When Silberman School of Social Work MSW students take classes with Adjunct Lecturer Elizabeth Alvarado, they have the opportunity to learn from someone who – alongside her service on the faculty since 2012 – leads the social work division at one of metropolitan New York’s major palliative care centers. Currently the Director of Counseling at United Hospice of Rockland County, Ms. Alvarado brings robust practice and leadership experience to Silberman’s Clinical Practice students with a focus on diverse aging communities.
Having been inspired by numerous teachers and mentors across her career, including MSW Program Director Dr. Caroline Rosenthal Gelman, Ms. Alvarado loves working with today’s students in the Silberman classroom. As both an organizational leader and a nationally-sought trainer of practitioners who work with aging populations, she understands how important every social worker is to the organizations and communities they serve; and she works with her students to create professional environments in which they each can achieve the positive impacts they aspire to. To her, this means instilling the notion that all social work practice is “global” – it is defined not by any one role but by the bridges that connect practice, research, policy, and community. Teaching clinical practice with aging populations enables Ms. Alvarado to spur student growth in particularly exciting ways. She finds that student understandings of aging populations – the descriptions they use; the services, needs, and strengths they associate with the aging – change dramatically, and positively, over the course of the semester.
Just as she inspires Silberman students toward these new, deeper perspectives, Ms. Alvarado is consistently inspired by her students and colleagues. “I value the feeling that this is a family, with common ground and a common goal ” says Ms. Alvarado about working at the Silberman School of Social Work. “The students are so open, so humble, and so enthusiastic to get a degree for service; for making a genuine difference; and for being role models in their communities.”