The Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work is built on a legacy of those who have come before. More than 11,000 people have graduated from the School’s MSW, PhD, BSW, and BA/BS programs since the school’s founding in 1946. Graduates become leaders in the field and contribute in countless ways to their communities and chosen careers. The support of our alumni is invaluable to our continued success.
The Board of Visitors provides expertise to assist the School with alumni relations and development.
Trudy Marshall, BA ’74
Inaugural Member and Chair of the Board
Vice President of Marketing, Communications, Outreach, North Memorial Health Care
Trudy Marshall is an experienced marketing and communications leader and strategist who knows how to provide a clear and concise roadmap to tackle complex marketing and employee engagement challenges and opportunities. Her successes at local, regional and global companies results from strong marketing planning, brand acumen and ability to lead cross-functional teams and outside agencies.Currently, Marshall serves as the Director of Marketing at North Memorial Health Care in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.
Daniel Burrell, PhD ’92
Retired Associated Vice President, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Daniel Burrell, PhD ’92 retired in 2013 after a 44-year career in higher education and public service. At the time of his retirement he was Associate Vice President of the Milwaukee Area Technical College, a large, diverse college with four campuses. His responsibilities included the College’s counseling services, academic advising, and student accommodations services. During his career at MATC he also served in several other leadership positions, including Dean of the Division of Liberal Arts and Sciences.Dan is a charter member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE), and, as a strong supporter of UW-Madison, he served on the Wisconsin Alumni Association Board of Directors where he chaired the Diversity and Inclusivity Council. In addition to helping the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work by serving on our Board of Visitors, Dan will continue to support campus-wide diversity programs and initiatives. He says he is, “elated to spend time reading and thinking about the many issues affecting our complex society.”Dan and his wife, Jenice, split their time living between Glendale and Dallas. Dan graduated from Shaw University (Raleigh, NC) with a BA in sociology 1967, UW-Milwaukee MSSW 1969 and UW-Madison PhD in Social Welfare 1992.
Joyce Degenhart, BSW ’57
Retired Mental Health Professional
Joyce, who also received her MSW from the University of Denver and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Marquette University, had a long career in the mental health area prior to her retirement. This included co-owning and directing several mental health clinics in Milwaukee and surrounding areas. She also served as the clinic director of Southeastern Wisconsin Medical and Social Services.Joyce has been an active community volunteer in the Racine/Milwaukee area and continues to enjoy extensive travel. A long-time supporter of the three institutions from which she received her education, Joyce lives in Racine, WI and Green Valley, AZ.
Caroline Gomez-Tom, MSW ’11
Manager, Wisconsin Navigator Collaborative for Covering Wisconsin
Caroline Gomez-Tom received her BSW in 2010 and MSW in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently manages the Wisconsin Navigator Collaborative for Covering Wisconsin (CWI), the federally-designated Navigator entity serving 23 southeastern and central Wisconsin counties, where she provides technical assistance to the University of Wisconsin-Extension program specialists and other statewide partners. Caroline also manages the Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN), a multi-stakeholder collaboration co-convened by CWI and the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) to improve consumer outreach and education, strengthen enrollment support resources, and assist Milwaukee County residents in securing adequate and affordable public or private health insurance.Caroline serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, New Leaders Council – Wisconsin Chapter, Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition, and the Milwaukee Choristers. In 2016, she was honored as one of the “40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health Care,” by the National Minority Quality Forum. Caroline was born and raised in Racine and lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Derek, and their rescued puppy, Chicken “Katsu” Curry.
Fabiola Hamdan, MSW, 97
A strong advocate for the Latino community and long-time employee of Dane County Human Services in Madison, Fabiola now serves as Dane County’s first Immigration Specialist. She is also the founder of the annual El Dia de Los Niños, a celebration of Latino children.Fabiola has received many awards for her service including the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Social Workers Wisconsin Chapter and was named one of the “Most Powerful Latinos in Wisconsin.” She has been active in many School of Social Work activities, including serving on committees and supervising student field placements.
Stephanie Lozano, MSW, ’14
Tribal Liaison for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Stephanie Lozano, MSW, CSW, is the Tribal Liaison for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Since joining the department in 2016, Stephanie has worked to strengthen the intergovernmental relationships between the department and the 11 sovereign tribes that are headquartered in Wisconsin through direct consultation, technical assistance, and coordinated support services. In her role, Stephanie provides the department leadership with policy analysis, tribal perspective, recommendations, and strategic advisement on tribal affairs.Prior to joining DCF, Stephanie spent 10 years working for the Ho-Chunk Nation where she progressed from an ongoing social worker to the Indian Child Welfare Program Supervisor and a Presidential appointee (Legislature confirmed) as Executive Director of Social Services. During her tenure as a social worker and supervisor she was overseeing cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act involving Ho-Chunk Nation citizens within the State of Wisconsin and throughout the United States. Stephanie was an integral member of the negotiation team that codified the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act in 2009 and continues to serve as a trainer and subject matter expert in the field of Indian Child Welfare.Stephanie received her Bachelors of Science in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin. She is also a certified social worker.
Craig W. LeCroy, PhD ’83
Professor of Social Work, Arizona State University
Craig LeCroy is professor of Social Work at Arizona State University where he has taught for over 20 years. He also holds an appointment at the University of Arizona in the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Family Studies and Human Development division, and a Clinical Professor appointment at the University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand; the Zellerbach Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley; and a senior Fulbright specialist.Professor LeCroy has published 11 books, including such titles as Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Hope, Support, and Surviving the System; Handbook of Evidence-Based Treatment Manuals for Children and Adolescents; The Call to Social Work: Life Stories; Case Studies in Social Work Practice; and Empowering Adolescent Girls: Examining the Present and Building Skills for the Future with the “Go Girls” Program.Professor LeCroy has also published over 100 articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, including child and adolescent treatment, the social work profession, home visitation, and research methodology. He is the recipient of numerous grants, including (as principal investigator or co-principal investigator) interventions for risk reduction and avoidance in youth (NIH), Go Grrrls Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, evaluation of Healthy Families (a child abuse prevention program), a mental health training grant for improving service delivery to severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents (NIMH), and Youth Plus: Positive Socialization for Youth (CSAP).
Meghan Morrissey graduated with a BA with Honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983. One of her favorite experiences was her field placement working with adolescents as part of her Social Work major. Meghan worked in Student Affairs for three universities before completing an MBA in International Marketing at New York University in 1991. She subsequently worked in international consumer marketing for AT&T.Meghan retired from active employment after her first child was diagnosed with autism at age three to focus on advocating for services and managing education and therapy for her son. While in high school, her daughter began to struggle with mental health challenges and Meghan accessed services and worked for numerous years to manage her care. Meghan’s social work experience is as a caregiver and client seeking and accessing services for her now young adult children.While raising her kids, Meghan volunteered extensively in her local schools, primarily serving in leadership positions in the PTA. She worked on her school district’s Special Needs Committee and developed parent education programs to assist parents in accessing appropriate services for their students after high school. Meghan was also a board member of her local National Charity League chapter, volunteering countless hours alongside her daughter, and establishing numerous programs to help adolescent girls develop leadership skills.Meghan is a member of the Board of Trustees for Whittier College in Los Angeles where her son with autism graduated in 2016. Meghan lives in Danville, CA with her husband Mike, a 1982 UW-Madison graduate.
Steven Tallant, PhD ’85
Retired Higher Education Leader
Steve has been a leader in higher education for many years. He retired in December 2018 after serving for the past 10 years as President of Texas A&M University in Kingsville, TX. The University has more than 8,000 students, over 50% of whom are Hispanic. Prior to that he served as provost and vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was a faculty member in their social work department. Before joining academia, Steve had a 20-year career in the military, including serving at the chief of Air Force Family Research at the Pentagon.
Judith Emmons (Clancy) Topitzes, MSSW ’65
Retired Social Worker
Judith Emmons (Clancy) Topitzes grew up in Marinette, Wisconsin. She received her BA in Psychology from UW-Madison in 1963 and her MSSW from UW-Madison in 1965. Judy worked at the Mendota State Hospital (now Mendota Mental Health Institute) in the 1960s and in 1969 began a more than 30-year career as a School Social Worker with the Madison Metropolitan School District, where she held multiple roles and represented the district on several Dane County committees.After retiring in 2001, Judy became President of the Board of Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin, served on the board of Madison Symphony Orchestra Inc. and has been a member of the Attic Angel Association. In recognition of her ongoing service to the community, she received the United Way Community Volunteer award (2004) and Madison Downtown Rotary Senior Achievement award (2014).Always a strong supporter of the School, in 2016, she and her husband Nick Topitzes initiated a scholarship for Wisconsin students of recent immigrant heritage who are attending the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work.
Michelle Watts, BA ’90, MSSW, 91
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Michelle Watts is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently working at the Milwaukee Medical Center. Michelle obtained both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. She has also earned certificates in Women’s Studies and Corporate Consulting. She has extensive experience working with diverse and vulnerable populations in county, state, and federal agencies. Michelle has worked collaboratively with UW-Madison, Medical College of Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee, and the National Association of Social Workers on various research activities focusing on violence prevention; childhood obesity; childhood immunizations; adolescent pregnancy; sexually transmitted infections and diseases, including HIV and AIDS; financial literacy; youth educational attainment; Alzheimer’s Disease and justice-involved veterans. She has served as an adjunct instructor for UW-Madison and Marian University in Fond du Lac College. She is a trained facilitator for the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project, Community Building Milwaukee Initiative and Moral Reconation Therapy.
Ling Irene Wong, PhD ’95
Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Irene Wong is an Associate Professor at School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a secondary appointment as an Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania.Dr. Wong has thirty years of experience as a social work practitioner, educator, and researcher with an interdisciplinary focus that spans the fields of community development, housing and homelessness, and psychiatric rehabilitation. Dr. Wong has been principal investigator and co-investigator of numerous research projects in the areas of mental health, homelessness, housing, and community integration.Recently Dr. Wong served as principal investigator of a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study that examines community integration of persons with psychiatric disabilities in permanent supportive housing. She has been working as lead investigator of three projects for a National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-funded Research and Training Collaborative on Community Inclusion, examining the definition and measurement of community and the environmental influences on community participation of individuals with psychiatric disabilities.She was also a recipient of the 2009-2010 Switzer (Distinguished) Research Fellowship from NIDRR to study the extent to which people with psychiatric disabilities and people with developmental disabilities are living in integrated housing, and the conditions of their neighborhoods. Through her research, Dr. Wong has established long-standing and effective collaborative relationships with professionals and stakeholders in the mental health services systems in Philadelphia and other counties in Pennsylvania.Dr. Wong’s areas of teaching include research in social work and social policy, social statistics, mental health, and homelessness. She is currently Director of International Programs at School of Social Policy & Practice.
Connections is the alumni magazine of the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work published once a year and sent to all of our alumni. An occasional spring e-newsletter is also e-mailed to alumni.
If your contact information has changed or you have news to share, send an email to email@example.com or drop a note in the mail to Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work, UW-Madison, 1350 University Ave., Madison WI 53706, with your name, address, email, phone number, and work information, and we will update your UW contact information.
The Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work awards an annual Distinguished Alumni Award to an outstanding graduate of the School. Selected alumni have made significant contributions to social work, social policy, and/or the community.
Nominations are collected for Distinguished Alumni Award each year, and the annual award is presented in the spring. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the nomination process.
Celena Roldán, BSW ’98, MSW ’00
Celena Roldán is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Illinois. This is the second largest Red Cross region in the country, annually serving 12 million people and responding to more than 1,600 disasters annually and collecting more than 100,000 lifesaving units of blood. Prior to joining the Red Cross, Celena served as the Executive Director of the five locations of the Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago, which was founded in 1870 to strengthen low-income, primarily Latino families through skill-building, access to critical resources, advocacy, and collaborative action.
In addition to her leadership of the Illinois Region Red Cross, Celena, who was named one of Chicago’s “Most Powerful Latinos,” by Crain’s Chicago Business, has extensive and significant community development experience at the city, state, and national level. She was Co-chair for the City of Chicago’s Universal Basic Income Task Force, a member of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Early Childhood Task Force and served on the Illinois Human Service Commission. Currently, Celena is a member of the national board of UnidosUS, which partners with 300 affiliates across the country to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.
That Celena chose social work as a profession is not surprising. Her mother, Dr. Ida Roldan, is on the faculty of the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago and maintains a private practice. A trained disaster mental health worker, Ida and Celena have responded to Red Cross disasters together in her beloved Puerto Rico and across the United States.
Reflecting on her education and experience at the School of Social Work, Celena explains, “Over the recent past, the Red Cross has responded to one of the busiest disaster seasons in history and we are all living through a pandemic unlike any our world experienced in more than 100 years. Through these monumental changes and challenges, I have often thought about the training that I received through the School of Social Work. I have relied greatly on the compassion, reflective listening and learning, and leadership development, that I learned through this program. This recognition means so much to me, particularly during this momentous time in our history. Social workers are needed now more than ever, and I am appreciative of the strong foundation I received.”
Rabbi Morris Allen, BSW ’76, MSSW ’77
Rabbi Emeritus, Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
Rabbi Morris Allen was the spiritual leader of Beth Jacob Congregation for 32 years, retiring in 2018. Drawing on his spiritual and social work education towards social justice and social change, Rabbi Morris Allen has over the years made significant contributions on a local, national, and international basis particularly regarding immigrants, labor, and environmental practices.
Though his advocacy and social justice efforts are many, one is particularly notable. In 2008, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided Agriprocessors, Inc., a kosher slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, resulting in nearly 400 arrests of immigrant workers, 300 of whom were convicted on document fraud charges within four days. The raid raised many disturbing issues – one of which was concern about how immigrant workers in the Kosher meat packing industry were being treated.
Rabbi Allen took a controversial national leadership role in advocating for a “justice certification standard” – one that combines the rabbinic tradition of Torah with values of social justice, assuring consumers and retailers that kosher food products have been produced in keeping with exemplary ethics in the area of labor concerns, animal welfare, environmental impact, consumer issues and corporate integrity. In 2011, Allen initiated a program called Magen Tzedek — designed to provide ethical certification to food products, evaluating companies for their labor and environmental practices — which attracted national attention.
Recognizing his contributions Rabbi Allen has received many honors. He was named one of America’s 50 most significant Jewish leaders by The Forward Newspaper and was personally invited to by Israeli President Shimon Peres to celebrate Israel’s 60th Anniversary in 2008.
Lynn Green, BSW ’68, MSSW ‘76
Director, Dane County Department of Human Services (DCDHS) in Madison, WI (retired)
As Director of DCDHS, Lynn Green championed client-centered, community-based programs to address the current needs of individuals and families, their long-term stability and success, and the root causes of the challenges some Dane County residents face. She oversaw the development and implementation of several initiatives that have improved the lives of children and families, including the Children Come First (CCF) initiative, Joining Forces for Families (JFF), Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) programs, and the school-based mental-health initiative. Ron Chance, lecturer at the School and Community Program Manager at DCDHS writes, “Lynn is the epitome of a dedicated public servant. She buffers her staff doing work in incredibly challenging circumstances. She has overseen the development of some incredibly innovative human services. She has done all of this behind the scenes not calling attention to herself – the antithesis of our current celebrity culture.”Always a strong supporter of the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work, Lynn and DCDHS have provided field placements and excellent supervision to more than 500 hundred social work students. In addition, many of our alumni have had long, gratifying careers there. Upon her retirement, Lynn and the school created the Lynn Green Scholarship for Public Service.
Ben Schumaker, BS ’03, MSW ’06
Director, Memory Project
Ben Schumaker is the Director of the Memory Project – a charitable nonprofit organization that he started while studying psychology and social work at the UW. The Memory Project invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, disasters, extreme poverty, neglect, and loss of parents.
Humanitarian aid agencies provide the Memory Project with photographs and names of the children to be portrayed. The photographs are given to participating art teachers who work with their students to create the portraits. Once the portraits are finished, Memory Project staff visit the children in residential homes, schools, care centers, and refugee camps around the world to present them with the finished portraits. Several portraits are presented for each child, created by different art students and based on different poses.
The portraits are meant to help children feel valued and important, to know that people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For the art students, it is an opportunity to practice kindness and global awareness through their art.
Since 2004, the Memory Project has created more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries.
Dorothy Pearson, MSSW ’60, PHD ’73
Professor Emerita of Social Work, Howard University
Dr. Pearson had a remarkable career in social work practice and education and left an enduring mark on several institutions and with countless students. She began her career as a psychiatric social worker at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Center, became a social work educator at UW-Milwaukee, and spent 24 years on the faculty at Howard University where her leadership led to the creation of a Doctoral of Social Work program which at the time was the only one in existence that served primarily students of color. Dr. Pearson was also a founding member of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work.
She has been recognized by Southern University, her undergraduate alma mater, with the outstanding alumnus award; was acknowledged by the Council on Social Work Education for her leadership in the establishment of the of Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund; and in 1999, the National Association of Social Workers designated Dr. Pearson as a social work pioneer. To publicly honor her legacy at retirement, Howard University commissioned a portrait in her honor which hangs on campus today.
Dr. Pearson has given generously of her time and money to the School–creating both the Dorothy Pearson Lecture in Equity and Social Justice as well as the Dorothy Pearson Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Pearson has also provided guidance informed by her years of experience as an inaugural member of our Board of Visitors. She is now our first emeritus board member.
Richard Tolman, PHD ’84
Sheldon D Rose Collegiate Professor of Social Work, and Research Professor, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan
Dr. Tolman has distinguished himself through his scholarship, service, teaching, and mentoring. He has been a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Social Work for more than 20 years and is nationally and internationally recognized for his work. His research on violence prevention, including efforts to engage men as allies to prevent violence against women, has been path-breaking. He is the creator of the Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory, a scale for use in research on abuse that has been translated into many languages and is widely used in research around the world. His many peer-reviewed journal articles have been published in a wide range of journals (including social work, medical, psychology and policy journals), and are widely cited.
Professor Tolman’s work focuses on the effectiveness of interventions designed to change violent and abusive behavior, and the impact of violence on the physical, psychological, and economic well-being of victims. He began his work in this area as a practitioner working with men who batter in 1980. His current projects include research on the impact of and prevention of abuse during pregnancy and involvement of men and boys as allies to end men’s violence against women. He is currently Co-director of the Global Research Program on Mobilizing Men for Violence Prevention, a collaborative project between the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota.
Martha N. Ozawa, MSSW ’66, PHD ’69
Emeritus Professor Washington University, George Warren Brown School of Social Work
After receiving her B.A. in Economics in 1956 from Ayoma Gakuin University in Tokyo, Professor Ozawa, knowing that UW-Madison and Wisconsin played a pivotal role in crafting the U.S. Social Security Act, came to UW-Madison and completed her doctoral research on the background of U.S. income maintenance programs.
Most of her career was spent at The George Warren Brown School of Social Work, in St. Louis, where she remained until her recent retirement. In 2005, Professor Ozawa became the Director of the Martha N. Ozawa Center for Social Policy Studies at George Warren Brown. Professor Ozawa built an extraordinary record of scholarship based on empirical studies of the effects of income security, health, long-term care, disability and other public benefit programs. Much of her work has had an international focus.
Over her illustrious career, she published more than 150 peer reviewed journal articles, authored three major books, and 28 book chapters. The recipient of many awards, she received the 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research.
Steven P. Segal, PHD ’72
Milton Florence Krenz Mack Distinguished Professor of Social Welfare, University of California-Berkeley
Professor Segal is internationally renowned for his research in the area of mental health policy and practice. He has published over 125 articles and 4 books on community-based care, homelessness, the mental health self-help movement, outpatient mental health civil commitment, and health and mental health services integration.
While the scope of Professor Segal’s research in the area of mental health has been enormously broad, he seeks to answer one central question – how can social work research help to identify those policies and practices that enhance the quality of life of persons with severe mental illness. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health for over 25 years. He has received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Center for Health Services Research, and NARSAD among others including groundbreaking studies on the reintegration of persons with severe mental illness back into the community, research on the self-help movement, psychiatric emergency assessment, and the role of civil commitment in enabling social integration and a healthy life. His recent work with the Mack Center on Mental Health and Social Conflict seeks to enable people with mental health issues to better cope with life in areas of world conflict, under service, and pervasive threat of exploitation and violence.
His book, “The Mentally Ill in Community-Based Sheltered Care: A Study of Community Care and Social Integration,” which describes the importance of creating housing that provides consumers the opportunity to be equal partners in their care decisions, has become a classic in the mental health field.
Professor Segal earned his undergraduate degree from Hunter College, his MSW from the University of Michigan, and then completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work. He has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout his career.
Professor Segal is also known as an incredibly generous mentor of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and has mentored hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to make major contributions to the mental health field.
Roberta Gassman, MSSW ’71
Senior Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work
From 2011 and until returning to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work as a Senior Fellow in 2013, Roberta Gassman served in the administration of President Barack Obama as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training in the United States Department of Labor. Gassman represented the Department and Administration before diverse national audiences and oversaw major national programs and Senior Executive Service administrators within the Department’s Employment and Training Administration. The programs she led included two first started in Wisconsin, Unemployment Insurance and Registered Apprenticeship.
Gassman is also Wisconsin’s longest serving labor secretary, having served in the Cabinet of Governor Jim Doyle as the Secretary of Workforce Development from 2003 through the beginning of 2011. In that role she led over 1600 employees in strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce, providing training, employment and dislocated worker services, working with employers to fill jobs, enforcing workers’ rights, and administering Unemployment Insurance, Registered Apprenticeship and Worker’s Compensation.
Gassman has worked as a social worker with the elderly and teens and has held additional top leadership positions in state, city and county government and in the private sector. She has served with two Wisconsin governors, a mayor, a county executive, as a senior bank vice president and as the president of her own public affairs and communications firm.
She earned her B.A. in social work, with distinction, and her MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has won many Wisconsin public service and professional awards, including being honored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work with its “2010 Distinguished Alumni Award”, which includes the establishment of the “Roberta Gassman School of Social Work Opportunities Fund” and the “Roberta Gassman Distinguished Lecture Series.” She has been named a “Woman of Distinction” by the YWCA and among “Madison’s 25 Most Influential” and “Madison’s Top 100 Women” by Madison Magazine. Gassman has held numerous national and state professional and community leadership roles and is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, the Overture Center Foundation Board of Directors, the Edgewood College Board of Trustees and the Madison Community Foundation Board of Governors. She is also a member of the Downtown Rotary Club of Madison and TEMPO.
Nancy Feldman, MSSW ’74
President and Chief Executive Officer of UCare Minnesota
Nancy Feldman is President and Chief Executive Officer of UCare. Before joining UCare in September 1995, she was Director of State Public Programs for Medica, another Minnesota-based health plan. Prior to that, she held a number of management and health-related positions with Minnesota state government. She served as Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, where she was responsible for a variety of programs including long term care and managed care policy and regulation, community health services, and maternal and child health.
Before that, she was in charge of budget development and oversight for the state’s health and human services agencies at the Minnesota Department of Finance. She also worked at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, where she was responsible for many aspects of the state’s Medical Assistance Program, including development of Minnesota’s Medicaid managed care program.
Ms. Feldman currently serves on the boards of the Center for the Victims of Torture, Volunteers of America National Services, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, and the Alliance of Community Health Plans. She is also a member of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota Advisory Board, the Women’s Health Leadership Trust, and United Way’s Health and Independence Committee. In 2008 and 2012, Ms. Feldman was named one of Minnesota’s 100 Influential Health Care Leaders by Minnesota Physician. In 2010, she received the Trusted Senior Leader Award from the Women’s Health Leadership Trust and was named one of 25 Women Industry Leaders by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. In 2011, Ms. Feldman presented the keynote address at the Minnesota Business Ethics Awards luncheon.
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