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NASW Foundation Board Members 2017

Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW

Elvira Craig de Silva, DSW, ACSW

Lorraine Cole, PhD

Connie Commander, RN, CCM, ABDA, CPUR
Darrell Wheeler, PhD, ACSW, MPH
Bernice C. Harper, LLD, ACSW
Richard (Rick) N. Harris, MSW, LICSW
Gloria Ramsey, JD, RN, FAAN

Prior Members of the NASW Foundation Board of Directors

Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, MSW, LCSW (Illinois Chapter), received her PhD and MSW from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a faculty member and BSW Program Director at Illinois State University (ISU). Also served in public child welfare and healthcare settings, providing a sound background for being chosen to be a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Romania where she taught and conducted research on child welfare reform. Dr. Wehrmann served at ISU as principal investigator on two child welfare training grants and was recognized for successfully securing approximately $1M in grants and contracts. Honored as NASW Lifetime Achievement award recipient at the district level; served as NASW District Chair, state Conference Chair, Illinois Chapter President, National Board Representative for Region IX, and member of the Executive Committee. Current member of the Baccalaureate Program Directors, and the Fulbright Association

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Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW
President, NASW Foundation
Chief Executive Officer, NASW


Angelo McClain is NASW's tenth Chief Executive Officer. Dr. McClain joins NASW after serving, six years as Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, a position appointed by Governor Deval Patrick. While there, he oversaw a budget of $850 million and a workforce of 3,500 employees to address reports of abuse and neglect for the state’s most vulnerable children, partnering with families to help them better nurture and protect their children.

Prior to that position, Dr. McClain was Vice President and Executive Director of Value Options New Jersey where he built and oversaw administrative, clinical and quality management program infrastructures that increased access to behavioral health services for children and youth, including those in the juvenile justice system.

As Vice President of Network Management and Regional Operations for the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Dr. McClain developed and maintained a provider network capable of delivering high quality, responsive services to 450,000 Mass Health members.

Dr. McClain grew up in Texas, and is a distinguished alumnus of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from West Texas State University, a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a PhD in Social Work from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Urban Leadership Program at Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work.

Dr. McClain has received numerous awards including the Betsey R. Rosenbaum Award for Excellence in Public Child Welfare, the Fatherhood Engagement Leadership Award and the YMCA Domestic Violence "Great Guys" Award.  He is sought after as a presenter on topics in child welfare, more recently at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work Immigration Colloquium; Finding Common Ground: Foster Care, Adoption and Permanency for Children Conference and Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program, The Art of Social Change. 


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Elvira Craig de Silva, DSW, ACSW

Elvira Craig de Silva, DSW, ACSW (Wisconsin Chapter), is associate dean of the Communication Skills, Social Sciences and Foreign Languages Department at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wisconsin . She received her DSW from the Universidad del Museo Social Argentino, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a diploma in Latin American Studies from Rutgers University . Her professional experiences include: teacher (15 years) at the School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee ; director of the Industrial Labor Team at Rutgers Mental Health Center, New Jersey ; and coordinator of Education and Research, Social Work Department, VA Hospital, Milwaukee. Dr. Craig de Silva has done extensive work in diversity and intercultural communications and has been actively involved with NASW for the past 20 years including National President, NASW 2006-2007, president, Wisconsin Chapter (1996-98). Honors include: Partners in Education Award, Women of Distinction Award, Recognition Awards from United Way, School-to-Work Initiative, and State and National Leadership.

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Lorraine Cole, Ph.D.

Dr. Lorraine Cole’s career as a leader of national organizations advancing women’s empowerment, racial and gender equity and parity in health and health care has spanned three decades.  In February, Dr. Cole was appointed Director of the Office of Women and Minority Inclusion at the US Department of the Treasury. She is the former chief executive officer of the YWCA USA, which was the nation’s oldest and largest women’s organization, founded more than 150 years ago.  Prior to the YWCA, Dr. Cole was president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the only national organization dedicated solely to the health of African American women.  She previously served as executive director of the National Medical Association, the national professional organization representing African American physicians and the patients they serve. She was executive director of the Minority Health Professions Foundation, which supports biomedical research in schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. She also directed the Office of Minority Concerns for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Recognized as a tenacious advocate for women, people of color and underserved populations, she is the recipient of numerous honors, including an honorary doctorate of public service from Southern Connecticut State University and the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Vision Award from Meharry Medical College. She has served on a number of non-profit and corporate boards. She was one of the principals who led the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C. that drew more than 1.2 million participants.  She  co-chaired the Task Force for the U.S. ratification of the U.N. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Under Dr. Cole’s leadership, YWCA USA was a co-sponsor of the four Presidential and Vice Presidential debates for the historic 2008 election. She has been a fellow of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a research fellow of both the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and a health advocacy fellow of the Avery Institute for Social Change. 

Dr. Cole earned her Ph.D. in Communication Science and Disorders at Northwestern University and is a Certified Association Executive. 

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Connie Commander, RN, CCM, ABDA, CPUR

Connie Commander is Owner and President of Commander's Premier Consulting Corporation. Ms. Commander focuses on the advancement of case management and medical management in today’s healthcare environment. Previous experiences have been in health plans, physician networks, and facility based departments located in Texas and Illinois. She currently educates case managers to develop and implement a Collaborative practice of case management and care coordination throughout all healthcare settings. Ms. Commander views Collaborative models, Integrated Healthcare delivery systems, and effective transitions of care as critical components for care coordination. Ms. Commander is a national speaker and author, and mentors others in the field. She participates in multiple advisory committees and professional associations. She has been awarded both the National and Houston Chapter Case Manager of the Year award, and has held several National Board positions with the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), including National President for 2006-07, and Immediate Past President for the National Association of CMSA for 2007-08.

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Bernice C. Harper, LLD, ACSW


Bernice Harper was Medical Care Advisor to the Health Care Financing Administration in Washington, DC. Her career has focused on the area of health care and health care policy formulation. She was instrumental in developing long term program policies which highlight continuity-of-care, including community and institutional care, and stresses the importance of psychosocial components. Her commitment to the long term care of those in need has served to demonstrate the best of the best for the profession and for those in need. She identified and labeled specific stages of coping with death that are important to understand, especially for professionals living through the process with clients. Dr. Harper is co-founder and past-chair of the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is the author of Death: The Coping Mechanism of the Health Professional. This book serves as a definitive publication on death and the special needs for professionals to cope with their related stress. She is nationally recognized for her work and is sought after for training workshops and conferences. Dr. Harper was the first recipient of the NASW Foundation Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement in Health/Mental Health Policy Award and is an NASW Social Work Pioneer®.

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Richard (Rick) N. Harris, MSW, LICSW

Rick Harris, LICSW has practiced clinically and administratively in the human service field for over thirty years in a variety of settings including child welfare services, mental health organizations, public schools and has served on numerous commissions, statewide committees and advocacy coalitions.  Rick has provided consultation in over 15 states in the areas of consumer rights, mental health and rehabilitation services, grant writing and human service system development. He has been the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Chapter since July of 2002. Over the years, Rick has concentrated on numerous advocacy campaigns for programs for the poor; LGBT rights; women’s equality rights; immigrant rights; civil rights;  and mental health, and disability issues.

For more than 16 years, Mr. Harris has served as an Adjunct Professor at Rhode Island College teaching in both the BSW and MSW programs.  He is also an adjunct professor at Salve Regina University and worked several years for Boston University as the faculty liaison for students placed in Rhode Island.

Rick graduated with a Master of Social Work from Rhode Island College and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (painting & drawing) from the University of Rhode Island.  Besides being a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Rick held a Certified Rehabilitation Counseling for a number of years and is a certified vocational evaluator and job placement specialist.

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Gloria Ramsey, JD, RN, FAAN

Gloria C. Ramsey, RN, JD, is a nurse attorney and a nationally recognized expert in bioethics, research ethics, nursing education and practice, and health disparities. She is an Associate Professor in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Graduate School of Nursing in Bethesda, Md., and an assistant research professor in the school of medicine department of medical and clinical psychology. She also directs community outreach and information dissemination for the University’s Center for Health Disparities Research and Education. In 2008, she was appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as a member of the State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life, and she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and recognized for her expertise in bioethics. Due to her active involvement in bioethics, Ramsey was invited to present at the 9th World Congress of Bioethics, organized on behalf of the International Association of Bioethics and held in Croatia in 2008. More than 800 people representing 72 countries attended the Congress to discuss the challenges across bioethics in the 21st Century. Ramsey presented two papers she authored, “Biomedical Research: A Strategy for Improving Health and Reducing Health Disparities” and “Community-Based Participatory Research: Strengthening Trust as a Means to Reducing Health Disparities”.

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NASW Foundation Staff

Robert Arnold, MPS


Susan Rubin, MBA, MA
Assistant Director

Kerri Criswell, MSW

Manager, Fund Development



Faye Henderson, MPPA

Executive Assistant, NASW Foundation



Kim Simpson, MA

Senior Consultant

Communications & Fundraising



Martha Wilson

Senior Consultant



Kenneth Carpenter, ACSW
Social Work Pioneer®/Legacy Project Volunteer
202.336.8211 (Tuesdays only)

Joan Zlotnik, PhD, ACSW
Senior Consultant, NASW
Project Director, Supervisory Leaders in Aging, NASW Foundation

Nikita Lewis
Accounting Manager

Sally Cabellon

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