Melinda Gushwa

Director of the School of Social Work and Associate Professor
  • School of Social Work
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(617) 521-3921

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  • PhD: Washington University in St. Louis
  • MSW: California State University San Bernardino
  • BA: University of Redlands

About Me

Dr. Melinda Gushwa is an Associate Professor and MSW Program Director at Simmons 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.

What I Teach

  • Advanced Clinical Practice

Research/Creative Activities

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.

Study of child welfare professionals’ perceptions of child maltreatment fatalities (with Dr. Emily Douglas, Bridgewater State University).


Selected publications

Douglas, E., Mohn, M. & Gushwa, M. (2014). The presence of maltreatment fatality-related content in pre-service child welfare training curricula: A brief report of 20 states. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 32(3), 213-218.

Glantz, T. & Gushwa, M. (2013). Reflections on foster youth and education: Finding common ground. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. 19(4), 15-23.

Gushwa, M. & Chance, T. (2008). Ethical dilemmas for mental health practitioners: Navigating mandated child maltreatment reporting decisions. Families in Society, 89(1), 78-83.

Selected presentations

Gushwa, M. (2015, May). I wouldn't want your job, but I could do it better than you: Walking the tightrope of child welfare practice. Invited presentation at the 2015 Massachusetts Family Impact Seminar, sponsored by the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston, MA. 

Gushwa, M. & Paquin, W. (2015, January). Zip codes and child maltreatment: An examination of housing and neighborhood effects. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Work & Research in New Orleans, LA. 

Douglas, E. & Gushwa, M. (2014, September). Child maltreatment fatalities: An evidence-based training on risk & assessment. Invited presentation at the Connecticut Department of Children & Families Regional Training Conference in Uncasville, CT. 

Gushwa, M. (2014, January). Paper trails and practice reform: An exploration of street level bureaucracy in child welfare. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Work and Research in San Antonio, TX.

Glantz, T., Gushwa, M. & Malloy, T. [Rhode Island Representatives] (2014, January). Educational experiences of children and youth in the child welfare system. Invited podcast with the National Evaluation & Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children & Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk. (Available at

Gushwa, M. & Chance, T. (2013, June). Standardized tools and practice skills: Promoting assessment capacity in child welfare. Paper presented at the Annual Colloquium of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children in Las Vegas, NV.