Chatham University

Social Services Administration Faculty and Staff

Melissa Bell
Associate Professor/Field Placement Coordinator

Hometown : Youngsville, PA
Joined Chatham : 2008

Academic Areas of Interest

Dr. Bell's teaching and research interests include access to family planning, emotion dysregulation in women with psychiatric diagnoses, social welfare history, macro social work practice, the influence of political and religious beliefs in social work practice, inter-disciplinary academic coursework, and the transition of military service women and veterans into civilian life.

Personal Areas of Interest

Traveling, spending time with friends and family, hiking, and gardening.


Dr. Melissa Bell is an associate professor and field placement coordinator at Chatham University. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. certificate in the study of women, gender, and sexuality from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania with 10 years of post-master’s experience in psychiatric social work. Dr. Bell received an undergraduate degree in psychology, with a minor in Women’s Studies, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning an MSW with a concentration in direct practice mental health. She then completed a 12 month post-graduate fellowship at Yale University in intensive clinical services. She returned to the University of Pittsburgh for a Ph.D. in Social Work. While completing her doctoral coursework, she worked for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic within the outpatient Eating Disorders Clinic. She also worked in private practice before joining the faculty of Chatham University. Her research focuses on access to family planning, the influence of politics and religion on social work practice, emotion dysregulation in psychiatric treatment, and the transition of military service women to civilian life. She has participated in legislative action that focused on the assurance of access to emergency contraception in Pennsylvania hospital emergency rooms for survivors of sexual assault. Her research has appeared in Social Work in Public Health, Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, and Social Work Education: The International Journal. She has presented at several national conferences. She is a content advisor on gender issues for the documentary film, Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home.