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

Michael Nutter and Lisa Nutter

Faculty & Research

Michael and Lisa Nutter to Launch Economic Mobility Initiative at SP2

In the United States, economic inequality is among the most pressing social issues of recent decades. The country’s wealth gap, which...

SaraKay Smullens

Alumni Stories

SP2 Alumna Receives Society for Social Work Leadership’s 2021 Kermit B. Nash Award

SaraKay Smullens, a 1965 alumna of the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy &...

Loran Grishow-Schade

Alumni Stories

SP2 Alum Honored for Ongoing Gender Identity Research, Work

For years, Loran Grishow-Schade, MSW ’20, MSSP ’21, has proven to be a prolific leader and fully-immersed pioneer in work...

MSW Student Alisa Branch

Student Life

“Always Something New to Know”: MSW Student Alisa Branch on Being a Non-Traditional Learner

Even after a three-decade career in the human services field, Alisa Branch still felt that she had more to learn,...

Discover More