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Wurzweiler Professor Dr. Gary Stein Co-Directs National Palliative Social Work Conference

April 7th, 2014 by raco
Wurzweiler Professor Gary L. Stein presents a 2014 Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network Career Achievement Award to Iris Cohen Fineberg, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University's School of Social Welfare, and President of the Association of Oncology Social Work.

Wurzweiler Professor Gary L. Stein presents a 2014 Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network Career Achievement Award to Iris Cohen Fineberg, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare, and President of the Association of Oncology Social Work.

The 2nd annual Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) General Assembly convened 300 social workers and other health care professionals to share innovations and opportunities in psychosocial care.  The Assembly, held March 10-11, 2014 in San Diego, featured approximately 90 plenary, symposium, workshop, breakout, and poster presentations from across the nation and abroad.

Led by Drs. Grace Christ, SWHPN Chair and Professor Emerita of the Columbia University School of Social Work, and Gary L. Stein, SWHPN Vice Chair and Wurzweiler Professor, this year’s event highlighted the diverse work of emerging leaders and new palliative social workers while honoring the career achievements of seasoned experts in the field. SWHPN’s 2014 Career Achievement Awards were given to Iris Cohn Fineberg, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare, and President of the Association of Oncology Social Work; and Susan Gerbino, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work at New York University.

Wurzweiler Alumna Fran E. Heller delivers a plenary address

Wurzweiler Alumna Fran E. Heller delivers a plenary address

SWHPN Assembly presentations highlighted the social work role in clinical practice, research, policy, and education.  Expert presenters covered a spectrum of current and historical contributions of social workers to best practices in palliative care in advocacy, ethics, training, cultural competencies, interdisciplinary collaboration and professional leadership.  Plenary sessions considered social work leadership, cultural diversity, policy and advocacy, and advance care planning.  Wurzweiler alumna Frances E. Heller, palliative social worker at New York Presbyterian Hospital, spoke on the practitioner plenary panel about the importance of leadership and “champion training” in developing the palliative care service at her hospital.  International palliative physician, Kathy Foley, International Director of the International Palliative Care Initiative at the Open Society Foundation, traced the evolution of the culture of dying in America and the field of palliative care, and noted the challenges for moving into the future.

SWHPN, a professional organization for social workers in palliative, hospice, end-of-life care, emerged in 2007 from leadership-building initiatives spanning more than a decade, including the Project on Death in America’s Social Work Leadership Awards Program, funded by the Open Society Foundation.  The organization’s goal is to provide a forum for palliative social workers to collectively exercise leadership and develop and disseminate their knowledge and skill within our profession, among the interdisciplinary health care team, and through palliative care forums. SWHPN now boasts more than 550 members and 4,500 newsletter and social media subscribers.  To learn more about SWHPN and to become a member, visit www.swhpn.org.  The 2015 SWHPN General Assembly will be held on February 23-24, 2015 in Philadelphia.

For additional conference background, please see:




Wurzweiler Alumni Spotlight: Esteban Ramos, MSW

April 2nd, 2014 by raco
Esteban Ramos (right) with NYS Governor Cuomo

Esteban Ramos (right) with NYS Governor Cuomo

Most recently, Social Worker and 2008 Wurzweiler Master of Social Work graduate Esteban Ramos co-authored a recently published article and was featured in the first three pages of chapter 5 of the book “Everyone Leads:  Building Leadership from the Community Up”, by Paul Schmitz.  He also attended the SOMOS El Futuro conferences opening reception, held at the Governor’s Mansion. SOMOS El Futuro is an annual conference that brings together Latino leaders and elected officials to discuss pressing issues.

Ramos was already heading in the right direction before he even graduated from  Wurzweiler School of Social Work.  As a student at Wurzweiler, Ramos distinguished himself with the Latino Social Work Task Force/Wurzweiler School of Social Work Scholarship Award September 2007 & 2006 and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work/Yeshiva University Dorothy and David Schachne Dean’s Scholarship Award May 2006 & 2007.

Ramos accepts "Fresh Youth Initiatives'" Organization of the Year Award

Ramos accepts “Fresh Youth Initiatives’” Organization of the Year Award

But it is in his work after earning his MSW that he has really taken flight. As Executive Director of Fresh Youth Initiatives in Washington Heights, NY, Ramos has utilized his education in social work with vigor. The organization engages youth in positive, community-building activities while guiding and supporting them through adolescence. As a leader, he has steered the organization’s annual budget to grow three years consecutively, increased support by 20% and out of a six year deficit and into a four years surplus resulting in the organization receiving a 4 out 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.

2012_MT_Pantry Goes Mobile During his stewardship so far, the organization has also undertaken a marketing and branding overhaul and established its very first endowment.

Ramos continues to be an active and supportive member of the Wurzweiler alumni, and has often spoken with prospective students of his experiences in the MSW program.

Wurzweiler Alumna “Rides Away” the Stigma of Mental Health and Illness

March 24th, 2014 by raco
One mile at a time, she is trying to spread the word. She is a social worker turned cyclist.
Danielle Berman, an MSW graduate of Wurzweiler School of Social Work,  founded Ride Away Stigma to honor her late father, who committed suicide in 1999.
“It is my mission to encourage open discussion on mental health and illness and help remove the associated stigma,”  Berman states on www.rideawaystigma.com.  “I wish to be able to assist others to feel comfortable seeking help and finding their voice when all seems lost. “

She decided to cycle from Vancouver to Hamilton starting mid July 2014 with the hope that traveling across a significant portion of Canada can help bring awareness to people throughout the country. In doing so Berman plans to do her part to diminish the stigma associated with mental health and illness.

Berman also shares her personal story on the website as both her motivation and a motivation for others.  “I don’t think my father ever went in-depth with therapy; rather, he sought help only when he was overwhelmed or when it was too lateDB-family-225x300. Sadly, I believe he did not allow himself to fully engage in therapy, be diagnosed, or receive appropriate treatment because he was a highly respected physician and he was worried about his reputation. No one should ever suffer behind closed doors for fear of judgment, humiliation, or damage to reputation. It is now my mission to help remove the stigma associated with mental illness and to encourage open discussion about it. I want to help others feel comfortable seeking help and to find their voice when all seems lost.”

Dave-Banner15Donations and sponsorships for Ride Away Stigma will support mental health in Canada through Berman’s charitable partners: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Foundation, Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton and Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

To support Ride Away Stigma and follow Berman’s journey, visit www.rideawaystigma.com  or follow the cause on Twitter and Instagram:

WSSW Alumna in Reuters Article About Financial Burdens on Female Caregivers

March 20th, 2014 by raco

Wurzweiler School of Social Work alumna Judy Strauss, LMSW, PhD, was recently quoted in a Reuters article “Financial ‘Vicious Cycle’ Traps Poor Women Caregivers”, calling upon her experience studying women providing care to loved ones.

Judy StraussWomen need to give themselves the space to give themselves support – as in counseling, caregiving groups or setting up family meetings. The caregivers need support themselves to get through some of the harder stresses of caregiving [...] And society – in terms of policy – if we don’t take care of midlife women we’re not going to be able to take care of our children or our elderly [...]. That’s my biggest concern – that here in the United States, we care for the children, we care for the elderly, but we forget the midlife woman who takes care of both those populations.”

Judy Strauss, LMSW, PhD, received her doctorate at  Wurzweiler. According to the National Institute of Psychotherapies, where she is a candidate, Dr. Strauss currently is an adjunct professor and field liaison at the Touro College School of Social Work and her research focuses on issues affecting women’s well-being at midlife. Dr. Strauss has been published in various journals, such as Health and Social Work, Sex Roles, Gerontological Social Work, and Maturatas.

 Read the full article in Reuters.

Wurzweiler Alumna Susan Greenbaum Named Executive Director for Jewish Family Service

March 17th, 2014 by raco

From March 14, 2014 edition of www.jstandard.com “Community Service” by Joanne Palmer

There are times when a person’s background, training, aptitude, and passion —in fact, her entire life — make her a perfect fit for a job.

imageAnd there is a time when an agency has to reevaluate, reorient, and perhaps even reinvent itself.

When the person and the agency come together, the future beckons.

In this case, the person is Susan Greenbaum, and the agency is Jewish Family Service of Bergen and North Hudson.

As of March 5, Ms. Greenbaum, who lives in Teaneck, is JFS’s new executive director. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Ms. Greenbaum grew up in Lynn, a crumbling industrial town north of Boston. Her parents sent her to a “tiny little day school, which is now called the Eli and Bessie Cohen Hillel Academy, in Swampscott,” she said. And it really was tiny — her grade at its peak had eight students, and it was the school’s largest. Once she had graduated and moved to the local public high school, she went to the Prozdor afterschool program in what was then called Hebrew Teachers College. Growing up in a town with few Jews, she made her deepest Jewish connections at camp. “Camp did it for me,” she said.

Her next stop was Brandeis University. “It was like going to camp,” she said, fondly. (To be fair, many students say that. Many say it with great fondness. Others don’t.) Junior year was at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. When she graduated from Brandeis, she went to Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work on a full scholarship. The terms of the scholarship called for two years of work at a JCC.

Read the full article in the Jewish Standard Online Edition

Wurzweiler Student Temimah Zucker on Glamour.com and Interviewed on NBC for News Story on Eating Disorders

March 11th, 2014 by raco


Wurzweiler School of Social Work MSW student Temimah Zucker was recently interviewed as an expert for a story about Eating Disorders on NBC News. She is also featured on the Glamour.com guest blog, and will be featured in the April edition of Glamour Magazine as one of five “Recovered” women.
The NBC story by reporter Checkey Beckford “‘Pro-Ana’ Web Sites Spread a Dangerous Message” indicates that “Web sites that promote anorexia and other eating disorders hurt people who are going online for help.”Temimah Zucker in Glamour
On Glamour.com, Zucker writes about “Eating Disorders Are More Common Than You Think. Here’s My Story” and is prominently featured on the Glamour Magazine website. Read the story.
After surviving Anorexia herself,  Zucker realized that helping others within the field she was personally familiar with would be her future pursuit. She is currently the Student Liaison for an international association of eating disorder professionals), runs an organization for the Jewish community to support eating disorder needs, runs a support group for Jewish young women in recovery, is a public speaker and a writer.
Click the image above to play the video of the news story.

Wurzweiler Alumna Shares Experience of Hosting “Ethics in Social Work” Workshop by Professor Emeritus Dr. Norman Linzer

March 5th, 2014 by raco

To bring in 2014 Social Work Month, JCC of Greater Coney Island hosts an Interactive Ethics seminar with Professor Emeritus Norman Linzer, PhD, at the Jewish Community Relations Council in NYC

Dr. Norman Linzer leads workshop

Dr. Norman Linzer (center) leads workshop

As a proud Wurzeiler School of Social Work Alumna, and now working for Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island (JCCGCI), where I am Director of the  Connect2 program for Holocaust Survivors, as well as the Educational Coordinator for the agency,  I was beyond honored to host one of my favorite graduate school professor’s, Dr. Norman Linzer at an interactive workshop on “Professional Ethics in Social Work,” which was held on Friday, February 28th at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

In attendance at the workshop were JCCGCI and COJO interns as well as social service staff members from JCCGCI and Met Council, along with faculty of different schools of social work. The event was graciously sponsored by the founders and benefactors of the internship programs, Dina and Jonathan Leader.

Dr. Norman Linzer leads workshop

Dr. Norman Linzer (right) leads workshop

Personally, I was truly disappointed to miss Dr. Linzer’s retirement party last year, but was thrilled to have him lecture and teach my interns and colleagues.

To accurately convey my enthusiasm to the group, I explained, “Dr. Linzer has taught so many social work students the values and principles behind our work, namely social work ethics. To me, this is the heart of social work and what drives our work and practice. Perhaps that is the reason why Dr. Linzer was among so many students’ favorite professors, because he gave us the heart of our practice.”

Michael S. Miller, Executive Vice President &CEO of JCRC also gave a heartfelt thanks to Dr. Linzer for teaching his late mother years back, who was a Wurzweiler alum and social worker in a hospital psychiatric ward working with Viet Naam Veterans.

The interactive seminar kept the students and participants on their toes, since select participants were asked to prepare their ethical cases and “dilemmas” ahead of time and then were asked to “work through” the cases along with the help and feedback of the group until we were able to reach proper ethical resolutions.

Dr. Norman Linzer and Elisheva Lock

Dr. Norman Linzer and Elisheva Lock

It was the same intellectual stimulation and integrity of the subject at hand, namely the ethics, as well as the presenter Dr. Linzer that I remember from my classroom in Wurzweiler that kept everyone involved in the workshop. One of my students approached me at the end after we came to our ethical “resolution” in the session and said, “Now it actually all makes sense. I mean I have been learning Ethics this semester, but this really helped put it all together.”

 As Mr. Leader, master-of – ceremonies at the workshop professed  “that although I have been fortunate to attend the best schools that money can buy, I have never sat through a  lecture in Yale, or a seminar in Harvard Business as good as this one.” Furthermore, he explained that not only had Dr. Linzer been his mentor in social work and other arenas during his years of teaching at Wurzweiler in the late 1990s, but also that Dr. Linzer really taught him what it was to be a “mentch.”

I believe this is quite a strong parallel to the message announced by National Association of Social Worker’s for “social work month 2014”, which is “All People Matter.” Meaning, that social workers across the globe believe that all people have dignity and deserve respect.

These pivotal ethical values, among others are what I learned from Dr. Linzer, and I am very grateful that my students and colleagues had the opportunity to learn from him as well.

Dr. Linzer donates all the proceeds from the lectures he offers to non-profits to his scholarship fund Wurzweiler has established in Linzer’s honor, the Diane and Norman Linzer Endowed Scholarship.

Submitted by:
Elisheva Lock, MPA, LMSW

Director, Connect2: Friendly Visiting for Holocaust Survivors

Educational Coordinator

Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island

–A Community-Based Organization With A Citywide Scope –


Social Services for Nazi Victims have been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the Leader Family Fund

Wurzweiler Professor Dr. Jonathan Fast Reveals “A Buried Memory Unearthed by Sandy Hook Shootings”

December 13th, 2013 by raco

The Greenwich Times and other Connecticut papers in the syndicate recently published an article by Dr. Jonathan Fast, who is an expert on the subject of   shame and bullying and the author of  the book “Ceremonial Violence,” which provides an analysis of a dozen school shootings.

Below is an excerpt, and the entire article can be found here.

Jonathan Fast“In my 40s, I became a social worker and sought jobs where I could help violent and emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. All that time I had no recollection that I had once been threatened with a firearm at school.

In the late 1990s, I became fascinated by the “epidemic” of school shootings. I wrote an article about how the Littleton, Colo., community responded to the murders at Columbine High School. In 2008, I wrote a book that analyzed a dozen school shootings.

In 2012, 40 years after that fateful chess game, during a frantic phone call about a school shooting that had occurred at my doorstep in Connecticut, I began to remember the night of the chess game and the threat of gun violence. I shared my memories with my closest friend, my wife. She’s a good listener. She wondered if this seemingly long-forgotten and deeply buried event had played an important part in shaping my life. Being a minister, she often looks at the big picture, at issues of birth, and life and death.

So that’s one explanation of how I came to have a fascination with this subject, and why I was invited to write about the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, one year after its occurrence.”

Wurzweiler Graduate Honored as a Yeshiva University “Point of Light”

December 10th, 2013 by raco

At the 2013 Yeshiva University Hanukkah Dinner, President Richard M. Joel recognized eight Points of Light—students, faculty and alumni who embody the mission of YU—calling each one up to light a symbolic candle on the menorah.

Savyon Lang honored (with President Richard Joel).               Click image to see video.

Savyon Lang honored (with President Richard Joel). Click image to see video.

Savyon Lang, a hard-of-hearing graduate of YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, was recognized for her determination not only to excel in her own studies, but to help others in the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities overcome their disabilities. She plans to improve her sign language and earn her Licensed Clinical Social Worker certificate so she can open up her own practice to service the deaf and hard-of-hearing populations and beyond.

The administration, faculty and staff of Wurzweiler congratulate Savyon on this honor.


Two Wurzweiler Graduates Receive High Honors In Same Month

December 5th, 2013 by raco

December has proven to be a testament to the quality of social workers Wurzweiler School of Social Work produces. The month holds high honors for two Wurzweiler MSW alumni who will both be recognized at high profile events in New York City, Elisheva Lock (2010) and Marleen Litt (2002).

Wurzweiler Graduate Elisheva Lock receives Emerging Leader's Award

Elisheva Lock receives Emerging Leader’s Award

(L to R) Carmen Hendricks, Jade Docherty, Elisheva Lock and Ronnie Glassman

(L to R) Carmen Hendricks, Jade Docherty, Elisheva Lock and Ronnie Glassman

Wurzweiler Graduate Elisheva Lock among with other Emerging Leaders

Wurzweiler Graduate Elisheva Lock among with other Emerging Leaders

On December 5th,  Elisheva Lock received an award as one of thirteen Emerging Leaders in Social Work at the 7th Annual Leadership Awards Dinner of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). It was highly stressed at the event that the recognition is of substantial significance. Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, Associate Dean Jade Docherty, Director of Field Education Ronnie Glassman and several Wurzweiler faculty members and staff were also in attendance. Currently the Director of Connect2: Friendly Visiting program for Holcaust Survivors, a program ensuring provision of services to Holocaust survivors in the New York City area, Lock serves as Educational Coordinator for the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island. She also currently works with other filmmakers on a documentary called “The Last Survivor,” capturing the life of holocaust survivors and skills and tenacity that experience can bring (see a teaser video here). Lock also hold experience working with Children’s Services (ACS).

The NASW Emerging Leaders Dinner

The NASW Emerging Leaders Dinner

She interned at the Manhattan President’s Office and Jewish Board of Children and Family Services, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, and numerous organizations, and is also an active volunteer at Chai Lifeline.


Marleen Litt, a 2002  graduate of Wurzweiler’s Summer Block Program, is currently Assistant Division Director at the Jewish Child CareML 1 Association and has oversight for the Bridges to Health Waiver Service Provider program. She is  also  Chairperson of the Reuth Young Leadership Division, and will be honored on  December 16th by Reuth American Friends. In a special event titled “An Evening at the Palace”, the event will recognize Litt along with  internationally renowned musician David Broza, and  feature remarks by Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel.

Originally from Boston, MA, Litt received her undergraduate degree from Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University before obtaining her MSW from Wurzweiler, and has a certificate from the Ackerman institute for the Family. Her work with Reuth related to the organization’s commitment to providing services for children, wounded soldiers, victims of terror and the elderly. The organization claims to be the largest rehabilitation and chronic care hospital in Tel Aviv. For more on the upcoming event and Reuth visit An Evening at the Palace

The administration, faculty, staff and students of Wurzweiler School of Social Work warmly congratulate Elisheva and Marleen on their honors and accomplishments.