After graduating from college with a major in English and heavy concentrations in Education and Spanish, I spent several years working as a journalist in Spain and New York before realizing my heart was in the volunteer work I was doing with the homeless and people with HIV/AIDS at the height of that epidemic. I returned to school, got a Masters in Social Work, and went on to direct two NIAAA-funded studies using motivational strategies to improve outcomes in hospital detoxification settings. My interest in substance abuse treatment stems from a combination of family history, personal experience, and the recognition that addiction underlies many physical and mental health woes.
After moving to Durham, I served as Clinical Director in an outpatient substance abuse program and then as an associate in an Employee Assistance Program before pursuing full-time private practice. Over the years I have given numerous presentations and workshops for employees on topics such as smoking cessation, stress management, coping with change, and dealing with difficult people. With clinicians I have shared knowledge about motivational interviewing, CBT and DBT for substance use disorders, college binge drinking, and the ethics guiding health and mental health response in disasters. I am a Critical Incident responder and served for 13 years as a Red Cross volunteer and instructor.
In a non-clinical vein, I enjoy the gift of dance given to Durham each summer by the American Dance Festival and have coordinated their post-performance cast parties in local homes for the past 13 years. I was also an early board member of the Ellerbee Creek Watershed Association and a Master Gardener with an interest in promoting the preservation of native plant species and ecosystems.
In 2011 I was honored to be named "Social Worker of the Year" by my colleagues in the North Carolina Society for Clinical Social Work. They cited my contributions to substance abuse treatment and education as well as to disaster relief as reasons for this recognition. While helping others prevail is reward enough to me, I am very grateful for their respect.
I received my AB from Dartmouth College and my MSSW from Columbia University.