Friday, May 27, 2011

Ackerman Institute Diversity and Social Work 2011 Graduation

The Ackerman Institute's Diversity and Social Work Training Program celebrated the accomplishments of this year’s group of student interns at its annual presentation on May 4, 2011. The program’s mission, in existence since 1992, is to train a critical mass of professionals of color who can serve as leaders in bringing a family-centered approach to community-based social service agencies that is culturally and racially sensitive to the needs of families. Students spend two days at the Institute where their training includes live supervision of family sessions and a day off-site working at a community based organization.

The Program benefits from its long-term partnerships with Hunter, Columbia and New York University Schools of Social Work who help us recruit outstanding students of color, and this year’s cadre was no exception. Denise Munoz, Ria Brown, Daniela Caraballo, Mackenzie Charles, Beatrice Hyacinthe and Katherine Ambia gave outstanding presentations depicting both their clinical work with families by showing brief video edits as well as describing their personal and professional growth throughout the intensive training process at Ackerman.

Sippio Small added: "I would like to acknowledge the third founding member of the social work program, the late Ruth Mohr. She continues to be a guiding influence on how I supervise and interact with the students. One of the first assignments for the students is to view the documentary, Families Under the Influence that features the clinical brilliance of Ruth Mohr."

Students discussed issues as diverse as the complexity of working with a rare, untreatable disease in a young family member to their experience, as young professionals of color, working with their first white family. Students also highlighted the intense bond that they have created with one another; spending every weekend together observing each other's work behind a one-way mirror as well as the six hours of supervision they receive every Monday with the program co-directors, Laurie Kaplan and Sippio Small.

Not only were the presentations packed with information, the house was packed with people. Board member Arthur Maslow, as well as Lois Braverman, President of the Ackerman Institute, Marcia Sheinberg, Director of Training and faculty members of the Institute were there as well returning program graduates who served as supervisors to the interns in their off-site community placements. Additionally, professors from Hunter, Columbia and NYU and students families and friends were also in attendance.