California's juvenile detention facilities, especially during the COVID-19.

April 10, 2020

Berkeley News

Tina Sacks's research focuses on racial disparities in health, so Berkeley News asked her about the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black Americans. Economic inequality, the legacies of residential segregation, unequal access to health insurance and medical care, concentration in areas of the labor market where work cannot be done remotely, and overrepresentation in carceral settings are all factors, Sacks explains.

April 2, 2020

The Hastings Center

As hospitals and public health authorities devise and share triage protocols allocating scarce critical-care resources, people with disabilities are expressing alarm that these protocols devalue them and exacerbate long-entrenched ableism in health care.

March 27, 2020


Professor and dean emeritus Jeff Edleson was one of several nationwide experts interviewed by CNN on the increased risks that the COVID-19 crisis for people in domestic violence situations.  

March 25, 2020

San Francisco Chronicle

The coronavirus crisis shows the need for remote mental health options, writes postdoctoral researcher Caroline Figueroa.

March 18, 2020


Ruth White (PhD '02) appeared on KRON today to give pragmatic advice on managing stress and maintaining your emotional health during COVID-19.