Michelle Keller


Moving the Needle in Social Justice and Education: An Interprofessional Education (IPE) Approach to Improving Outcomes and Teacher Retention


Today’s classrooms experience a plethora of challenges affecting education outcomes for both teachers and students. Students and staff experience behavioral, mental health, societal, and organizational challenges that present as barriers to effective and successful education. Disparate outcomes are notably concerning for students with disabilities and children of color while educators are leaving their field at alarming rates. Although well intentioned, educators often struggle with the challenging behaviors presented in classrooms. Social work is uniquely positioned to provide strategies for educators through an interprofessional model of education (IPE). IPE offers strategies for disciplines to benefit from shared professional values and goals toward improving outcomes for client systems. IPE practices within medical models have shown to be effective in improving outcomes for patients by considering the patients in a holistic manner. Organizational barriers to effective IPE will be discussed with recommendations for implementation and potential curriculum development. Finally, IPE will be discussed as a social justice strategy to progress the Grand Challenges of Social Work and improve outcomes for marginalized populations.


Michelle Keller is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Kentucky with varied experience in mental health, education, and child protective services. She currently works as a therapist for Jefferson County Public Schools and within a private practice setting. Michelle is a Doctoral Candidate with the University of Kentucky College of Social Work with an anticipated graduation of May 2024 and teaches part time for the college as well. She previously spent 18 years within Child Protective Services for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She has both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from the University of Kentucky, and has been a recipient of the Beaven Eidetik Doctoral Research Fellowship for the past two years. She is a member of several professional organizations and is the College of Social Work representative for the UK Graduate School Congress, advocating for and supporting the needs of local, online, and international graduate students. Her research has centered around improving social justice and holistic outcomes for students in primary and secondary grades via an Interprofessional Education approach between education and social work within higher education settings.