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Jodi Helbert
Jodi Helbert
Associate Professor, Social Work Program Coordinator


We are all tied together in a garment of mutual destiny. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 



As human beings, our life journeys are inextricably linked – first and foremost to our creator, and then to each other. Our personal stories have far-reaching implications for the next generations. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our offsprings, to our significant others, to God, and to society to speak life and make our truths positive ones! When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk; therefore, each of us provides a vital thread in the tapestry of another. As a more naïve, younger woman, I did not fully understand this concept. Through education and research, as well as lived experience, I know this to be factual. The knowledge of this premise lends to the passion I feel for Social Work – not just an understanding of the human condition, but a desire to be an agent to improve it, and to perpetuate and instill that desire in others.

I am the founding coordinator for the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at King University. In addition to the administrative responsibilities of this position, I also develop and teach courses each semester. I love teaching and the ability to revisit concepts and expound on them. I am grateful for this honored and entrusted position I hold! My hope is that while teaching students the skills necessary to make communities whole, that God is given all the glory. I do not take this appointment lightly.

My scholarly interests are varied. My past research has held a clinical basis, while my current research leans more heavily toward addressing social justice issues and issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; relationship dynamics; trauma and treatments of trauma; grief and loss; pathophysiology and the neuroscience of behaviors. My dissertation research pertains to regional attitudes toward interracial relationships, seeking to extrapolate causality for the development of positive and negative attitudes, as well as exploring the role of and the historicity behind the feeding of racial animus in the academy. This research has been fueled by a fascination for our diverse world. I am able to bring this empirical research into the classroom, and in many instances, sharing the bases of social constructs, history, and oppressive forces, as well as scientific findings, cognitive neuroscience (brain research), and various other dynamics impacting humanity and human behavior.

I believe in service to others. I provide pro bono addictions counseling periodically. I serve on various boards within the community and volunteer my time and resources in numerous ways. I am a Board-Certified Diplomat (BCD) in Trauma-Informed Clinical Social Work and certified through SAMHSA as a trained trainer. I am and a member of the American Academy of Christian Counselors (AACC), the National Association of Social Workers in TN (NASW-TN), as well as the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW), the International Consortium of Social Developers (ICSD), International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and Phi Alpha, the international Social Work honor society. In 2023, I was named Tennessee’s Social Work Educator of the Year by the NASW-TN. In 2022, I was Social Worker of the Year for the Northeast Branch of the NASW-TN. I also received the Tribute to Women award from the YWCA in the Empower category. In 2013, I received the honor of being named Social Work Today magazine’s Top Ten Deserving and Dedicated Social Workers in America. I received the 2008 Public Service Award for Distinguished Citizenship, and in 2013, I received the honored appointment of Kentucky Colonel from the Governor of KY. This award is based on years of outstanding community service. Additionally, I am an ordained reverend. On the King University campus, I serve as the co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the chair of the Social Work Advisory Board, and I am a permanent member of the BSW Admissions Committee. I am the founding advisor of the Phi Alpha | Chi Omega chapter of the international social work honor society, and the faculty advisor of the Social Work Action Group club. The BSW Program I direct at King University has thrice received the International Outstanding Service Award. I am a psychotherapist specializing in and providing a range of treatment protocols in mental health, grief and loss, marriage and family, and addictions counseling.

One take-away I want my students to gain from their academic experience is that the learning does not stop with a degree in hand – and it shouldn’t! The educational process ignites the fires of knowledge-seeking, converting us into lifelong learners – ever evolving with a desire to dig deeper and ask why, not just to accept what is, but to challenge the status quo. It’s how we derive meaning from those experiences and grow, while honoring God in thoughts and actions. My hope is that students will shift their perspectives dramatically from a “serve us” mentality to one of “service” to vulnerable others.


  • PhD in Social Work (PhD)– Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) – Radford University, Radford, Virginia
  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) – Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, Virginia


Publications and Presentations

I have conducted various workshops, trainings, presentations, and in-service education, as well as published on the following:

  • Mitigating Vicarious Trauma
  • Compassionate Leadership
  • Trauma-informed systems of care
  • Pathophysiology of the Brain in Active Addiction
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Brain and Behavior
  • Asepsis
  • Psychiatric Medication Management
  • Cultural and Human Diversity
  • Human Behavior
  • Pathophysiology of the Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Death and Dying
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Helbert, J.M. (2018). Assessing attitudes of college students toward cross-cultural relationships:

Implications for social work practice, research, and education. Journal of Human Behavior and the Social Environment. DOI: 10.1080/10911359.2018.1450797

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