Madeline Frank is in her final year of the dual master’s degree program in Social Work at the UNC School of Social Work and Public Health in the Maternal, Child, and Family Health Concentration at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

We reached out to Frank to learn more about her work, her life, and her academic journey through the following Q & A.

How did you get into injury and violence prevention work?

My first job out of college was in Philadelphia in a Federally Qualified Health Center through AmeriCorps. It was here that I first learned about the ACEs study and began to understand, through thousands of conversations with patients, how prevalent and pressing a public health issue childhood trauma was. This experience, in conjunction with the work I was doing supporting folks with opioid use disorder in the North Philadelphia communities, really piqued my interest in injury and violence prevention, particularly as it relates to health and wellbeing for children and families.

What projects are you currently working on, and what makes them exciting to you?

I have had the incredible good fortune of getting to work with Dr. Anna Austin, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Core Faculty at IPRC, the last 3 years on a CDC funded R01 grant examining state SNAP policies as a primary prevention strategy for early life exposure to violence and other adverse childhood experiences. We are currently working on a manuscript that uses the National Survey of Children’s health data and are looking at the association of food insecurity and family resiliency and connection, and investigating whether participation in SNAP modifies the association. I will also be presenting some of our work on SNAP eligibility and rates of foster care entries at the 2024 SAVIR conference. This work is exciting and important to me because it has real program and policy implications. SNAP is such a crucial piece of our social safety net, and I hope that our work can be an important addition to the body of literature demonstrating the impacts the program can and does have on so many Americans.

What were you doing before you started your program at UNC?

Before I started at UNC and after going to college in Ohio, I lived and worked in Philadelphia for my first two years postgrad. I worked in an FQHC and then in child welfare. After that, I taught English abroad to fifth and sixth graders for a year!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and school?

I love to run marathons and bake! The running community in the Triangle is truly unparalleled!

What makes you unique?

I’m a dual degree student with social work (MSW MPH) and spent May-December of 2023 interning at UNC’s inpatient eating disorders unit to complete my MSW clinical hours. I really care about the individual patient impacts of public health programs and policies!

UNC IPRC’s Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship program provides an opportunity for UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and professional students from diverse academic, professional, and demographic backgrounds to gain hands-on experience in injury and violence prevention by working with faculty mentors, networking, and pursuing professional development opportunities.