Brenda looks for ways to support innovation, champion consumer empowerment, and uplift communities which are under-resourced. She believes passionately that housing is a human right and a key element in the fight for social justice. Brenda views her role as a partner, ally, and teacher informed by ongoing and lifelong learning. She wants to uplift marginalized populations challenged with mental health and substance use problems along with criminal justice involvement, gender, and racial disparities. She has focused on trauma throughout her professional career, exploring ways to transform human service systems so they take trauma into account and promote healing.
Brenda currently supports and develops programs for unhoused persons and under-resourced communities, in her roles with the Keck School of Medicine’s Street Medicine Program and as a local consultant. She also works with students to develop professional skills in social work, public health, and medicine through the University of Southern California (USC). Brenda provided innovative leadership from 2016-2021 to create, implement, and sustain the USC Initiative to Eliminate Homelessness. There, she led efforts to design, support, and implement new resources for students on campus to reduce food and housing insecurity. She also organized major conferences, created a range of new learning opportunities for students, and supported multiple research efforts on homelessness to meet community needs. Previously, she managed and developed a range of behavioral health services, focused on treatment and prevention in both outpatient and residential settings. Ms. Wiewel is an active Rotarian and Chair of the NASW Social Work Women’s Council, providing advocacy and professional education for licensure.
A sample of Brenda’s research includes her role as the principal investigator for a south Los Angeles network of agencies, collecting outcome data on their work around COVID 19 and producing an annual impact report for 2020, overseeing more than a dozen students from the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Public and Population Health in the process. Brenda has also collaborated on a study of student basic needs and a study of unhoused older adults with colleagues at USC.