Columbia University School of Social Work Announces New Faculty

July 5, 2006 @ 4:00 am

July 5, 2006

New York, NY – Dean Jeanette Takamura has announced the addition of seven new faculty members, effective July 1, 2006.

Fang-pei Chen – Dr. Chen received her M.S.W. from the University of California and her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to her master’s degree, she was a social worker with a self-help group of parents of persons with developmental disabilities in Taipei. After receiving her master’s degree, Dr. Chen returned to Taiwan where and she was a district social worker for the Taipei city government. She worked with low-income households and was a program coordinator for a community care program catering to the elderly and people with disabilities. Dr. Chen was also a research assistant at National Taiwan University on a project examining community rehabilitation services operated by self-help groups of families of mentally ill individuals. Her current professional interest areas include issues at the interface between the family and the mental health system, social work generalist practice in mental health, and family care-giving.

Robin Gearing – Mr. Gearing has more than ten years of experience as a clinical social worker in hospital-based mental health programs. He has provided a wide range of therapeutic and clinical services as a child and family therapist to individuals, families, and groups at a university affiliated children’s hospital, in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric programs. Mr. Gearing has also worked as a psychiatric social worker with the crisis team of a community hospital where he provided adults and adolescents with clinical consultation and crisis risk assessment. Beyond his work as a clinician, Mr. Gearing’s experience has included clinical management with a multidisciplinary team in an adult mental health day hospital program and as a clinical supervisor for therapists in community counseling agencies. He has specific interest in the areas of child and adolescent mental health, crisis intervention and family therapy.

Michael MacKenzie – Dr. MacKenzie is a Social Worker and Developmental Psychopathologist with a primary interest in the early social and biological factors that contribute to later mental health and psychopathology. He comes to Columbia from the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan where he completed his MSW and a dual doctoral degree in Social Work and Developmental Psychology. Dr. MacKenzie also has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Molecular Genetics from the University of Western Ontario, in London, Canada. He is involved in several NIMH funded longitudinal studies investigating the development of self-regulation processes during infancy in families facing social disadvantage and mental health difficulties. His research examines both the social and biological aspects of the parent-infant relationship. This work has several foci, including examining the etiology and developmental consequences of developmental psychopathology and child maltreatment as well as the impact of placement disruptions and instability on children in the child welfare system.

Rogerio M. Pinto – Dr. Pinto is a psychiatric social worker and postdoctoral research fellow at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He has extensive experience in both psychiatric and community social work. Dr. Pinto’s research is grounded in principles of personal empowerment and community participation in scientific research. This research, which focuses on HIV prevention in racial and ethnic minority communities, has produced works on theoretical and pragmatic underpinnings of collaboration research, how researchers and communities come together to collaborate in HIV prevention research, and the involvement of women and their families in HIV prevention research. He is now conducting a pilot study exploring the process of community academic collaboration in HIV prevention research.

Mark S. Preston – Mr. Preston has over ten years of professional experience in the fields of child welfare, public assistance, and mental health. His practice experience as an administrator, manager, supervisor, and direct-service worker encompasses public sector, private sector, and not-for-profit human service organizations in Arizona and Alaska. Mr. Preston has conducted a number of organizational analyses for the State of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services and has served on several statewide advisory committees.

Victoria Rizzo – Dr. Rizzo received her MSW and doctorate from the School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Albany. Dr. Rizzo has extensive practice experience as a healthcare social worker in a physical rehabilitation setting. Her practice specializations include stroke, spinal cord injury, pediatrics, and sexuality issues for chronically ill and disabled individuals. She has research interests in the outcome studies (efficacy and efficiency) of the delivery of social work services in aging; the impact of parental serious illness on children; and the implications of health policy and healthcare financing for social work practice and the provision of psychosocial services to individuals and their families.

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart – Dr. Brave Heart has more than 25 years of clinical experience in social work, specifically with the Lakota NATION. She received her MS from the Columbia University School of Social Work and her doctorate from Smith College. In 1992, she co-founded The Takini Network, a collective of traditional Lakota and other Native service providers and community leaders, dedicated to helping Native communities heal from historical trauma©sm (trauma across generations). Dr. Brave Heart is also member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In 2001, she initiated the first international conference that brought together several members of massively traumatized groups. The historic conference fostered knowledge development and exchange among Natives from the Americas including Pacific Islanders, Japanese internment camp survivors and descendants, Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants, African Americans addressing slavery and Latino survivors. Dr. Brave Heart’s current research interests include American Indian and other indigenous intergenerational trauma, historical trauma intervention design and research, Lakota and other Native parent skill development, training indigenous community members in historical trauma intervention methods, and clinical social work practice.

For more information, please contact Jeannie Yip at 212-851-2327 or