Alumnae/i Feature

Shane MacDonald '18MSW on the Importance of Meaningful Treatment

What the job entails

Shane is a clinical coordinator for North Suffolk Mental Health Association in Boston. As part of the Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS) program, he handles a caseload of 28 clients who are living with persistent psychiatric and substance use disorders in the Boston area. Using evidence-based clinical practices, he works with each client to develop and follow meaningful treatment plans. In addition to this community-based work, Shane collaborates with an integrated team to oversee case management and to coordinate clients' needs for healthcare and social services.

What brought him to Simmons

After teaching English in China for three years, Shane returned to the U.S. to pursue his long-term goal of becoming a therapist. With a degree in sociology and anthropology from the University of Vermont, he chose Simmons for its strong reputation as a clinical program and its "welcoming" environment.

How Simmons prepared him

Shane gained broad experience in community-based healthcare in his first placement as a resident services coordinator at Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, a nonprofit housing and human services organization.

In his second placement in the Asian Psychiatry Program at Tufts Medical Center, Shane drew on his background abroad to assess, diagnose, and treat a caseload of up to 15 first-generation Chinese American clients. In addition, through a Simmons connection, Shane worked in residential administration at the North Suffolk Mental Health Association—an opportunity that led to his current position. "Simmons did an excellent job of transitioning me to the field," he says. "My placements required me to use different clinical skills and to work with many different people. The progression felt really natural."

Why it's rewarding

'Working in community mental health gives me the opportunity to build long-term relationships with my clients," says Shane. "I see them at their best and in crisis, and by knowing this history, can help them regain some control when they need it."

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