This fall, six new faculty members join the Simmons School of Social Work. Their diverse clinical and research repertoires include trauma, women’s health, child welfare, weight stigma, substance misuse, and adolescent mental health. These dedicated scholars and practitioners will inspire Simmons students to fight inequity and empower marginalized individuals.
Associate Professor of Practice Emilé Baker, MSW, LICSW (she/her) is known for her interactive teaching style. At Simmons, she will be teaching graduate-level courses and advising master’s (MSW) students. Previously, Baker worked as a psychotherapist who offered individual and group therapy in Boston and Wellesley (private practice). At the Center for Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Center, she provided outpatient therapy at the HIV clinic. Committed to supporting marginalized women wrestling with homelessness, trauma, and mental illness, Baker served as a clinician and advocate at On the Rise, a women’s shelter in Cambridge. She obtained her master’s degree from Rhode Island College’s School of Social Work. Her thesis is entitled, “Contraception Access, Coverage, and Reproductive Healthcare Benefits for College Women in Rhode Island.”
“My overall teaching philosophy is to build trusting, authentic relationships within my classroom in order to foster an environment in which my students feel safe to make mistakes, ask questions, take calculated risks, and challenge themselves. I believe, as in most social work practice, that the foundation for the work is in the relationships we build,” says Baker.
Assistant Professor Kristen Ethier, Ph.D., LCSW (she/her) received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and also received degrees in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her practice, teaching, and scholarship embrace an intersectional approach to sexual and reproductive health equity, race, and child welfare. Dr. Ethier’s dissertation examines how child welfare system policies and practices shape the transition to motherhood among youth in foster care in Illinois. She has published peer-reviewed articles in Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, and Social Service Review. At Simmons, Dr. Ethier will teach courses on advanced clinical practice.
A social justice lens lays the foundation for Dr. Ethier’s pedagogical methods. Her courses are inherently feminist and anti-racist, and she views the classroom as a site for personal and social transformation. Dr. Ethier invites students to “come to class with a mug for tea!”
Associate Professor of Practice Rebekah Gibbons, LICSW (she/her) began teaching at Simmons in 2021 as an Adjunct Professor. She will be teaching a wide variety of courses: Advanced Clinical Practice, Attachment, Neurobiology, Social Work Practice, and Crisis Intervention with Children and Adolescents. Moreover, Gibbons is co-leading the MSW trauma certificate. Trained at Boston College’s Graduate School of Social Work, she accumulated extensive experience with adolescents, families, and adults with her past work in community mental health and in-home family therapy. Currently, she works as a therapist in a private practice serving individuals ages 15 and up. Gibbons’ clinical specialties include trauma, attachment, and adolescent mental health and development.
“I am genuinely thrilled and honored to join the Simmons School of Social Work as a full-time faculty member,” says Gibbons. “I value the opportunity to not only share my clinical insights and expertise, but also to empower students to embrace the considerable impact social workers make in our communities.”
Associate Professor of Practice and On-ground MSW Practicum Education Specialist Olivia Montgomery, MSW, LICSW (she/they) specializes in Fat Liberation and Health-At-Every-Size frameworks, working to reduce weight-stigma and anti-fat bias in healthcare. They are the founder of Boundless Body Collective, LLC, and serve as an educator, public speaker, and leader in the field of Body Liberation. Prior to joining the Simmons faculty, Montgomery worked in a variety of clinical, supervisory, and teaching roles in medical hospitals, psychiatric facilities, outpatient clinics, schools, private practice, and suicide prevention organizations throughout the greater Boston area. They have provided treatment to veterans, sexual trauma survivors, and suicide survivors. Montgomery received a master’s degree (MSW) from Simmons University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“As a Simmons SSW alum (class of 2016), I am absolutely thrilled to rejoin the Simmons School of Social Work community,” Montgomery exclaims. “My primary role is in the on-ground MSW Practicum Education Department, helping to guide and advise students in their practicum experiences. I’m so excited to be able to offer not only my own Simmons experience, but also my various clinical practice experiences to our students.”
Associate Professor of Practice Allah-Fard Sharrieff, Ph.D., MSCP, LCSW, BCD (he/him) has research interests in leadership, forensics, psychopharmacology, serious mental illness, trauma/post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and clinical neuropsychology. At Simmons, he will serve as the Assistant Program Director for the doctoral program in Social Work (DSW). Dr. Sharrieff has over 20 years of military and civilian experience that includes roles in leadership, administration, supervision, teaching, and direct practice. He has worked in governmental, grassroots, and community contexts. Dr. Sharrieff completed a Postdoctoral Master’s of Science, Clinical Psychopharmacology (MSCP) Fellowship at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University and both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Mississippi.
“I’m honored to be a part of the Simmons Community and I am looking forward to teaching, challenging, and inspiring the next generation of social work leaders,” says. Dr. Sharrieff.
Assistant Professor Jeffrey Steen, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW (he/him) will teach graduate-level coursework for both on-campus and online students at the School of Social Work. His research and clinical interests include substance misuse, mental health, and service providers’ experiences. Currently, Dr. Steen is a research affiliate with the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at NYU and serves as a Disaster Mental Health volunteer with the American Red Cross. He obtained his doctorate from New York University with a dissertation entitled “Adverse Childhood Experiences, Career Success, and the Role of Substance Misuse Treatment Among Social Workers with Alcohol and Other Drug Problems.” In his clinical and administrative work at healthcare and nonprofit organizations, Dr. Steen focuses on health and recovery. He has authored/co-authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Social Work in Public Health, Health and Social Work, Journal of Social Service Research, Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, Social Work in Mental Health, JMIR Research Protocols, and AIDS and Behavior. Dr. Steen has presented his research at professional conferences, including the Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research in Substance Use and Addiction, the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting, the Symposium on Substance Use Research, and the Society for Social Work and Research.
“Simmons University’s School of Social Work has meaningfully informed the profession since its inception, advancing best practices, innovative research, and social justice,” says Dr. Steen. “I’m honored to become part of this critical community, and look forward to contributing to local and national efforts in support of our progressive aims.”