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Jane McPherson

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Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Director of Global Engagement

Jane McPherson’s work is focused at the intersection of social work and human rights. She is particularly interested in rights-based practices that address social inequalities and the unequal distribution of wealth, health, political power, and community wellness. Dr. McPherson organized the State of Florida for One Million Bones, an arts-activist, anti-genocide movement, which culminated in the laying of one million handmade bones on the National Mall in June 2013. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with over 20 years experience in the field. Motherhood, trauma, torture, and the special treatment needs of women have been her areas of clinical specialization. Her work has been global and local in scope, extending from rural Florida to New York City, Egypt and Brazil.


Ph.D. College of Social Work, Florida State University

M.S.W. School of Social Work, Columbia University

M.P.H. School of Public Health, Columbia University

B.A., Semiotics, Brown University 

Research Interests:

Human rights & social work

Motherhood & trauma

Survivors of torture & asylum seekers

Arts & activism


Selected Publications:

McPherson, J. (2018) Exceptional and necessary: Practicing rights-based social work in the United States.Journal of Human Rights and Social Work. doi:10.1007/s41134-018-0051-x

McPherson, J.,**Cubillos Vega, C., & **Tang, I-C. (2018)Translating human rights: Creating culturally-specific human rights measures for social work in Spain, Taiwan, and the U.S. International Social Work International Social Work. doi: 10.1177/0020872818755864

McPherson, J.(2017) Notes from the Field: It’s Not About Love: Brazilian Social Work Celebrates 80 Years in the Fight for Social Rights Societies Without Borders: Journal of Human Rights & the Social Sciences,12(1)

McPherson, J., Siebert, C.F., & Siebert, D.C. (2017). Measuring rights-based perspective: A validation of the Human Rights Lens in Social Work Scale. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research.

McPherson, J. (2016). Article 25 changed my life: How the Universal Declaration of Human Rights blew my mind & reframed my social work practice. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping.

Berthold, S. Megan and McPherson, J. (2016). Commentary: Fractured Families: US Asylum Backlog Divides Parents and Children WorldwideJournal of Human Rights and Social Work, DOI 10.1007/s41134-016-0009-9

McPherson, J. & Cheatham, L.P. (2015). One Million Bones: Measuring the Effect of Human Rights Participation in the Social Work Classroom. Journal of Social Work Education, 51, 47-57.

McPherson,  J. (2015). You told me your story without words. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 28, 63-64.

McPherson, J. (2014). Human rights practice in social work: A U.S. social worker looks to Brazil for leadership. European Journal of Social Work, Vol. 18, Issue 4, Special Issue: “Traveling Knowledge in social work”

McPherson, J. & Mazza, N. (2014). Using arts activism and poetry to catalyze human rights engagement and reflection in social work education. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 33, 944-958

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