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2014 NASW-MA Chapter Award Recipients
Dorothy Weitzman, MSW, 2014 Lifetime Achievement Honoree

Dorothy Weitzman, MSW

Lifetime Achievement

Dorothy Weitzman has had an outstanding career as a social work practitioner, community organizer, policy practitioner, social work educator, and tireless advocate for the needs of society’s most ignored members—those most In need of support, and for social welfare reform. Dorothy is acknowledged by colleagues as tireless in her service to social work students and as a persistent and effective advocate for important legislative initiatives. She is a community organizer for social justice for the incarcerated and their families. Dorothy, part-time faculty member at Boston College’s Graduate School of Social Work, is their faculty liaison to the Community Action Committee that engages students in social justice activities.

Dorothy’s nearly twenty year involvement in fighting criminal justice injustices began with the shocking escalation in US incarceration and profound racial inequities. She was a founder and board member of the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition from the mid-1990s through 2009. In 2010, the Coalition awarded her its Volunteer Service Award. Currently, she serves on two prison-focused committees, the Concord Prison Outreach Committee and the Middlesex Prison Coordinating Committee where she has been an Executive Board Member since 2002.

Dorothy has a long relationship with the NASW-MA Chapter as a volunteer leader. She established and headed the Chapter’s Career Services Program from 1981-86 and produced the popular Social Work Yellow Pages with information on MA agencies that hired social workers. She co-founded, with Ros Winsor, the Criminal Justice Committee in 1996 and served as its Chair for nearly 15 years. And in the early 1990’s she started and chaired the Children’s Issues Committee.

In recognition of her long and dedicated years of service, and her stellar work as a social worker, an educator, and advocate extraordinaire, we are proud to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dorothy Weitzman.

Hugo Kamya, PhD, LICSW, 2014 Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education Honoree

Hugo Kamya, PhD, LICSW

Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education

Dr. Hugo Kamya is a full professor in the clinical practice sequence at Simmons College School of Social Work. He obtained a BA from the University of Nairobi, a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University, an MSW from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, and the PhD from Boston University. He has used his degrees to integrate his interests in the areas of clinical practice, research, and social justice. He is a Founding member of the Boston Institute for Culturally Affirming Practices (BICAP). His research and teaching includes work in the areas of trauma, child mental health, and international practice. This is evident in Dr. Kamya’s focus on service to children living in HIV-affected families in Boston and in Uganda. He regularly takes students and colleagues to Uganda where they interact with and serve clients in HIV/AIDS clinics. Dr. Kamya’s work has expanded to include the impact of war on children and families in war conflict zones.

In 2003, the American Family Therapy Academy recognized his work with an award for Distinguished Contribution to Social and Economic Justice. In January 2014, Dr. Kamya was awarded the Fulbright Specialist Roster Program from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Recently, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health invited him to serve on one of their expert review panels on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Screening and Referral Services.

Dr. Kamya is the consummate instructor, a prolific presenter, with copious publications. He is an educator who is constantly in search of truth and how that truth can affect social work education, research, and most importantly practice. We are thrilled to present Hugo with this year’s Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education Award.

Ellen Parker, MSW, MBA, 2014 Beverly Ross Fliegel Award for Social Policy and Change Honoree

Ellen Parker, MSW, MBA

Beverly Ross Fliegel Award for Social Policy and Change

Very few people have the ability to drive change. Ellen Parker is one of those individuals. She listens to, understands, and empathizes with the community she serves…and advances a solution.

As Executive Director of Project Bread and the Walk for Hunger, Ellen Parker has transformed a traditional anti-hunger organization into a national model for ending hunger through the use of innovative positioning and strategic partnerships. Ms. Parker has reframed the issue of hunger from an enduring and unchangeable facet of poverty to a public health problem that requires a set of solutions tailored to specific populations. One of her top priorities has been the creation and implementation of a state-wide project to protect low income children from hunger and to reinforce their capacity to learn. At the same time, Ms. Parker has strengthened the organization’s historic mission of providing funds to 400 emergency food programs in 126 communities through the Walk for Hunger.

Prior to taking on the leadership of Project Bread, Ellen was Vice President of Programs at Crittenton Hastings House in Boston; Regional Director of Catholic Charities, Boston, and Senior Policy Advisor for Human Services to Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn. She holds two Masters degrees from Boston University, one in Social Work and one in Business Administration and Public Management.

It is with respect and admiration for the work she does on a daily basis that we present her with the Beverly Ross Fliegel Social Policy and Change Award.

Jeanette Merren, MA, 2014 Public Citizen of the Year Honoree

Jeanette Merren, MA

Public Citizen of the Year

By night, Jeanette Merren is a lab technician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. By day, she is an advocate extraordinaire making a marked difference in her Dorchester community. Ms. Merren is the ultimate “change agent”. Her many activities and accomplishments include an after school and summer program for 40 low-income children using space in her church (where she engages volunteers, raises money and fills in as the unpaid executive director), and a Community Food Pantry and Thanksgiving Basket Program serving close to 200 families. With parents of the schools her children attended, she advocated and raised funds for improved resources. She has served on the Boston Citywide Parent Council. When the Federal government announced plans to end Temporary Protective Status for 292 refugees from the West Indies she jumped into action. Whether helping an individual or identifying a need or remedying a gap in services, Ms. Merren’s approach is to mobilize others with her strong “can-do” attitude, her persistence during difficult times, and her drive to provide the services needed. If she can’t do it herself, she gets the help that is needed.

An immigrant herself (Honduras), a mother of 5, and a full-time employee, Jeanette earned a Master’s degree in non-profit administration from Cambridge College. For her decades of selfless grass roots community work and leadership, we are honored to name Ms. Merren our 2014 Public Citizen of the Year.

Gregg Croteau, LCSW, 2014 Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice Honoree

Gregg Croteau, LCSW

Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice

Gregg Croteau began his social work career in Hanoi, becoming fluent in Vietnamese, and providing technical assistance and training related to program evaluation, proposal writing, and project planning. In 2000 Gregg became the first Executive Director of United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell serving at risk and proven risk populations through street outreach, gang peacemaking, community partnerships, mental health services, and specialized educational opportunities. Gregg has grown UTEC from a hall in a Lowell church and a budget of $40,000 to a 2.5 million dollar non-profit in a renovated building. Masterful at engaging youth in all levels of agency operations, he includes them in trips to Beacon Hill and Washington DC where he and they testify for legislation and policy change.

Among UTEC’s staff are former gang members, individuals who have been homeless and incarcerated, conquered addiction, and other similar risk factors as the population they now serve. Gregg provides tools for youth workers of all backgrounds and educational levels to learn about motivational interviewing, trauma informed interventions, and concepts of empowerment.

Gregg is recognized locally and nationally, providing expert testimony on Senator Feinstein’s Gang Abatement and Prevention Act Of 2007 and at Senator Kerry’s office about findings from John Hopkins’ 18 month evaluation of UTEC’s Streetworker model. He has been a strong voice at the National Summit on Gang Violence, an appointed member of Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants, City Manager’s Gang Advisory Task Force, and City of Lowell Climate Action Steering Committee. Among his many awards are the UMass-Lowell Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Service Award, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader’s Award. It is our pleasure to add the NASW Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice Award to the list.

Laurie Grant, LICSW, 2014 Emerging Leader Honoree

Laurie Grant, LICSW

Emerging Leader

Laurie Grant is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumni, completing her year of service at the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs in 2001, after which she received her MSW from Boston University in 2004. In a short period of time many populations, such as elders, families, and students, have benefitted from Laurie’s extraordinary talents. Her primary employment is at Greater Lynn Senior Services where she started, developed and manages the Hoarding Outreach Program. She is a hoarding outreach specialist providing in-home support and leading groups for hoarding individuals, and their concerned family members. She also offers trainings on hoarding to other agencies and organizations throughout the state. Laurie’s commitment led her to create her own agency called “Reaching a Fork in the Road” which provides group support, consultation, and motivational coaching for older adults. Over the past four years Laurie worked as a consultant with Masshousing to help communities throughout MA develop and sustain hoarding task forces and outreach programs. In 2012 she chaired a Best Practice Committee for MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs which led to a Best Practice Guide for Developing Hoarding Programs published in 2013.

Laurie’s contributions to the next generation of social workers is evident in her work at Salem State College School of Social Work. As Assistant Director of the Beverly Council on Aging she served as Field Instructor for senior Salem State BSW students setting the bar for clear and rigorous supervision, and providing innovative tailored experiences for each student. She is now an exceptional instructor in the BSW program. She has been a visiting lecturer and is teaching the Field Education Seminar. Laurie also worked on NASW’s Social Work Reinvestment Initiative encouraging young adults to consider the social work profession. We are delighted to present her with this year’s Emerging Leader Award.

Special Award Presentations to

Hospital Social Work Departments

We are filled with pride to be presenting the following recognition awards to the Social Work Departments of the seven trauma hospitals in Boston, although we are still stunned and horrified by the circumstances that led up to it. A year ago, without a moment’s notice, these esteemed colleagues of ours stepped up to perform exemplary services to the stricken, their families, and friends. The trauma rippled without bounds. It continues still.

We appreciate as well the dedicated services of social workers at the many hospitals and rehabilitation facilities throughout the state, who ultimately received and helped so many.

Now, to those social workers in the trauma hospitals who received ambulance after ambulance of injured marathon victims, during the most critical and chaotic time; who worked tirelessly to re-connect families, and offered comfort to those rushed into surgery, we thank you, we admire you, and we now applaud you.

2014 Special Award Presentations to Hospital Social Work Departments
  • Allison Scobie-Carroll, Director of Social Work accepting for
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Barbara Sarnoff Lee, Senior Director, Social Work, accepting for
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Emma Riley, Social Work Manager accepting for
    Boston Medical Center
  • Joan Smith, Clinical Social Worker, accepting for
    Tufts Medical Center
  • Marie Elena Joyella, Director of Social Service, accepting for
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Martha Burke, Director of Social Work, accepting for
    Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Mary Ray Mazaka, Director of Social Work, accepting for
    Brigham & Women’s Faulkner Hospital

Photos by Adam Linn for: Dorothy Weitzman, Jeanette Merren, Gregg Croteau, and Laurie Grant.


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