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Guitele J. Rahill, Ph.D., LCSW

Guitele J. Rahill, Ph.D., LCSW

Dr. Guitele Jeudy Rahill, Associate Professor and Interim Associate Director of Social Work in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) received her MSW (‘93) and Ph.D. (‘08) from Florida International University (FIU) where she was a Presidential Fellow. Dr. Rahill focuses on reducing health and mental health disparities for Haitians. Specifically, she is interested in syndemic interactions among traditional Haitian health beliefs and practices, structural violence, gender-based inequities, and non-partner sexual violence against females, rape empathy, geographical disasters, trauma, and HIV as a risk factor. She also focuses on adapting evidence-based behavioral interventions for the Haiti-context.

Dr. Rahill is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and author of the novella entitled Violated. Along with colleagues and USF students, she recently published one of the first works to examine the affective outcomes of non-partner sexual violence against women in post-disaster settings, i.e., The Language of Sexual Violence in Haiti:Perceptions of Victims, Community-level Workers, and Health Care Providers, and Symptoms of PTSD in a sample of female victims of sexual violence in post-earthquake Haiti. Most recently, she and colleagues published Adapting an evidence-based Intervention for HIV to avail access to testing and risk reduction counseling for female victims of sexual violence in post-earthquake Haiti. She has also published several peer reviewed articles in venues such as the American Journal of Public health, AIDS Care, the Journal of Affective Disorders, the Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health, the American Journal of Psychotherapy, and the Journal of Health care for the Poor and Underserved.

Dr. Rahill has used her decades of experience as an LCSW and her research accomplishments to enhance her teaching. She consistently receives outstanding teaching evaluations, in part because of the integration of her work and research experiences with the course content. She enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in research and has supervised the work of three doctoral students and been involved in thesis committees.

Dr. Rahill is one of 2 Principal Investigators on a 5-year Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health grant called S.H.A.R.E Haiti. That grant is a partnership between USF and Haitian researchers to create infrastructure and prevent HIV/AIDS among adolescents in Haiti. Faculty from CBCS Criminology, USF College of Public Health, and College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology serve as co-investigators who provide training and intensive mentorship to faculty at the Université d’ Etat d’Haiti (UEH), with the objective of building research infrastructure in Haiti, such that Haitian faculty who are embedded in the context can be empowered to develop and carry out their own research.  She also has completed a National Science Foundation funded research project examining the role of social capital in post-disaster housing recovery following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

In the interest of developing culturally relevant health and mental health interventions for Haitians, Dr. Rahill has partnered with the Haitian Association Foundation (Tampa), the Center for Haitian Studies (Miami) and with community partners in Haiti (Centre de Recherche pour le Développement, Université d’Etat d’Haiti and OREZON Cite Soleil). She has also presented at the Haitian Studies Association and the Haitian Mental Health Network conferences (Boston).

Dr. Rahill has served as keynote speaker and invited guest lecturer at several national and international conferences on the topics of Haitian health and mental health, contributing to knowledge on the development of Haitian health beliefs surrounding preferred health practices, the manner in which Haitians define health access, Haitian specific notions of trust, ideal characteristics of Haitian healers and maximizing the use of contextual strengths to engage and effectively treat Haitian Clients.

She has been honored with several awards for research excellence, for her focus on diversity and for mentoring diverse students.

Research Interests: Reducing health disparities and enhancing health outcomes for Haitians by increasing the uptake and implementation of evidence-based interventions in Haitian enclaves.