- School of Social Work
My background is in social policy, social action, and advocacy. I am particularly interested in social justice and human rights issues for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses but also have a strong focus on issues for other marginalized groups as they are affected by racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, youthism, and other forms of oppression. Of course, many people are affected by more than one form of oppression.
My education and work have focused in these areas, and one position before I came to Simmons School of Social Work was Senior Associate in the Office of the Court-Appointed Monitor for Special Education in Boston. There, under the Allen v. McDonough case brought by parent advocates and the Massachusetts Advocacy Center against the Boston Public Schools for non-delivery of special education services, we strived to obtain rights for the children who were being deprived of an education or whose education was being compromised. My learning there emphasized what I had been taught in my doctoral program – that advocacy and social action are critical to our social work mission and to achieving social justice and obtaining human rights. I try to pass on my own "hands on" learning to my students at Simmons School of Social Work, and I am very rewarded by their passion for social justice.
I have been able to draw from my experience and interests in co-authoring two books that focus on people with disabilities and chronic illnesses as well as other oppressed groups. The first book was Health and Health Care in the Nation's Prisons: Issues, Challenges, and Policies, and the second book was Asset Assessments and Community Social Work Practice. In addition, parts of my current volunteer work that are related to my commitment to issues for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses are at the Samuel P. Hayes Research Library & Perkins Archives at Perkins School for the Blind and as a consulting editor for the journal Health & Social Work, and each of those are valuable learning experiences for me.
What I Teach
- SW401, Social Welfare Policy and Services
- SW463, Advocacy and Social Action with Disability and Chronic Illness
- SW409, Dynamics of Racism and Oppression
- SW523, Advocacy and Social Action for Professional Social Workers
My current volunteer work at Perkins School for the Blind dovetails with research for a third book I plan to co-author on the intersections of race and disability from historical and current day perspectives, using oppression and empowerment frameworks. Perkins is doing a project to develop online educational resources to support some work of the American Printing House for the Blind of Louisville, Kentucky, a nonprofit organization that began in 1858 and provides specialized materials, products, and services, both educational and for general use, by people who are blind or have a visual impairment. Since June 2013, I have been identifying historical and current day resources that discuss the American schools for the blind that educated African American teachers of the blind and African American students who were blind. Like other schools, there were widespread exclusion and segregation for both teachers and students, and so it is important for me to study the history and experiences of those students and teachers as they related to the intersections of race and disability. This research will inform part of the next book I hope to co-author.