Headshot of Roberta Sands

Roberta G. Sands, MSW, PhD

  • Professor Emerita

Link to Scholarly Papers

Professor Sands is known for her contributions to clinical social work practice in mental health, postmodern feminism, intergenerational family relations, and qualitative research. She was a member of the standing faculty of the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania from 1990 until her retirement in 2011 and continues to hold the title of Professor.

  • Dr. Sands’ research has been in the areas of gender, culture, and religion as they relate to family functioning and mental health.
  • At Penn she has taught courses in clinical social work practice, qualitative research, practice theory, and women’s issues; and provided leadership to the practice sequence
  • Recent qualitative research has been on Jewish women who have become Orthodox, African American women who have converted to Islam, and the impact of religious change on families in various parts of the world
  • Other research has been on mothers with serious mental illness and grandparents raising grandchildren.
  • She also participated in the evaluation of a multicultural training program for mental health providers in Pennsylvania.
  • Dr. Sands is the author of Interprofessional and Family Discourses: Voices, Knowledge, and Practice (co-authored with Marleen I. McClelland, 2002), and three editions of a mental health textbook (Clinical Social Work Practice in Behavioral Mental Health). She has written over 90 articles, book reviews, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries.

SP2 News

Alumni Stories

SP2 Alumna Named Southeast Division Representative of NASW-PA

Rachael Neff, a 2004 alumna of the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy &...

Image of Amy Castro Baker

Faculty & Research, Alumni Stories

Researchers Win Grant to Study Impact of Guaranteed Income Project

A duo of faculty researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Pennsylvania have received a Robert...

Control Societies speaker series

Faculty & Research

Innovative SP2 Faculty-Founded Speaker Series Awarded Additional Year of Grant Funding

As part of an ongoing University-wide initiative to foster diversity and inclusion, the Excellence Through Diversity Fund, awarded annually by the Provost’s...

Christina Bach on Penn's campus

Faculty & Research, Alumni Stories

Oncology Social Workers: Navigating Health Care and Supporting Families

When Christina Bach tells people what she does for a living, they usually respond with, “Oh, I could never do...

Discover More