Visiting Lecturer dr. Kelly Melekis in Social Work at VMU

This semester, Kelly Melekis is a Visiting Lecturer in Social Work at Vytautas Magnus University. Dr. Melekis is here as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and will be available for lectures and consultation in social work education, research methods, and gerontology. An Associate Professor and Chair of the Social Work Department at Skidmore College in upstate New York, Kelly received her BSW from the University of Vermont (UVM), MSW from the University of California at Berkeley, and PhD in Sociology and Social Work from Boston University. She holds a Certificate in Gerontology and is certified as an End-of-Life Doula.

As a gerontological social worker, Dr. Melekis’ scholarship focuses on 1) the health and well-being of vulnerable and oppressed older adults, particularly in terms of homelessness, housing, and social environment, and 2) the education and training of social workers, especially in terms of interprofessional practice in health and aging.  Underlying the substantive content of her research are methodological considerations rooted in social justice and a commitment to including the voices and perspectives of marginalized populations and those who serve them, thereby providing a comprehensive sense of what works, for whom, and in what ways.  Her work contributes to improved policy, program development, and effective interprofessional practice.

Kelly teaches courses on social work practice, research methods, and death, dying and bereavement. A gerontological social worker, her research and scholarship focus on improving the life conditions or experiences of vulnerable older adults, such as those experiencing homelessness, abuse and/or neglect. She conducts primarily community-based research, with an emphasis on collaborative, participatory methods.  Kelly has practiced as a clinical social worker in geriatric mental health and substance use, and taught social work practice, policy and research at Boston University, University of Hawaii, and University of Vermont.    In addition to precious time singing, dancing and laughing with her two daughters, and cooking yummy vegetarian food with her husband Mark (who is also a social worker!), Kelly loves traveling, reading memoirs, live music, the original Star Trek series, and maple lattes.