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Class Notes

Promotion? New Grandchild? Published a book? Honored with an award? You can share your news and updates with fellow alumni in the Class Notes section of the SSW website.

  • Krista Powers, MSW '03

    “I quit my job. I was a single, 42-year-old woman and I quit my job. It was an awesome job.” These are the opening sentences of my book, Midlife Calm: An Alternative to Midlife Crisis, published in June 2022. This is the moment that cast me forth into my midlife calm and my current vocation of coaching – both centered around creating freedom, abundance, and generosity. My story is about getting closer to my authentic truths, clarity about what I was avoiding, and self-trust. My intention for Midlife Calm is to create curiosity in individuals, sparking conversations, cultivating new paradigms, shifting cultural norms, and healing our world. All of which happens one human at a time. It is the honor of a lifetime to be present with people as they unleash their potential and step into lives they have always dreamed of living. It is a blessing to create financial stability all while being true to myself and in contribution to the world. It is a gift to be in this adventure of life!
  • William Cabin, MSW '04, PhD '08

    My most recent publication is now available online. It is a qualitative study of hospice social workers' perceptions of flaws in the Medicare Hospice Benefit. It followed a similar study of hospice nurses. Here are the links: Cabin, W. (2022). It’s Just Too Much: The Financial Calculus in Hospice. Home Health Care Management and Practice. Published online June 8, 2022: https://doi.org/10.1177/10848223221102544 Cabin, W. (2022). The Hospice Algorithm: Capitalizing on Death and Dying. Home Health Care Management and Practice. Published online March 18, 2022: https://DOI:10.1177/10848223221085992
  • Cristina Mogro-Wilson, MSW '03

    My social work career began at UofM where I learned the importance of research. The skills and knowledge I gained there has led me to my faculty career. I have been promoted to full Professor. I am the first Latina full professor in the history of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. It’s a reflective moment: What’s more important, the journey or the destination? My answer without a doubt is the company along the way, the relationships we build. Without my supportive family, friends, colleagues and mentors I would never have made it here. My vision for what is next is clear: to raise up the academic mothers, doctoral students, minority scholars, and all those on this path, to success.
  • Chyrell Bellamy, MSW '93, PhD '05

    Chyrell Bellamy, PhD, MSW, associate professor of psychiatry, has been appointed director of the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH). Bellamy’s appointment took effect March 7, 2022. PRCH aims to be multicultural, antiracist and consists of a multi-disciplinary team of people with lived experience, practitioners, researchers, educators, and advocates whose mission is to promote civil rights, recovery and the restoration of citizenship/belonging among individuals with mental and physical health illnesses. Bellamy has been at Yale and with PRCH since 2006. She has an international reputation as a thought and practice leader and researcher in the areas of peer support/peer-run programs, leadership development, health disparities, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and co-production. Her research is focused on sociocultural pathways of recovery and healing from mental distress, trauma, mental illness, substance use, HIV, and other health or life challenges.
  • Michael Dover, MSW '80, PhD '03

    Michael A. Dover, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., B.S.W, LISW, has committed his entire life and career to social justice. His peer-reviewed publications include human needs, oppression/exploitation, microaggressions, and cross-cultural practice, including the first-ever entries on human need in the NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work. He was co-convenor of the Bertha Capen Reynolds Society and served as editor of Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. His students’ work was featured in NASW News, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where his op-eds appeared on human services, school funding, nuclear disarmament, police use of force, youth unemployment, and human needs. His AAUP Academe blog on Ending Institutional Racism in Higher Education led to his current research. He has been a member of NASW since 1977, promoting engagement amongst his students and advocating for improvements within the organization. In 2011, he served as co-founder of the Cuyahoga County Conference on Social Welfare.
  • Cherish Fields , MSW '11

    Alum Cherish Fields becomes an author in the book "Where Social Work Can Lead You". When most people think of Social Work; Child Protective Services, low wages, and challenging work may come to mind. This book is a refreshing and eye-opening view into the humans behind the profession; the journeys into, around, and even out of Social Work. In this book, you will find stories of journeys from long ago and journeys just beginning. Storytelling is social action. This is collective building through journey stories shared. This book serves as a professional call to action. All those who come into, around, or out of social work have a personal journey, and directly parallel, all those served by the field of social work have a journey story. Let’s be reminded that the helping profession of social work was in fact built on passions professionalized. To Purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09VY7PQ2R
  • John Paul Abenojar, MSW '05

    Dr. John Paul Abenojar is a proud graduate of University of Michigan School of Social Work where he received his MSW degree specializing in human services management. He moved to Arlington, Virginia after graduation and began working as a social worker in long-term care facilities. At that time, he realized that one of his greatest passions was working with the elderly. Dr. Abenojar also founded the Napo Difference Initiative in his home country of the Philippines, with the mission of reaching out, raising hope, and changing society. Some of the programs included in the Napo Difference Initiative are the Kuya at Ate Peer Mentoring Program, the Quarterly Lecture Series, and the Summer Tutorial. In 2017, he received his Doctorate in Health Services from Walden University.
  • J Russell Garris, MSW '68

    The course work leading to my MSW provided an invaluable underpinning for understanding not only the interplay of individuals but also the role and ability of organizations (both formal and informal) to inform/influence/negotiate/dictate. This insight has assisted me in my 30+ years as a community organizer, settlement house director, public school building administrator, public and state central office administrator. Equally important was the interaction both in and out of the classroom with a diverse student body. This was augmented by a stimulating and challenging faculty that authored the research and writings that informed and challenged other academicians and practitioners.
  • Marcia Naomi (Fisch) Berger, MSW '68

    Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW ’68, recently published her second book, Marriage Minded: An A to Z Dating Guide for Lasting Love (She Writes Press, 2021). It’s a clear, witty, and positive guide to help women (and men too) find a true life partner. The format is a literal A-Z primer – A is for Ambivalence (and for Anxiety and Awesome; B is for Balance, Boundaries, and Be Yourself; C is for Character, Clarity, and Curiosity, etc. Underlying issues affecting our behaviors and actions and how to change them are noted. The writing is direct, wise, and thoroughly readable, a practical self-help primer in easily digestible, bite-sized sections. Helpful charts and exercises turn advice into action plans. “Marriage Minded thus is recommended reading for a wide audience of women (and men, too): daters of any age, and also those who are already married and who want to make better choices and decisions that support the relationship.”   —   Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review  
  • Barbara Rachelson, MSW '79

    I am serving in my 5th term in the Vermont legislature representing part of Burlington in the Vermont House and serving on the Judicial Nominating and House Judiciary committees. https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2022/20377 This semester, I am leading a Communities of Practice course for undergraduates at the University of Vermont, College of Arts and Sciences in public health. I recently wrapped up my job as Interim Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont, ultimately working with the board to become part of the Epilepsy Foundation of New England. I also serve on the national board of Human Rights for Kids, an awesome advocacy organization: https://humanrightsforkids.org/
  • Meredith Mason Remler, MSW '11

    I am Assistant Professor of Human Services/Social Work and Human Services Program Coordinator at Gateway Community and Technical College, which is part of the Kentucky higher education system. I received my Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D) in May 2021 from Northern Kentucky University. My dissertation, "She Can Do It All, But Not Alone: A Phenomenological Study of the Meaning of Roles and Role Interactions for Community College Faculty Mothers," explores how 10 full-time community college mothers experience and attribute meaning to both of their roles. The recommendations provided by these higher education faculty mothers should be used to improve policy and practice in higher education. In 2015, I earned a Masters Degree in Public and Community Health Education from the University of Cincinnati. I live in Cincinnati with my husband and daughter.
  • Karen R. Fein, MSW '85

    I feel incredibly honored to have been nominated and unanimously elected for membership to the National Academy of Social Insurance. I am especially pleased because among the many contributions I will make to the Academy, I will support efforts to develop and conduct research that reflects the importance of those who LIVE the experiences/realities that our nation's policies impact. The importance of looking at both the numbers AND the stories cannot be undervalued. As a member who is a social worker (from the best program ever), among other things, I will help bring faces and personal narratives to the way we think about and consider social policy. GO BLUE!!!!
  • Sarah Rakes, MSW '09

    I am an Assistant Professor at Radford University School of Social Work. I completed my PhD at Florida State University College of Social Work in Spring 2021. My dissertation focused on the well-being of grandmothers raising their grandchildren.
  • Gail Hutchison, MSW '82

    I retired after 35 years providing outpatient substance use disorder treatment to individuals and families. My final position was with the Department of Veteran's Affairs, which meant a lot to me as my dad was a World War II veteran. Thanks to U of M School of Social Work for a great career!
  • Edward Humenay, MSW '87

    I was working in the field of addition/mental health before graduating with my MSW in 1987. I then worked at Chelsea Hospital (Kresge House), Older Adult Recovery Center and University of Michigan (UMATS program). I retired from UM and now do full-time, private practice. I've been in the field for more than 50 years.
  • Robin Gordon, MSW '84

    I provide psychotherapy in-person and via tele-therapy with a specialty in trauma recovery using EMDR strategies. I presented a session at the 2020 NASW Nevada Virtual Conference on "Burnout and Self-Care."
  • Barbara Smith, MSW '77

    I published a book in February 2020 called "Addiction: One Cause, One Solution." The book describes an evolution in the field of addiction treatment. It provides hopeful insight into the principles of human psychology and spirituality.
  • Jenna Weintraub, LICSW, MSW '18

    I work at Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Centers providing group and individual therapy for substance use disorders. I also work with Golden Life Counseling providing individual therapy for a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, substance use and eating disorders.
  • D. Scott Tharp, MSW '07

    Congratulations to Dr. D. Scott Tharp for the upcoming publication of this second book! His book, “Decoding Privilege: Exploring White College Students' Views on Social Inequality,” explores how White students understand the concept of privilege so that educators can more effectively teach students about social power and inequality. Specially, the text examines three elements that influence how White college students understand privilege: Ideas, beliefs, and feelings. More information about this book, including how to purchase your own copy, can be found on the publisher’s website here: https://www.routledge.com/Decoding-Privilege-Exploring-White-College-Students-Views-on-Social-Inequality/Tharp/p/book/9780367535292
  • Jamie Simmons, MSW '20

    In fall 2020, Jamie earned her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work with a focus in Community Engagement. Since her graduation Jamie has worked as the Engagement Director for Michigan Climate Action Network, where she has helped bridge the gaps between justice, equity and climate change. She has also worked with organizations across the state to build attention to and advocate for state and federal policies that center the most underrepresented communities in Michigan. Jamie has recently become the first Community Engagement Reporter for Michigan Radio. Her reporting will supplement Michigan Radio’s coverage in Detroit, and specifically various neighborhoods across the city. She will work with the station's Community Reporting Engagement Council to better understand and address residents’ goals.

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