Melissa L. Villodas, PhD, LMSW, LCSW-A


Dr. Villodas joined the faculty of the Department of Social Work in the fall of 2022 and teaches the Foundations of Direct Practice and Community Practice Across the Life Course classes. Her research and teaching have been shaped primarily by her experiences as a clinical social worker serving system-involved and marginalized youth in community-based mental health settings. Dr. Villodas’ research focuses on the transition to adulthood, connectedness, and the aspects of the social and built environments that support or inhibit positive mental health outcomes into adulthood. Dr. Villodas seeks to identify strategies to support transition-aged youth mental health through both traditional mental health services and innovative community-based interventions and initiatives. Dr. Villodas is also interested in the utility of Afro-Latin cultural dances and education in promoting social connection and mental wellness. Dr. Villodas is a graduate of Nyack College (BA in English Writing), New York University (MSW) and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (PhD).

    Research Interests:

    • Mental Health
    • Transition to Adulthood
    • Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
    • System Involvement
    • Neighborhood and Community
    • Connectedness

    Select Publications:

    • Villodas, M.L., Blank Wilson, A., Ansong, D., Munson, M. Clark Goings, T. & Nebbit, V. (2023). Examining the Influence of Perceived Neighborhood Environment and Connectedness on the Mental Health Symptoms of Black Adolescent Serious Offenders. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.   

    • Vergara, J.V., Rodriguez, M., Phillips, J., Dohler, E., Villodas, M.L., Wilson, A. & Joseph, K. (2023). An Evaluation Framework for Predictive Models of Neighborhood Change with Applications to Predicting Residential Sales in Buffalo, NY. Urban Studies.

    • Foell, A., Amano, T., Newransky, C., Nebbitt, V., Lombe, M., Yu, M., Horton, D., Enelamah, N., Riffer, A., Villodas, M. L., & Tirmazi, M. T. (2023). Stress Biomarkers in Black Youth: Exploring Psychological, Behavioral, and Socio-Ecological Correlates. Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 10.1007/s11524-023-00776-1. Advance online publication.

    • Enelamah, N.V., Lombe, M., Yu, M., Villodas, M.L., Foell, A., Newransky, C., Smith, L.C., & Nebbitt, V. (2023). Structural and Intermediary Social Determinants of Health and the Emotional and Behavioral Health of US Children. Children 10, 1100. children10071100   

    • Villodas, M. L., Forte, A. B., & Blank Wilson, A. (2023). Examining the Influence of the Neighborhood Environment on Stress Among Black American Adolescents: A Scoping Review. Youth & Society0(0).

    • Villodas, M. L., Gibbs, D., Blank Wilson, A., & Munson, M. R. (2023). The relationship between connectedness and mental health symptoms among Black youth involved in the juvenile justice system: a random-intercept cross-lagged panel model. Social Work in Mental Health, 1-20.

    • Wilson, A. B., Phillips, J., L. Villodas, M., Parisi, A., Dohler, E., & Ginley, C. (2023). Assessing the potential efficacy of an intervention for incarcerated people with mental illness. Psychiatric Services.

    • Gibbs, D.J., Villodas, M.L., Kainz, K., Francis, A.M. (2023). The effects of “legal orphan” status for emerging adults aging out of foster care: A secondary analysis of linked AFCARS and NYTD Data. Children and Youth Services Review.

    • Cole, A.R, Adams, D.R., Ben-David, S., Sapiro, B., Villodas, M., Stanhope, V., Jaccard, J., & Munson, M. (2023). Feasibility, acceptability and preliminary implementation of the cornerstone program for transition-age youth with mental health conditions: A mixed-methods study. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. 50, 106-519.


    • PhD, Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022
    • MSW, Social Work, New York University, 2015
    • BA, English Writing, Nyack College, 2012