Month: November 2013

Deberey Hinchey MSW ’97 Elected Mayor of Norwich

Deberey Hinchey made history on November 5, 2013 by becoming the first female mayor of the City of Norwich. She is a 1997 graduate of the School of Social Work and a former intern in the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work.

Deberey Hinchey, MSW '97 Mayor of Norwich, CT
Deberey Hinchey, MSW ’97
Mayor of Norwich, CT
Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman both issued statements following Hinchey’s victory. “I would like to congratulate Mayor-Elect Deb Hinchey on her history-making win tonight – becoming the first woman elected mayor of Norwich,” Malloy said. “She’s been an advocate for investing in downtown infrastructure for economic development while also supporting local services that guarantee a great quality of life. I look forward to working with her and partnering with her administration.”

Wyman said “Hinchey is dedicated to working on important issues that affect the local economy, such as education, downtown revitalization and public safety. I’m excited to see what strides she will make during her first term.”

Deb said she based her campaign on making personal contact with as many voters as possible.

Social Work Dean Attends Briefing on Affordable Care Act

UConn School of Social Work Dean Salome Raheim was one of more than 150 leading social work educators from across the country who recently attended a White House briefing on the expanding role of social work in today’s changing health care environment.

<img src="" alt="UConn School of Social Work Dean Salome Raheim (left) with Darla Spence Coffey, president of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)" width="630" height="420" class="si UConn School of Social Work Dean Salome Raheim, left, with Darla Spence Coffey, president of the Council on Social Work Education, during a recent White House briefing on the importance of social workers during and after implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Photo courtesy of the Council on Social Work Education)

The historic briefing stressed the important role social workers will play during and after the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is designed to increase the affordability and availability of quality health care for individuals throughout the U.S.

The Sept. 25 conference titled Addressing the Social Determinants of Health in a New Era: The Role of Social Work Education took place at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building and was led by Darla Spence Coffey, president of the Council on Social Work Education, a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,500 social work educators nationally. Participants were greeted by Paul Monteiro, a representative from the White House Office of Public Engagement.

The social work educators spent the day participating in a series of briefings led by representatives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its various agencies including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The briefings covered such topics as the challenge of ensuring health care for all in light of shifting U.S. demographics; new expectations for healthcare; a dialogue on mental health; and building capacity for those in need.

“The Affordable Care Act was certainly the policy context of the briefing, but the broader context focused on addressing the vast health disparities that exist in this nation,” Raheim said. “In order to advance the health of citizens of this nation and address health disparities, the approach has to go beyond the medical and biological. It has to include the wide range of systems that impact people’s health and well-being. Do they have housing? Do they have food? An adequate income? Opportunities for education?”

“I was delighted to hear each speaker say they understood the important role social workers play in addressing these social determinants of health as we move into this new era of health care,” Raheim said. “Social work and social work education has to be very involved.”

During the briefings, federal leaders discussed their expectations of the roles social workers will play in today’s changing health care environment and the different challenges that will be presented.

Raheim, a nationally recognized leader in cultural competency training and education, said she was particularly pleased to see cultural competency recognized as one of the areas of focus.

“It’s really social workers and social work educators who brought cultural competency to federal agencies as a framework for working with diversity,” Raheim said. “Effective practice in the context of a wide range of differences, including race, ethnicity, language, culture, and other diversity factors is fundamental to addressing the social determinants of health.”

UConn’s School of Social Work prepares those seeking masters degrees in social work in a variety of areas designed to help graduates address health care issues and disparities as part of their profession. By providing extensive training and internships in casework, group work, community organizing, and social work administration and practice, the school positions graduates to have an immediate impact.

Raheim says the new demands and challenges presented by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act amplify the work social workers have been doing for decades.

“The ACA provides a window of opportunity for us to work collaboratively to get people enrolled in an insurance plan,” says Raheim. “I would not say we are more focused than before because we, as social workers, have always been focused on getting health care to people who don’t have it. We just didn’t have this mechanism.”

At UConn, Raheim says the School of Social Work is working on building stronger collaborations with other schools and colleges such as those focused on nursing, public health, medicine, and pharmacy to provide a more integrated, interprofessional approach to addressing health care issues in Connecticut and elsewhere.

“One of the purposes of the briefing was to provide us with the information and tools we need to use the opportunities that the Affordable Care Act creates,” Raheim says. “Now as leaders in social work education, it is our responsibility to go back to our schools and develop innovative strategies to increase our students’ knowledge of this new policy and its impact on practice. That is the next step.”

On a related note, Raheim mentioned that UConn alumnus Robert P. Connolly (MSW ’71) – a recipient of the National Association of Social Workers’ Pioneer award – will be visiting the School of Social Work in spring 2014 to discuss the ramifications of the ACA and how it impacts the social work profession. Connolly is considered a national leader in health care policy and long-term care. During his lengthy social work career, Connolly spent 20 years with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration), working to improve and enhance social work practices in nursing care facilities and long-term care programs.

Article by Colin Poitras, UConn Today

Paula Crombie MSW ’82 Receives Eleanor Clark Award

Paula Crombie, director of Social Work at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), has received the 2013 Eleanor Clark Award for Innovative Programs in Patient Care from the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care. This national award recognizes Paula’s role in helping to design the hospital’s innovative off-shift executive leader program. She also recently contributed to developing the 12-bed Medical Respite Care program at the Columbus House shelter. Crombie, co-chair of the hospital’s United Way campaign for the past two years, joined YNHH in 1995. Photo of Paula Crombie, MSW She was formerly the director of Human Services for Warwick, R.I., and assistant director for social services at Rhode Island Hospital. Paula received her bachelor’s in social work from Elmira College and her master’s in social work from the University of Connecticut. She is a licensed clinical social worker.

The Eleanor Clark Award was established in 1985 as a way to honor the memory of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care leader Eleanor Clark. This award honors an individual or team for the development, implementation and evaluation of a clinical or social action program that emulates Eleanor Clark’s spirit of discovery and innovation. In addition, the award seeks to promote the creative and valuable new programs throughout the health care field.

PRLSP Continues the Conversation with CT Senate and House Latino Legislators

On November 6, 2013, the Puerto Rican Latin@ Studies Project (PRLSP) invited the Connecticut Latino Legislators to a roundtable discussion on issues and concerns affecting the Latino communities they serve. This event was the next step in a continuing conversation that began with the 2012 “Café con Leche” breakfast held at the Capitol’s Legislative Office Building.  The focus of the collaboration between PRLSP and the Latino Legislative Caucus is to discuss issues affecting the Latino community for the purpose of legislative policy development.  CT Latino Legislators RoundtableFor this meeting, the main topics brought to the table by the legislators were education, mental health, and reentry services for Latino individuals released back into the community from correctional institutions. As the meeting evolved, education and the impact on Latinos became the focus of discussion.

This roundtable discussion demonstrated the concern and passion that the Latino legislators have for our communities.  The Latino Caucus will host the next roundtable discussion at the Legislative Office Building. They are very much interested in continuing the collaboration with the Puerto Rican Latin@ Studies Project.
November 2013 CT Latino Legislators Roundtable
Roundtable participants included Connecticut legislators: Senator Andres Ayala Jr. and his Legislative Aide, Carlos Cosme, House Representatives: Hilda E. Santiago, Victor Cuevas, Angel Arce, and Edwin Vargas.  From the School of Social Work: Salome Raheim, Dean, Scott Harding, Associate Dean, PRLSP faculty and stude nts; and Nancy Humphreys, Director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work; and policy interns.

The Center for International Social Work Studies Selected as a Recipient of the UConn Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement

The 2013 winners for the UConn Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement were announced on October 28th.

The School of Social Work is proud to have a winner in the Program category. The Center for International Social Work Studies (CISWS) was selected as a recipient for their contributions to public engagement through:

  • Integrating global perspectives and human rights into the curriculum;
  • Facilitating faculty scholarship on international issues;
  • Encouraging student, faculty, staff, and practitioner participation in international learning and action activities;
  • Promoting cross-cultural competence;
  • Building partnerships with overseas programs and international organizations.
Photo of Professor Lynne Healy
Lynne Healy, Co-Director, Center for International Social Work Studies
Rebecca Thomas, Co-Director, Center for International Social Work Studies

A reception honoring all of the recipients of the 2013 Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement will be held on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Storrs campus.

Kindly respond (accepts only) by November 13 to University Events and Conference Services.

Email: or phone: 860.486.1038.