Nina Rovinelli Heller, PhD

Professor and Dean Emerita

Dr. Heller is Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She previously served as SSW Dean and Director and Co-Director of the Doctoral Program. She teaches clinical and behavioral health theory and practice courses in the MSW Individuals, Groups and Families concentration, and pedagogy and clinical theories in the doctoral program.  Her research and scholarship are in the areas of suicide and suicide prevention, social work theory, integrative approaches to practice, and mental health. She is co-editor and author of several books Enhancing Psychodynamic Theories with Cognitive Behavioral Theory (1998); Social Work and Social Problems: A Mental Health Perspective (2010); and Beyond the Risk Paradigm in Mental Health Policy and Practice. She served as a consultant to the State of Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board, leading the development of the state suicide prevention plan and has served on several related statewide committees. Dr. Heller has worked closely with the CT Department of Children and Families, Office of Early Childhood, and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to establish and develop robust research and clinical partnerships. She was a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Taskforce on Clinical Workforce Preparedness and is trained by the American Association of Suicidology as a psychological autopsy investigator. In 2019, Dr. Heller conducted forensic evaluation for asylum seekers on a social work/legal team at Berks Family Residential Center and York County Prison, Pennsylvania. She was a Co-PI on a three-year SAMHSA clinical training grant Transitioning Youth at Risk, a collaborative effort between the UConn SSW and the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and as PI on the CT State Department of Social Services Grant.  Dr. Heller was a member of the Nominating Committee of the National Association of Deans and Directors of schools of social work.

Research Interests

Clinical Social Work
Social Work Practice & Theory
Suicide – Clinical Interventions and Suicide Prevention
Social Work Pedagogy
Psychosocial Aspects of Mental Illness

Curriculum Vitae

View Nina Heller’s CV

Professor Nina Heller
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