Panel: Wellness and Self-Care — COVID-19 and Beyond
March 21, 2021

Anxiety, sadness, stress, and loneliness. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our mental and physical health. Join us at noon on April 1 for a virtual discussion on wellness and self-care with three UT faculty members who are experts at helping individuals and families cope with the stresses of life. Learn good habits of self-care that can carry you through — and beyond — the pandemic.

This discussion, hosted by the UT Libraries’ Diversity Committee, will feature panelists Patricia Bamwine (College of Social Work), Kristina Gordon (Department of Psychology); and Javiette Samuel (Department of Child and Family Studies; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement). The event will be moderated by Cynthia Finch, a social work and health care professional.

Join us via Zoom from noon to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 1, at


Photo of Patricia Bamwine

Patricia Bamwine is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work. She received extensive training in community-based participatory research (CBPR) with adolescents through the T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. Bamwine received both her PhD and master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Campbellsville University and MA in Sociology from Western Kentucky University. Her work is interdisciplinary in that it draws from public health, sociology, thanatology, and social welfare. She utilizes a critical and constructionist perspective to design mixed-methods projects that examine the intersection of gender, race, and class as they relate to social problems such as violence. She is currently focused on interventions that support young people after the loss of a loved one to homicide. Her hope is that this work will aid in the development and improvement of service design and delivery to reduce negative life outcomes for young people of color.  

Kristina Gordon received her PhD in clinical psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill after completing an internship at the Brown University Consortium. She is currently Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Tennessee. She is a Past-President and Fellow of the Society for Couple and Family Psychology (APA Division 43). She serves on the editorial board for three family journals and has co-authored numerous publications on couple distress. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband and two daughters, where she maintains a small private practice.

Javiette Samuel is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement, Director of Community Engagement and Outreach, and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee. She is an experienced engaged scholar with a unique combination of educational, interpersonal, and creative skills. She has worked with P-20 students, families, and underrepresented communities for nearly 25 years, focusing on engagement, outreach, and evidence-based programs.

Samuel cultivates relationships with national, state, and regional partners; works with units across campus to connect UT’s knowledge with the community in mutually beneficial ways; identifies and tackles complex issues to help improve the well-being of our state’s citizens; and partners with units across campus on initiatives that ensure access and are designed to address recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff. Her primary applied research focus has been on child development, positive youth development, and family well-being. She is especially passionate about addressing educational disparities, early warning signs of disengagement from school and learning, mentoring, and increasing parental involvement.

Samuel has served as a faculty member and extension administrator at the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, and Tennessee State University. A three-time UT alumna, Samuel earned her bachelor’s in 1996, master’s in 1999, and doctorate in 2002. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She enjoys reading, writing poetry, outdoor adventures, and spending quality time with her beautiful granddaughters.


Cynthia Finch is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, with a Bachelor’s of Art in Human Services and Master’s in Social Work Administration and Planning. She is a Licensed Master of Social Work. Her professional career spans over 30 years in health care, as a manager, owner and a clinician. In 2017, Finch launched her business, New Direction Health Care Solutions. New Direction focuses on innovative approaches to dealing with health care disparities for people of color. Hospice and end-of-life care is truly her calling. Her other professional employment has led her through the public and private sector, in government, non-profit and industry professional work. 

Finch has dedicated herself to tackling the pandemic crisis by ensuring that African Americans and people of color have access to information, services, and vaccine as it comes available. One of her major feats has been the coordination of vaccine clinics in the African American community and securing over 4,000 vaccines for people of color. She has sponsored numerous events., i.e., COVID-19 testing, flu shots, coordination of care at the East Knoxville Free Medical Clinic, and so many more activities to support the community. Her recent efforts include launching the Faith Leaders Church Initiative to work with churches to plan and prepare for reopening and VACImpact, an educational outreach program around the pandemic and vaccine.