CUSSW Alumni Honored by the New York City National Association of Social Workers

November 29, 2007 @ 5:00 am

For Immediate Release

November 29, 2007

New York, NY – Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) alumni Jamie Favaro ’04, Raysa S. Rodriguez ’05, Kimberly A. Steinhagen ’04 and Lisa White ’99 have been named the 2007 Emerging Social Work Leaders by the National Association of Social Workers New York Chapter.

“We are indeed proud of the accomplishments of four of our alumni, each of whom has demonstrated exemplary professional achievements. We are particularly pleased that their fine work is being acknowledged because of the palpable difference they are making in the lives of individuals and families from so many segments of our community in New York City,” says Jeanette Takamura, Dean of CUSSW. “All four – who represent half of the number of awardees this year – are relatively recent graduates of the Columbia University School of Social Work. We are thrilled for them and know that they represent the incredible potential and passion that we see among their fellow alumni and within our student body. Our congratulations go to each honoree. We have no question that we will see and hear more about their accomplishments in the future.”

The annual award identifies individuals who demonstrate a unique commitment and dedication to the social work profession and to the improvement of social and human conditions at the local levels through practice, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, and advocacy.

Jamie Favaro is the Founder and Executive Director of The Washington Heights CORNER (Community Outreach, Resources, Needle Exchange and (H)arm Reduction) Project. CORNER is the first licensed needle exchange in Washington Heights and the only organization North of Harlem designed specifically to address drug user health. Ms. Favaro created this organization through client-driven practice, sound research methods, establishing partnerships with community, governmental, and health organizations, tireless advocacy, and her dedication to the principles of the social work profession.

Raysa S. Rodriguez serves as Senior Advisor on Children’s Issues to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Linda Gibbs and to the Family Services Coordinator of the City of New York, Jennifer Jones Austin. In this capacity, she has served as a catalyst for macro-level change, and has played an instrumental role in strengthening the City of New York’s Early Care & Education policy agenda.

Kimberly A. Steinhagen, LMSW is the Director of the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York, an advocacy and education organization with over 2,800 members committed to improvements in geriatric mental health policy and practice. The Alliance, which Ms. Steinhagen had an active role in developing, was formed in January 2004 by the Center for Policy and Advocacy of The Mental Health Associations of New York City and Westchester. She is also member of a number of advisory and planning groups including the NYC Adult Protective Services Advisory Council, the Community Advisory Committee of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research in Aging (CITRA), and the NY Southern Area Aging Network (NY-SAAN).

Lisa White, LMSW has spent her 18-year career promoting the well-being, self-determination and interests of vulnerable children and their families within New York City. Ms. White has been affiliated with Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center for 8 years. She was the catalyst for obtaining the initial grant funding for launching that institution’s Healthy Families initiative and serves as Director of that program, which provides support and education services to expectant and parenting families. In addition, Ms. White is a Clinician at Northside Center for Child Development and an Adjunct Professor at Mercy College. She also serves as a private consultant to various organizations.

A total of eight individuals are being recognized this year for their professional promise and accomplishments. Award winners will be recognized at a fund raising dinner hosted by Dominic Carter, Political Anchor, NY1 News on Thursday, November 29, 2007 at the Golden Unicorn Restaurant in New York City.

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