Dr. Sonyia Richardson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, Director of the Race and Social Equity Research Academy, and the Founder and Director of the Mental Health Research and Practice Lab at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a clinical behavioral researcher, her agenda focuses on developing and testing novel interventions aimed at reducing suicide among Black youth. In her lab, she aims to identify and remove barriers to mental health treatment for racially minoritized populations and eliminate resulting disparities through mixed-methods, community-engaged research. As a respected scholar in the field of social work, she has published two co-edited books, produced numerous publications, and received over one million dollars in grant funding. She is a current recipient of a competitive NIMH-funded grant (R34 MH129782) entitled CA-LINC (Culturally Adapted – Linking Individuals Needing Care). The CA-LINC project team works with the Black community to design and test the intervention in a clinical trial.
In addition to her work within academia, Dr. Richardson is engaged with local, state, and national initiatives. As a respected scholar in the field of social work, she was appointed to the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in 2020. In her second appointed term, she is serving as Director of the Wellness Outcomes subcommittee. Additionally, she received the North Carolina National Association of Social Workers Award for the 2021 Social Worker of the Year for her leadership and advocacy efforts. Locally, Dr. Richardson is the founder and owner of Another Level Counseling and Consultation, in Charlotte, North Carolina. For over 16 years, the agency has been instrumental in providing counseling services, facilitating corporate and community wellness workshops, and providing consultation services internationally to corporations. These entrepreneurial skills support her ability to create successful collaborative research teams.
Dr. Richardson is currently a Researcher Resiliency Training (RRT) Fellow (National Institutes of Mental Health Funded Training Program) at Washington University in St. Louis and receives mentoring and didactic instruction concerning child and adolescent behavioral health. Recently, Dr. Richardson was selected by the National Institutes of Health to participate in the 2022 Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials.
Dr. Richardson earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
- 2020 Ph.D., University of North Carolina Charlotte, Curriculum & Instruction, Urban Education
- 2020 Certificate, Quantitative Analysis, University of North Carolina Charlotte
- 2001 M.S.W., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Social Work
- 1995 B.A., University of North Carolina Charlotte, Psychology
Research Interests/Areas of Expertise
- To identify and remove barriers (practical, systemic, organizational, cultural) to mental health treatment for Black populations.
- To improve facilitators of mental health treatment for Black populations with the goal of suicide reduction.
- To center schools, churches, and educational systems for mental health intervention efforts.
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker, North Carolina
- Certification – Licensed Clinical Social Worker Supervisor
- Quality Matters Higher Education Publisher Reviewer Certification
- Quality Matters Peer Reviewer Certification
- 2023 Excellence in Research Award, College of Health and Human Services, UNC Charlotte
- 2023 Faculty Researcher Award, School of Social Work, UNC Charlotte
- 2022 Champion for Mental Health Award, Living Waters FA
- 2022 Faculty Researcher Award, School of Social Work, UNC Charlotte
- 2022 Community Engagement Award, College of Health and Human Services UNC Charlotte
- 2022 The Sojourner Truth Black Excellence Award – C4 Counseling Agency
- 2021 North Carolina Social Worker of the Year (National Association of Social Workers – North Carolina)
- Lucille P. and Edward C. Giles Dissertation Fellowship
- Honorable Mention, Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
- Recipient, UNC Charlotte, Research Funding Award Recipient
- Recipient, College of Health & Human Services, UNC Charlotte, Diversity Award
- Recipient, Graduate Teaching Award, Graduate Social Work Association
- Recipient, Cardinal Innovation Healthcare Solutions, Cultural Diversity