BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Maureen Benej, LMSW    CO-CHAIR
Maureen Benej, MSW has served in the field of Child Welfare for over forty years. As Executive Director of New York City’s Children’s Services she worked on needs assessment and program development for children entering foster care and published Programs for Children in Foster Care in 1996. Maureen also served as Adjunct Professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services where she taught courses in Policy and Management. Her consulting work with foster care agencies and the Adolescent Services Resource Network at Hunter College School of Social Work included training various levels of staff in Assessment, Leadership and Child Development. She currently serves as Faculty Advisor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services where she teaches the Advanced Integrative Seminar with a focus on Leadership, Human Rights, and Social Justice. 

Sue Matorin MS LCSW ACSW    CO-CHAIR
Sue Matorin is a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical School, Payne Whitney Clinic, New York Presbyterian Hospital. Currently, she divides her time between clinic practice with clients with severe psychiatric disorders, administrative duties, and a private practice in the Physicians Organization for treatment of individuals, couples and families. A graduate of CUSSW she began her career in mental health as an intern at the New York State Psychiatric Institute on its first Community Psychiatry Service to become chief of social work services for that division. She then oversaw psychiatric social work at Presbyterian Hospital, organizing programs to bridge adult and child psychiatry services. She was recruited to Cornell to direct the department of social work at Payne Whitney Clinic. She oversaw graduate student internship programs at all sites, and for over a decade taught “Social Work with Families” at the Columbia School of Social Work. She currently teaches family therapy to psychiatry residents at Cornell. In addition to her work on the Helen Rehr Center Board, she serves on the Board of the Society for Social Work Leaders in Health Care, Metropolitan Chapter, served as the President and was honored nationally with the Hyman Weiner Award. She has published widely in the areas of mental health and family therapy, including numerous letters in the New York Times and can be seen on the video “Help Starts Here - On any Given Day”, produced by the National Association of Social Work. This year she has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Continental as an industry leader.

Karisma Ajodah, LCSW
    SECRETARY
Karisma Ajodah is a Senior Consultant in the Customized Assistance for the Human Resources Administration, where she conducts clinical reviews.  Ms. Ajodah spent the majority of her career in the hospital setting. Her responsibilities included inpatient acute care, outpatient case management and psychotherapy.  Ms. Ajodah specializes in working with individuals who are afflicted with chronic medical conditions and individuals with severe trauma histories. Ms. Ajodah has presented in conferences including the Annual Boston College HIV Social Work Conference.   She is also SIFI certified and has been a field supervisor to multiple MSW candidates.   Ms. Ajodah is a 2002 graduate of Columbia School of Socialwork and currently serves on their Alumni Board.

Frances Brennan, LCSW    TREASURER
Frances Brennan, LCSW, served as the Director of Social Services at the Mary Manning Walsh Home from 2005 through 2011 and previously as Director of Social Work at the Jewish Home Lifecare, Manhattan Division since 1991. She was a faculty member of the Mt. Sinai School of Community Medicine, an adjunct lecturer for the Columbia University School of Social Work and a field advisor for Hunter College School of Social Work. She has over three decades of experience with the elderly in community and institutional settings including supervisory and administrative positions and has written and presented extensively on issues in aging. Ms. Brennan is the co-author (with Dr. Ann Burack-Weiss) of Gerontological Supervision: A Social Work Perspective in Case Management and Direct Care published in 2008. In 2014 she was the coordinator of the third training module of the Gerontological Social Work Fellows Program sponsored by the Helen Rehr Center for Social Work Practice. In 2016 and 2015 she served as the SLA Coordinator for the Supervisory Leaders in Aging program in New York City co-sponsored by the NASW NYC chapter and the Helen Rehr Center.

Phyllis Caroff, PHD, LCSW
Phyllis Caroff has been Professor Emerita at the CUNY Graduate Center since 1992 to present and Professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work from 1976 to 1989 where she taught casework, multi-method practice, and comparative theories of personality and systems of psychotherapy. She practiced clinically at the Community Service Society from 1956 to 1961 and has practice privately with individuals and family from 1964 to the present.

Fran Freedman, LMSW
Fran Freedman recently retired as Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), where she oversaw the Department’s communications, marketing, community outreach, legislative affairs and advocacy. During her tenure she was instrumental in ramping up the Department’s public education campaign regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and developing the Agency’s Office of Financial Empowerment, the first municipal office of its kind in the nation with a mission to educate, empower and protect New Yorkers with low incomes. Fran worked with Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) to create a course in financial empowerment and financial counseling and a field placement opportunity, a first for the Department, for which she served as field instructor for three second-year students. Her 50-year career in public and nonprofit service includes her work at the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, the New York City Department for the Aging and Lighthouse International, where she served as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications. A past president of the CUSSW Alumni Association and a recipient of the University’s Alumni Medal, Fran was awarded the 2013 Social Work Image Award by the New York City Chapter of NASW.

Helen Hamlin, LMSW
Helen Hamlin is presently the International Federation on Aging Main Representative at the United Nations, USA. Over the years she has moved through the field of social work from clinician, to supervisor, to field instructor, teacher, and administrator. For the past 35 years her area of concentration has been gerontological social work. She has represented the elderly population as Chair of the New York Citizens’
Committee on Aging and Vice President of Health Advocates for Older People, Inc. Helen is a Fellow of the Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College.

Carolyn Hutson, LCSW-R
Carolyn Hutson received her MSW from the NYU School of Social Work in 1989 and subsequently has been certified as a HIV Counselor and Field Instructor. At the Mount Sinai Medical Center she has served since 1990 as an AIDS Social Worker, Adult Liver Transplant Social Worker, Adult/Pediatric Sickle Cell Social Worker, Pediatric Liver Transplant Social Worker and since 2004 a Clinical Instructor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Since 2004 she has also served as an Adjunct Instructor and Faculty Advisor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Her numerous presentations at conferences include most recently “Living Donors for Liver Transplants: New Ethical Issues” presented at the Fourth Annual International Conference on Social Work and Mental Health. Her publications include co-authorship of “Mining Clinical Information in the Utilization of Social Services; Practitioners Inform Themselves” in Social Work and Health Care.

Priscilla Liriano, LCSW
Priscilla Liriano earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work at S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook University and a postgraduate certification in Group Psychoanalytic Therapy at The Institute for the Psychoanalytic Society. She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease at Columbia University Medical Center and is co-producing and hosting the programs upcoming English and Spanish education TV series “Health & Memory”/ “Salud Y Memoria”. Priscilla is Bilingual in English and Spanish and native to the Bronx. Prior to joining Columbia, Priscilla provided consultation to physicians and adults living with developmental and or physical disabilities around accessing reasonable accommodations for public benefits. She was a hospital social worker for HHC Metropolitan Hospital Center’s Pediatric Unit for 5 years providing counseling, home based interventions and case management to children and families struggling with medical and mental health conditions in the community. During those 5 years, Priscilla also worked part-time as a psychiatric social worker for The Puerto Rican Family Institute. She also worked with ACS mandated families at New York Foundling’s Mott Haven Preventive Services in the South Bronx, providing home based counseling and crisis intervention to clients struggling with substance abuse and mental illness while monitoring the safety and risks of the children in their homes and schools.

Christopher Oates, LCSW. MPA
Christopher Oates is currently the Social Work Manager in Palliative Care at New York University Langone Medical Center. He has also held the role of Hospice Liaison as well as Manager of Charity Care for Visiting Nurse Service of New York. He has extensive experience in the field of health and aging. He is the former Program Administrator for HealthOutreach at New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell and Senior Social Worker at St. Vincent's Hospital Center for HIV Medicine. Chris is a former president of the New York City Chapter of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare as well as Vice President and Program Chair for the East Side Council on the Aging.

Lynn Ohrenstein, DSW, LCSW
Lynn Ohrenstein has been a practitioner, supervisor, and director of a mental health clinic at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.  For many years she taught within the Agency’s in-service training program as well as other agencies and conferences.  She also developed a training program focused on practice for Russian students placed within the Agency and published journals on this work.  Dr. Ohrenstein served as a consultant to special populations, and her focus has been on the impact of trauma on adults, children and their families.  Lynn is currently active in a number of professional organizations and continues to maintain a private practice in New York City.

Barbara Silverstone, PhD, LCSW
Barbara Silverstone is managing partner in the social work consulting firm of SBW Partners. Her social work career – largely in the field of aging – has spanned direct practice, teaching, and administration. From 1984 to 2005 she served as President and CEO of Lighthouse International Dr. Silverstone is a former president of the Gerontological Society of America and was awarded the 1988 Outstanding Leadership Award by the American Society on Aging. Among her numerous publications is You and Your Aging Parent co-authored with the late Helen Kandel Hyman and now in 4th edition. An alumna of the Columbia School of Social Work, she was awarded the 2012 Columbia University Alumni Medal.

Alison Snow, PhD, LCSW-R, OSW-C
Alison Snow, PhD, LCSW-R, OSW-C is an Assistant Director at the Mount Sinai Downtown Cancer Centers. She completed her MSW at Columbia School of Social Work and obtained her PhD in social welfare from Hunter College School of Social Work/ CUNY The Graduate Center. She has 13 years of postgraduate experience as an oncology social worker. Alison has first authored several published articles in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored a textbook chapter for Oncologic Emergency Medicine. Alison has given numerous educational presentations to social work students, fellow professionals, volunteers, and community audiences, concerning the role of social work in oncology care and has presented nationally and internationally to professional audiences. She was recognized by the National Association of Social Workers NYC Chapter, with a Mid-Career Exemplary Social Work Leader Award in 2015 and in 2008 as an Emerging Social Work Leader. Alison has received grants from the American Cancer Society both for her doctoral research and for her teaching of Master’s students.

Alicia Tennenbaum, LCSW, MSW
Alicia Tennenbaum graduated with a B.A. from Villanova University in 1999 and completed a Masters in social work from New York University in 2001. She is a Licensed Certified Social Worker in the state of New York and has been employed at Mount Sinai Beth Israel since 2001. She is currently an Assistant Director in the Department of SW and Homecare Services. She has also been a Date Rape/Domestic Violence victim advocate for the Victim Services Department since 2001. Ms. Tennenbaum developed a prevention education program for schools on the topics of Date Rape and Healthy Relationships and has given numerous presentations in NYC schools. She was profiled in the June 19th, 2007 science section of the New York Times, “In the Trenches, the Hospital Discharge Planner: Bridging Gaps Between Hospital and Home” and has given numerous presentations to students and community agencies on the role of hospital social workers and on ethics in medicine. She co-authored the chapter “Preparing For Your Discharge”, Questions Patients Need to Ask, 2008. She completed the HANYS Academy for Healthcare Leadership Advancement program in 2014. A member of the ethics committee at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, she is currently enrolled in the Clarkson University Bioethics program and plans to graduate in the spring of 2018.


In Memorium
Mildred Mailick, DSW
Florence Lieberman, DSW
Helen Rehr, DSW
Alma T. Young, EdD