Hon. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (Chair)
Former Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns served 15 terms in the United States House of Representatives serving constituents in New York’s 10th Congressional District. First elected in 1982, Mr. Towns became chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2009. He was also a long-time member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. A professional social worker, Mr. Towns founded and chaired the Congressional Social Work Caucus in 2010, providing an official presence on the Hill for the nation’s 650,000 social workers. Upon his retirement, he assisted in founding the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy.
In 2008, after working with several professional social work organizations, Towns introduced the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act, the most comprehensive bill ever introduced to address challenges facing the social work workforce. Under his leadership, the Congressional Social Work Caucus participated in numerous congressional briefings and symposia on a wide range of social welfare policies. In 2012, he was inducted into the Social Work Pioneers, a program to honor outstanding lifetime contributions by social workers.
During his 30 years in the House of Representatives, Towns sponsored and enacted several pieces of federal legislation including the Student Right to Know Act which mandated the reporting of the graduation rates of student athletes; creating the Telecommunications Development Fund, which provides capital for minority business initiatives; and the development of a federal program for poison control centers.
Mr. Towns began his political career when he was appointed the first African American Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn in 1976 by Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden. When legendary Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm decided to retire in 1982, she began grooming Towns for his successful election to Congress. Prior to entering politics, Towns was an administrator at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, a lecturer at Medgar Evers College and Fordham University, and a public school teacher, teaching orientation and mobility to blind students.
Towns was born in Chadbourn, North Carolina, the son of Versie and Edolphus Towns. He earned his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and his M.S.W. degree from Adelphi University. Towns and wife Gwen Forbes Towns have been married for more than half a century and are the parents of two children, Daryl and Deidra.
Richard P. Barth, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard P. Barth is the Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland and President of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, an honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare. He was the Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1998 to 2006 and the Hutto Patterson Professor, School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley from 992 until 1998. He was the 1986 winner of the Frank Breul Prize for Excellence in Child Welfare Scholarship from the University of Chicago; a Fulbright Scholar in 1990 and 2006; the 1998 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Research from the National Association of Social Workers; the 2005 winner of the Flynn Prize for Research; and the 2007 winner of the Peter Forsythe Award for Child Welfare Leadership from the American Public Human Services Association. Dr. Barth is the author of 10 books and has directed more than 40 studies and, most recently, served as co-principal investigator of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, the first national study of child welfare services in the United States. Dr. Barth received his AB in psychology from Brown University and his M.S.W. degree and Ph.D. from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley.
Dr. Darla Spence Coffey
Dr. Darla Spence Coffey assumed the duties of CSWE President and Gero-Ed Center co-Principal Investigator on July 2, 2012. Prior to her appointment as president, she served as professor of social work, associate provost, and dean of graduate studies at West Chester University. She was a member of the social work faculty at West Chester University beginning in 1998, where she contributed to the initial accreditation of the MSW program in 2000 and served as the director and chair of the university’s undergraduate social work program from 2002 to 2005. During the 2008–2009 academic year she served West Chester University as interim provost/vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Coffey has an extensive background in social work practice in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence, and is a nationally recognized author and speaker on these topics. After years of working with and researching the effects of domestic violence on children, Coffey developed a curriculum, Parenting After Violence, and trained cohorts of social workers in the child welfare system in Philadelphia, PA in its implementation. Dr. Coffey received her BA degree from Eastern College, her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
Jason Green held a number of positions in local and federal government, most recently serving as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama, advising the president and senior staff on legal, and economic and domestic policy matters before founding SkillSmart. His exposure to national unemployment rates, policy responses and the effects on the economy inspired the SkillSmart platform. Prior to his time at the White House, Jason served as the National Voter Registration Director for the Obama Campaign during the 2008 general election and held several leadership positions in various states throughout the 2008 primary election and caucuses. Before joining Team Obama, Jason ran local and state-wide field operations for several political campaigns. Jason is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and earned a law degree from Yale Law School where he pursued his interest in community empowerment strategies. He continues that passion today through his work on the advisory boards of Per Scholas, the South Africa International Washington Program, and Heritage Montgomery, and by serving as co-chair of a regional task force addressing cybersecurity employment.
Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Ph.D.
Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos is a professor and director of the doctoral program at the Silver School of Social Work. Dr. Guilamo-Ramos has expertise in the role of families in promoting adolescent health, with a special focus on preventing HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies. Additional research interests include parent-adolescent communication, intervention research, HIV prevention, and alcohol and drug use. Dr. Guilamo-Ramos has conducted research primarily in urban, resource-poor settings, including the South Bronx, Harlem, and Lower East Side communities of New York City. In addition, Dr. Guilamo-Ramos has extended his focus to HIV-prevention among vulnerable populations in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Dr. Guilamo-Ramos is co-director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at the Silver School and has been the principal investigator of several federally funded research grants for his work on adolescent risk behavior. These include a five-year, NICHD-funded project aimed at investigating factors associated with the formation of adolescent romantic relationships and subsequent sexual risk behavior in Latino youth; an NIMH/NICHD-funded project aimed at developing a clinic-based family intervention designed to delay and/or reduce sexual risk taking behavior among Latino and African American early adolescents in outpatient healthcare settings; and a NIAAA-funded project aimed at examining factors associated with HIV transmission in tourism areas of the Dominican Republic. Dr. Guilamo-Ramos is also a standing member of the National Institute of Health’s Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section (2010-2016) and has served as a reviewer on expert review panels for the NIH, CDC, and SAMSHA since 2001.
Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D.
Dr. Waldo E. Johnson is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration and Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture of the University of Chicago. He is a research consultant for the Urban Institute’s, “Race, Place and Poverty: An Urban Ethnographer Symposium on Low-Income Men”, where he provides expert consultation. He is also a research consultant for Mathematica Policy Research, “Parents and Children Together (PACT)”, a multi-year (2011-2016) mixed-methods evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage grants initiative. Dr. Johnson was a research consultant at the Warren Institute of Berkeley Law School and the California Endowment in developing a California-based research, policy and practice initiative focused on enhancing the status of boys of color; Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago in the development of their respective African American Male Initiatives. He is conducting the evaluation of the United Way African American Male Initiative. Dr. Johnson has received prestigious honors and awards including: the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Poverty Research and Training Program and the Program for Research on Black Americans at the Institute for Social Research of the University of Michigan; the Administration for Children and Families’ Welfare and Economic Self-Sufficiency Technical Working Group; and Chair of the Commission on Research for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). He received his B.A. degree at Mercer University and M.S.W. degree from the University of Michigan. Dr. Johnson obtained his Ph.D. Degree from the University of Chicago.
Dina Kastner has worked as the Senior Field Organizer at the National Association of Social Workers since August 2003. She previously worked on Medicaid/SCHIP access to health care issues in Illinois (mental health, oral health, and language access) at the Campaign for Better Health Care. Ms. Kastner has also worked as a volunteer manager at United Way of Chicago and Southwest Women Working Together. In the fall of 2006, Ms. Kastner taught a master’s level social work class at George Mason University, Policy Practice for Social Workers. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the Nancy A. Humphrey’s Institute for Political Social Work. In 2014, she earned the Professional Lobbying Certificate from the Association of Government Relations Professionals. She graduated in 1997 from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research with a Master of Social Service and a Master of Law and Social Policy. She earned her BSW degree at Elizabethtown College.
Khaliyl Lane is a member of the Legislative Staff in the office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal where he specializes in policy related to labor, child welfare, Social Security, Disability and the Special Senate Committee on Aging. Khaliyl received a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Connecticut, where he studied Social Welfare Policy and Community Organizing. During his study in the School of Social Work, he secured an internship at the United Nations through the International Association of Social Workers. He eventually earned his master’s in international social work, specializing in community organization and international policy. A product of the foster care system, he learned early how to overcome adversity. In 2007, Lane played cornerback as a walk-on member of UConn’s Big East Champion football team while majoring in communication sciences with a minor in sociology. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2010. Lane, who traveled to Italy and Ireland as part of UConn’s study abroad program in his senior year, considers himself a global citizen.
Shannon Lane, Ph.D.
Dr. Shannon Lane is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Adelphi University. She serves as a Steering Committee Member for the National Policy Practice Forum, and is a National Board Member for the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work. Dr. Lane served as a representative to the National Association of Social Workers New York Chapter’s State Government and Advocacy Committee from 2009 to 2010. Dr. Lane has published books and journal articles on social policy and advocacy. Dr. Lane’s current grant research project is entitled, “Behind the scenes: Social workers in the political arena”, a study of social workers who work for elected officials or political campaigns. Dr. Lane received her B.A. degree in Psychology at the George Washington University, her M.S.W. degree from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.
Michael A. Lindsey, Ph.D.
Dr. Michael A. Lindsey is an associate professor at the Silver School of Social Work and a child and adolescent mental health services researcher with a particular interest in the prohibitive factors that lead to unmet mental health need among vulnerable youth with serious psychiatric illnesses, including depression. Dr. Lindsey has received research support from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to examine the social network influences on perceptual and actual barriers to mental health care among African American adolescent males with depression. Dr. Lindsey’s current research, funded by NIMH and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, involves the development and test of a treatment engagement intervention that promotes access to and use of mental health services among depressed adolescents in school- and community-based treatment. Dr. Lindsey holds a PhD in social work and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh; an MSW from Howard University; and a BA in sociology from Morehouse College. He also completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in public health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.
Mary McKay, Ph.D.
Dr. Mary McKay is the McSilver Professor of Poverty Studies and Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Prior to joining Silver, she served as the head of the Division of Mental Health Services Research at Mount Sinai. She has received substantial federal funding for research focused on meeting the mental health and health prevention needs of inner-city youth and families. Working with colleagues in the field, she developed a substantial body of research findings around engagement practices to improve involvement in family-based HIV prevention programs and mental health services by children, youth, and families in poverty-impacted urban areas. She has significant expertise in services and implementation research methods, as well as 15 years of experience conducting HIV prevention and care-oriented studies, all of which has been supported by continuous National Institute of Health funding. Dr. McKay has collaborated with the National Institute of Mental Health, the New York State Office of Mental Health, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create evidence-based engagement interventions and to test models of dissemination and training for mental health professionals in engagement best practices. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications on the topics of mental and behavioral health, HIV/AIDS prevention and behavior modification, and other urban health issues. Dr. McKay earned her B.S.W and M.S.W. degrees from Loyola University of Chicago. She earned her Ph.D. from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Michael Reisch, Ph.D.
Dr. Michael Reisch is the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Professor of Social Justice at the University of Maryland and one of the leading and most respected social work scholars and educators in the U.S. He is the author or editor of over 25 books and monographs, over 100 articles and book chapters, and over 300 papers at state, national, and international conferences on the history and philosophy of social welfare, the impact of globalization on the future of the welfare state, the relationship of social justice and multiculturalism to social policy and social work practice, radical social work, community organization theory and practice, the nonprofit sector, and contemporary policy issues, particularly welfare reform. Dr. Reisch has directed or consulted on political campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels in four states and been honored for his work by the Maryland General Assembly, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and numerous local and national nonprofit organizations, professional associations and universities. He is currently on the editorial boards of eight professional journals and working on several forthcoming books, including Social Policy and Social Justice in the U.S.; Social Work Practice and Social Justice: Concepts, Challenges, and Strategies; From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism: An Alternative History of U.S. Social Welfare; and The Handbook of Social Justice. Professor Reisch teaches courses in the MSW program on social policy and macro practice, in the PhD program on social theory, and in both programs on the application of the concepts of equality and social justice to social policy and social work practice.
Charlyn Stanberry, Esq.
Charlyn Stanberry serves as Legislative Counsel in the office of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09). Previously, Charlyn served as Vice President of External Affairs for a strategic consulting firm, Regional Voter Protection Director for the Hillary for America Campaign and Florida Democratic Party, Staff Counsel for the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council and Professional Staff for the Congressional Black Caucus. Charlyn received her B.S.B.A. and M.P.A. from the University of Central Florida. She obtained her J.D. from Florida International University-College of Law. She is very active in her community through the Junior League of Washington and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Additionally, she serves on the board for Binding Abilities and Resources Center, Inc., a community-based organization that provides specialized innovative services to children and youth with social, emotional, special education, developmental and mental health needs.
Jason Towns is a Silicon Valley based serial entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in roles including founder, angel investor, tech diversity strategist & startup advisor. His deep experience building and navigating technology ecosystems has led to Jason launching national initiatives such as the CODE2040 Residency, a Google-backed program providing seed funding and support for startup founders from marginalized backgrounds. Jason, former co-founder of Broadband.com (acquired) has also served as an advisor to Digital DC, a government initiative formed to promote and invest in the continued growth of Washington DC’s tech ecosystem. Jason is now leading the technology investment initiative at the African Economic Empowerment Network (AEEN), facilitating investment in African startup and infrastructure projects.
James Herbert Williams, Ph.D.
Dr. James Herbert Williams is Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. He is President of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work and a member of the National Association of Social Worker’s Action Network for Social Work Education and Research – ANSWER Coalition. He has served as a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board, Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center at the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Williams served as a Co-Chair of the Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice, Council on Social Work Education in Alexandria, Virginia. He was a member of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work and Research Board of Directors from 2005 to 2006. Dr. Williams’ funded research includes grants from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Danforth Foundation, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, and the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services. Dr. Williams has authored numerous publications focused on K-12 academic performance, youth violence, delinquency prevention, adolescent substance use, race and gender differences, mental health service needs and utilization patterns in urban schools, and health promotion and disease prevention among African-American women. He earned his B.A. degree from Grambling State University, his M.P.A. degree from the University of Colorado, his M.S.W. degree from Smith College and his Ph.D. at the University of Washington.