School of Health and Human Sciences

Sonyia Richardson, Ph.D., M.S.W., L.C.S.


Dr. Sonyia Richardson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, Director of the Race and Social Equity Research Academy, and the Founder and Director of the Mental Health Research and Practice Lab at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

As a clinical behavioral researcher, her agenda focuses on developing and testing novel interventions aimed at reducing suicide among Black youth. Further, she aims to identify and remove barriers of mental health treatment for racially minoritized populations and eliminating resulting disparities through mixed methods research.

As a respected scholar in the field of social work, she has published two coedited books, produced numerous publications, and received over one million dollars in grant funding.

In addition to her work within academia, Dr. Richardson is engaged with local, state, and national initiatives. As a respected scholar in the field of social work, she was appointed to the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in 2020.

Additionally, she received the North Carolina National Association of Social Workers Award for the 2021 Social Worker of the Year for her leadership and advocacy efforts. Locally, Dr. Richardson is the founder and owner of Another Level Counseling and Consultation, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For over 15 years, the agency has been instrumental in providing counseling services, facilitating corporate and community wellness workshops, and providing consultation services internationally to corporations. These entrepreneurial skills support her ability to create successful collaborative research teams.

Dr. Richardson is currently a Researcher Resiliency Training (RRT) Fellow (National Institutes of Mental Health Funded Training Program) at Washington University in St. Louis and receives mentoring and didactic instruction concerning child and adolescent behavioral health.

Recently, Dr. Richardson was selected by the National Institutes of Health to participate in the 2022 Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials.

Dr. Richardson earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

CWHW Fall 2022 Lecture

Addressing Suicide among Diverse Adolescent Girls with Community-Engaged Intervention Development

October 20, 2022 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, EUC Auditorium. Watch this event on our YouTube channel!

Suicide-related behaviors are increasing among adolescent girls at alarming rates, particularly in racially and sexually minoritized populations. Youth engaging in suicide-related behaviors (ideation, planning, and attempts) are at a higher risk for future death by suicide. Yet, minimal efforts have focused on developing and testing culturally responsive interventions, particularly in collaboration with the community. Utilizing the ORBIT Model (Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials), we explored intervention development and refinement, focusing on community-engaged approaches with minoritized populations.

This lecture highlighted the importance of an intersectional lens for examining data to inform innovative intervention development and collaborating with the community in solving complex problems.

Fall 2022 Workshop Co-Sponsored by the HHS Office of Research

Strategies for Early Phase Research: Developing and Refining Interventions for Minoritized Populations

Hosted on Friday, October 21st from 9:30 – 11:30 am in the Nursing and Instructional Building, Room 510. Watch this event on our YouTube channel, and follow along with this information from the workshop!


The development of innovative interventions are needed to respond directly to the needs of racially and sexually minoritized populations. In this application-based workshop, attendees developed and refined interventions for responding to complex health and behavioral health problems. We discussed techniques for successfully engaging and partnering with the community for culturally inclusive intervention development and refinement using the ORBIT Model (Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials). Attendees engaged in small group work sessions to apply content from the workshop to further build their research agendas and methodologies. Lastly, we discussed funding mechanisms to support intervention development and refinement.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • To enhance methodological approaches for intervention development using the ORBIT Model.
  • To learn techniques for successful community-engaged research with diverse populations
  • To increase awareness of funding mechanisms to support research agendas.

Fall 2022 Women’s Networking Lunch

Hosted on Friday, October 21st following the Scholarly Workshop in the Nursing and Instructional Building, Room 510

Women faculty and students were invited to network over lunch, hear about Dr. Sonyia Richardson’s successes and challenges, pearls of wisdom, followed by a Q&A and discussion – which provided an opportunity for students and young faculty to hear from those who are in positions they aspire to be.