Michael Henson

Michael Henson

Michael Henson


Michael is a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Work and Anthropology (SWAN) joint Ph.D. program.  Graduating from Oakland University in 2012 with a B.A. in Anthropology, Michael originally began working on his Ph.D. in anthropology in 2013.  In 2014, he was admitted as the first student in the SWAN program.  During his time at Wayne State University, Michael has been engaged in various research projects. He worked with the Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership (FACHEP) to examine the relationship between the Flint Water Crisis and the 2014-2015 Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genessee County.  He also helped analyze state tuition waiver policies for former foster care youth to develop policy recommendations for other states considering implementing such programs.  Michael's dissertation research aims to address upstream determinants of child wellbeing by focusing on specialized social work education programs that prepare students for work in the child welfare system.  Employing ethnographic research methods, this research seeks to critically examine how administrative perspectives informing child welfare training align and conflict with workers' on-the-job demands and expectations.  In doing this research, Michael hopes to use the findings to better inform child welfare training practices and increase organizational capacity to improve family and child outcomes. 


B.A., Anthropology, Oakland University 2012

M.S.W., Wayne State University, 2016

Ph.D. Candidate, Social Work and Anthropology, Wayne State University, 2020


Areas of Expertise

  • Child Welfare Policy
  • Child Welfare Training and Workforce Development
  • Citizenship and Governmentality Theories

Courses Taught

 PH 2100, Introduction to Public Health

ANT 2100, Introduction to Anthropology

Honors and Awards

Dissertation and Thesis Support Award (12/2019)
Anthropology Professional Development Travel Award (10/2019)
Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute Supplemental Travel Award (10/2019)
Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute Doctoral Fellow (8/2019)
Social Work Travel Award (1/2018)
Social Work Travel Award (1/2017)
Second Place Prize at the Graduate and Postdoc Research Symposium (3/2016)
Thomas Rumble Development Fellowship Recipient, 2015-2016
Thomas Rumble Development Fellowship Recipient, 2014-2015
Graduate Professional Scholarship Recipient, 2013-2014


Hernandez, L., Day, A., & Henson, M. (2017). Increasing college access and retention rates of youth in foster care: An analysis of the impact of 22 state tuition waiver programs. Journal of Policy Practice, 16(4), 397-414. doi:10.1080/15588742.2017.1311819

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