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2015 NASW-MA Chapter Award Recipients
Roberta Russell, LICSW, 2015 Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice Honoree

Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice

Roberta Russell, LICSW

Roberta Russell’s social work practice spans both micro and macro settings, and began even before she obtained her MSW. As Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Center of Berkshire County in Pittsfield, she supervised the crisis hotline, led groups, provided community education about sexual assault and co-authored a nationally distributed book: “It Happens to Boys, Too.” And then she decided to pursue a Masters’ degree in social work from Smith College.

As a skilled clinical social worker, her practice has been both private and agency based. Her specialty areas encompass trauma, addiction, families and couples, children and veterans to name a few – often working with children no one else could reach.

As a consultant, Roberta has worked with the Barrington Stage Company providing mental health consultation to a theater program for court-mandated at-risk teenagers and as an Early Childhood Consultant with the Farmington River Regional School District.

Described as a “woman of eloquence, intelligence and drive” Ms. Russell is known as a tireless advocate for the profession and for her clients – writing letters, contacting legislators, attending meetings, testifying at hearings and conducting workshops; essentially moving client’s concerns to the public policy level to create change.

As you can see, Ms. Russell’s impact is not only with countless individuals (colleagues and clients) but also with multiple organizations and communities. Exemplifying all that it means to be an amazing social worker, she truly deserves recognition for the greatest contribution to social work practice and it is our pleasure to present her with the NASW Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice Award.

Judith Bond, LICSW, 2015 Lifetime Achievement Honoree

Lifetime Achievement

Judith Bond, LICSW

Judith Bond, senior social worker at Boston Children’s Hospital, started there in 1978 spending the majority of her years in the Division of Respiratory Diseases. She is particularly proficient in managing difficult patient situations, effecting change, and providing the highest quality of health care to a diverse population of patients. Judy sets the highest priority on advocating for the integration of a social work voice in clinical, programmatic, and research initiatives, on fostering collaborative working relationships among multi-disciplinary team members, and on teaching team members about the psychosocial challenges of living with chronic , life-threatening illness.

Judith had a leadership role in structuring and facilitating the Cystic Fibrosis Program Family Advisory Group, development of a “peer buddy” email program for adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis, and creation of a mentoring program for families. She earned a grant for patients transitioning from pediatric to adult medical care, provided mentorship, and gave numerous presentations on all topics related to Cystic Fibrosis and pulmonary disease.

The Chief of the Division of Respiratory Diseases at Children’s Hospital, Boston says that by working with Judy Bond he learned the true nature of social work in the long term management of complex patients. The impact of Cystic Fibrosis on quality of life is nearly impossible to overestimate, as is the profound impact that Judy Bond has on patients’ lives. Over the course of more than 25 years, Judy cared for thousands of patients helping with extensive medical, family, and life issues: births, deaths, marriages, finances, school, compliance with medications, lifestyle adjustments, access to services, decisions about transplants, and more. She has changed lives, inspired colleagues, and tremendously impacted the field of medical social work.

Judith Bond was awarded the Boston Children’s Hospital “Exceptional Care, Exceptional Service Award” which honors an individual who exceeds expectations in the areas of excellence, respect, communication, courtesy, and teamwork. In recognition of her long and dedicated years of service, and her stellar work as a social worker, supervisor, mentor, and advocate, we are proud to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Judy Bond.

Susan Spurlock, JD, 2015 Public Citizen of the Year Honoree

Public Citizen of the Year

Susan Spurlock, JD

Susan Spurlock received her Juris Doctor degree from Boston University Law School, and has been a “Citizen of Massachusetts” serving in a variety of professional positions working for the betterment of the public: Special Education Teacher, Staff Attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services, and Associate Director for School and Community Relations for Northeastern University School of Education. Her work experience has brought her full circle in the service of children for she is, and has been since 2007, the Director of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Child Welfare Institute. As such, she has worked diligently to assure that many DCF staff become Department MSW Fellows with the intent of attaining the MSW degree from one of the five participating schools of social work. This endeavor involves ensuring that criteria for MSW Fellows reflect the primary values of social work. Her work includes making post-Master’s certificate programs for social workers readily available in areas that have significant impact in the areas DCF staff cover, such as abuse, trauma, and childhood mental health.

Susan is also involved in public citizenship through volunteer work in the Boston area that improves lives: Habitat for Humanity, Hattie B. Cooper Community Center, Dress for Success, Women’s Lunch Place, and Kids Courts and Citizenship. She is or has been a member and leader of several human service focused entities, such as Atlas Communities; Race, Culture, Identity and Achievement planning committee; Higher Education After-School Roundtable; The Max Warburg Courage Curriculum Planning Committee; Justice Resource Institute; and Roxbury YouthWorks. Susan Spurlock is a public servant who embraces the human condition and works for the common good. We are honored to name her NASW’s 2015 Public Citizen of the Year.

Deborah Lisansky Beck, LICSW, 2015 Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education Honoree

Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education

Deborah Lisansky Beck, LICSW

Deborah Lisansky Beck has been respected by the social work community since she began her practice in the 1970’s helping children and families. Her thoughtful, clinically informed, and social justice inspired work with clients, students, and colleagues personify the hallmarks of the social work profession.

Affiliated with Wheelock College since 1991 as faculty member, field work coordinator, and student advisor, Ms. Beck is now Director of the BSW Program, and has played a major role in recruiting and inspiring students of all backgrounds to become members of the professional social work community. She is an active figure in the students’ academic life, and remains such after they graduate.

Debbie’s students have the benefit of her commitment to the appropriate support, mentoring, and teaching of undergraduate students, her commitment to improving the lives of children and families, and her commitment to social justice centered social work education and practice. She is an extraordinarily talented teacher who serves as a role model, facilitator, and mentor, challenging students to think critically and creatively. Some of Debbie’s students grew up enduring poverty, trauma or racism. She helped them overcome years of inequity in our education system and guided them to become professionals equal to others with better opportunities. Her excellence in teaching earned her the Cynthia Longfellow Teaching Award at Wheelock, given annually to a faculty member in any department who inspires and challenges students.

Debbie’s teaching is informed and enhanced by her active professional life outside of Wheelock. Her private practice, her volunteer service at Rosie’s Place, membership in NASW’s Political Action for Candidate Election, teaching and practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, to name a few, personify the macro and clinical aspects of social work and their integration to practice. Debby’s passion about her work is contagious and conveys to students the essence of social work values, the power of advocacy, and the creativity of practice.

She is innovative in curriculum development, adept at the big picture of field experience, and highly admired by her colleagues. They call her a “Rock Star!” We are thrilled to present Debbie with this year’s NASW Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education Award.

Patrice Lamour, LICSW, 2015 Emerging Leader Honoree

Emerging Leader

Patrice Lamour, LICSW

Patrice Lamour holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Human Services from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, a Master of Social Work, and a Certificate in Urban Leadership from Simmons College where she is presently working on her Ph.D. in Health Professions Education.

Ms. Lamour, a first generation Haitian American, has helped develop and run several programs within the Boston community that focus on mental health, youth development, substance abuse and public health, as well as in education, and adult and juvenile justice systems. She founded Lamour By Design, Inc. and the Lamour Community Health Institute Mental Health Clinics to serve minority populations that have limited or no access to community mental health services, regardless of background, culture, or personal challenges. A particular focus of these organizations is to provide counseling in the client’s native language with cultural knowledge and competence. This approach fosters trust, and helps clients achieve breakthrough results faster and without judgment.

Patrice is currently developing an after school program for at-risk youth set to begin in 2015, which will help children succeed in their school environment utilizing before-and-after school programs that combine Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Music Therapy, Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, Recreational clubs and understanding Child/ Youth learning styles. The objective is to address social/emotional needs, provide interventions that prevent or intervene with behavioral concerns and special needs, engage families, and support their understanding of Child/Youth needs.

Ms. Lamour recently received the Parent/Professional Advocacy League of Massachusetts’ “Changing Lives Award” which recognizes her “creativity and commitment to finding new ways to improve the children’s mental health system”. We are delighted to present her with this year’s NASW Emerging Leader Award. 

Jane Matlaw, LICSW, 2015 Beverly Ross Fliegel Award for Social Policy and Change Honoree

Beverly Ross Fliegel Award for Social Policy and Change

Jane Matlaw, LICSW

Each year we present our Beverly Ross Fliegel Greatest Contribution to Social Policy and Change Award to honor the memory of the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter’s first Executive Director. Beverly Ross Fliegel was an outstanding social worker who cared tremendously about disenfranchised people. Beverly died of cancer at the untimely age of 42. This award helps keep alive the memory of a very special social worker, and reaffirms NASW’s commitment to social justice and social change.

For more than three decades Jane Matlaw has demonstrated a commitment to the larger community, to social change, and to the very important role that social workers play in linking practice with policy. Since 1995, Jane has been the Director of Community Relations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She coordinates with many groups and agencies throughout Greater Boston to further their goals of improving health in their local communities and to insure that Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a good neighbor and partner in achieving those goals. In 2009 she received the Action for Boston Community Development’s  Community Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Boston’s Neighborhoods”.

Within the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Jane Matlaw has teamed with staff to evaluate the impact of their individual actions on the environment. Her annual healthy work/healthy home project has earned her and the hospital local and national recognition. Partnering with Healthcare Without Harm she led the first “mercury roundup” in the country. The event focused on the need to get mercury out of the environment, educating staff about the public health danger it poses, and why Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center needed to address the problem. Free digital thermometers were offered in exchange for the mercury ones that people were to bring from home. This model led to mercury roundups and education programs across the country and the world, and to local, state, and international laws banning mercury from products and getting it out of the waste stream.

Ms. Matlaw’s colleagues describe her as someone who embodies the core social work value of “being where the client is” embracing the larger community and the needs of many underserved groups. She is vocal about patient advocacy as one might expect from someone in her role – but she is also a tireless advocate of social and environmental change. She is able to mobilize scores of communities to create a better place for patients to be treated with compassion and care. Jane takes on a challenge, sets high goals and standards, and achieves them.

Few people have the ability to drive change. Jane Matlaw is certainly one of them. It is with respect and admiration for the work she does on a daily basis that we present her with the 2015 Beverly Ross Fliegel Social Policy & Change Award. 

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