Hugo Kamya

Social Work Alumni Fund Endowed Chair and Professor
  • School of Social Work
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(617) 521-3948

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  • PhD: Boston University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Psychology, May 1994
    • Dissertation: The interrelationship of stress, self-esteem, spiritual well-being and coping resources among African immigrants in the United States
  • MSW: Boston College, 1989
  • MDiv: Harvard University, Divinity School, 1987
  • Dip. Phil.: St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi, Kenya, Philosophy and Religious Studies, 1983


  • Licensed Psychologist 
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)
  • Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP)
  • Certified Oral Proficiency Tester, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  • M.Div.
  • M.S.W.
  • Ph.D.

What I Teach

  • Evaluation in Social Work Practice
  • Simmons World Challenge (Brutality: Violence at Local, National and International levels; Non-violence as Option for Change; Language, Power and Violence)
  • Teaching and Learning (Doctoral Program)
  • Social Work with Groups
  • Spirituality and Social Work
  • Social Action and Advocacy: Human Services in Developing Countries
  • Narrative Approaches to Social Work Practice (on ground)
  • Narrative Approaches to Social Work Practice (Online)
  • Critical Analysis of Clinical Practice (Doctoral Program)
  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Social Work Practice 
  • The Relational and Multi-contextual Treatment of Trauma
  • Family Therapy Approaches 

Community Engagement

  • 2005-Present: Board/Founding Member, Makula Fund for Children 
  • 2005-Present: Board Member, Girma Haddis Foundation
  • 1995-Present: Founding Member, Boston Institute for Culturally Affirming Practices
  • 2004-Present: Advisory Board Member, The Guidance Center, Inc.
  • 1992-Present: Board Member, De Novo: Center for Justice and Healing (formally Community Legal Services and Counseling Center)
  • 1997-2008: Board Member, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Clinical Pastoral Education Program
  • 1996-Present: Board Member, The Danielsen Institute, Boston University
  • 1995-Present: Consultant, Center for Multi-Cultural Training in Psychology, Boston Medical Center
  • 1997-1999: Consultant, International Institute of Boston
  • 1992-1996: Member, Diversity Task Force for Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy
  • 1990-1996: Board Member, Temporary Care Services - Respite Care for Mentally Handicapped Children 

Research/Special 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. 3nd 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.

Roberts, J., Abu-Baker, K., Diez Fernández, C., Chong Garcia, N., Fredman, G., Kamya, H., Martín Higarza, Y., Fortes de Leff, J.,  Messent, P., Nakamura,  S., Reid, F., Sim,  T.,  Subrahmanian, C., & Vega, R. (2014). Up Close: Family Therapy Challenges and Innovations Around the World, Family Process, 53, 3, 544-576. DOI: 10.1111/famp.12094

Healy, L. & Kamya, H. (2014). Ethics and international discourse in social work: The case of Uganda's anti-homosexuality legislation.  Ethics and Social Welfare, 8, 2, 151-169.

Kamya, H. (2013).  Engaging spirituality in family conflict: Witnessing to hope and dialogue.  Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 26, 4, 901-916.

Kamya, H. (Spring, 2012). Motivational interviewing:  A key ingredient of supervision.  Field Educator, 1(2). 

Kamya, H. (2012). The cultural universality of narrative techniques in the creation of meaning.  In B. MacKin, Newman, E., Fogler, J., & Keane, T. (Eds.) Trauma therapy in context:  The science and craft of evidence based practice. (pp.231-246). Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.

Kamya, H. (2012). HIV/AIDS: The Global Pandemic.  HIV/AIDS. In Healy, M. & Link, R. (Eds.). Handbook of International Social Work.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kamya, H. (2011). The impact of war on children:  The psychology of displacement and exile.  In Kelle, B. (Ed.). Interpreting Exile: Interdisciplinary studies of displacement and deportation in Biblical and modern contexts. (pp.235-249). Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press.

Kamya, H. & White, E. (2011).  Expanding cross-cultural understanding of suicide among immigrants: The case of the Somali.  Families in Society, 92(4), 419-425.

Selected Presentations

  • Peer to Peer Support for Immigrant High School Students: Enhancing Social Work Services in School Settings. CSWE 65th Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.  October 24-27, 2010.
  • Working with Immigrants and Refugees: Implications for Cross-Cultural Treatment. Wayside Youth and Family Support. May 8, 2019
  • Engaging Spirituality in Family Therapy.  IFTA World Therapy Congress. Aberdeen, Scotland. March 28-30, 2019
  • Understanding the needs of Immigrant High School Students: Importance of Multiple Perspectives through a Social Justice Lens. 23rd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), San Francisco, CA. January 15-19, 2019.
  • Understanding the needs of Immigrant High School Students: Importance of Multiple Perspectives. CSWE 64th Annual Program Meeting, Orlando, FL.  November 8-11, 2018
  • Cross-cultural treatment issues with Refugees: The case of the Somali. Global & Local Center for Mental Health Disparities Global Dinner Series, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. May 21, 2018
  • Developing Effective Partnerships. Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. April 18, 2018
  • Working with Immigrants and Refugees: Cross-cultural treatment issues.  Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. April 11, 2018
  • Narrative Practices with Trauma and Loss:  Cross-cultural treatment.  Salem State University, Salem, MA March 24, 2018
  • It Takes a Community: Collaboration Among Adolescents, Parents, School Personnel to “Raise” an Immigrant High School Student: An Ecological Perspective. CSWE 63rd Annual Program Meeting, Atlanta, GA.  October 19-22, 2017
  • Working with immigrants and refugees.  Greater Lynn Senior Services. Boston, MA. April 2017 and May 2017
  • Spirituality and Mental health.  Institute of Living, Hartford, CT.  March 30, 2017
  • Violence against children and families: The inter-sectionalities of intervention approaches.  25th IFTA Family Therapy Congress.  Malaga, Spain. March 15-18, 2017
  • Trauma, Attachment Disruption and Narrative Practices: Health Crisis and Cross-cultural Trauma Treatment. Dana Cancer Institute. Boston, MA February 3, 2017
  • Responsible Citizenship: HIV/AIDS and South Africa. 27th Annual National Conference on Social Work and HIV/AIDS.  Minneapolis, MN, May 26-29, 2016.
  • Working with African Immigrant Children and Parents: Challenges and Training Needs from Middle and High School Teachers’ Perspectives.  20th Annual Conference for Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, DC, January 13-17, 2016
  • Developing an Innovative Field Placement: Building Capacity at an African Immigrant-led Organization. CSWE 611st Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.  October 15-October, 18, 2015.
  • Recognizing the Universality of Loss: Lived Experiences of Attachment Disruption. Trauma of Displacement and Disrupted Attachment.  16th Annual conference. Worcester Institute on Loss and Trauma, Worcester, MA September 16, 2015
  • Uganda’s ABC to South Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. 19th International Symposium of the International Consortium for Social Development. SIM University, Singapore, July 7-10, 2015.
  • Challenges in Addressing HIV/AIDS Among Immigrant Populations: A Case Study.  27th Annual National Conference on Social Work and HIV/AIDS.  Minneapolis, MN, May 26-29, 2016.
  • Child-headed Households in the African Context:  What does the future promise?  26th Annual National Conference on Social Work and HIV/AIDS.  Denver, May 22-25, 2014
  • Peace psychology: From monologue to dialogue - Engaging trauma and disparities.  Bay Cove Human Services, Boston.  May 7, 2014
  • Transforming Life Narratives:  Weaving Stories of Healing.  23rd Annual Anniversary Culture Conference, The Multicultural Family Institute. April 11-12, 2014
  • A Cross cultural understanding of trauma in families, and
  • Community organizing and social development. PROSOWO Conference, International Social Work Conference, Kampala Uganda. March 17-18, 2014

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW)
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA)
  • Boston Institute for Culturally Affirming Practices (BICAP)
  • Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy 
  • American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Commission on Global Education in Social Work (CSWE)
  • International Society for Traumatic and Stress Studies (ISTSS)
  • International Consortium of Social Development (ICSD)
  • International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)


  • 2018-2021: Social Work Alumni Fund Endowed Chair
  • 2018: Center for Global Education Leadership Award, Simmons University, Boston, MA
  • 2016: Mentor Recognition, Society for Social Work Research Conference, Washington, DC. 
  • 2014: Fulbright Specialist Roster.  U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)
  • 2014:Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education. NASW Mass Chapter Symposium 2014. NASW Mass Chapter Symposium, Framingham, MA. 
  • 2003: Cultural and Economic Diversity (Social Justice) Award by the American Family Therapy Academy, Miami, FL.
  • 1999: Paradigm Shift Award.  Distinguished Service Award in Pastoral Psychotherapy, Andover-Newton, MA
  • 1999: Paul Johnson Award. Nomination for Teaching Assistantship, Boston University, Boston, MA.