DPH Staff Spotlight: Social Workers

Social workers play a critical role in several DPH programs. Check out the profiles below to learn more!

From assisting families who have questions about children with special health needs, to working directly with hospital patients who need help navigating complicated benefits programs, DPH social workers provide invaluable services to Commonwealth residents. In addition to providing direct services, social workers also hold management positions throughout the Department, including in the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.

Staff Social Workers

Marie Comeaux, LICSW, ACHP-SW, Clinical Social Worker, Western Massachusetts Hospital

Marie Comeaux, LICSW, ACHP-SW, Clinical Social Worker, Western Massachusetts Hospital

Marie has worked at Western Massachusetts Hospital since 2014, and what she enjoys most about being a clinical social worker is the opportunity to positively impact both patients and colleagues during the course of her work. She appreciates the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary approach to care and to make a difference in the community.

From Marie:

“DPH isn’t just a job, it’s a career.”

“The opportunities and challenges experienced have contributed to my professional growth and allowed me to provide better care for the patients and their loved ones.”

Karen Johnson, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker, Lemuel Shattuck Hospital

Karen Johnson, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker, Lemuel Shattuck Hospital

Karen joined Shattuck Hospital as a Social Worker in 1993. What she enjoys most about her job is the complexity of the patients because it’s like working on a puzzle. She also likes that every day is different, and feels incredibly lucky to have met so many knowledgeable and supportive colleagues. 

From Karen:

“Immigrants are probably my favorite patient population which has forced me to learn a lot of immigration law and its intersection with benefits eligibility.  It’s been inspiring to me to hear people’s stories of difficulties endured and sacrifices made in order to make a better life for their children.”

“I’ve liked learning about not only the challenges our patients face, but figuring out how to address them, how to find appropriate resources.”

Gary Trahan LICSW, Clinical Social Worker, Tewksbury Hospital

Gary Trahan LICSW, Clinical Social Worker, Tewksbury Hospital

 

Gary began working at Tewksbury Hospital in 2013. What he enjoys most about his job is having the privilege to help patients work towards overcoming their obstacles. These can include discharge, environmental or psychosocial barriers, and many people who are admitted to the hospital have a variety of problems they are struggling to resolve. Gary strives to provide his patients with the tools they can utilize at discharge to improve their lives.

From Gary:

“There is a sense of satisfaction in assisting people with limited options in resolving problems and creating opportunities which previously did not exist in their lives. Sometimes in working with these patients we can truly help them to create better lives.”  

“I enjoy working with a variety of different professionals collaborating for the welfare and benefit of our patients. It is truly an environment where different disciplines come together for the welfare of the patient assisting them in improving their health, psychological wellbeing, and their social issues.”

DPH Professionals with a Social Work Degree

Linda Goldman, MSW, LCSW, MBA , Director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Services, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Office of HIV/AIDS

Linda Goldman, MSW, LCSW, MBA

Linda joined DPH as a staff member in 2001. What she enjoys most about her job is having the opportunity to allocate resources that have a positive impact on the health of Massachusetts residents. She loves working with the providers that DPH funds because they're so committed to providing high quality care for people experiencing significant inequities. Public health is always evolving, and there is always something new to learn as population needs change and as advances in the field emerge. 

From Linda:

“I started at DPH in a role that was very specific to HIV and housing, and as our services have become more integrated across infectious diseases and along the prevention and care continuum, I've had a lot opportunities to broaden my knowledge and learn new skills.”

“I enjoy working with energetic and motivated colleagues who care about their work and the communities we serve, and who value the importance of advancing health equity."

“DPH is a dynamic environment that consistently offers opportunities to engage in meaningful work."

Victor Ortiz, MSW, LADC I, CADC II, Director, Office of Problem Gambling Services

Victor Ortiz, MSW, LADC I, CADC II, Director, Office of Problem Gambling Services

Victor joined DPH in 2015 and is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and educator in the areas of addiction, gambling disorders, and health disparities and equity. He has worked extensively with a wide range of populations, especially in addressing health disparities, promoting equity and social justice. What he enjoys most about his job is that the Office of Problem Gambling is the only one of its kind in the country that both promotes equity and addresses disparities. He points out that many Offices don’t think about the intersectionality of gambling and other related issues, and he enjoys the work as it is rooted in both social justice and public health.

From Victor:

“When people ask me why I want to work at DPH, my response is always to ask them why wouldn’t you want to work here?”

“A lot of good people work at DPH. I interconnect with many different people and the energy of thinking about the intersection of gambling with those other areas in public health. Other places you don’t get that.

Deirdre Calvert, LICSW, Director, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services

Deirdre Calvert, LICSW, Director, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services

Deirdre (“Dee”) joined DPH in 2019 after spending many years as a practicing clinician. With close to 30 years in addiction services, Dee notes that what she likes most about her work is the people. They’re a marginalized and stigmatized population and she’s passionate about dedicating her career to helping them. She uses her social work background regularly in her daily work as Director of the Bureau, and she believes her ability to listen in a clinical way is a great benefit in her leadership role.

From Dee:

“As a clinical social worker, I was honored to be able to help people’s lives in a personal way, and now that I’m a leader at DPH I’m proud that I can affect positive change at a much greater scale. I love having the opportunity to make the Commonwealth a better place for many people.”

“The staff at my department are some of the most caring, brilliant and hard-working people I’ve ever met. It’s inspiring!”

Barry Callis, MSW, Director of Behavioral Health and Infectious Disease Prevention, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Office of HIV/AIDS

Barry Callis, MSW, Director of Behavioral Health and Infectious Disease Prevention, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Office of HIV/AIDS

Barry joined DPH in 1990 and appreciates the opportunities he has had to serve in various roles within the Department.  What he enjoys most about his job is working with impacted populations and local public health partners to ensure their values and priorities are integrated into policy, planning, decision-making, and public health responses that address interrelated health conditions.  He stresses the importance of adaptability, mentorship, continuous learning, and leadership development and believes they are the pillars of what helped his professional growth.  

From Barry:

“I am fortunate to be able to contribute toward eliminating unfair health disparities with a committed team, each with unique roles and contributions.  Building trust, cooperation, and community participation are essential to me in any public health area I get the chance to work on.”

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