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December Maxwell, MSW, PhD
Assistant Professor

Gartley Hall Rm. 205A
Phone: 808.956.6127
Fax: 808.956.5964

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.


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


View CV File

If you require the Curriculum Vitae document in an alternative format, such as large print, please contact December Maxwell at

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