Dena Ned portrait
  • Associate Professor (Lecturer), College Of Social Work
  • Director, Indigenous Social Work Scholars Program, College Of Social Work

Professional Service

  • Native Forward Scholars Fund-- Albuquerque NM. Role: Evaluator . Land Conservation and Indigenous Languages Scholarship 2023-2024 . 08/2023 - 09/2023
  • University of Oklahoma Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work. Role: external reviewer . OU tenure & promotion. 06/2023 - 09/2023
  • Child Welfare League of America. Reviewer. 12/2020 - 01/2021
  • Council on Social Work Education. Role: Member. Advance Anti-Racism in Social Work Education Task Force. 10/2020 - present
  • Utah Bar Indian Section (ICW). Role: planning; conference moderator. annual ICWA conference for Utah. 03/2020 - present
  • Council on Social Work Education . Role: Reviewer for Indigenous Track proposals . Annual Program Meeting. 03/2017 - 03/2018
  • 90.9 KRCL . Role: Member. Community Advisory Board: advises the station's governing body about whether the station's programming and significant policies are meeting the specialized educational and cultural needs of the communities served by the station. 04/2016 - present
  • Council on Social Work Education. Role: Committee Member. Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity . 07/01/2015 - 06/30/2018
  • National Academy for State Health Policy. Role: Reviewer. Advancing Health Equity through the Implementation of Health Reform Advisory Committee, NASHP Health Equity Learning Collaborative . 07/2011 - 06/2013
  • Academy Health. Role: Member & Facilitator. Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program Advisory Committee; Co-Chair Minority Scholars Virtual Brown Bag Series. 06/2011 - 06/2014
  • Council on Social Work Education. Role: Committee Member. Council on Practice Methods and Specialization . 07/2010 - 06/2015
  • Urban Indian Health Institute. Role: Council Member. National American Indian Maternal and Child Health Advisory Council . 10/2006 - 07/2013

Internal Service

  • CSW Grand Challenges of Social Work series: "My Two Aunties" 11/16/2023. Moderator for Q & A, 11/16/2023 - 11/16/2023. College service.
  • Utah Presents community event: Boarding schools and the impact on Utah communities- panel discussion with U alum Timothy White Eagle, historian Steve Lee, and Dr. Cynthia Benally . panelist, 11/07/2023 - 11/07/2023. University service.
  • in-service training on diversity, equity, and inclusion with staff from the Natural History Museum of Utah . facilitator , 05/2022 - 05/2022. University service.
  • American Indian Resource Center & Union Student Leadership Scholarship. Selection Committee member, 02/2022 - 04/2022. University service.
  • Native American Heritage Month planning committee for November 2021 events . Committee Member, 06/2021 - 11/2021. University service.
  • BSW Re-affirmation Committee. Member, 11/2020 - present. College service.
  • University Career-line Faculty Reappointment Committee . Committee member, 11/2020 - 05/2021. University service.
  • University Studies Committee. Appointment, 07/2020 - 07/2023. University service.
  • Graduate Council-- served 3 terms. Council Member Appointment, 08/2019 - 05/2023. University service.
  • American Indian Resource Center Advisory Council . Member, 08/2019 - 02/2022. Department service.
  • Women's Week Planning Committee; Warrior Women. Planning; host, 08/2019 - 03/2020. University service.
  • Faculty Executive Committee . Committee Member (elected), 07/2019 - 06/2021. College service.
  • CSW and the Hinckley Institute of Politics Summer Practicum for BSW student (placed in Washington, DC) . Field Instructor , 05/2019 - 08/2019. College service.
  • Practicum Advisory Committee. Member, 09/2018 - present. College service.
  • BSW Sequence Head for Social Welfare Policy/Service and Social Work & Social Welfare: The Profession and Institution . Sequence Head/Chair, 05/2018 - present. College service.
  • Senate Advisory Committee on Diversity (2 terms). Committee Member, 08/2014 - 05/2019. University service.
  • Bachelor of Social Work Student Association. Faculty Advisor, 09/2012 - 09/2016. Department service.
  • Scholarship Review Committee. Member, 06/2012 - 06/2017. College service.
  • Natural History Museum of Utah Indian Advisory Committee . Committee Member, 08/2010 - present. Other service.
  • Career-Line Faculty Retention Committee. Member, 10/2009 - present. College service.
  • Bachelor of Social Work Program Admissions Committee. Committee Member, 08/2007 - present. Department service.

Community Partnership

  • State Indian Child Welfare Conference in partnership with the Indian Section of the Utah Bar. 12/01/2023 - 12/01/2023
  • Safety in our Native Community: Restoring Ancestral Winds Annual Conference at SJ Quinney College of Law-- provided welcome & land acknowledgment, introduction of morning presentations, and provided an afternoon presentation "Sharing ways of knowing: How safety will mean many things". 11/02/2023 - 11/02/2023
  • ICWA Committee for the Utah State Bar Indian Law Section: this is an interdisciplinary group of university, state, tribal, and community partners; the purpose of the Section is to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas in the franchise field through high quality CLE events, social and professional interaction and networking opportunities, ongoing monitoring of legal and political issues relevant to the Indian field, and other services as may be beneficial to the Section members, the legal profession and the public. 02/2019 - present
  • As part of National Adoption Awareness month and National Native American Heritage Month, partnered with Utah Foster Care and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services to provide free evening screening of the documentary Dawnland; facilitated Q & A. 10/24/2018 - 11/28/2018


  • Invited Panelist for Utah Foster Care parent training event at the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake: Blood Memory . 09/2019 - 09/2019
  • Warrior Women planning committee: as part of the University's Women's Week events for March 2020, working in collaboration with UEN, the Union Programming Council, American Indian Resource Center, the Office for Equity and Diversity, Colleges of Law and Social Work, as well as community partners and state agencies, to host Madonna Thunder Hawk and (TBA) keynote speaker on Indigenous Womxn activism and leadership . 08/2019 - present
  • Outreach and community building at the 37th annual National Indian Child Welfare Conference in Albuquerque, NM . 03/30/2019 - 04/02/2019
  • Outreach and Community Building at 36th Annual Protecting our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect, Anchorage, AK. 04/14/2018 - 04/19/2018
  • Outreach and Recruitment at Northland Pioneer College campuses in Northeastern Arizona (Winslow and Snowflake). 03/2018 - 03/2018

Honors & Awards

  • Crown Products Global Scholarship. Global Awareness Society International, 05/2012
  • AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholar . AcademyHealth, 05/2010
  • William McPhee Scholarship. College of Social Work, 09/2009
  • Research Fellowship, Center for American Indian Health. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 06/2007
  • Outstanding Service Recognition Award. Indian Health Service, 06/2006
  • Eagle Award for Outstanding Leadership. National Council of Urban Indian Health, 04/2004


  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Member, Council on Practice Methods and Specialization, 07/2010 - 12/2016
  • Urban Indian Maternal and Child Health Advisory Council (MCH Advisory Council), Advisor, 06/2009 - 06/2012
  • National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), Member, 01/2017 - present
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Member, Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity , 07/01/2015 - 06/30/2018

In the Media

  • Campus recognition of outstanding Native community members who contribute to the University of Utah in various ways. As we conclude the celebration of Native American Heritage Month, let us take a moment to recognize their work, and mentorship to students formally and informally. Through their exceptional experiences and expertise, they continue to contribute to campus and community transformation. 11/21/2022.
  • Moderator for Eradicating Health Inequities in Native American Communities: American Indian/Alaska Native people continue to experience some of the greatest health disparities of any U.S. population. Why is this, and how can we reduce these disparities? . 11/03/2021.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune published an article about how Paiute tribal members and local historians believe there may be 12 bodies buried on the grounds of a former Indigenous boarding school outside of Panguitch. The Panguitch Boarding School, which operated from 1904 to 1909, was part of a dark period of history in America and in Utah, where Native children were forced into boarding schools — sometimes after being stolen from their parents. The Panguitch school wasn’t the only Indigenous boarding school in the state. We are passionate about telling more stories from these schools from the point of view of the people who know the most about them: the communities whose children never came home. For this Q&A Zoom session at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 1, we will talk about reporting on this article and be joined by experts Dena Ned and Roni Jo Draper. Ned (Chickasaw/Choctaw) is associate dean of the Office for First Generation Access and an associate professor (lecturer) in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah. A descendant of boarding school survivors, she is the co-editor of the 2017 book Contemporary Issues in Child Welfare: American Indian and Canadian Aboriginal Contexts. Draper is an enrolled member of the Yurok tribe and a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Brigham Young University. She teaches courses in multicultural education and global women’s studies. Proceeds from this virtual event supported Indigenous communities in Utah. 09/01/2021.
  • Remembering a shameful period of North American history (This piece was originally published on the interACTION blog by the College of Social Work, and was highlighted by the @theU weekly report) “Since the discovery of the unmarked graves of our missing (but never forgotten) relations at former residential schools in Canada, there is collective sorrow and remembrance happening across borders,” said Ned, co-author of the 2017 book “Contemporary Issues in Child Welfare: American Indian and Canadian Aboriginal Contexts.” “As a descendant of boarding school survivors, I know the intergenerational impacts of child removal on behavioral, mental, spiritual and physical health.”. 07/15/2021.
  • She's Still Here From the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women movement to high COVID cases, historical trauma continues to affect native people in Utah today. But along with the pain, a certain kind of strength has been handed down from generation to generation. This legacy of resiliency is especially present in native women as they help their community heal. In this episode, we hear from Dena Ned, a Chickasaw social worker and professor, about some of her own experiences with historical trauma and the community she’s found in Utah. And we speak with Kristina Groves, a Ute and Hopi social worker at the Urban Indian Center about ways women are leading the movement towards healing. 02/2021.
  • Zoom broadcast of panel discussion Sisters Rising for UEN's American Indian Virtual Film Festival . 11/2020.
  • On October 15, 2020, the GBVC was honored to host the "Reclaiming Our Values and Visibility in Indian Country: Native Americans Addressing Intimate Partner Violence" event on Zoom. The event facilitated presentations by Native American leaders addressing violence in communities. Opening remarks were provided by Franci Taylor of the American Indian Resource Center. The distinguished speakers included: Wendy Schlater, Vice Chair Woman of the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians and Program Director of La Jolla's Avellaka Program Dr. Leece Lee-Oliver(Blackfeet/Wyandot/Cherokee/Choctaw), Assistant Professor and Director of American Indian Studies; Moroni Benally (Diné), Coordinator for Public Policy and Advocacy at Restoring Ancestral Winds, Inc., This event was moderated by Dr. Dena Ned (Chickasaw/Choctaw), College of Social Work at the University of Utah. 10/15/2020.
  • Moderator of panel during Domestic Violence Awareness Month events through the University of Utah Gender-based Violence Consortium/co-sponsor the S.J. Quinney College of Law; Live-stream via Facebook of "Reclaiming our values and visibility in Indian Country: Native Americans addressing intimate partner violence." . 10/2020.
  • For National Read A Book Day, promoted book with Dr. Frost. "This book is for everyone who has ever said, 'Why are there child welfare standards just for Native Americans?' In essence, these are eight collected essays by Indigenous and Aboriginal authors from Canada and the U.S., who reveal the history, issues, experiences, and solutions behind child welfare policies.". 09/2019.
  • Guest on RadioACTive, a community affairs program for community builders and grassroots activists. Interview titled: The latest attack on the Indian Child Welfare Act; featuring: Dena Ned, Director, American Indian Social Work Program, College of Social Work, University of Utah, and Caren Frost, Director, Center for Research on Migration & Refugee Integration, College of Social Work, University of Utah. Highlighted book “Contemporary Issues in Child Welfare: American Indian and Canadian Aboriginal Contexts,” published earlier this year by J. Charlton Publishing . 12/18/2018.
  • In the fall of 2014, Dena Ned, PhD, MSW, an assistant professor/lecturer and director of the American Indian Program at the University of Utah College of Social Work, was selected from a competitive pool of candidates to participate in the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma’s Global Mental Health: Trauma & Recovery Certificate Program. This in-person and online postdoctoral training will help her learn to address the impact of trauma on health and mental health. 01/2015.