Alumni Updates: Spring 2018

Alumni; PhD; Public Health; Social Work

More than 10,000 graduates of the Brown School have been making positive impact throughout the United States and around the world. We celebrate these accomplishments.

Are you a Brown School alum? Submit your updates here.

Donald M. Loppnow, MSW ’70, was honored by the Brown School with a Distinguished Alumni Award. He is the retired interim university president, provost and executive vice president, and professor emeritus of social work at Eastern Michigan University, where he was founding director of the School of Social Work. See his video.

The St. Louis American remembered Mikki Brewster, MSW ’71, as an advocate for public health and education. She served St. Louis through a wide range of positions with the St. Louis Public Schools, City of St. Louis, the Missouri Foundation for Health, Washington University, and more, until she passed away in March 2018.

Over the past year, nearly 250,000 people have visited the Missouri History Museum exhibit “#1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis,” curated by Gwen Moore, MSW ’72. Her work has been profiled by St. Louis on the Air and by the St. Louis American, which called the exhibit “hugely successful.”

Enola Proctor, PhD ’78, co-edited Dissemination Implementation and Research in Health (Oxford University Press), an authoritative text on what works – and what doesn’t – to disseminate and implement research findings. Proctor is the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor at the Brown School.

JProSTL has honored three Brown School alumni for outstanding professional service in the St. Louis Jewish community: Ken Schwartz, MSW ’82, of Jewish Family & Children’s Service; Mindee Fredman, MSW ’95, of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis; and Katie Garland, MSW ’13, of Crown Center for Senior Living.

Glenn Parkinson, MSW ’83, was profiled for his work as director of the George W. Harris Jr. Youth Crisis Shelter, a role that includes serving as a “counselor, therapist, confidant, tutor, mentor, dietician and cheerleader.”

Renee Cunningham-Williams, MSW ’89, PhD ’94, now associate professor of social work and associate dean for doctoral education at the Brown School at Washington University, has received the 2018 St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund Dr. John M. Anderson Excellence in Mental Health Award.

Five Brown School alumni are listed among the top 20 of the most-cited African-American scholars in social work, according to “African American Faculty in Social Work Schools: A Citation Analysis of Scholarship.” 

  • Renee Cunningham-Williams, MSW ’89, PhD ’94 is an associate professor and associate dean for doctoral education at the Brown School.
  • Fred Ssewamala, MSW ’99, PhD ’03, is the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School.
  • Von Nebbitt, MSW ’99, PhD ’05, is an associate professor at the Brown School.
  • Trina Shanks, MSW ’00, PhD ’03, is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
  • Margaret Lombe, MSW ’00, PhD ’04, is an associate professor at Boston College School of Social Work.

Through their work at the Starkloff Career Academy, Susan Menhard, MSW ’90, and Jason Hartsfield, MSW ’12, promote equitable hiring opportunities for students with disabilities. Menhard is the director of the Academy, where Hartsfield works as an associate.

Emily Gallop Coen, MSW ’96, was honored by the Brown School as a Distinguished Volunteer. She is active on the Brown School Alumni Board, the Washington University Alumni Board of Governors, and the Clark-Fox Policy Institute Advisory Committee. See her video.

The St. Louis American has honored Halbert Sullivan, MSW ’97, as the the 2017 Nonprofit Executive of the Year. Sullivan is founding president and CEO of Fathers’ Support Center, whose mission is to provide noninvolved fathers the support they need to get back into the lives of their children as positive, productive parents.

Okpara Rice, MSW ’97, was honored by the Brown School with a Distinguished Alumni Award. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Tanager Place, where he leads innovative work in behavioral health. See his video.

Nisha G. Patel, MSW ’98, was honored by the Brown School with a Distinguished Alumni Award.  She is executive director of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty at the Urban Institute. She previously served under the Obama administration as the director of the Office of Family Assistance in the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. See her video.

Charita L. Castro-Gonzalves, MSW ’99, was honored by the Brown School with a Distinguished Alumni Award. She is the Chief of the Research and Policy Division of the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking in the Bureau of International Labor Affairs within the U.S. Department of Labor. See her video.

Fred Ssewamala, MSW ’99, PhD ’03, was named William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School. He leads interdisciplinary research focused on family-based economic empowerment and social protection interventions.

Amy Locklear Hertel, MSW ’99, PhD ’15, has been appointed as the chancellor’s chief of staff at the University of North Carolina. Hertel is a clinical assistant professor in the UNC School of Social Work.

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research has published the findings of Leopoldo Cabassa, MSW ’01, PhD ’05, on culturally-adapted interventions for Hispanic adults with serious mental illness.

The Resilient Souls Project, an exhibit created by Cathy Lander-Goldberg, MSW ’03, was installed for display at the Brown School this spring. The project follows twenty years in the lives of select women —including Roeshelle Mu’mun, MSW ’02 — and celebrates women’s perseverance through life’s challenges.

Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD ’04, was installed as the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor at the Brown School. She also serves in the newly-created role of Associate Dean for Policy Initiatives, spearheading the expansion of the growing Master of Social Policy program.

Doctoral student Aytakin Huseynli, MSW ’04, was profiled for her groundbreaking work to establish the profession of social work in her home country, Azerbaijan.

Cora Faith Walker, AB ’06, MPH ’10, was honored by the Brown School as an Emerging Leader. She is a Missouri State Representative, representing Missouri House District 74. See her video.

Daniel Davis, MSW ’11, was honored by the Brown School as an Emerging Leader. He is the assistant vice president and community affairs officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. See his video.

Lisa Clancy, MSW ’12, has declared her candidacy for St. Louis County Council, with a goal to “get serious and courageous about equity and opportunity for all.” Clancy is also a project manager at Social Innovation STL.

Writing for, Jennifer Greenfield, PhD ’13urged consideration of a national paid leave policy. Greenfield is an assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work.

Humans of St. Louis — a photography and storytelling project by co-founders Lindy Drew, MSW/MPH ’16, and Caroline Fish, MSW ’14, as well as editor Dessa Somerside Shuckerow, MSW ’13 — connects siloed corners of the St. Louis region. Hear from Drew about her process and vision.

The Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy has accepted a paper by Matthew Bakko, MSW ’14: “The Effect of Survival Economy Participation on Transgender Experiences of Service Provider Discrimination.” Bakko is a first-year joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

Doctoral student Karishma Furtado, MPH ’15, was lead author of the paper, “Health Departments with a Commitment to Health Equity: A More Skilled Workforce and Higher Quality Collaborations,” which was published in a top policy journal, Health Affairs.

Brown School doctoral student Katherine Marcal, MSW ’15, has received a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being — an annual stipend of $30,000 to support her dissertation on the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity has highlighted the service design work of Shikha Mittal, MSW ’15. As the senior program manager of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, she uses her Brown School training in social entrepreneurship to improve the way city programs are designed, delivered and evaluated.

China Global Television Network has spotlighted Yuqing Li, MSW ’16, for her leadership as a Teach For China fellow. She is committed to the power of education to change the life trajectories of students living in poverty.

Lailea Noel, PhD ’16, an assistant professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, has become the first social worker to receive a Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin. She will spend the academic year immersed in UT’s ongoing work in oncology research, health social work practice, and research focused on the elimination of racial/ethnic disparities in cancer mortality rates.

Four alums have been selected as New Leaders Council Institute fellowsSarah Arnosky, MPH ’16, deputy managing director of the Arch to Park Collaborative; Abby Buckhouse, MSW ’16, financial wellbeing coach at Operation HOPE; Jessica Estes, MSW ’17, community organizer for Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment; and Alyssa Lazzeroni, MSW ’17, care manager at the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families.

As director of programs for Orbis InternationalDawit Buda, MPH ’17, leads a massive operation to eliminate trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world. In collaboration with health service providers, Buda’s team reaches about 30 million people annually.

Beth Prusaczyk, PhD ’17, is leveraging her research skills a fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center — and as the producer and director of research for a documentary project called A Gay Home Movie. The film delves into rare found footage from the 1940s, offering insight into the lives of gay men in St. Louis.