Chatham University

Social Work Faculty and Staff

Melissa Bell

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.


  • Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh
  • Post-Graduate Fellowship in Intensive Clinical Services. Yale University
  • M.S.W. University of Pittsburgh
  • B.A. Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania



  • Doctoral Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. University of Pittsburgh


  • Owens Fellowship 1997-University of Pittsburgh
  • Distinguished Alumni Award 2004-IUP


  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association


  • Newhill, C., Eack, S., Bell, M., & Keshaven, M. (2016, January). A Trans-Diagnostic Comparison of Emotion Dysregulation in Mental Health: Implications for NIMH Research Domain Criteria. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research, 2016 Annual Scientific Conference, Washington, DC.
  • Edenborn, S. L. & Bell, M. M. (2015, October) . Eureka! Character-Driven Case Study Increases Student Self-Efficacy and Interest in Biology. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO
  • Bell, M. M. (2015, October) "Please Tell Me How": Educating Social Workers on Providing Family Planning Information. Poster presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.
  • Wilson, D., Bell, M. M., & Edenborn, S. L. (2013, November) I need to know science? Delivering biology knowledge through case studies. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Dallas, TX.
  • Bell, M.M. (2012, November). Social Workers and Family Planning: Barriers in Prevention. Poster session presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Washington D.C.
  • Valutis, S., Rubin, D. B., & Bell, M.M. (2010, October). Professional Socialization and Social Work Values: Who Are We Teaching. Paper presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Portland OR.
  • Bell, M., & Rubin, D. (2010, March). Providing family planning information to clients: What do social workers know? Paper presented at the Baccalaureate Program Directors in Social Work Annual Meeting, Atlanta GA.
  • Valutis, S., Bell, M., & Rubin, D. (2009, November). Value conflicts and value priorities: What do social workers think? Paper presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
  • Bell, M.M. (1999, May). Case study of atypical schizophrenia. Paper presented at the Yale Psychiatric Institute, New Haven, CT.
  • Bell, M.M., & Thornton, G.F. (1995, December). Relationship between anorexia nervosa and death anxiety. Paper presented at the Fifth International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society, Washington D.C.