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December Maxwell, MSW, PhD
Assistant Professor

Gartley Hall Rm. 205A
Phone: 808.956.6127
Fax: 808.956.5964
E-mail: drmaxwel@hawaii.edu


Biographical Narrative

December Maxwell is an assistant professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health. She received her Ph. D. at the University of Texas at Arlington, MSW at the University of Arkansas, and her B.A. in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. While at the University of Texas at Arlington, she worked closely with the National Institute of Transportation and Communities (NITC) to better understand the intersections of transportation access and women’s bodily autonomy and received funding from NITC to investigate the complexities of land allocation, forced relocation, transportation access and perinatal mental health among American Indians/Native Americans. Dr. Maxwell’s qualitative research uses community-developed and derived decolonizing approaches to better understand the complex interactions of historic and generational trauma, indigenous motherhood, and perinatal mental health disparities among American Indian/Native American mothers. Her recent projects include a study of the impacts of COVID-19 on the transition of becoming a mother and amplification of maternal mental health disparities and a community-based evaluation of functionality and improvement of tribal court systems for survivors of intimate partner violence within the United Keetoowah Band tribe. Previously, she has worked within juvenile detention social work in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as a development coordinator for a Seattle-area non-profit aimed at indigenous cultural revitalization, and as a preschool administrator, early childhood educator, and curriculum developer in Seattle.

Education

Doctorate of Philosophy, The University of Texas at Arlington

Master of Social Work, University of Arkansas

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Southern New Hampshire University

Research Interests

  • Maternal mental health during pregnancy
  • Prenatal mental health needs of survivors of sexual trauma
  • Perinatal mental health among indigenous populations
  • Indigenous women’s rights and equity
  • Integrated obstetric healthcare
  • Historical and generational trauma
  • Maternal role transition
  • Body modification by survivors of trauma
  • Specific needs of survivors of sexual trauma with a PTSD diagnosis

CV

View CV File

EDUCATION

Aug. 2017 to May 2020 Doctorate of Philosophy, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Dissertation: “Maternal Mental Health and Keetoowah Women: Past, Present, and Future”
Dissertation Chairs: Maria Scannapieco, PhD and Rebecca Mauldin, PhD

Aug. 2015 to May 2017 Master of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AK
Thesis: “Phoenix Ink: Psychodynamic Motivations for Tattoo Attainment by Survivors of Trauma”

Mar. 2013 to Oct. 2014 Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH
Track: Child and Adolescent Psychology

 RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • Maternal mental health during pregnancy
  • Prenatal mental health needs of survivors of sexual trauma
  • Perinatal mental health among indigenous populations
  • Indigenous women’s rights and equity
  • Integrated obstetric healthcare
  • Historical trauma
  • Maternal role transition
  • Body modification by survivors of trauma
  • Specific needs of survivors of sexual trauma with PTSD diagnosis

TEACHING INTERESTS

Decolonizing educational methods

Human behavior and theory

Feminist approaches

Violence against women

RESEARCH FUNDING

2019
National Institute of Transportation and Communities Dissertation Grant
Project Title: Maternal Mental Health and Keetoowah Women: Past, Present, and Future
Role: Principle Investigator. $15,000

2019
Office of Graduate Studies, The University of Texas at Arlington Dissertation Enhancement Grant
Project Title: Maternal Mental Health and Keetoowah Women: Past, Present, and Future
Role: Principle Investigator. $1365

2019
National Institute of Transportation and Communities Grant
Project Title: Healthcare access and social engagement among older minority adults: Experiences of navigating transportation barriers
Role: Principle Investigator. Co-investigators: Rebecca Mauldin, The University of Texas at Arlington, and Dennis Kao, Carleton University. $4000

PUBLICATIONS

 Manuscripts Accepted and Published

  1. Praetorius, R., Maxwell, D. & Alam, K. (2020). Wearing a Happy mask: Mother’s expressions of suicidality with postpartum depression. Social Work in Mental Health.
  2. Maxwell, D., Robinson, S., Keaton, C. & Williams, J. (2019). Short story of a lonely guy: A qualitative thematic analysis of involuntary celibacy using Reddit. Sexuality and Culture. 
  3. Robinson, S., Maxwell, D. & Williams, J. (2019). Qualitative, Interpretive Metasynthesis of Women’s Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy. Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2019.08.002
  4. Maxwell, D., & Robinson, S. (2019). Safety for native women: An indigenous first analysis of Violence Against Women Act- Title IX. Advances in Social Work.
  5. Robinson, S., Maxwell, D., & Rogers, K. (2019). Living in domestic violence shelters: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis of women’s experiences. British Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcz079
  6. Maxwell, D., Thomas, J., & Thomas, S. (2019). Cathartic ink: A qualitative examination of tattoo motivations for survivors of sexual trauma. Deviant Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2019.1565524
  7. Stauss, K., Jackson, B., & Maxwell, D. (2019). Developing collaborative networks in marginalized communities: Experiencing hardships while focusing on opportunities. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 29. doi:10.1002/casp.2408.
  8. Maxwell, D., Robinson, S., & Rogers, K. (2018). “I keep it to myself”: Experiences of postpartum depression among North American marginalized populations. Health and Social Care in the Community, 27(3). doi: 10.1111/hsc.12645.
  9. Rogers, K., Maxwell, D., & Robinson, S. (2018). Influences of academic success among low-income, minority students: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis of student, educator, and parent experiences. School Social Work Journal, 43(1).
  10. Thomas, J., Collier-Tenison, S., Maxwell, D., Cheek, C. (2017). TANF participation and intimate partner violence: Exploring barriers to self-sufficiency. International Journal of Social Science Studies, 5 (12). doi: 10.11114/ijsss.v5i12.2749.
  11. Maxwell, D. (2018, May). Book Review: Her Body, Our Laws: On the front lines of the abortion war, from El Salvador to Oklahoma. Affilia, online. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109918778055.

Revised and Resubmitted Manuscripts

Maxwell, D., Robinson, R. & Praetorius, R. (2019, Revise and Resubmit). A systematic review of measures of beliefs towards becoming a mother. Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing. 3 December Maxwell CV

Maxwell, D. & Robinson, R. (2020, Revise and Resubmit) A review of the empirical measures on becoming a mother and their relevance to the American Indian/Native Alaskan mother: Implications for research and policy. (2019, Revise and Resubmit). Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work.

Maxwell, D., Praetorius, R., Keaton, C. & Alam, K. (2020, Revise and Resubmit). Beyond bath bombs: Partner’s response to postpartum depression. Journal of Family Studies.

Manuscripts Under Review

Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. Online counseling: What are the real issues?: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. Social Work in Mental Health.

Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. “Gutting it out” doesn’t work: Why mental health days are needed in college. Journal of Student Affairs, Practice and Research.

Praetorius, R., Maxwell, D., Keaton, C. & Alam, K. Sanism, self-care, mental health, stigma, and access: Puzzle pieces toward helping students. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work.

Manuscripts in Preparation

Williams, J., Maxwell, D. & Thomas, J. Intimate partner violence and mental health barriers to work: The Mediating Role of Transportation Disadvantage for Low Income Mothers. Violence Against Women.

Robinson, R., Maxwell, D. & Thomas, J. #butnothingwasdone: Perceived barriers to reporting sexual assault in #metoo times. Invited submission to a special edition on #metoo, Journal of Best Practices in Mental Health.

Robinson, R. & Maxwell, D., & Thomas, J. Strength, power, and choice: Empowerment through the tattoo environment for survivors of trauma.

Maxwell, D., Thomas, J. & Thomas, S. Bodily autonomy and trauma: The mediating effect of an external locus of control on depression.

Maxwell, D., Mauldin, R. & Kao, D. Healthcare access and social engagement among older minority adults: Experiences of navigating transportation barriers.

Maxwell, D., Thomas, J. & Thomas, S. These are not my words: The importance of member-checking when qualitatively researching the experiences of survivors of sexual trauma.

Planned Manuscripts

Robinson, R., Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. Sacred space: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis of women’s lived birthing experiences.

Maxwell, D., & Robinson, R.. Chad, Stacy, and Billy Beta-bucks don’t get it: A qualitative analysis of involuntary celibacy among females using Reddit. 4 December Maxwell CV

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

2020-Present

Principal Investigator, The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work

Project Title: Pandemic Parenting: Pregnancy and Birthing in the Time of COVID-19

Responsibilities:

  • Lead research conceptualization and design in conjunction with research team members
  • Submit IRB protocols
  • Train research team for interviewing
  • Oversee all of study aspects

2019-2020

Principal Investigator, The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work

Project Title: Keetoowah birthing practices: An exploration of elder’s experiences

Responsibilities:

  • Lead research conceptualization and design in conjunction with tribal members to investigate elder’s maternal mental health experiences
  • Submit IRB protocols
  • Review literature
  • Conduct qualitative interviews
  • Prepare manuscripts

2017-Present

Project Coordinator, The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work

Project Title: Student success and student well-being: Evaluation of an intervention in first year experience courses among social work undergraduates

Principal Investigator: Regina Praetorius, PhD, LMSW-AP

Responsibilities:

  • Lead student research team
  • Supervise undergraduate researcher
  • Review literature
  • Iterative study design
  • Submit IRB protocols
  • Conduct qualitative interviews
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data
  • Prepare manuscripts

2018-2019

Principal Investigator, The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work

Project Title: Healthcare access and social engagement among older minority adults: Experiences of navigating transportation barriers

Co-investigators: Rebecca Mauldin, PhD, LMSW and Dennis Kao, PhD, MSW

2016-2017

Graduate Research Assistant , University of Arkansas School of Social Work

Project Title: TANF and interpersonal violence

Principal Investigator: Johanna Thomas, PhD, LCSW

Responsibilities:

  • Reviewed literature
  • Contributed to implications
  • Wrote reports

2016-2017

Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas School of Social Work

Project Title: Developing collaborative networks in marginalized communities: Experiencing hardships while focusing on opportunities

Principal Investigator: Kim Stauss, PhD, LCSW

Responsibilities:

  • Reviewed literature
  • Analyzed qualitative data
  • Prepared Manuscripts

PRESENTATIONS

Maxwell, D., Robinson, S. & Thomas, J. (January, 2020). These are not my words: The importance of member-checking when qualitatively researching the experiences of survivors of sexual trauma. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

Robinson, S., Maxwell, D. & Thomas, H. (January, 2020). #butnothingwasdone: Perceived barriers to reporting sexual assault in #metoo times. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

Maxwell, D., Robinson, S., Williams, J. & Keaton, C. (January, 2020). Short story of a lonely guy: A qualitative thematic analysis of involuntary celibacy using Reddit. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. (October, 2019). “Gutting it out” doesn’t work: Why mental health days are needed in college. Counsel of Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting Conference, Denver, CO.

Maxwell, D., Praetorius, R. & Alam, K. (September, 2019). Beyond bath bombs: Partner’s response to postpartum depression. CityMatch Leadership and MCH Epidemiology conference, Providence, RI.

Robinson, S., Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. (September, 2019). Sacred space: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis of women’s lived birthing experiences. CityMatch Leadership and MCH Epidemiology conference, Providence, RI.

Maxwell, D., Mauldin, R. & Kao, D. (2019, March). Healthcare access and social engagement among older minority adults: Experiences of navigating transportation barriers. Health Across the Lifespan Symposium, The University of Texas at Arlington.

 Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. (2019, March). Just be there for her: Partner’s voices of supporting a partner with postpartum depression. Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs Annual Conference, San Antonio, Texas.

 Maxwell, D. & Thomas, J. (2019, January). Who’s in control? Sexual trauma, lack of control, and depression severity. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference, San Francisco, California.

Thomas, J. & Maxwell, D. (2019, January). Compounding hardships: Barriers to employment for survivors of IPV who use TANF. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference, San Francisco, California. 6 December Maxwell CV

Maxwell, D. & Praetorius, R. (2018, November). Riding the therapeutic superhighway: A qualitative meta-synthesis of online therapy experiences. Counsel of Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting Conference, Orlando, Florida.

Maxwell, D. & Robinson, S. (2018, September). Capturing the experiences of pregnant survivors of intimate partner violence: A qualitative-interpretive meta-synthesis. CityMatch Leadership and MCH Epidemiology conference, Portland, Oregon.

Maxwell, D. (2018, January). Cathartic Ink: A qualitative examination of tattoo motivations for survivors of sexual trauma. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.

Maxwell, D. (2017, September). Inked journal: Tattoo as a personal narrative for survivors of sexual trauma. National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence, San Francisco, California.

Maxwell, D. (2017, March). Phoenix Ink: Psychodynamic motivations for tattoo attainment by survivors of trauma. National Association of Social Workers Arkansas Annual Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas.

GUEST LECTURES AND INVITED PRESENTATIONS

Maxwell, D. (2017, February). Unique Issues for Individuals who are LGBTQ with terminal illnesses. Continuing Education presentation, Circle of Life Hospice, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Maxwell, D. (2016, May). You jumped that chasm: The importance of process-centered praise. Travelling Arkansas Professional Pathways (TAPPS) workshop, Girls Scouts of America, Camp Kahinio, Arkansas.

Rosa, A. & Maxwell, D. (2016, April). Deeper issues: Contextual ethical issues in social work. Social Work continuing education training, Ozark Guidance, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

2017-Present

Adjunct Instructor, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment, BSW and MSW, Online and Face to Face
  • Social Work Field Seminar II, BSW and MSW, Online and Face to Face
  • Social Work Field Seminar I, BSW, Online and Face to Face
  • MSW Foundation Field II, Masters, Online

2018 Graduate Teaching Assistant, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

  • Intermediate Statistics, PhD Students, Face to Face

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2015-2017

Certified Trainer, Travelling Arkansas Professional Pathways (TAPPS), Fayetteville, AR

  • Provided Early Childhood Education (ECE) continuing education through workshops and trainings.

2003-2009

Family Services Coordinator, Early Learning and Development Center, Seattle, WA

  • Created and oversaw execution of emergent, Piaget-inspired curriculum at three sites.
  • Trained teachers in curriculum implementation.
  • Compiled and organized curriculum inspiration boxes designed with emergent curriculum themes meant for ease of access and implementation by teachers.
  • Kept up to date on early childhood curriculum trends through trainings and seminars.
  • Implemented state training and registry system (STARS) trainings and classes.
  • Provided case management for families including resource linkage.

SOCIAL WORK INTERNSHIPS

2016-2017

MSW Intern, Circle of Life Hospice, Fayetteville, AR

  • Facilitated grief support groups and therapeutic process groups.
  • Conducted client and family assessment including bereavement and psychosocial.
  • Created and implemented staff training on LGBTQ+ specific end of life issues and care.
  • Provided intervention including resource linkage and referral, brief therapeutic support, and end-of-life support.

2016

MSW Intern, Washington County Juvenile Detention Center, Social Work Intervention Program, Fayetteville, AR

  • Conducted juvenile and family psychosocial assessments.
  • Delivered brief support therapy and resource linkage.
  • Facilitated psychoeducational groups.
  • Provided recommendations to the court on the juvenile’s behalf.
  • Participated in staff training on mental health issues of juveniles and legislative advocacy.

SERVICE TO SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK AND UNIVERSITY

2019-2020

President, School of Social Work Doctoral Student Association, The University at Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

  • Facilitate meetings
  • Organizing doctoral student events
  • Advocate for doctoral students
  • Conduct student success and satisfaction evaluation
  • Plan and execute student growth events.

2018-2019

Peer Mentor, School of Social Work, The University at Texas at

Arlington, Arlington, TX

  • Engage with incoming PhD students for support navigating curriculum, professionalism, teaching, attending conferences, and academic writing.
  • Support new students with advocacy to the graduate school

2018-2019

Student Member, Doctoral Curriculum Committee, School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

  • Represented doctoral student association in the discussion of doctoral curriculum
  • Created reports of student feedback
  • Advocated for doctoral curriculum changes and improvements

2018-2019

Vice President, School of Social Work Doctoral Student Association, The University at Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

  • Attended meetings
  • Organized doctoral student events
  • Recorded meeting minutes
  • Created advocacy and student growth events

SERVICE TO THE FIELD

2020

Invited Reviewer, Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Services

2020

Invited Reviewer, Affilia

SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY

2018-2020

Volunteer, Sequoyah County Coordinated Community Response Team, Sallisaw, OK

  • Responded to potential clients and provided intervention including resource linkage and referral, brief therapeutic support.
  • Operated outreach booths at local events.
  • Attended monthly interdisciplinary meetings and advocated for local law enforcement changes in approach to handling calls regarding IPV.

2003-2005

Volunteer Development Coordinator, Old Growth Alliance, Seattle, WA

  • Developed and coordinated fundraising events for a local start-up non-profit that sought to revitalize culture among Northwest tribes for the purpose of creating unity and health among the people.
  • Collaborated with local tribal members and leaders, local businesses, and investing parties to ensure fundraisers were successful.

MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

2019

  • Research featured in an article on CNN Health International: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/12/health/tattoo-therapy-sexual-assault-survivors-study-intl/index.html
  • Research featured in campus newspaper at The University of Texas at Arlington http://www.theshorthorn.com/life_and_entertainment/for-sexual-assault-survivors-tattoos-spell-relief/article_fbc52abc-528d-11e9-ad70-3395946cca23.html

AWARDS AND ASSISTANTSHIPS

Outstanding PhD Student of the Year, UTA School of Social Work 2019

Outstanding PhD Instructor, UTA School of Social Work 2019

Glenn W. and Miriam S. Rollins Mental Health Graduate Scholarship, $1000 2019

Hall-Kohfeldt Award in Native American Studies, $500 2019

Outstanding GRA of the Year, UT Arlington 2017-2018

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