Barry University School of Social Work
Calendar  November 2017 Issue

October is Domestic Violence Abuse Awareness Month

A study by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence found that 32 percent of college students report having experienced dating violence by a previous partner. Domestic violence can include any form of psychological, emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse. It occurs in both heterosexual and same sex relationships. Join us this month to become involved in eliminating violence and abuse in our relationships, our homes and in our community.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Abuse Awareness month, the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice and the Department of Residence Life hosted ICE CREAM SUNDAYS & HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS: A conversation about Domestic Violence Awareness.

Lead by Dr. Sheila McMahon, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, this interactive workshop provided students information on dating and consent, sexual assault awareness, interpersonal assertiveness, and building positive relationships. 

SSW joins Disaster Relief Efforts

During the month of October, social work students, faculty and staff joined forces to help those affected by the recent natural disasters. Together, with the Puerto Rico Committee Fund, the School of Social Work assisted in relief efforts for Puerto Rico and others affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria by donating items and helping to sort and package items.

The Puerto Rico Committee Fund is a group of local organizations formed to answer the most urgent needs on the island. Together, they are working to get supplies there in a timely and transparent manner. The organization has rented a warehouse in Wynwood (537 NW 24th St, Miami) and will be collecting donations for at least the next month. They also need volunteers! They are open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Sunday. You can stop by anytime and help in the sorting and packing of items. Every little bit counts, so if you cannot donate items you can donate your time.

The items that are most needed and in short supply are medical items such as:

  • Band aids
  • Gauze
  • Pain relievers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, for children)
  • First aid kits
  • Sunscreen
  • Gloves

For more information about volunteering for The Puerto Rico Committee Fund, please contact Yvonne Alonso at

Barry University also continues to move forward and support the many communities in need. For more information on these centralized efforts and ways in which you can help, visit

The Advanced Clinical and Community Practice & Education (ACCOPE) Program at Liberty City is accepting field interns for the spring

The Advanced Clinical and Community Practice (ACCOPE) program is dedicated to promoting well-being among children and families through the delivery of trauma-informed services. The ACCOPE program office is housed at Charles R. Drew K-8 Center, where student interns will collaborate with school personnel as well as members of the Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI) to best serve the children and families of this community. Some of the intern responsibilities include:

  • Facilitating program evaluation efforts through data collection, data input, and participation in program evaluation team meetings
  • Providing individual, group and family counseling to students and families
  • Supporting efforts to integrate trauma-informed practices, services and resources at the community level
  • Providing case management services caseload of students and their families

For more information on this field placement opportunity, contact the Office of Field Education: 305.899.3935


On Oct. 17, The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice joined thousands of Miamians in hosting a gathering to provide students an opportunity to share and connect around our experiences living in Greater Miami.

Funded by the Knight Foundation through the Miami Foundation, and facilitated by Dr. Tisa McGhee, this year’s breakout sessions were about getting Miamians to take ownership on issues they care about, such as education, finding a safe, affordable place to live, or landing a job that’s close to home.

Click here if you want to learn more about what we’ve learned from last year’s conversations.

Welcome PhD Cohort 2017

The School of Social Work proudly introduces our new 2017 PhD cohort!  These 11 students are beginning their journey on doctorate education. Please join us in welcoming Amr Azhari, Jennifer Baird, Janice Brown-Wharwood, Carrie Daniels, Andrea Dadas-Ferguson, Jutta Hoffman-Powell, Marlene Holmes, Alex Kirkland, Noemi Marquez, Maggie Nicolas and Maria Tapia.

A touching act of generosity
A touching act of generosity
“We are deeply moved by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work’s and the National Catholic School of Social Service gesture of kindness and that of your faculty, staff, and students. We are grateful for the abundance of your spirit that created a community that cares. Thank you for the blessings they have been delivered to many of our students who were affected by the Hurricane”

-Phyllis Scott, dean

Meet your new SSWA Executive Board
Ms. Ashley Ferguson Ms. Ashley Ferguson
Ms. Gail Mills Ms. Gail Mills
Ms. Jennifer Acosta Ms. Jennifer Acosta
Ms.Tania Laguerre Ms.Tania Laguerre
Mr. Agustin Garcia Mr. Agustin Garcia

Dr. Jill Levenson invited to be a panelist at the Broward Crime Commission Center Conference on CyberCrime

On Oct. 4, Dr. Jill Levenson participated in the Broward Crime Commission conference on CyberCrime. She sat on a panel with law enforcement agents from FDLE and the FBI, an assistant state attorney from Broward, and a representative from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. As a researcher and expert on the topic of sexual offending, Levenson discussed the assessment and treatment of individuals who have committed crimes involving online exploitation of children. 

Voices of change: Katie Bullard — MSW Student
Laurel Dettman MSW ’16 Katie Bullard
Meet Katie Bullard, a Palm Beach Gardens campus student. Bullard is in her concentration year of internship, and is currently working with children and teens who have experienced severe trauma, specifically sexual abuse. 

"During the first few months at my internship, I quickly realized that building rapport and creating a trusting relationship with the clients would be my biggest challenge.

After all, these clients came from a background of extensive traumas, abuse and neglect, so trusting or confiding in a stranger was likely the least of their concerns. Every time I would gain a new client, it would take several weeks until they felt comfortable speaking with me, let alone making eye contact. I brainstormed and practiced different ideas and activities to do together, but when it came time to sit in a formal session, the clients shut down every time. 

In school, we are always taught to bridge gaps and bring ourselves into our practice. I have always been very passionate about my pets, so I thought I would try introducing a puppy into the sessions. As any pet owner knows, there’s an immediate sense of comfort when we see our pets after a long day at work, so I hoped for a similar effect for the clients. My first puppy assistant was a cuddly and fluffy six-month old Belgian Malinois puppy. We walked into the office together, and the client’s eyes lit up like nothing I had seen before. For the first time, the office was full of laughter and smiles. We processed the same heavy topics in session, but this time the girls felt more comfortable around me and finally started opening up to the process. I’ll never forget what one of the girls said to me that day: ‘Ms. Katie, please bring him back. It’s so much better this way, because I can look him in the eyes while I’m talking to you, and that’s so much easier on me.’ I realized I was on to something. A puppy could expedite the rapport building process like nothing else I had tried before. So I put up a Facebook post to see if there are other puppy volunteers I could use. I received over 30 responses from local friends who were willing to let me borrow their puppies and use them with the children. I prefer to use puppies younger than one, because they are less autonomous and, therefore, more cuddly. However, I did use adults that were smaller breeds, like chihuahuas, shih tzu, and French bulldogs. I wanted to see if a certain breed cuddled and comforted better than the others, so I experimented with all sorts of breeds, including German shepherds, pit bulls, Australian shepherds, labs and terrier mixes. I found that the best dogs to use didn’t actually depend on breed, but more so on friendly demeanor. Sometimes, the puppies were used just to cuddle with, and other times puppies would be used to practice assertive communication, foster an empathetic environment and emotion identification assistance. Some puppies didn’t do well in the environment, but it was still a nice break for the girls to have a dog visit."

Bullard hopes to take these experiments and create some type of training program for puppies so that other clinicians can still use a puppy that isn’t a trained service dog for therapeutic delivery. She hopes to work on several canine assistant related programs in the future, including a puppy cuddling program for children who have experienced trauma, dog training programs for persons living in incarceration, and a dog adoption training program for survivors of domestic violence.

Alumni Spotlight

Sharon Crippen MSW ’92

Sharon Crippen MSW ’92 Sharon Crippen MSW ’92
Sharon Crippen is a licensed clinical social worker in Florida with over 20 years of experience in the substance abuse field. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science from St. Thomas University in 1988, where she was on the Nationals Dean List. She received her master’s in social work from Barry University in 1992. Crippen is also certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a county and family mediator.

During her career, Crippen has been involved with many charitable and civic organizations. In 2003, while at Catholic Charities’ St. Luke’s Addiction Recovery Center, they received a Best Practice Award from FADAA for the most innovative program.

As program director for Community Partnership for the Homeless, she supervised the case management staff at two homeless assistance facilities for over 700 residents, and oversaw the family resource center and head start programs.  She was elected as an At Large Member to the Alliance for Human Services, was appointed to the Miami-Dade Community College Addiction Service Board, and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and a Counsel of Accreditation Peer Review. Crippen is currently working as the senior vice president for WestCare’s Florida Region. WestCare Florida has facilities across the state and more than 450 employees. The offices are located in St. Petersburg, Miami and the Florida Keys. The organization offers substance abuse and mental health services, including:  residential, outpatient, in-home/on-site, early intervention/prevention for children, and youth and families. Additionally, they offer CSU, detoxification services, criminal justice and correctional-based services and county-wide Medicaid and transportation disadvantaged programs. There are also different locations that offer outreach and prevention services, such as HIV testing, counseling and referrals.  

Delivering Trauma and Toxic Stress training to support first responders
Revital Goodman, PhD, LCSW Revital Goodman, PhD, LCSW
Revital Goodman, PhD, LCSW, is a certified clinical trauma professional (CCTP), a certified EMDR clinician and consultant in training, and a LCSW supervisor. Goodman obtained both her MSW and her doctorate from Barry University’s School of Social Work.

Goodman’s research and clinical practice are focused in the fields of trauma, PTSD, toxic stress, emotional intelligence, substance use disorders, grief and loss.

Through her work in community mental health centers, residential programs for substance use disorders, and in her private practice, Goodman has substantial clinical experience in providing group and individual therapy to survivors of trauma, abuse and neglect.

Goodman recently developed a comprehensive training titled Trauma and Toxic Stress, aimed at supporting first responders. As such, Goodman delivered this training, in small groups, to both the Delray Beach Police Department and to the Delray Beach Fire Department, where she trained over 300 first responders on the effects of trauma and toxic stress on the brain and on bio-psychosocial functioning. In addition, this training incorporated experiential components that are based on the EMDR model to resolve traumatic memories and to develop resilience and improve affect regulation. Goodman is currently expanding this training to the school system in order to support schoolteachers’ coping skills and resilience in their work with traumatized children, and in order to reduce the risks of vicarious trauma.

Goodman recently published a manuscript in the Journal for Advances in Social Work’s special issue on trauma. This article, titled “Contemporary Trauma Theory and Trauma-Informed Care in Substance Use Disorders: A Conceptual Model for Integrating Coping and Resilience,” provides practitioners and those in leadership roles with a conceptual model for integrating trauma-informed practices into the treatment of alcohol or drug addiction and dual diagnoses.

Goodman presents at national professional conferences and in private organizations, and consults for professional mental health clinicians and practitioners in her areas of expertise. She is an adjunct professor at Barry University and Florida Atlantic University Schools of Social Work. 

Dr. Jill Levenson authors trauma-informed care Book
Dr. Jill Levenson Dr. Jill Levenson
Congratulations to Dr. Jill Levenson on authoring her new trauma-Informed care book titled “Trauma Informed Care with sexual offenders".

Click here to listen to a podcast about her latest book.

Join us for an upcoming Human Trafficking Street Outreach on Nov. 11

The CHRSJ is partnering with the Life of Freedom Center and Ark of Freedom to join forces in protecting children from sex trafficking by spreading awareness to local businesses on how to identify and report suspected sex trafficking. Led by Professor Sambra Zaoui, this half-day street outreach will give students tools to identify and report suspected sex trafficking in their communities.


Date: Nov 11
Time: 2-6 p.m.
Location: Meet at 101 NE 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale 33301


Date: Nov 11
Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Location: Meet at Barry University School of Social Work

The Human Trafficking Street Outreach programs are four-hour opportunities for students to engage with street youth and young adults at risk of human trafficking, exploitation and violence. Participants will have the opportunity to learn how to identify and report suspected sex trafficking in your community.

They will also gain first-hand experience and a glimpse of the challenges faced by marginalized youth while walking through youth-populated areas of Miami Dade and Broward.

For more information on this initiative, contact Professor Sambra Zaoui at

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience

Stand with the transgender community in solidarity as we remember those we have lost to transphobic violence, as well as to honor the strength and resilience of our transgender community members.

Date: Nov. 20
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Location: Barry University - Andreas 111/112
Speaker: Holiday Simmons, MSW

For more information on this event, contact Dr. Ashley Austin at

About the Speaker:

Holiday Simmons, MSW, is a black Cherokee transmasculine two-spirit activist, athlete, and lover of babies, soccer and the ocean. He has a background in social work, education, and the performing arts & activism. Holiday is a community educator, healer and program manager at Generative Somatics. He focuses on transgender rights, police violence, black resiliency, LGBT Native Americans and two-spirit magic. He is a proud southerner based out of Atlanta, Ga.

Free training: Translating Trauma-Informed Care into Practice

The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) is committed to advancing trauma-informed research, education and practice. In addition to our trauma-informed social work curriculum, we provide interdisciplinary training and consultation to a diverse array of local, regional, and national agencies, institutions and organizations.

All of our TIC specialists have been trained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and are certified in clinical traumatology. The CHRSJ offers training, consultation, technical assistance and program evaluation to our partners in the community.

Join us for this FREE half-day training by Dr. Jill Levenson on Translating TIC intro Practice.

Date: Feb. 23, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: Barry University — Kostka Room

Free and Open to the community.

For more information and to RSVP, please email Carolina Rios, CHRSJ coordinator, at

Alumni Needed for Professional Development Events!

In an effort to increase professional development programming opportunities for current students and alumni, the offices of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving are seeking volunteers to participate in two programs. If you would like to help with these events, please find the details below:

Networking with the Pros: March 15

Thanks to the help of many of our alumni, this was a great success last year. Alumni can help in two ways:

  1. You can serve as a networking facilitator. Although all attendees are there to network, network facilitators are featured guests who agree to take on an active role in engaging with students and alums. 

  2. You can share this link with other Barry alums you know who are accomplished in their fields. 

Life After Graduation Panel: February (exact date TBD)

Seniors and recent grads are especially interested in hearing from alumni and those who can speak with some authority on relevant issues, such as budgeting, preparing for graduate school, getting health insurance, maintaining work-life balance, etc. The panel might feature a health care professional, a financial planner, a counselor, etc. We are seeking 3-5 panelists. 

If you have any questions, please contact Meg Homer at or 305-899-4918.

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