Skip to main content

Dr. Kenya Johnson

Dr. Kenya Johnson

Dr. Kenya Johnson

Assistant Professor of Social WorkSocial Work


Curriculum Vitae

Kenya Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Houston-Downtown. With more than 30 years of experience as a social work practioner, she brings an antiracist, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) lens to her faculty role. Her dissertation was entitled "Developing a measure of racial equity: The 'AWARE beliefs' scale for schools." She is the co-founder of Full Circle Strategies, LLC and a founding board member to the Race Equity Leadership and Research Collective. As a leader in racial justice, Dr. Johnson developed the Assessing Workplace Attitudes toward Race Equity" (AWARE) climate survey to benefit organizations committed to change. She co-developed the behavioral change curriculum, Holistically Engaging in Anti-racist Transformation™ also known as HEARTspeak. Dr. Johnson's professional background also includes work in youth civic engagement, policy advocacy, and school social work.

Dr. Johnson focuses her research on delving into organizational and leadership development from an anti-racist perspective, centered on liberation. She also delves into building racial justice movements with a specific focus on eliminating anti-Blackness and developing scales for ADEI. Her teaching philosophy encourages aspiring social workers to scrutinize and confront various systems of oppression, paving the way for individual and community liberation. Dr. Johnson is committed to developing future learning experiences at UHD that support students' ADEI skill development.

Degrees Earned

Doctorate of Philosophy (2021), University of Houston, Social Work

Master of Science (1997), Saint Louis University, Social Work – Community Organizing Concentration

Bachelor of Science (1994), University of Central Missouri, Social Work

Courses Taught

SOCW 3311 Urban Practice

SOCW 3362 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II

SOCW 4390 (Special Topics) Engaging with Cultural Humility

Experience Qualifications


Baker, K. & Johnson, K (Spring 2023) Using a Liberation Health Framework to Advance Birth Control Rights. Book Chapter. Black Women's Reproductive Health and Sexuality: A Holistic Public Health Approach.

Minott, K. (2021). Developing a Measure of Racial Equity: The 'Aware Beliefs' scale for schools (Doctoral dissertation). University of Houston.

Narendorf, S. C., Palmer, A., Minott, K., Santa Maria, D., Bender, K., Shelton, J., ... & Petering, R. (2021). Experiences of discrimination among young adults experiencing homelessness: Relationship to mental health outcomes. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Narendorf, S. C., Glaude, M., Munson, M. R., Minott, K., & Young, B. (2021). Adaptation of a Mental Health Treatment Engagement Intervention for Older Foster Youth. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 38(1), 27-41.

Belza, B., Miyawaki, C.E., Lui, M., Zhang, X., Fessel, M., Aree-Ue, S., & Minott, K.R. (2018). The Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue scale: A 25-year review and evaluation. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 26(1), 36-74.

Training and Facilitation

Houston 2036 Taskforce on Equity (January-June 2022). Houston 2036 Steering Committee. Facilitated sessions and provided individual coaching to community leaders who served on the inaugural Houston 2036 Taskforce on Equity. The desired goal for this initiative is to build a network of leaders who collaborate on meaningful projects that help the city of Houston become an equitable community by the year 2036.

Engaging in Effective Dialogue, (Spring 2017). University of Houston, College of Pharmacy. Led a six-hour training for students and faculty on how to engage in effective dialogue, hold difficult conversations, assess, and identify useful practices to improve their work culture.

Beyond Diversity: Implicit Bias Awareness (Spring 2017) University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work MSW Admissions Committee. Developed and facilitated a six-hour training course for GCSW faculty and staff. The purpose of training was to help committee members self-assess their personal biases related to the admissions process and to critically assess current policies and procedures that might impede equitable decision-making.

Building Diversity: Implicit Bias Awareness Training (2014-2016). Yes Prep Public School District, Houston, Texas. Facilitated six 2-hour staff development training courses created through the Yes Prep Public Schools Diversity Task Force.

More Information

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Southern Nevada Trailblazer Award – State of Nevada (2011)

Omega Psi Phi Citizenship Award – Las Vegas Chapter (2010)

Black Student Association Appreciation Award – College of Southern Nevada (2010)

Jean Ford "Participatory Democracy" Award – State of Nevada (2009)

Trailblazer Award – Clark County Democratic Caucus (2008)

African American Democratic Leadership Achievement – AADLC (2008)

Women's History Month Achievement Award – City of Las Vegas (2007)

Earn & Learn Mentor Award – College of Southern Nevada (2005)