Johnnie Hamilton-Mason


Johnnie Hamilton-Mason, PhD, MSW focuses her research on African American women and families, the intersection of cross-cultural theory and practice, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. In addition to her work at Simmons, Hamilton-Mason is the Inaugural Visiting Scholar at Embrace Boston. Hamilton-Masson has conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative research related to HIV/AIDs in Africa and in the United States; studied survivors of Hurricane Katrina to understand community capacity, survival, and resilience in post-Katrina New Orleans; and examined the impact of workplace stress and coping responses on African American women. Her interdisciplinary work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Polly Dickson Foundation, and the African Bridge Network. Additionally, Hamilton-Mason has been awarded fellowships at Harvard University's W.E.B. DuBois Institute and at the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts and Humanities at Simmons.

Hamilton-Mason serves on several national boards and committees, including the Research Education Collaborative for the Palestinian Al Quds University, the Massachusetts Advocacy for Children, and the Boston-area Heritage Guild. She was named the Massachusetts National Association of Social Worker's "Social Work Educator of the Year," in 2013, received the Council on Social Work Education's "Feminist Scholarship Award," in 2019, the National Association of Black Social Worker's "Distinguished Professor of the Year Award" in 2020 and the Greater Boston Association of Black Social Workers "Sankofa Community Development Award" 2016. Hamilton-Mason has co-authored Systemic Racism in the United States: Scaffolding as Social Construction (2018). Through her work as the Visiting Scholar at Embrace Boston, funded by the Boston Foundation, Hamilton-Mason is currently writing the official history of the League of Women for Community Service, one of the oldest continuously running Black women's clubs in the United States.

Among the core themes of her teaching, research, publications, and consulting projects are the analysis of systems of oppression, anti-racism, and multi-cultural approaches, as well as the consequences of dominance and subordination for social justice and physical and mental health both locally and globally. As a social work educator, she fosters an international understanding of effects of economic and social globalization, as well as national and regional political transformation, on vulnerable populations.

Hamilton-Mason earned a M.S.W. from Simmons College and her Ph.D. from Smith College School for Social Work. 


  • M.S.W.
  • Ph.D.


  • Realities of Racism and Oppression
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Political Action Strategies for Clinical Social Workers
  • Leadership II
  • Clinical Practical
  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Practice with Refugees and Immigrants

Research/Creative Activities

Family Life Stress, Problem Solving, Coping, and Adaptability Among African American related Mothers and Daughters

Goals of the Study

Are there differences between the stress levels of unrelated mothers and daughters with high self-esteem compared to those with low self-esteem, the individual and family problem solving effectiveness, direct coping behaviors, family adaptation, cohesion, and satisfaction and family style

Focus of the Study

  • What factors significantly correlate with self-esteem?
  • To what extent do these factors account for variances in self-esteem?
  • How is the self-esteem of African American women related to stress levels, individual and family problem solving, and family adaptation?


Selected Publications

Mbao, M., Keefe, B., Almeida, J., & Hamilton-Mason, J. (2023). Care Managers in the Aging Network: Increasing Self-Efficacy in Human Service Providers. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 0(0).

Mbao, M. and Hamilton-Mason, J. (2021), "On the go – parents are working 24/7", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 259-273.

Hamilton-Mason, J., Wewiorski, N. & Tourse, R. (2021) Three pioneers at clark atlanta university: Their impact on dismantling racial scaffolding.

Ganson, K. & Hamilton-Mason, J. (2019). Not "My Territory:" How Gender Role Socialization Impacts Father Involvement in Caring for a Child with an Eating Disorder, Smith College Studies in Social Work, 89:1, 18-37, DOI: 10.1080/00377317.2019.1601917

Hamilton- Mason, J. (2019) Antiracism and Social Movements Highlighted during National Social Work Month

Brown J., Hamilton-Mason, J., Maramaldi, P., & Barnhill, LJ. (2018). Beyond the Surface of Consumer-Staff Relationships. Global Journal Intellect Developmental Disability. 4(4): 555641. DOI: 10.19080/GJIDD.2018.04.555641

Selected Presentations

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2019, June). Black and Brown in White Spaces, 100 Social Work Voices on the Vineyard, Martha's Vineyard, MA.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2019, April) Financial Planning for Social Workers. National Association of Black Social Workers, National Association Black Social Worker's Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2019). Anti-Racism and Systemic Scaffolding, National Association of Social Workers, MA. LEAD DAY, Keynote Speaker, Boston, MA.

Hamilton-Mason, J (2018) African American Mothers and Daughters: Speaking Truth to Power about Self Esteem and Coping, National Association Black Social Worker's Annual Conference San Diego, CA.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2017, August). Coping strategies for mothers and daughters.

Cape Coast Ghana, Africa.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2017, April) African American Mothers and Daughters: Speaking Truth to Power about Self Esteem and Coping, National Association Black Social Worker's Annual Conference in DC

Deepak, A., Tower, L., Chiarelli-Helminiak, C., Hamilton-Mason, J., Bernard Kominkiewicz, F., McClerklin-Motley, S., & Anyikwa, V. (2016, November). Women's Rights are Human Rights: The Price Women Pay for Caregiving Council on Social Work Education APM, Atlanta, GA.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2014, September). Coming of Age: The Experience of Multi Cultured Youth. National Association of Social Workers, Belmont, Ma.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2014, October). Race and Racism in Clinic and Culture, MIP Academic Outreach Committee, Psychology and the Other's Psychosocial Work Group, Simmons College.

Faul, A., Toner, L., Hamilton-Mason, J., Collins, W., & Gibson, P. (2013, October). Work-life fit: The intersection of developmental lifecycle and academic lifecycle. Annual Meeting of Council on Social Work Education, Dallas, Texas.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2013, August). Stressing them out: The everyday conflicts and stressors in the lives of black women and how they cope, National Association of Black Social Workers, Havana, Cuba.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2013, August). Listening to Women: the intersection of HIV & Violence, International Consortium for Social Development, Kampala, Uganda.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • South End Community Mental Health Center - Senior Clinical Consultant - 1997-Present
  • Multicultural AIDS Coalition - Consultant Popular Education and Clinical Supervisor - 1999-2010

Johnnie Hamilton-Mason in the News

Professor of Social Work Johnnie Hamilton-Mason

Professor Hamilton-Mason Honored by Haymarket People’s Fund

The Haymarket People's Fund has described Professor Johnnie Hamilton-Mason as “an interdisciplinary researcher” and honored her for her work in support of the Fund.

Professor of Social Work Johnnie Hamilton-Mason

Professor of Social Work Johnnie Hamilton-Mason Researches Leadership and Advocacy of Boston’s Black Women

Founded in 1919, the League of Women for Community Service is a Boston-based Black women's organization that still exists today. According to Professor Hamilton-Mason , the League helped cultivate Black womanhood in a nurturing and supportive way. Members of the...

Simmons students march for women's lives, Washington D.C., March 9, 1986, courtesy of Simmons University Archives

Simmons Celebrates Women’s Equality Day

Since 1971, the United States has recognized Women's Equality Day to commemorate women's right to vote and the anniversary of the 19 th amendment. Simmons University faculty have produced pioneering research on the history of women's struggle for equity. Students...

Headshot of Professor Johnnie Hamilton-Mason

Professor Johnnie Hamilton-Mason Researches South End’s League of Women as King Boston Visiting Scholar

As King Boston's inaugural Visiting Scholar, School of Social Work Professor Johnnie Hamilton-Mason supports the organization's research infrastructure while delving into her own research on the League of Women for Community Service, an organization created by and for Black women in the South End of Boston in the 1940’s.

Associate Professor Lisa Hussey

Don’t Call Yourself an Ally: Researching Racial Issues in LIS

"Being an ally requires time, emotional effort, and risk," says SLIS Professor Lisa Hussey. "These are not always things that people think about when they say they're an ally. Posting something to Facebook saying you're an ally is a place...

Headshot of Professor Johnnie Hamilton-Mason

Simmons University School of Social Work Faculty Member Named Distinguished Educator of the Year

The National Association of Black Social Workers recognizes Dr. Johnnie Hamilton-Mason with the Distinguished Educator of the Year award.

Headshots of Johnnie Hamilton Mason and Hugo Kamya

New Study Highlights Work Experiences and Career Needs of Massachusetts Human Services Workers who are Foreign-born and People of Color

Four Massachusetts nonprofit human services agencies commission study by Simmons University and African Bridge Network.

Shout-outs from Students and Alums

Mbita Mbao ‘22PhD

Mbita Mbao ‘22PhD Offers Wisdom and Caring for an Aging Population

When Mbita Mbao ’22PhD was looking for a doctoral program in social work, Simmons met all of her requirements: a Boston location and the ability to take all of her in-person classes in one day per week. More important than these criteria, Simmons had professors she clicked with.