Department of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice
Dr. Christiana Best is a licensed social worker with a Ph.D. in Social Welfare and serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. As the creator and host of the Inside Out/Outside In podcast, she facilitates conversations between academia and the community to amplify the voices of marginalized groups. She is also the co-chair of the Immigration and Global Social Work Committee. From 2014 to 2019, she served as Vice President of the New York City chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Dr. Best and her colleagues recently completed the nationwide research project Microaggressions in the workplace for the Caribbean and Central American Immigrants. This study examined how racial and ethnic identification by the Caribbean and Central American immigrants relate to their experiences of daily racial microaggressions in the workplace.
Dr. Best’s scholarly work focuses on race and racism, immigration, and child welfare. In 2016, Dr. Best and her colleagues Dr. Ilian and Ms. Howard authored the chapter A racial equity staff development strategy for public human service organizations in the book Transforming health and human services: An antiracist strategy, edited by Alma Carten. In 2017, she was the sole author of the chapter Transnational Parenting: The Hidden Costs of the Search for a Better Life in the book Narrative in Social Work Practice: The Power and Possibility of Story, edited by Ann Burack-Weiss. That same year, Dr. Best curated the exhibit Historical Child Welfare Timeline: A Transformational Experience, which chronicled 200 years of inequities in U.S. child welfare policies, procedures, and practices in New York City. Today, she remains the content expert on this project as it is transitioning to a virtual medium. Since 2019, she published four Op-Eds in the Hartford Courant amid the pandemic and racial reckoning. She also published two journal articles; I Too Am DACA: Awakened Childhood Memories, and Hate Crimes on College Campuses in Higher Education Spaces, and an essay on her mother, titled Closing the door on Transnational Parenting: A letter to my immigrant mother.
She identifies as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, colleague, and racial and social justice agitator and healer. In her free time, Dr. Best enjoys reading history books and books about policies and their impact on the lives of people of color and poor people. She also enjoys celebratory dancing, opening her home to entertain family and friends, traveling the globe, and writing essays and poetry that incorporate her lived experience to continue her healing process.
Dr. Best’s work manifests in changing oppressive systems, minds, and hearts through activism and soul work that involve deep listening and intentionally embracing the humanity and liberation of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).