Get to know BUSSW’s admirable off-campus program advisors

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Get to know BUSSW’s Off-Campus Program Advisors

April 1st, 2015 in Faculty, Off-Campus Programs, SSW News Releases

100 Years of Advising… and Counting!

Cape Cod Campus Faculty Advisor : Bill Dawber

Mr. Dawber has been a Faculty Advisor with the SEMA Program since 1984, the second year of the program’s existence. Having graduated from Boston College School of Social Work in 1964, he spent the initial 12 years of his professional career working within the Massachusetts State Correctional System. Positions he’s held have included functioning as a therapist to inmates as well as various supervisory and administrative roles. He has been an administrator and therapist at a private psychiatric hospital. In addition he has been a therapist in a number of community mental health clinics and is currently associated with Bayview Associates in Plymouth, MA, a division of South Shore Mental Health.


Fall River Campus Advisor : Patrick McCarthy

Dr. McCarthy has been a faculty advisor with the Fall River Program since September of 1984. In addition he has taught adult psychopathology at Boston University and at Boston College. He received his MSW and PhD from Boston College in 1975 and 1992, respectively. In addition to being a faculty advisor, Dr. McCarthy has a private practice in Mattapoisett, working primarily with adults and couples. When we asked Pat to share with us his favorite experience as an advisor he said, “Probably my most enjoyable times would be participating in the half-way celebrations and being able to witness Jim Garland work his group work magic by bringing out his ukulele and getting everyone fully involved. Priceless. Another favorite moment was with my NIF students at the very beginning going through the ‘what brings you to want to be a social worker’ sharing. After going around and students responding with variations of ‘I like helping people’ or ‘people always tell me I’m a good listener,’ the last student (who was not the oldest student to pass through the program) responded ‘I’m sixty years old and I am going to have to continue working for a long time. I need a job where I can sit down!'”

Fall River Campus Advisor : James E. Tooley

Mr. Tooley became an advisor for the SEMA Program in 1983. He was the first faculty advisor hired for the OCP Fall River.  He is currently in full-time private practice in New Bedford, MA, with Southeastern Counseling Associates, focusing on individual, family, and couples’ therapy. He also provides consultation to school systems, utilizes EMDR and EAP services.  He received his MSW in 1976 from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work with a concentration in clinical casework. James shared this interesting story with us:

“A recent experience is one that I find very satisfying. For a couple years, I taught at Providence College’s BSW program as an adjunct professor (1998-2000). While there, I taught a senior integrative seminar. A young women who grew up in NYC in a nonconventional undergraduate environment, was an outstanding student who had much promise. I choose her paper for an award and for her to read portions of it at a senior awards event. I never knew what happened to her until two years ago when the class of 2015 entered the program. When I got my assignments of students and meet with them, low and behold this very student was now an advisee of mine.  I am proud to say she is near graduation and an excellent student and I will be proud to call her a social worker and colleague come May 2015. Thank you Michele Marcello.”

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Student Spotlight: Cindi Borden (’17)

April 1st, 2015 in SSW News Releases, Students

Cindi is a Fall River student who received the employee of the year award from the Seven Hills Behavioral Health Foundation this past year. Cindi has worked for Seven Hills Behavioral Health for over 10 years. She was chosen as Employee of the Year because of the impressive contributions she has made to the agency and for the clients, as well as the tremendous personal accomplishments she has achieved in her studies.  

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Over the past 10 years, Cindi Borden has worked tirelessly as a clinician for Seven Hills Behavioral Health. Cindi has a friendly, gentle, easy-going spirit and selflessly supports all those around her. She approaches each day with gratitude, appreciation, and respect for the ability to do what she loves – help and encourage others. The way in which she naturally brings comfort to those around her, enables her to de-escalate situations often before they arise. Cindi is known for treating every person with dignity and respect, organizing site-wide opportunities that promote fun and fellowship, and taking on new challenges with open-minded optimism.

For years, Cindi has been supporting and encouraging others to take on new challenges, create change, believe in themselves, and overcome daily challenges. This year, she embraced this philosophy for herself as she has welcomed new challenges in her new supervisory role as the Coordinator of Recovery Services and in beginning her education towards a Masters in Social Work at Boston University. It is her ability to consistently motivate and engage others in a positive and empowering way that makes Cindi Borden our choice for employee of the year.

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Faculty Spotlight: Luz Lopez (Clinical Associate Professor)

April 1st, 2015 in Faculty, SSW News Releases

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 10.24.14 AMLuz Marilis López, Ph.D., MPH, MSW, is a Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University School of Social Work. Dr. Lopez’s research focuses on substance abuse and HIV prevention with Latinos and other diverse groups. Dr. Lopez’s practice focuses on group work that provides evidenced based intervention for people dealing with trauma and addiction recovery. Luz works in collaboration with two local substance abuse programs – Casa Esperanza, a Boston based program, and Tapestry Health, based in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Professor Lopez also developed and leads an annual summer cultural immersion travel program to Puerto Rico, where Boston University graduate students gain exposure to Puerto Rican culture, public health social work practice, and community participatory research with homeless substance users. Bilingual graduate students serve as research assistants and play a key role in conducting in-person interviews, and data collection and analysis. The goal is to compare substance abuse patterns between Puerto Ricans residing in Puerto Rico and those residing in Massachusetts. Graduate students hope to contribute to increased access to health care, and developing culturally appropriate HIV and addiction intervention programs for the homeless.


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Donna McLaughlin (Clinical Associate Professor) Receives 2015 Mary V. Lisbon Group Worker of the Year Award

March 23rd, 2015 in Faculty, SSW News Releases

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 1.05.20 PMProfessor Donna McLaughlin is the recipient of the 2015 Mary V. Lisbon Group Worker of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG). The award recognizes McLaughlin’s commitment, leadership, and contributions around the field of social work with groups.

McLaughlin received the award on Friday, March 20 at the Massachusetts Chapter Spring Conference entitled “Social Change through Group Work: Empowering Individuals and Communities” held at Wheelock College, Brookline Campus.

“Donna is honored to be recognized by this group of social work professionals,” Dean Gail Steketee said. BUSSW was well represented at the conference with 16 current students, numerous alumni, fellow faculty Clinical Associate Professor Mark Gianino, several part-time lecturers (Sera Godfrey, Adam Glick, Liz Hudson, Leah Hart Tennen), and Professor Emeritus Lois Levinsky in attendance.

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Did You Know? Mark Gianino & the Tanglewood Festival Chorus

March 18th, 2015 in Faculty, SSW News Releases

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 10.26.33 AMRecently, BUSSW has been speaking with members of our school community to explore their “hidden talents.” So, when we learned that Clinical Associate Professor Mark Gianino sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC) in his “free” time, we had to know more.

Professor Gianino joined the renowned Tanglewood Festival Chorus in 1996, bringing with him a rich history of singing. Back in high school—Gianino attended nearby Arlington High School—he really began pursuing singing thanks to a great music teacher. “I didn’t have much experience,” Gianino said. “But I had a wonderful music teacher who suggested I join the all-state choir. I began performing in competitions around the state and never looked back.”

Since then, Gianino said he’s remained engaged in the arts. “It’s just this sense of peace, harmony, and exhilaration that comes from the creation of music,” he said.

Singing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus—the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra—is no easy feat. The chorus itself has approximately 280 members who are pulled in to perform during the regular concert season, summers out at Tanglewood and the Pops holiday concerts. Since 1970, the chorus has been conducted by John Oliver, who recently announced he will step down after this season.

“A colleague of mine in the chorus calls the TFC a merciless meritocracy. I agree!,” Gianino said. Every few years, members are re-auditioned to ensure voices are still ripe for performing. “We’re performing at a very high level.” The group often sings in other languages—everything from Latvian to Latin—and all performances are done from memory.

Over the years, the chorus has been involved in many important works, including numerous commissioned pieces. In February 1998, the chorus represented the United States in the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics when Seiji Ozawa led six choruses on five continents, all linked by satellite, in Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The chorus also sang on the soundtrack to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

For Gianino, one of his most memorable experiences took place at Carnegie Hall after 9/11 in October 2001. The Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus performed a powerful and moving rendition of Berlioz’ Reqiuem, in remembrance of the victims of 9/11. “It ended on this quiet ’amen.’ The conductor, Seiji Ozawa, held his hand up in the air to keep the audience from applauding at the end of the piece and the only thing that broke the silence was the sobbing of audience members,” Gianino recalled. “It was a transformative and healing moment that really reminded me of the power of music to bring a community together.”

The sentiment that choruses are a place for social healing is one that Dean Emeritus Hubie Jones (’57) echoed as well. Jones felt that choruses were an important source of community involvement, which is why he founded the Boston Children’s Chorus in 2001. “These are special kinds of groups,” Gianino said. “You need to come together and look at the whole picture. The impact of choral singing is that the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.” That kind of logic is occasionally intertwined into Gianino’s own teaching. As an expert in group work, Gianino said he speaks with his students about the connection between group work and choral groups such is the role of the conductor and facilitator, both of whom guide the proceedings to attend to not only the experience of the group-as-a-whole but to each of its individual members. There is a role for harmony and occasional dissonances in all kinds of groups including choral groups that lead to cohesion and other elements at play in a functioning group.

Gianino admits being a member of the chorus can be challenging—members are expected to memorize their parts prior to rehearsals. Then, rehearsals are focused on the run itself. Individuals might be committed to between six and eight performances a year. During a performance, Gianino might be on consecutively for several days, such as a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

“It’s also a lot of fun. People who sing in the chorus range from scientists to music teachers—and, of course, the occasional social worker. I might complain about the rehearsals and that I don’t have enough time. I might say, ‘Oh this is it I’m done.’ But, I don’t think I’ll ever be done, I’m just going to hang on here as long as I can,” he laughed.

Catch Gianino in his next performance on April 27 for the Boston premiere of “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín.” For more information, click here.

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Alumni Q&A: Susan Pullen (’90)

March 11th, 2015 in Alumni, SSW News Releases

We recently caught up with Susan Pullen. Pullen earned her MSW at BUSSW in 1990. She is currently a Behavioral Health Clinician at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Pediatric Primary Care.


What made you choose BU and social work?
I was really drawn to the strong urban tradition of the school, and the focus on social justice was a big part of the school’s mission. BUSSW really exemplified that value—the faculty and students were working in diverse communities throughout the city. I studied at Tuft’s University for my undergraduate degree. I had done some volunteer work in the city and knew social work was the right path for me.

Did you begin the program with an interest in clinical or macro practice?
There were a lot of options and variety—clinical concentration, macro social work, policy and planning, etc. That was really appealing for me at the time because I wasn’t sure of which exact direction I wanted to go in. I also felt a strong sense of the approachability of the faculty. They made a big effort to personally connect with the students. Ultimately, I did my field internship in a clinical area and really valued the experience.

How did your education at BU set your career in motion?
At BU, my field experience provided me with the opportunity to work with and interact with diverse communities of people that I might not have otherwise. This experience really changed my perspective on the world—and my own place in it. In particular, working with an urban, inner city population opened my eyes to what I wanted for my career. While at BU, I worked in a community mental health setting, as well as at University Hospital, which is now Boston Medical Center. Both of those internship experiences taught me a lot about the opportunities I had been given in my life. Seeing the strength and resilience of the people I worked with was humbling.

What were your next steps post-graduation?
Following graduation, I worked at Boston City Hospital with the Pediatric HIV Program. My responsibilities were an extension of the work I had done with children and families in community mental health and at University Hospital during my master’s program.

What kind of work were you doing?
I worked collaboratively on a multidisciplinary team on a coordinated care system, and also in connection with parents and caregivers of patients. One of the experiences that was most rewarding to me during this time was helping to organize a trip for the families to the National Pediatric HIV Awareness Day that was held on the Mall [National Mall] in Washington, DC. Some parents of the children cared for in the clinic spoke at the event. Helping organize the trip and going along with them was really special.

Tell us a little about how your career has progressed over the years.
A common thread throughout my entire career so far has been working with children and families. From 1995-2001, I enjoyed facilitating and teaching a psycho educational group called the Parents in Distress Program developed at Dartmouth College. This was a court-mandated program for parents and children following substantiated child abuse and neglect. I saw that people would begin this group feeling angry about being made to attend by the court. What was rewarding was seeing that by the end of the process, the individuals who stuck with it were changed by having been a participant in the program and were confident in saying their family situations had improved. Witnessing this change in people was remarkable. The program was curriculum based. This experience helped me realize how much I enjoyed the creativity of teaching and the empowerment that comes through learning. I was inspired to go back to school for certification in elementary education. I taught middle and upper elementary school for 9 years.

What are you up to these days?
I work at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Pediatric Primary Care. My title is Behavioral Health Clinician. My role is to support the mental health needs of patients in a primary care setting. This is a new program at Dartmouth that is still under development. An initial aspect of our program is to screen all patients 12 and up during their annual “well-child” visits. The screening instrument is on a tablet; included on the tablet are measures of risk for depression, and for risk of substance misuse or abuse. Those are two groups that we’re identifying, reaching out and responding to. The response might involve meeting with a patient and a provider during a medical visit. I also meet with patients outside of the scope of the medical visit to complete further assessment. I work with patients to develop a care plan and coordinate with professionals in the community. Some of my work also involves providing counseling in the primary care setting. The longer-term vision is to integrate behavioral health care by infusing education about these important issues throughout the primary care system.

Outside of work—how do you engage in self-care? What are some of your hobbies?
I like to sing. I’ve always enjoyed being physically active—running, exercise classes, dancing. I love to read and am a member of a book group. I’m a member of a spiritual companions group and am a member of my church. I like to play piano. And I especially like to spend time with my family. Both of my daughters currently attend BU, so I frequently visit the campus and still find it very near to my heart.

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Downsizing the Home: Dr. Gail Steketee Shares Her Insights on Hoarding

March 2nd, 2015 in Faculty, SSW in the Media

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.39.08 PMBUSSW’s Dean Gail Steketee discusses the difference between clutter and hoarding in her assessment of the emotional connections to items.  She is highly esteemed in her field.  Her work highlights her expertise in obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders.  She co-authored the book, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, and the first edited scholarly volume on hoarding disorder, The Oxford Handbook of Hoarding and Acquiring.  She also co-authored Buried in Treasure: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving and Hoarding.  She frequently gives lectures and workshops on the subject to professionals and public audiences around the nation and abroad.  Gain more insight on Dean Steketee’s work through her interview with Downsizing the Home. 



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BUSSW’s Professor Tom Byrne and Colleagues Named One of the Five Finalists of the Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize

March 2nd, 2015 in Faculty, SSW News Releases

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BUSSW’s Professor Tom Byrne and his colleagues were named as one of five finalists of the University of Chicago Press Social Service Review’s Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize for “The Relationship between Community Investment in Permanent Supportive Housing and Chronic Homelessness.”

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BU Today: Professor Hahm’s Discussion of the Mental Health Impact of “Model Minority” Pressures

March 2nd, 2015 in Faculty, SSW News Releases


Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 1.18.31 PMProfessor Hyeouk “Chris” Hahm has dedicated her work at BUSSW to protecting the mental health and sexual health of Asian American women.  She founded BUSSW’s Asian American Women’s Health Initiative Project (AWSHIP) and the federally funded Asian Women’s Action for Resilience and Empowerment (AWARE).  AWARE seeks to improve the mental and sexual health of Chinese American, Vietnamese American, and Korean American young women with a sensitivity towards cultural differences and experiences.  Hahm is now developing a new clinical trial called the “full AWARE intervention.”  This trial includes group psychotherapy sessions that will integrate issues of family, culture, and gender.  Hahm calls the clinical trial “integrative, holistic, and innovative.”  AWARE, which is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, grew from stories Hahm heard from diverse groups of Asian American women, who all felt the commonality of being swayed between mainstream American culture and their parents’ traditional culture while growing up and experiencing young adulthood.

Hahm’s work to ease mental health risk among Asian American women is discussed in her latest publication, “Model Minority” Pressures Take Mental Health Toll.  Click here to read more and see video testaments of young women in the AWARE program.

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Journal of Social Work Education: “Teaching Note—Educating Public Health Social Work Professionals: Results From an MSW/MPH Program Outcomes Study”

January 21st, 2015 in Faculty, SSW in the Media

Clinical Professor and Director of the Dual Degree Program in Social Work and Public Health Betty J. Ruth, along with Jamie Wyatt Marshall, Esther E. M. Velásquez, and Sara S. Bachman recently published the results of their study of MSW/MPH graduates in the Journal of Social Work Education’s winter 2015 issue.

In “Teaching Note—Educating Public Health Social Work Professionals: Results From an MSW/MPH Program Outcomes Study,” researchers examined “the emerging popularity of MSW/MPH programs” and interviewed 214 alumni of a well-established program, asking questions regarding salary and career satisfaction, as well as identification within the public health social work field.

To read the article in full, click here.

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