Chapter Author Biographies

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, MA, PhD, Co-editor and chapter author

Dr. Slayter is a Professor in the School of Social Work who does disability services research related to addictions and child welfare. She teaches social welfare policy, research, evaluation, field, disability practice and forensic social work courses at Salem State since 2005. Dr. Slayter coordinates the School of Social Work’s Certificate on Equity-Minded Practice, a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Dr. Slayter is the co-founder of #SWEduActs, a national group focused on anti-racist practice in social work education. Dr. Slayter also co-facilitates the NASW-MA Disability Justice Shared Interest Group.

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD, Co-editor and chapter author

Dr. Johnson has practiced in both the child welfare and healthcare fields and has worked with complex systems for non-profit development and community organizing. Her research and scholarship interests encompass child welfare; diversity, equity, and social justice; workforce development; disability studies, and social work education.

Rose C. B. Singh, MSW, Chapter author 

Rose is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), an Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) member, and an Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC) member. Rose has a multidisciplinary educational foundation including a Social Service Worker Diploma and Human Resources Management Post-Graduate Certificate from Conestoga College; an Honours Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of General Studies in Social Work, and Certificate in Studies of Child Abuse from the University of Waterloo; a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria; and a Master of Social Work from Dalhousie University. Rose is committed to life-long learning and is currently working towards a PhD in Social Work.

Nikki Fordey, MSW, MA, Chapter author 

Nikki Fordey is a social worker and substance use disorder clinician. She is dedicated to furthering progressive values and policies that recognize and champion the inherent dignity and worth of all people. Nicole utilizes her personal and professional experiences to connect those in positions of power and authority to the truth of the issues people who use drugs and/or have mental health conditions face. In addition, Nicole has used her experiences with the health care system as a person with a disability (a chronic and incurable illness affecting mobility and causing continuous pain) to highlight the need for reform and regulation, including single-payer health care.

Esther Son, MSW, MA, PhD, Chapter author

Esther Son is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the College of Staten Island. Her primary research interest is the enhancement of the physical and mental health and emotional well-being of children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She has been investigating the health care disparities among people with disabilities, in particular, disparities in health care access, service utilization, and quality of care among minority children with autism and developmental disabilities and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and violence against people with disabilities. Her work has been supported by the Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Research Fund, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), US Department of Health & Human Services, and the City University of New York among others. She received her Ph.D. in social work from Rutgers University and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Her work has appeared in Children and Youth Services Review, Exceptional Children, American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Disability and Health Journal, Families in Society-the Journal of Contemporary Social Services, Journal of Community Practice, and Public Health Reports.

Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, LICSW, Chapter author

Sharyn DeZelar joined the St. Catherine University faculty in fall 2019 as a full-time Assistant Professor. Dr. DeZelar earned a PhD in Social Work in 2018 from the University of MN (Twin Cities) along with a certificate in Disability Policy and Services. She earned her MSW in 2006 from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas School of Social Work, and her BSW from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1998. Dr. DeZelar’s research focus is largely related to disabilities, and its intersection with family support, parenting, poverty and child welfare. Dr. DeZelar also has been working on several projects related to diversifying the social work profession via inclusion and equity for students with disabilities. She has significant practice experience in housing services, disabilities and mental health.

Olivia Elick, MSW, LGSW, Chapter author

Olivia Elick was raised and continues to reside on Dakota and Annishinabe land, currently known as Minneapolis, MN. Olivia is a lifelong learner in the study of abolition, which embodies transformative activism that is evident in the past, present and future of liberation within our collective selves. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Youth Studies and Social Justice (2018) and Master’s of Social Work from St. Catherine University – St. Paul (2022). Olivia has a passion for working with the young people in her community spanning across parks, libraries, community programming, and school settings through long term relationships and community building. She has a wealth of experience in fierce advocacy for herself, family, friends, and community in educational, therapeutic, governmental, and medical settings. Olivia hopes to continue learning, growing, and being in communion with those who also seek and embody collective liberation.

Robyn Powell, JD, MA, PhD, Chapter author 

Robyn M. Powell joined the OU Law faculty in 2022, where she teaches courses on Family Law, Disability Law, and Professional Responsibility, among others. Previously, she was the Bruce R. Jacob Visiting Assistant Professor at the Stetson University College of Law, where she taught Torts, Disability Law, and Public Health Law. For three years, Dr. Powell was an Instructor at Boston University School of Law, where she taught Disability Law. As a disabled woman, Dr. Powell has dedicated her career to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. For nearly five years, Dr. Powell served as an Attorney-Advisor at the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress on matters concerning people with disabilities. Previously, she served as a Research Associate at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, Disability Rights Program Manager at the Equal Rights Center, Assistant Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Disability Policy Consortium, and Staff Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. While in law school, Dr. Powell interned for NCD and the Disability Law Center, the Massachusetts Protection & Advocacy agency. Dr. Powell is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the rights of parents with disabilities. She is the principal author of NCD’s report, Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and their Children. As a leading expert, Dr. Powell has been interviewed by various news outlets, including the Washington Post, N.Y. Times, NPR, BBC, ABC News, the Daily Beast, and the Associated Press. In May 2016, she was an invited speaker at the White House Forum on Civil Rights of Parents with Disabilities.

Katie Sweet, LICSW, Chapter author

Katie Sweet is an experienced and committed clinical social worker with experience as a case manager, skills instructor, program director, supervisor, and direct care professional with a 15+ year successful track record of providing social and health care services to people with differing abilities. She is an effective communicator and skilled in organizing and providing personalized and group programs to children, adolescents, and adults with trauma, chronic illnesses, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other concerns which increase their care needs.

Ami Goulden, PhD(c), MSW, MA, BSW, BA, Chapter author

Ami Goulden is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Memorial University and a doctoral candidate at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. She has earned a Master of Social Work (University of Toronto), a Master of Arts in Child and Youth Studies (Mount Saint Vincent University), a Bachelor of Social Work (Dalhousie), and a Bachelor of Arts (Mount Saint Vincent University). Ami has over ten years of social work practice experience in various settings, including inpatient and ambulatory pediatric and adult healthcare settings and child welfare. She received clinical training on one of the largest pediatric brain injury rehabilitation programs worldwide at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. Ami has practiced in both urban and rural settings in Nova Scotia and Ontario. Her most recent experience includes working in multidisciplinary healthcare clinics serving clients with chronic health conditions and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shanna K. Kattari, Phd, MEd, CSE, ACS, Chapter author

Shanna K. Kattari (they/them/theirs) is an associate professor at the School of Social Work, in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department (by courtesy), and is the director of the [Sexuality|Relationships|Gender] Research Collective. A white, Jewish, nonbinary, disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, polyamorous, queer fat Femme, their practice and community background is as a board-certified sexologist, certified sexuality educator and social justice activist. Kattari’s research focuses on three areas that often overlap: disability and ableism, sexuality and sexual health, and queer and trans affirming practice. Their work aims to understand how power, privilege and oppression systematically marginalize, exclude and discriminate against people regarding their identities, while also uplifting the brilliance and resistance demonstrated by these communities in the face of stigma and harm. Recently, Kattari’s work has focused on the health disparities among trans/nonbinary communities, across physical, behavioral and sexual health, using community-based participatory research and arts-based methods. Their work has also included several studies on disability and ableism, particularly regarding the academy, and social work education. They are committed to engaging, innovative education and critical pedagogy, multi-level omnidirectional mentorship models and supporting individuals from a variety of identities in entering, navigating and succeeding in the academy.

Andrea J. Murray-Lichtman, MSW, PhD, Chapter author

Andrea Murray-Lichtman is a clinical associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. She completed the NABSW Academy of African Centered Social Work and is currently a doctoral student. Andrea’s research interests include racial equity in access and outcomes across social systems, and her theoretical expertise includes Critical Race Theory, Critical Whiteness Studies, and methodologies centering counter-narratives. She has a combined 17 years of physical health, mental health, and substance misuse treatment experience within integrated healthcare and criminal justice settings serving people living with co-morbid mental health, substance misuse, and chronic physical health diagnoses. She currently manages a substance use prevention, education, and research grant and is a co-investigator with the Specialty Mental Health Probation research team. Since joining the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty in 2013, Andrea has taught in the full-time and part-time programs. Her educational philosophy encompasses providing social work education through the lens of racial and social justice. She facilitates students’ insight into the lived realities and agency of marginalized groups, and the impact decisions and interactions with the social work profession have on the lives of the under-resourced. Andrea received the Dean’s Excellence in MSW Advising Award in 2018 and the Dean’s Recognition of Teaching Excellence Award in 2015. Andrea served on the 2020 Anti-racism Task Force for the Council on Social Work Education. She also consults on several international projects for racial and social equity in social work education and practice.

Michael L. Clarkson-Hendrix, MSW, PhD, Chapter author

Michael Clarkson-Hendrix is an Associate Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociocultural and Justice Sciences at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Dr. Clarkson-Hendrix’s research targets the intersection of behavioral health, disability, and social welfare, particularly in employment and workforce development. Dr. Clarkson-Hendrix has extensive practice experience in the areas of behavioral health and child welfare. His research targets the intersection of behavioral health, psychiatric disability, and social welfare, particularly social welfare as it relates to employment and workforce development.

Mallory Cyr, MPH, Equity & Inclusion Consultant, LLC, Chapter author

Mallory Cyr is the Program Manager of Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP). Mallory earned her Master of Public Health with a concentration in Maternal & Child Health from Boston University and a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Maine at Farmington. Mallory brings an extensive background of 14+ years of experience and a strong understanding of the CYSHCN population. Mallory has consistently attended the AMCHP conference and served on the former AMCHP Family and Youth Leadership Committee (now the Family LEAD Committee). Mallory is incredibly passionate about improving opportunities for meaningful youth engagement, leveraging social media for stakeholder engagement, and applying personal lessons learned to her work from her lived experience navigating systems for CYSHCN in multiple states. At AMCHP, Mallory supports SPHARC, leading the Autism Community of Learners and other SPHARC activities, in addition to supporting the needs of the CYSHCN workforce through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness project, the Leadership Institute for CYSHCN Directors, and expansion of the National Standards.

Gabrielle L. Gault, MSW, LSW, Chapter author

Gabrielle L. Gault, is the Senior Program Coordinator at the Center for Research on Ending Violence at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, School of Social Work. Gabrielle’s work is rooted in the belief that by working together, in community, we can dismantle systems of oppression that perpetuate violence and cause further harm.

Alison B. Wetmur, DSW, LCSW, Chapter author

Alison Wetmur is a clinical social worker by training, Alison specializes in working with people who have experienced trauma. Alison owns a private practice in CT, where she specializes in treating trauma and working with d/Deaf people. She is also on the faculty of Connecticut College. Alison is also Deaf, and provides mental health counseling to adults and teenagers who are hearing, d/Deaf, and hard of hearing.  Alison approaches her work with clients with compassion, relying on the formation of a successful therapeutic alliance that has proven results.

Sara-Beth Plummer, PhD, MSW, Chapter author

Sara-Beth Plummer is the Assistant Director of the Baccalaureate Social Work (BASW) Program at Rutgers University. Her practice experience includes being both a social worker and an Assistant Director at Barrier Free Living, Inc., an agency that provided services to individuals with disabilities who were survivors of abuse. Her academic interests include curriculum development, assessment, and online education. Dr. Plummer’s area of practice include individuals, families and groups with a focus on interpersonal violence and people with disabilities. Her interests include curriculum development, assessment, and online education.

Patricia A Findley, DrPH, MSW, Chapter author  

Patricia A. Findley is an Associate Professor of Social Work, Director of the MSW program, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Interprofessional Health Initiatives. Her research interests include chronic illness, physical disability, interprofessional health education, disaster preparedness and response, and cancer survivorship. She holds a research scholar position within the Veterans Administration where she explores both physical and mental health issues, as well as trauma issues within the veteran population. Past projects included examining a Medicaid Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver through a NIH K-Award grant and validation of the Medical Listings and program reform of the Social Security Disability Determination Process through a collaborative agreement with the Social Security Administration. Dr. Findley has a long clinical history in working with those with disabilities in medical rehabilitation settings, and co-authored a book, The Cancer Survivor Handbook: The Essential Guide to Cancer Survivorship. With funding from USAID, she has collaborated with American, Israeli, and Palestinian colleagues on educating students and mental health professionals on disaster preparedness and response. More recent work has her exploring the impact of Hurricane Sandy on both individuals in New Jersey as well as the state behavioral health system response to the storm. Her research appears in peer-reviewed rehabilitation, public health and medical journals including Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Women’s Health Issues, Preventive Medicine, and Journal of General Internal Medicine. She serves a senior associate and managing editor for the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.

Sandra M. Leotti, MSW, PhD, Chapter author

Sandra Leotti received her MSW from the University of Montana and her Ph.D. from Portland State University. She has over a decade of direct practice experience in the areas of mental health, disability, and youth development. Her research pursues two overlapping areas of inquiry: examining social work’s role in upholding systems of injustice and the study of contemporary issues pertaining to the carceral state. A primary goal of her scholarship is to advance community-based, non-punitive approaches to addressing harm and need. Sandra’s teaching and scholarship are driven by an emphasis on social justice and aim to strengthen the relationship between critical and feminist theories and social work education, research, and practice.

Alexandria Lewis, Ed.S., MSW, LCSW, Chapter author

Ms. Lewis’ focus area is educational technology and online learning as it relates to Social Work curriculum. This interest led her to seek graduate level education in online education through the MU School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT). In 2014, she earned a Graduate Certificate in Online Education. To further enhance her knowledge and skills in this area, she earned an Educational Specialist degree (EdS) with an emphasis in Educational Technology. In particular, Ms. Lewis is interested in ways to enhance student learning in the online environment. She is fascinated with the research on this topic and finds ways to integrate the research into her teaching. She received an award from the Mizzou ET@MO Teaching with Technology Innovative Fund (TTIF) to incorporate a digital lesson creator program into her course lessons. She utilizes this program with media, written content, and self-check activities including “quiz poppers” for her classes. Ms. Lewis is also interested in ways to incorporate active learning into the online classroom. By incorporating activities within the course lesson, her hope is that students will feel more active and engaged in their learning. Through self-check activities, students have the opportunity to evaluate their own learning for course lesson content.

Valerie Borum, MSW, LMSW, PhD, Chapter author

Dr. Borum has experience as both a BSSW Program Director and an MSW Program Director. As a social work practitioner, she directed two programs, supervising social work and human services professionals serving persons with disabilities and intersecting identities. Her research and scholarship focus on the role of ethnoculture as a protective and promotive factor in health, mental health, and disability, with attention to Black/African Americans. She also studies the intersection of disability, deafness, and ethnoculture, with attention to Black/African Americans and Afro-Latinx/Black Hispanics families with deaf and hard of hearing children.  Dr. Borum completed her post-doctoral studies (e.g., focus on suicide and ethnoculture) at the University of Rochester, School of Medicine, Rochester, NY. Dr. Borum received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University, School of Social Work and her MSW from Gallaudet University. She received the Ester Ottley Fellowship, a one-year internship for one female student who most exemplifies qualities of leadership and humanity while at Howard University. While studying at Gallaudet University for her Master’s in Social Work, all of her instruction was in American Sign Language (ASL). She received her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Biology and Philosophy from Mundelein Women’s College at Loyola University, Chicago, IL. Dr. Borum is currently conducting research with a focus on advocacy and families of color (visible racialized minoritized groups) as a research collaborator/consultant with Laurent Clerc National Deaf Educational Research Center at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.


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