Sheara Jennings is an Affiliate Fellow with the Center for Justice Research, an Associate Professor at the University of Houston (UH), and the Humana Endowed Chair in Social Determinants of Health with dual appointments in the UH Graduate College of Social Work and the UH College of Medicine. Her research has focused on the well-being of Black and LatinX students and families in the areas of academic achievement, teen pregnancy prevention, healthy marriage/relationships, and community-based interventions. Her research project with the Center for Justice Research examines the mental and emotional health responses of Black people at the intersection of COVID-19 and police misconduct.
In 2020, Dr. Jennings was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve on the City of Houston Health Equity Response Task Force in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impacts on minority, vulnerable, and under-resourced communities.
Currently, Dr. Jennings is a second term Commissioner for the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Membership and Professional Development, the Social Work Practice Cluster Co-Chair for the Society for Social Work and Research 2022 annual conference; and a member of the Good Life Outcomes Community Engagement Advisory Board which is a policy advocacy initiative of the community-based organization Change Happens, designed to affect change that addresses racial and social injustices.
Dr. Jennings holds a B.S. in rehabilitation psychology for Southern University, A&M; an M.S.W. from Louisiana State University; and a Ph.D. in social intervention research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her professional affiliations include the American Public Health Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Council on Social Work Education, and the Society for Social Work and Research.