Published July 17, 2014
The Health Foundation of Western and Central New York has chosen School of Social Work faculty member Susan A. Green to take part in its Health Leadership Fellows Program, recognizing her influence in community health and investing in her expanding role addressing the health of elders and children living in poverty.
Green, a clinical associate professor specializing in children and families, will receive up to $15,000 over the next 18 months for professional development. She will be among 42 diverse, highly skilled leaders from health-related and safety-net organizations throughout Western and Central New York to take part in the fellowship program.
The Health Leadership Fellows aim to strengthen the health care system, promote education and advocacy, and encourage positive individual behavior changes. Their mission is to continue the focus of the Health Foundation in addressing the needs of the vulnerable aged and young.
Green has been especially active in teaching and training others on the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences throughout a person’s life.
“The outcomes of childhood experience — such as obesity, diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse, missed work, cancer, heart disease — have all been linked with early childhood experiences,” says Green.
“Does A equal B? No. But as we learn more about what the interplay may be among emotional and physical health issues, it will inform our approaches to treatment differently. It begins to give us a possible overall understanding of what may influence people’s health.”
Designed to improve critical skills of leaders in health and human service organizations, the 18-month Health Leadership Fellows Program offers participants individual leadership development, academic and team support, executive coaching, opportunities to increase a network of leaders, and an opportunity for collective leadership and change. In addition to four to five retreats spanning two to three days each, fellows will meet monthly and work in small teams to develop a collaborative inter-organizational project.
“Working collaboratively through the Health Leadership Fellows Program, these promising leaders can share best practices and develop new and innovative ways to improve the health of the people in our communities, particularly the frail elderly and children living in communities of poverty,” says Health Foundation President Ann F. Monroe.
Green has been with UB’s School of Social Work since 2001 and teaches several classes throughout the curriculum. She is co-director of the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care within the Buffalo Center for Social Research at the School of Social Work, which began in Fall 2012.
“I feel thankful to have this opportunity to work among already established leaders in our community and take whatever improvements we can to the next step,” she says.
Green works and volunteers with various community agencies and projects in the Western New York community. A therapist certified in several trauma therapies, she has published articles on trauma and trauma-informed care, and presents locally, nationally and internationally on trauma and trauma-informed care.
In 2004, Green established the DREAM (Developing Relationships through Empowerment, Advocacy and Motivation) program, a community-based program that aims to make a concrete, hands-on difference in people’s lives. Starting with a bi-weekly educational enrichment program at Gerard Place on Buffalo’s East Side that featured basketball and life-lessons mentoring, the DREAM program has since expanded to include five neighborhood agencies, including the Vive La Casa shelter for refugees and the Lutheran Church Home.
The DREAM program has served some of Buffalo’s most vulnerable populations — from the young-young to the frail elderly — while at the same time providing valuable training for UB’s social work students, Green notes. More than 20 MSW students have served as team leaders.