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From the Pen of the Executive Director: July 2023

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, LSW, ACSW, CAE

NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director

As I write this, incoming NASW-Illinois Chapter President Latesha Newson and I are in Washington, DC, for the Association Leadership Meeting, an annual gathering of NASW Chapter Executive Directors and Presidents. Part of the meeting included a trip to Capitol Hill to visit the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Congresswomen Robyn Kelly and Jan Schakowsky, and with whom we discussed a range of state issues. Also discussed were national NASW’s priority legislation including the Improving Access to Mental Act (S. 838/H.R. 1638), The School Social Workers Improving Student Act (H.R. 1415), The Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act (S. 1452/H.R. 3073), and the More Social Workers in Libraries Act (H.R. 3006).


Earlier in the month we bid farewell to the 2022–2023 NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors and gave recognition to the following chapter leaders for their service as they will be cycling off the board at the end of the month. Dr. Anthony Estreet, our new National NASW CEO, also flew to Illinois to join us for the board meeting:


· Kenna Dunlap-Johnson, MBA, MSW, LCSW – President

· Alison Leipsiger, MSW, LSW – Vice-President for President and Finance

· Becka Ross, MSW, LCSW – Three Rivers District Chair

· Adana Cranfield, MSW, LCSW – Member At-Large

· Olivia (Livvy) Gerrish, MSW, LCSW – Graduate Student Representative

· Sedona Smith, BSW – Undergraduate Student Representative


I especially want to thank Kenna Dunlap-Johnson who concludes her term as chapter president on June 30, 2023, and wraps up several years of important service to the chapter and the profession. The past two years have been replete with challenges and accomplishments. I am always amazed at the commitment, passion, and time that chapter presidents devote to NASW and the chapter. Thank you, Kenna, for juggling your demanding professional responsibilities and everything else in your life in service to NASW.


On July 1, 2023, we welcome the 2023–2024 NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors. They include:


1. Latesha Newson, MSW, LCSW, President

2. Hilary Edgerly, LCSW, Vice President for Budget & Finance

3. Latasha Roberson-Guifarro, MSW, LCSW, Secretary

4. Jennifer Gazda, MSW, DSW, Member At-Large

5. Anjanette Young, LCSW, Member At-Large

6. Jacki Brunk, MSW, LCSW, Northeastern District Chair

7. Melissa Box, MSW, LCSW, LSOE, LSOTP - East Central District Chair

8. Michael Mallory, LCSW, Chicago District Chair

9. Dr. Diona Shelton, DSW, LCSW, CATP, CCTP

10. Samantha Allen, MSW, LCSW – Calumet District Chair

11. Sarah Birdsill, LCSW, Jane Addams District Chair

12. Kimberly Stoerger, MSW, West Central District Chair

13. Roxann Camparone, LCSW, CAADC CODP II, Three Rivers District Chair

14. Rayne Stokes, Undergraduate Student Representative

15. Vincent Cieslak, CDVP, CADC, Graduate Student Representative


We look forward to Latesha’s and the new board’s leadership.


This past month, two Illinois members have been recognized for their work on being elected as a NASW Social Work Pioneer® . Congratulations to Jonathan Singer, PhD, LCSW, professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work, and Diana Stroud, MSW, ACSW LCSW, former NASW-IL and national NASW board member, president of the NASW Assurance Services, and clinician and macro practitioner. They will both be inducted in a ceremony in Washington, DC, in the fall of 2023. I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working both with Jonathan and Diana.


Additionally, the NASW Foundation awarded the following Illinois social work students with the following scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year:


BreAnna McKenzie and Jeneba Berety were awarded the Verne LaMarr Lyons Scholarship. The Lyons Scholarships are awarded to master's degree candidates in social work who have demonstrated an interest in or have experience with health/mental health practice and have a commitment to working in African American communities.


Andrea Vallejo and Erika Esperanza Mora Villegas were awarded The Gosnell Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to master's degree candidates in social work who have demonstrated a commitment to working with, or who have a special affinity with, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino populations.


Some remembrances…..

Joe Palombo, an NASW-IL member for over 60 years, recently passed away. He was founding dean of the Institute for Clinical Social Work. Mr. Palombo pursued a lifelong interest in the emotional problems of children with learning disabilities and published numerous papers and several books on the subject.


Enjoy the summer!

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