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Jaclynn Hawkins

Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work


Jaclynn Hawkins is an Assistant Professor in the Achool of Social Work. Growing up in a multicultural family (African American and Mexican) that relied on the California welfare system, she experienced firsthand the difficulty that underserved people of color face when seeking meaningful and accessible health care. She also witnessed the disparate impact that diseases had on the poor. Her interest in structural and racial inequality in health led her to UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare where she discovered literature that fused disciplines within a Person in-Environment theoretical framework. This scholarship helped her to develop a better understanding of how our environment affects behavior and health outcomes. Her interest in earning a doctoral degree in social work was influenced by undergraduate courses on social work practice, research projects that focused on underserved Black and Latinx adults, and fieldwork on the intersection between health and inequality. While her ultimate goal was to earn a Ph.D., she also believed that direct work experience would inform her research. With this in mind, she spent many hours working within social service agencies and interacting directly with clients in UC Berkeley’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program. As an MSW student, she worked at Highland County Hospital and Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Labor and Delivery in Oakland, California. Her practice experiences led her to recognize the need to develop relevant, immediate ways to improve the lives of underserved populations with suboptimal health outcomes. She entered the PhD program at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work to begin developing research skills necessary to conduct health research. Her dissertation sought to identify psychosocial and structural factors that influence self-care and health care utilization in underserved Latinx and Black men with diabetes on regional and national levels. She explored how gender identity – specifically masculinity – is conceptualized among Latinx and Black men with diabetes; and examined how these conceptualizations of masculinity influence self-care behaviors and health care utilization. As an Assistant Professor, driven by the dearth of research on men of color with diabetes, her current research is focused on addressing racial disparities in short and long-term health outcomes associated with chronic illness self-management for Black and Latinx men with type 2 diabetes. Her research activities fall into two domains: 1) an examination of barriers and facilitators to diabetes self-management among Black and Latinx men; and 2) tailoring diabetes self-management interventions to account for gender differences in health behaviors and health outcomes. Dr. Hawkins lives with her partner and her two boxer pups.

Research Interests:

African American and Latino Men's Health, Social Determinants of Health/Health Disparities, Factors that contribute to access to and utilization of care; Diabetes self-management; Community-based interventions targeting low-income African Americans and Latinos