MenHealing Board of Directors
A native of Ogden, Utah, Debra Daniels, received her BSW from Utah State University in 1979 and her first employment was as a young social worker. She began working with children in foster care system, adoption and youth advocacy. This began her role for advocacy and speaking for those who voices were rarely valued. She completed her Masters of Social Work at the University of Utah in 1984 and began a rich and rewarding career. Over the years she worked with teens, female and male identified youth, violence prevention serving several communities, working with young males who were in treatment for sexual violations, sexual misconduct and other forms of violence. From this she found herself at the Rape Recovery Center which allowed her to evaluate her work with adolescent males and realized what her previous work had taught her. Trauma, crisis intervention and healing has been the focus of her work until her final position at the University of Utah.
Debra retired from the University of Utah after 17 years of service as Director of the Women’s Resource Center. During that time, she was Co-Chair of the Student Affairs Diversity Council, Co-Chair of the Anti-Racism Task Force, and Co-facilitator of a campus and community dialogue group, providing dialogue training for various departments on campus. During her time at the University of Utah she worked on a variety of initiatives and projects that addressed social justice concerns on campus, in the classroom and in the community. Prior to that she worked with very challenging issues and was required to establish and create brave spaces to facilitate the many difficult conversations and issues faced on campus and the ability to work with a variety of campus and community partners.
She was also the Co-founder of Umoja (which means Unity in Swahili) an organization that provided trainings and education for several groups in the community that focused on healthy relationships and the reduction of relationship violence in our community. This work included working with an all-male group for 10 years. Debra continues to be extremely passionate about these issues and values in her work and her personal life. As an activist and advocate, this continues to be important in her day-to-day life. She continues to look for ways to be involved.
Debra’s career has allowed her to engage with work that continues to be meaningful and a part of her day-to-day experience. She states: “I have had a great career and opportunity to bring my passion regarding social justice, seeking equity and being an advocate for those marginalized to all of the professional positions I have held, even when there wasn’t a name for it. This includes my own issues of oppression and privilege. They have been a gift and it is for me an ongoing part of my every day existence. ‘There is no arrival time!'”