PhD Students

Rebecca Willis-Nichols


Master’s in Social Work, University of Kentucky
Bachelor’s in Psychology, University of Kentucky

Teaching Interests

  • Clinical Practice
  • Ethics

Research Interests

  • Military and Veteran Population
  • Suicide Prevention/Postvention
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Adult Mental Health


  • Adesiyan, R., Akomolafe, E., Dillman, H., Fields, C., Fitisone, K., Mountain, D., Rooks, D., Shahrjooihaghighi, E., & Willis-Nichols, R. (2024, March). Scholarship of teaching and learning in action: Example from a qualitative research course. Kentucky Association of Social Work Education Annual Conference. Lexington, KY.


Rebecca Willis-Nichols joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2012 as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use Disorder at the Lexington VA Healthcare System. In 2015, Mrs. Willis-Nichols began working within the Suicide Prevention Program and in 2021 was appointed VISN 9 Suicide Prevention Program Manager. Prior to this position, she provided leadership in Inpatient Psychiatry, the Emergency Department, Workplace Violence, Residential Rehabilitation Treatment, and Vocational Rehabilitation.
Mrs. Willis-Nichols graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2004. She received her Master of Social Work in 2006 and was awarded an independent license in 2009 from the state of Kentucky. In her current role, she provides coordination, oversight, and technical assistance of Suicide Prevention Programming for all VISN 9 medical centers and outpatient clinics.
Prior to her appointment at Veterans Affairs, she has seven years of experience in non-VA mental health services including child psychiatric care and family reunification. She has previous experience teaching Research at the undergraduate and graduate level at the University of Kentucky.