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James Donnelly


Pioneering Contributions

James Donnelly has been a leading practitioner and administrator in the health and mental health field in New York City for more than 35 years. Within hospital systems, Donnelly helped develop a framework that integrated medical social work with staff education and development thereby orienting other professions on the role of social work. He developed a computerized time-based, daily system of recording that gathered statistics that tracked social work interventions with clients and reported distribution of staff time on various client-related activities among all health disciplines in the care setting.

Donnelly also designed a true interdepartmental effort to address the problems of substance abuse within the patient/resident population of New York while at Goldwater Memorial Hospital. The program was unique in that it did not focus on treatment but on the residents who were not part of the program, thereby allowing providers to view the problem within an environmental context. The program, called Do Not Enable, provided a staff-education approach to substance abuse and led to the formation of an interdepartmental and administration committee to address this issue.

He helped establish The Clinical and Organizational Ethics Committees at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center’s Department of Social Work, where he served as co-chair.

Career Highlights

James Donnelly is currently in private practice as a consultant to St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers. He served as Director of Social Work at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center’s Department of Social Work from 1994-2003. While at the Cooke Center, Donnelly founded the clinical and ethics committees, served as a Quality Improvement Trainer that focused on team building and education, and served as a member of multiple interdisciplinary committees.

Donnelly served as Director of Social Work at the Goldwater Memorial Hospital Department of Social Work from 1989–1994. He created and developed an interdisciplinary management-level discharge planning committee and created a tracking system for the discharge committee.

During the 1980s, Donnelly served as Assistant Director of Social Work at Interfaith Medical Center’s Department of Social in New York and as a social worker at Jewish Hospital and Medical Center’s Department of Social Work. He has been in private practice since 1980.

Biographic Data

Donnelly earned his DSW at Adelphi University in 1989 and his MSW at New York University in 1972. He completed his undergraduate degree at Maryknoll College.

Significant Achievements and Awards

Donnelly is President and Membership Chair for the International Conference for the Advanced Professional Practice of Clinical Social Work (ICAPP-CSW).

Donnelly was president of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Society of Administrators in Healthcare. He was their nominee for Social Work Administrator of the Year in 1993.

Significant Publications

Donnelly, J.P., Huff, S.M., Lindsey, M.L., McMahon, K.A., & Schumacher, J.D. (2005). The needs of children with life-limiting conditions: A healthcare-provider-based model. American Journal of Hospital Palliative Care, 22(4), 259-267.
Donnelly, James (2002) Love and knowledge: The quest for personal meaning. New York, NY: South Garden Press.

Abramson, J.S., Donnelly, J.P., King, M.A., & Mailick, M.D. (1993). Disagreements in discharge planning: A normative phenomenon. Health and Social Work 18(1), 57-64.

Donnelly, J.S. 1992). A frame for defining social work in a hospital setting. Social Work in Health Care, 18(1), 107-119.



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