Friday, May 6, 2016
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.


University Center Ballroom
1 South Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530

Alumni and Friends Day

This event is sold out. To be added to the waiting list, please email

Open only to Adelphi University alumni and field instructors

Social Justice in Clinical Practice and Field Education

Earn 6 CE’s for FREE

We are proud that the social work profession stands at the forefront of our commitment to a core belief in promoting social justice in domains that overwhelm our sense of equity on a daily basis. These domains range from the micro to the macro levels of oppression, racism, poverty, social disenfranchisement, gender and sexual inequalities, health and mental health disparities, to name but a few. These matters assault us in our daily work across the vast spectrum of our practice areas, within child and family settings, health and mental health facilities, criminal justice organizations, or, within our relationships with special and diverse populations of LGBT youth, immigrant families and older adults. They present tangibly and intangibly amidst the moment-to-moment encounters that we experience within our social institutions, workplace, client and supervisory relationships. At the end of our day, we return to the continuous news cycle that chronicles the despair of our human condition that shapes the backdrop of our tomorrows.

Today’s Alumni and Friends event provides us with an opportunity to take a step back and reflect-to become mindful if you will-of the ways in which we respond within the realm of the personal self to the translation of these issues into our clinical practice. For, we are not always able to remain conscious of the social context that informs our personal practice. Perhaps we inadvertently screen our attention away from that which we deem beyond the realm of what is “controllable” to shift our focus upon “the things we can change.” In so doing, do we signal an unintended acceptance of social injustice despite our expressed values to the contrary? Are we maximizing the empowerment of our clients in confirming that “their lives matter” within the lens of a broader social context? Do we even have the tools and/or knowledge set to shift to a more heightened awareness that can translate into our actual practice or fieldwork experiences?

Today Alumni and Friends will provide an exceptional program that will address these challenges led by a group of talented professionals that are devoted to examining the issue of social justice within our clinical lives. Highlights of our Alumni and Friends day include a keynote address from Dawn Belkin Martinez, Ph.D.; LICSW entitled, “Social Justice Matters! A Social Justice Method of Practice for Clinical Social Workers.” This will be immediately followed by a dynamic discussion chaired by President Elect of NYCNASW and a founding member of the Anti-Racist Alliance, Candida Brooks-Harrison LCSW. Ms. Brooks-Harrison will engage guest panelists Shreya Mandel, JD., LMSW (Criminal Justice Expert); Reverend, Dr. Nellie Taylor Walthrust, MA, TH.D, CASAC; (Director of North Shore Child Guidance Center-The Leeds Place as well as an ordained minister at Westbury Gospel Tabernacle) and David Nish, MSW, D.M.A.; Associate Commissioner of NYC Administration for Children’s Services [ACS].

Alumni and friends are invited to advance the morning discussion and share on a more personal level within smaller facilitated discussion groups hosted by our presenters and/or faculty members. Please select a workshop that you would like to attend (please rank 1, 2 3). Workshops will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

  1. Children and Family Advocacy
  2. Disparities in Health/Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  3. The Injustice in Criminal “Justice”
  4. Documented and Undocumented Immigration
  5. Double Jeopardy: LGBTQ and Color
  6. Ageism and the Elderly
  7. Human Rights: Poverty, Hunger and the Pursuit of Fair Housing
  8. Difficult Conversations: Addressing Inequities in the Client/Therapist/Supervisory Relationship

Our event will conclude with some closing thoughts and audience discussion co-led by Todd Vanidestine and Rani Varghese, faculty of Adelphi University School of Social Work. Finally, in keeping with our traditions, Alumni and Friend’s Day is a time to celebrate our own relationships to the school, our colleagues and our field instructors. Let us have lunch together, network and enjoy the presentation of the Fieldwork Awards. Participant will receive 6 CE’s for today’s event to be presented upon conclusion of the day.


9:00 a.m.

Greetings, Welcome, Keynote Introduction

Dean Andrew Safyer, Ph.D. and Committee Member(s)

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Keynote Address:

Dawn Belkin Martinez, Ph.D., LICSW
Social Justice Matters!  A Social Justice Method of Practice for Clinical Social Workers

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion

Chair: Candida Brooks-Harrison, LCSW

Panelists: Shreya Mandel, JD, LMSW; Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, MA, Th.D., CASAC; David Nish, MSW, DMA



12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(during luncheon)

Field Instructor Awards

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Facilitated Discussion Groups

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.


Rani Varghese, Ed.D and Todd Vanedestine, Ph.D.

Certificates will be given out at the end of each session.

Keynote Address

Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, LICSW

Dawn Belkin Martinez, Ph.D., LICSW

Social Justice Matters!  A Social Justice Method of Practice for Clinical Social Workers
9:15-10:30 AM

As patterns of economic inequality and racism increase, social workers are on the frontlines of our current sociopolitical crisis. Yet we are often at a loss as to how to explore and discuss the effects of socio-economic problems with individuals and families. This presentation will introduce the liberation health framework; a social justice focused model of clinical social work practice that integrates analysis of cultural and social forces with traditional clinical methods. Following an overview of liberation health theory and mythology, social workers will discuss the application of the model to ongoing social work practice.   

Objective One: Participants will be able to articulate an overview of the Liberation Health theoretical framework as applied to social justice focused clinical practice.

Objective Two: Participants will be able to articulate the key practice skills of liberation health and apply these skills to specific case examples and student experiences in the field.

Dawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, LICSW is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work and was formerly an instructor in psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School.  Trained as a family therapist, Dawn worked as the senior social worker on the Inpatient Psychiatry Service at Children’s Hospital Boston for thirteen years and is the co-author of the book Social Justice in Clinical Practice: A Liberation Health Framework for Social Work.   Dawn is one of the founding members of the Boston Liberation Health Group and gives presentations locally, nationally, and internationally about her work with immigrant families, liberation health theory and practice, and social justice.