Alumnae/i Feature

Jackie Fickes '19MSW: Simmons had Everything I was Looking for

Jackie tells us how the Simmons Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Clinical Training led her to work for the Dimock Center.

What the job entails

Headshot of Jackie Fickes

Jackie is an integrated behavioral health clinician at the Dimock Center, a nationally recognized health care center that offers integrated comprehensive services to Boston’s most under-served neighborhoods. In this wide-ranging role, she collaborates with an interdisciplinary primary care team to support the behavioral health needs of English- and Spanish-speaking patients. She provides rapid assessments and brief interventions, as well as longer-term individual psychotherapy.

“If someone is struggling,” says Jackie, “we’re able to support them in that moment.”

What brought her to Simmons

After graduating from Bowdoin College with a degree in sociology, Jackie was providing Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative services through Riverside Community Care, a behavioral health and human services organization in Somerville, when she decided to pursue her MSW.

Drawn to Simmons for its clinical emphasis and opportunity-rich location, she applied to its three-year-program, which would allow her to continue to work. “Simmons had everything I was looking for,” she says.

How Simmons prepared her

The program, reports Jackie, offered “so many opportunities to apply course-work to the clinical setting and the clinical setting to coursework.” For her first placement at Riverside Family Clinic, she provided in-home therapy to Spanish-speaking adolescents and their families; counseled students experiencing social and emotional difficulties at Somerville High School; and led two support groups.

In her second year, Jackie was accepted into the federally-funded Simmons Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Clinical Training (SIMPACT) program, and as part of its focus on integrated interdisciplinary care, completed a placement in outpatient therapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital Chelsea HealthCare Center. She points to a required course in the SIMPACT program, "Social Work Healthcare Practice," as particularly influential. The course illuminated “the challenges that arise around mental health in healthcare and how that affects patients’ access,” she explains. “It led to my wanting to work at the Dimock Center.”

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