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Michelle Sunkel, DSW, has 15 years of clinical experience and has worked in higher education for 10 years. She is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed addiction counselor in Colorado and a licensed independent clinical social worker in Minnesota. Clinically, Sunkel has specialized with the severe and persistently mentally ill, focusing in forensic social work, clinical assessments, emergency interventions and advocating for policy change to support appropriate sentencing protocols. Her clinical experience expands to practicing in emergency departments, schools, psychiatric hospitals, jails and prisons, and as an outpatient therapist. Currently, Sunkel assists medical teams in the emergency department during traumas, psychiatric emergencies, new diagnosis, unexpected illness, overdoses and death.

Sunkel volunteered internationally with students from Colorado Mesa University, serving clients in Uganda that were exposed to human trafficking, provided crisis interventions to Ugandans with a positive HIV/AIDS test, provided psychoeducation to community members in high risk areas for communicable disease and engaged in school based social work. She has engaged in international social work, working abroad to advocate for health care, program development, cultural collaboration, policy advising and clinical consultation across three continents.

Selected Publications

Book Chapter:
Sunkel, M. (2019). The legal and ethical consequences of human trafficking (chapter 19).The Routledge handbook of social work ethics and values. Routledge Tylor and Francis Group.

Peer Reviewed Articles:
Franco, D., Sunkel, M. and Sherman, P. (2021). Social workers with transgender women survivors of human trafficking: Implications for practice. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Bytheway, J., Connor, M., Dabbs, G, Johnston, C. and Sunkel, M. (2015). The ethics and best practices of human decomposition facilities in the United States. Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal, 6(3-4), 59-68.

Book Reviews:
Sunkel, M. (2019). Book Review. Advocacy practice for social justice, (4th Ed.). [Review of the book Advocacy practice for social justice, (4th Ed.), by R. Hoeffer].

Sunkel, M. (2019). Book Review. Critical Multiculturalism and intersectionality in a complex world, (2nd Ed.). [Review of the book Critical multiculturalism and intersectionality in a complex world, (2rd Ed), by L. Sloan, M. Joyner, C., Stakeman, & C. Schmitz].

Sunkel, M. (2018). Book review. Explorations in diversity, (3rd Ed). Examining the complexities of privilege, discrimination, and oppression [Review of the book Explorations in diversity, (3rd Ed). Examining the complexities of privilege, discrimination, and oppression, by S. Anderson & V. Middleton].

Invited Conferences/ CEU Presentations:
Sunkel, M. and Franco, D. (2021). Integration of anti-oppressive ideologies into social work practice. RePower Conference, Visiting Social Work Best Practices in a Changing World. Wichita, KS.

Mattis, S., Sunkel, M., and McGraw, K. (2020). Self-care as an ethical priority. National Association of Social Work. Idaho.

Sunkel, M. and Franco, D. (2020). Integration of anti-oppressive pedagogy in the MSW curriculum.
Council on Social Work Education Virtual Conference, Alexandria, Virginia.

Palloff, R., Sundvall, J., Sunkel, M., and Christenson, B. (2020). The ethics of digital citizenship, online learning communities, and social justice. National Association Social Workers. Idaho.

Sunkel, M. (2018). International social work challenges; addressing social, political, and economic disparities from a western perspective. International Social Work Association, Nkumba University, Kampala, Uganda.

Sunkel, M. (2018). Adolescent identity development and the manifestation of eating disorders, trending from the 90’s. Western Association of Women Historians, Davis, CA.

Journal Reviewer:
Advances in Social Work: Enhance SW practice, research, and education (2020-current)

Critical Social Work: An International Journal Dedicated to Social Justice. (2019-current)