Leadership & Faculty


Simmons School of Social Work (SSW) faculty are experienced teachers and professionals in the field of social work. They are actively engaged in their communities as clinicians, consultants, educators, researchers, and leaders. With research expertise in issues such as child welfare, pediatric chronic illness, gerontology, health care disparities, trauma, HIV/AIDS, refugees, family bereavement, and social policy, our faculty members bring their commitment for civic engagement and social justice to their work and to the classroom.

To learn more about SocialWork@Simmons faculty, contact an Admission Counselor at 1-855-523-7779.

Course Designers, Program Faculty

Course Designers, Simmons Faculty

Guest Course Designers 

Stephanie Berzin

Vice Provost

Dr. Stephanie Berzin is the Vice Provost of Simmons University, and was formerly the Dean of College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice. Prior to her arrival at Simmons, she served as Assistant Dean directing the Doctoral Program at the Boston College School of Social Work. Dr. Berzin developed and led the Social Innovation and Leadership Program, where she co-led the curriculum redesign and the development of a strategic vision around social innovation, social entrepreneurship, leadership, and resource development. She also served as co-director of the BC Center for Social Innovation, which works to build the evidence-base for social innovation, prepare tomorrow’s social sector leaders, and promote the capacity of existing agencies to respond to social issues. Dr. Berzin also co-leads the Grand Challenge for Social Work, Harnessing Technology for Social Good. This work is designed to integrate technology into social work teaching, research, and practice.

Selected Publications

Her most recent book was published by Oxford University Press, Innovation From Within: Redefining How Nonprofits Solve Problems (2018).

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Julia Burns

Director MSW-online Program
Professor of Practice 
PhD, MSW, MA Theology-Pastoral Counseling

Dr. Burns is Program Director of the MSW online program and Professor of Practice at the Simmons University Graduate School of Social Work. She has been a practicing social worker for over 27 years. Dr. Burns currently runs a private practice serving adolescents and families and adults using a variety of treatment modalities. Previously she was a private consultant working with social service agencies assisting with accreditation, licensing, and the development and coordination of clinical programs. Dr. Burns has extensive experience in providing training and supervision to MSW students and clinical social workers. She has experience in developing, designing, and implementing courses for graduate social work students. Dr Burns is part of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Mental Health Team for the state of Maine and volunteers for Give an Hour, working with members of the military and their families.

Selected Publications

Burns, J. (2004). Dissertation: Examining effects of targeted case management on behavioral and service outcomes for children and youth experiencing severe emotional disturbance. Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.

Yoe, J., Burns, J., Linus, S., & Auslander, M. (2004). The influence of childhood trauma on public mental health service use and expenditures: preliminary findings. Presented at the 14th Annual Conference on State Mental Health Agency Services Research, Program Evaluation, and Policy in Arlington, Virginia.

Yoe, J.T., Turner, W., Burns, J., & Linus, S. (2003). Understanding child and adolescent users of targeted case management services in Maine: an exploratory study. Presented at the 16th Annual Florida Mental Health Institute Research Conference: A System of Care for Children’s Mental Health in Tampa, Florida.

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Tamara J. Cadet

Course Designer

Tamara J. Cadet, Ph.D., L.I.C.S.W., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cadet brings her more than 25 years of practice experience in many capacities and settings to her teaching and to her research. Dr. Cadet has worked in the fields of substance abuse, adoption, mental health, health care, schools, and oncology with children, adults, families, and older adults, as both a social worker and as a community organizer. Her research has primarily focused on improving access to cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment services for older minority adults. Her ultimate objective is to advance efforts to develop health promotion interventions for underserved and underrepresented older adults in order to contribute to reducing oncology-related disparities.


Cadet, T., Valencia, E.,Moore, M., & Davis, C. (Accepted for publication). Using Community Based Participatory Research Project to Increase Awareness about Breast Cancer Screening in African American Women. Sage Research Methods Cases

Bibbins-Domingo, K, Ajayi, T., Cadet, T., Cooper, L., DeSalvo, K., Esguerra, C. et a. (2019). Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care. JAMA. Published online September 25, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.15603

Nedjat-Haiem, F. R., Cadet, T. J., Amatya, A., Thompson, B., & Mishra, S. I. (2019). Efficacy of Motivational Interviewing to Enhance Advance Directive Completion in Latinos With Chronic Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 1049909119851470.

Nedjat-Haiem, F. R., Cadet, T. J., Amatya, A., & Mishra, S. I. (2019). Healthcare Providers’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Practice Behaviors for Educating Patients About Advance Directives: A National Survey. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine®, 36(5), 387-395.

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Cali-Ryan Collin

Assistant Professor

Dr. Cali-Ryan Collin (she/her) is the Associate Director of Clinical Training at the Center for Innovation in Behavioral Health Education and Research within the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice. She also teaches clinical practice courses within the Master of Social Work and Doctorate of Social Work. She has more than 10 years of practice experience in maternal, infant, early childhood home visiting, psychiatric social work, medical social work, integrated behavioral health in primary care, and clinical practice consulting. Dr. Collin joined Simmons in the fall of 2015 as the Director of Clinical Training for the Adult Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment grant funded by SAMHSA. Prior to coming to Simmons, Dr. Collin was the developer and manager of an Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care program at a Federally Qualified Health Center. She is passionate about centering the patient/client within their care and eliminating health inequities through structural change.

Selected Publications

Putney, J., Collin, C.R., Halmo, R., O’Brien, K., & Cadet, T. (2019). Assessing competence in screening and brief intervention using online patient simulation and critical self-reflection. Journal of Social Work Education. doi: 10.1080/10437797.2019.1671276.

Collin, C.R., Putney, J., Halmo, R., Ogden, L., O’Brien, K. (2019). MSW Students’ Use of SBIRT: Toward an Understanding of the Gap between Classroom and Field Education. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 19, 1-8. doi: 10.1080/1533256X.2019.1589885

Putney, J., Levine, A., Collin, C.R., O’Brien, K., Mountain-Ray, S., & Cadet, T. (2019). Implementation of online client simulation to train and assess screening and brief intervention skills. Journal of Social Work Education, 55(1), 194-201. doi: 10.1080/10437797.2018.1508394

O’Brien, K., Putney, J., Collin, C.R., Halmo, R., & Cadet, T. (2019). Optimizing SBIRT training for nurses and social workers: Testing the added effect of online patient simulation. Substance Abuse, 40(4), 484-488. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2019.1576087

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Nathaniel Currie


Dr. Nathaniel Currie is an adjunct faculty member in the Simmons DSW Program and the course lead for the SWO 709 Strategies for Decolonized Clinical Supervision & Management course. Dr. Currie is a full-time, Assistant Professor at Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work. He has extensive post-master’s practice experience in behavioral health/behavioral medicine, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ issues, men’s issues, and community empowerment. He also has national experience in community education and prevention work around the intersection of HIV/AIDS, historical trauma, and behavioral health. His DSW from the University of Pennsylvania focused on clinical work and expanded his expertise in prevention and empowerment work. Dr. Currie continues to do research focused on issues of trauma/trauma experiences, health issues, resiliency, and healing in men, and speaks nationally on the application of Critical Race Theory lens to social work practice and other helping professions. He maintains clinical licensure in California, Georgia, and the District of Columbia.

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Jacqueline Dyer

DSW Program Director
Associate Professor of Practice
PhD, MSW, MA Urban Ministry

Dr. Jacqueline Dyer is the Director of the Doctorate of Social Work Program and Associate Professor of Practice at Simmons University’s School of Social Work. As a social worker for more than 25 years, she has worked in direct mental health counseling practice, community outreach and advocacy, program development and leadership, and in academia. Her research and scholarly interests include clergy compassion fatigue, historical trauma, and intimate partner violence in faith communities. She has served as a clinical supervisor in secular and Christian agencies, and as a volunteer facilitator for a Christian domestic violence support-group. She presents professionally and in the community on the intersections of mental health and faith and maintain a community-based private practice. She tells people she was born a social worker and loves to teach. Dr. Dyer’s research interests are connected to clergy compassion fatigue, and the intersections of intimate partner violence and faith. She also has a growing interest in the impact of historical trauma in communities of color, particularly those of African descent.

Selected Publications

Dyer, J. (2020). Historical Trauma to Shalom. In Vince Bantu (Ed.), Gospel Haymanot. Chicago, IL: Urban Ministries Publishing.

Dyer, J. (2017). “Can We All Get Along?” Contact Magazine, 2017 Winter/Spring. Posted: http://www.gordonconwell.edu/2017/12/Racial-Reconciliation-Series-Can-We-All-Get-Along.cfm

Dyer, J. (2016). Just social work? Collaborating with African American clergy to address intimate partner violence in churches. Christianity & Social Work, 43(4), 32-54.

Dyer, J. (2011). Calling Couples to Accountability—It’s in the House. In Nancy Nason-Clark, Catherine Clark Kroeger, & Barbara Fisher-Townsend (Eds.), Responding to Abuse in Christian Homes: A challenge to churches and their leaders (pp. 87-97). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. ISBN: 978-1-61097-178-2.

Dyer, J. (2010). Challenging assumptions: Clergy perspectives and practices regarding intimate partner violence. Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, 29(1), 33-48. DOI: 10.1080/15426430903479254.

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Raquel Ellis

Associate Professor of Practice

Dr. Ellis is a full-time faculty member in the Doctor of Social Work Program of the Simmons School of Social Work. She earned an MSW degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2001 and a PhD in Social Work in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Ellis has 20 years of experience practicing social work, with nearly 10 years of direct practice experience in the human services field in community mental health and child welfare settings. She is a program evaluation expert with over 15 years of research and program evaluation experience. She has made substantive contributions to building the evidence-base around what interventions work to improve child welfare outcomes for children and their families. Dr. Ellis has contributed to the research in the areas of adoption recruitment, family preservation, long-term foster care, informal kinship care, clinical supervision of child welfare workers, child welfare-juvenile court personnel relations, judicial decision-making during termination of parental rights proceedings, family search and engagement strategies, differential response programs, and trauma informed practice.

Selected Publications

Hays, K., Costello, J., Flores-Carter, K., & Ellis, R. (2021, May). Enhancing supports to children of incarcerated parents: Introducing trauma informed training to church mentors. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 49, 1-17.

Breitenbutcher, P., Ellis, R. & Clift, N. (2021, May). Applying lessons learned on early identification of opioid use: Opportunities for CBSS students. Center for the Study of Human Behavior. https://blogs.calbaptist.edu/cshb/2021/05/13/applying-lessons-on-early-identification-of-opioid-use-opportunities-for-cbss-students/

Ellis, R.T. (2021, March). Reflections on the importance of research mentorship. Center for the Study of Human Behavior. https://blogs.calbaptist.edu/cshb/2021/03/01/reflections-on-the-importance-of-research-mentorship/

Ellis, R.T. (2020, Nov). My journey to merge my interests in child welfare and research. Center for the Study of Human Behavior. https://blogs.calbaptist.edu/cshb/2020/11/17/my-journey-to-merge-my-interests-in-child-welfare-and-research/#comment-764

Ellis, R. (2020). Mystery and the adopted child. Social Work & Christianity, 47(3), 126-127. https://doi.org/10.34043/swc.v47i3.134

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Melinda Gushwa

Director of the School of Social Work
Associate Professor and

Dr. Melinda Gushwa is an Associate Professor and Director of the School of Social Work. She teaches clinical practice courses and coordinates the Human Behavior in the Social Environment course. Dr. Gushwa has more than 25 years of practice experience in the areas of juvenile justice, residential treatment, child protection, employee assistance, crisis intervention counseling, pediatric medical social work, child welfare training, clinical practice (individual, couples, children and families), and clinical supervision. Prior to coming to Simmons, Dr. Gushwa taught in the social work programs at Washington University in St. Louis, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, University of Nevada Las Vegas and Rhode Island College. She loves being a social worker and teaching students about this great profession of ours. Dr. Gushwa’s research is connected to her practice experience as a child welfare worker and pediatric medical/ER social worker. She is interested in how organizational climate and bureaucracy impacts child welfare workers’ perceptions of their work. Her recent research focus has been on high-risk child abuse and neglect situations, particularly child maltreatment fatalities.

Selected Publications

Battelan, A.W., Mreish, E., Putney, J., Sellers, C.M., Gushwa, M. & McNamara O’Brien, K.H. (2020). Associations of victimization, discrimination, child maltreatment, and suicide severity and attempts among sexual and gender minority youth. Psychology of Sexual Orientation & Diversity.

Douglas, E. & Gushwa, M. (2019). Child welfare workers’ knowledge of risk factors for child maltreatment fatalities: A second multi-state assessment. Journal of Public Child Welfare.

Douglas, E. & Gushwa, M. (2019). An exploratory analysis of seven child welfare workers who confused SIDS with child maltreatment fatalities: A brief research report. Journal of Social Service Research.

Gushwa, M., Bernier, J. & Robinson, D. (2018). Advancing child sexual abuse prevention in schools: An exploration of the effectiveness of the Enough! online training program for K-12 teachers. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.

Gushwa, M. & Harriman, K. (2018). Paddling against the tide: Contemporary challenges in field education. Journal of Clinical Social Work, 47(1), 17-22.

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Johnnie Hamilton-Mason

Professor – Eva Whiting White Endowed Chair

Dr. Johnnie Hamilton-Mason is a Professor at Simmons School of Social Work. She teaches Advanced Clinical Practice, HBSE, Leadership, Political Strategies for Clinical Social Workers Practice, Practice with Immigrants and Refugees, Realities of Racism and Oppression and Qualitative Research. From 2004- 2007, Dr. Hamilton-Mason served as Director of the Doctoral Program at SSW. In 2005 she co-founded the SSW’s Pharnal Longus Academy for Undoing Racism. From 2001 through 2008, she served as a Harvard University W.E.B. DuBois Institute non-resident fellow in African American research. Her scholarship and research interests are primarily on African American Women and Families, the intersection of cross cultural theory and practice, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. She has served as a Researcher at the University of Texas’s Hurricane Katrina Researcher Collaborative. With over twenty-one years of full-time teaching experience, she continues to enhance her teaching through clinical practice in urban agencies, as well as through consultation and education locally and internationally.

Selected Publications

Hamilton-Mason, J., Everett, J., Hall, J. C., Harden, S., Lecloux, M., Mancini, S. & Warrington, R. (in press). Hope floats: African American women’s survival experiences after Katrina. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/10911359.2012.664982.

Hall, J.C., Everett, J.E. & Hamilton-Mason, J. (2011). Black women talk about workplace stress and how they cope. Journal of Black Studies, 43, 207-226. doi:10.1177/0021934711413272 Hamilton-Mason, J., Hall, J.C., & Everett, J. (2009). And some of us are braver: Stress and coping among African American women. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment.

Cornelius, L. J. & Hamilton-Mason, J. ( 2009). Enduring issues of HIV/AIDS for people of color: What is the roadmap ahead? Health and Social Work, 34(4), 243-246.

Shanti, K., Bell, H., Beausoleil, J., Lein, L., Angel, R. J. & Hamilton-Mason, J. (2008). When the floods of compassion are not enough: A nation’s and a city’s response to the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 78(4), 399-425.

Hamilton-Mason, J. (2007). Using the color of fear as a racial identity catalyst. In Victor Lewis & Hugh Vasquez (Eds.), The color of fear sourcebook: A toolkit for educators and practitioners. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing,LLC.

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Robin M. Johnson


Robin M. Johnson is a skilled diversity and inclusion practitioner, organizational strategist, educator, and counseling professional with over 20 years of combined clinical practice experience in higher education, community and faith-based settings, and the private sector. Robin provides consultation and training to organizations and leaders to help them think strategically and systematically about how to advance change in their institutions; overcome resistance; and effectively move their organizations forward. Robin earned a B.S.W. from Clark-Atlanta University, a M.S.W. from Boston College, and her Ph.D. from Simmons University School of Social Work.

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Hugo Kamya

Social Work Alumni Fund Endowed Chair and Professor

Dr. Kamya is focused on the following research and projects: Caring across communities; community capacity building; enhancing social, cultural, and human capital in immigrant and refugee populations; suicide prevention education; the psychological impact of war, political persecution, trauma on children and families; HIV/AIDS; family therapy; international practice and human rights; spirituality; health disparities; youth and social economic development in sub-Saharan Africa; qualitative methods and designing international studies.

Selected Publications

Kamya, H. (2019). Children, war, HIV/AIDS and the human rights imperative: Bio-psychosocial outcomes. In Marinilda Rivera Diaz (Ed.) HIV/AIDS, Migrations and Human Rights: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. (pp. 173-189). Miami: Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO)

Kamya, H. & Mirkin, M. (2019). Working with immigrant and refugee families. In Monica McGoldrick and Kenneth Hardy (Eds.). Revisioning Family Therapy: Race, culture and gender in clinical practice. 3rd edition. (pp. 403-418). New York: Guilford Press.

Kamya, H. (2018). Harnessing spirituality within traditional healing systems: A personal journey. In D. Trimble (Ed.), Engaging with spirituality in family therapy: Meeting in sacred space (67-81). Cham, Switzerland: AFTA Springer Briefs in Family Therapy.

Bacigalupe, G., Ham, M., Kamya, H., King, J., Kliman, J., Llerena-Quinn, R., Pinderhughes, E., Romney, P., & Trimble, D., (BICAP). (2017). Deconstructing power to build connection: The importance of dialogue. In Pinderhughes, E., Jackson, V., & Romney, P. Understanding power: An imperative for human services. (pp. 195-218). Washington, D.D.: NASW Press.

Kamya, H. (2014). Developing Effective International Partnerships in Social Work: HIV/AIDS and the Case of Uganda. In Libal, K., Healy, L., Thomas, R., & Berthold, M. Advancing Human Rights in Social Work Education, (pp. 299-316) Alexandria, VA: CSWE.

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Vanessa Robinson Dooley

Associate Professor

Dr. Robinson-Dooley is an Associate Professor at Simmons University’s School of Social Work. As a Social Worker and licensed clinician, she has experience treating adolescents, adults, the aging, and couples in general practice. She has a range of experiences that include private practice psychotherapy, community health, nonprofit administration, youth development, and intimate partner violence intervention. She has provided training on issues that include mental health, family violence, child maltreatment, cultural competence, parenting skills, and self-management of chronic disease. She has been invited to speak locally and nationally about her work on intercultural competence, clinical treatment, and managing chronic disease and mental health. She has published in several journal articles and books. Dr. Robinson-Dooley’s research focuses on coping and self-management strategies for those dealing with chronic disease and behavioral health She is currently the Co-PI on a National Institute of Health (NIH), working on developing a peer led, management curriculum for Black men dealing with chronic illness and behavioral health. She also an interest in intersection of youth sports and mental health.

Selected Publications

Robinson-Dooley, V. (2021). Book Review: Introduction to Social Work: An Advocacy Based Profession. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work.

Robinson-Dooley, V. & Skott-Myhre, H. (2021). Double Erasure Under 21st Century Virtual Capitalism. Journal of Progressive Human Services

Robinson-Dooley, V., Dumont, K., & Riapos, J. A. (2018). Aging and Community Health: A University-Community Partnership. Educational Gerontology, 44(4), 220-225. 

Collard, C., Robinson-Dooley, V. & Patrick, F. & Farabraugh, K. (2017). Efficacy of chronic disease self-management among low-income black males with behavioral health disorders: Pilot study. Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association. 

Robinson-Dooley, V. & Nichols, Q. (2016). “Interprofessional Practice in Healthcare: Experiences of a Faculty Learning Community.” Journal of Interprofessional Care.

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Bryan Warde


Bryan Warde is a full Professor at the Lehman College Social Work Program. In the MSW program, he teaches across the curriculum. Dr. Warde also teaches a Social Policy II class in the City University of New York Graduate Center’s Social Welfare Ph.D. program. Before his professorship at Lehman College, Dr. Warde was the Director of Foster Care and Adoption at Lakeside Family and Children’s Services for 11 years. Additionally, he was a faculty member at the Ackerman Institute for the Family and had a small private practice. Dr. Warde has had three books and several peer-reviewed articles published. His research interests include the experiences of African American and Latino males in higher education and disproportionality in the child welfare and criminal justice system.

Selected Publications

Warde, B. (2021). Inequality in U.S. Social Policy: An Historical Perspective (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Routledge

Warde, B. (2020). We the People: Social Protest Movements and the Shaping of American Democracy. New York, NY: Routledge

Warde, B. (2016). Inequality in U.S. Social Policy: An Historical Perspective. New York, NY: Routledge

Warde, B. (2017). Male foster carers: A little understood but much needed and untapped resource.   In C. Mazza & A.R. Perry (Eds.), Fatherhood in America: Social work perspectives on a changing society (pp. 156–166). Springfield, IL, Charles C Thomas Publisher, Ltd. (Book Chapter)

Vinjamuri, M., Warde, B., & Kolb, P. (2017). The reflective diary: An experiential tool for enhancing social work students’ research learning. Social Work Education, 36 (8), 933–945. (Peer-Reviewed Article)

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