Prof. Lenette Azzi-Lessing Wins Fulbright Funding
June 01, 2017
Wheelock Professor of Social Work Dr. Lenette Azzi-Lessing was named a 2017 Fulbright Specialist, a program that provides funding to engage in diverse, collaborative projects focused on higher education and training in nations across the globe.
The Fulbright Specialist grant will allow Azzi-Lessing to spend up to six weeks per year teaching and co-developing curriculum in other countries for the next three years. She intends to concentrate on delivering Wheelock's Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program in South Africa.
Azzi-Lessing is the author of "Behind from the Start: How America's War on the Poor is Harming Our Most Vulnerable Children" (2017, Oxford University Press). She joined the Wheelock faculty in 2006, with more than 25 years' experience as a social worker, administrator, and policy advocate. Her work focuses on improving the well being and life chances of vulnerable, young children and their families, particularly those living in poverty and those involved in the child protective system.
Azzi-Lessing is the founding director of Wheelock's Graduate Certificate Program in Early Childhood Mental Health and is faculty leader of the college's Partnership for Early Childhood Development in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. She founded the Rhode Island Center for Children At-Risk to focus on meeting the needs of highly vulnerable young children and their families. Under her leadership the organization, which was re-named Children's Friend, developed nationally recognized programs serving children and families in Rhode Island's poorest communities.
She is a member of the Child Welfare League of America's National Commission on Public Policy. She co-chaired the League's Committee on Prevention, Protection, and Family Preservation for several years and served on the advisory board to the National Center for In-Home Services for Children and Families. She has also served as an expert witness in federal court on behalf of children abused and neglected in the child protective system.
Azzi-Lessing teaches a number of courses in Wheelock's Master of Social Work program, including Social Policy Practice, Social Work Leadership and Administration, and Early Childhood Mental Health: Practice, Policy and Research. She developed and co-teaches the college's South Africa Service-Learning Course.
About the Fulbright Specialist Program
The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as short-term experts at academic and other institutions abroad. They assist host institutions, including universities, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and other institutions for a period of 2 to 6 weeks with curriculum improvement, faculty development, institutional planning and related issues in a wide range of fields including agriculture, economics, education, and public health, among others.