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2017 Elected Positions
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Below you will find the candidates on the 2017 NASW-PA slate.


Second Vice President of Budget and Finance
Term: July 2017 – June 2020

Ellen Chung, ACSW, LCSW, BCD

BIO: I am currently the Director of Mental Health Services at Elwyn’s Children’s Behavioral Health Services and Davidson School. I have worked for Elwyn for over 16 years. Prior to my work at Elwyn, I worked for Magellan Behavioral Health –Health Choices program, Horsham Clinic, University of Pennsylvania Faculty Staff Assistance Program and Eagleville Hospital in various capacities from Social Worker to Program Coordinator. I am also the Co-chair of the Delaware County Suicide Prevention & Awareness Task Force. I am a member of the Delaware County Trauma Informed Care Stakeholder group, the Delco Health Literacy Coalition and a member of the Delaware County DCORT team. I most recently have become involved in Springfield Cares.

POSITION STATEMENT: As Second Vice President of Budget and Finances, I will ensure all financial matters adheres to the financial policies and practices required by the NASW Board. I will ensure accurate review of expenses and work in collaboration with the Board on fundraising opportunities to generate additional revenue to NASW-PA. In my various Supervisor and Director positions, my responsibilities have included developing annual budgets, reviewing and managing the budget for the programs on a monthly basis.

I have been a member of NASW in good standing since 1988. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. I am currently an active member of the Brandywine Division Steering Committee as well as on the Ethics Committee.

Term: 7/01/17 - 6/30/19

Tanisha Bowman, MSW

BIO: A native of the Northern Virginia area, Tanisha first attended Northern Virginia Community College where she earned her associates degree in social science with a Deaf specialization, as well as a career studies certificate in American Sign Language. She then went on to graduate in May 2015 from George Mason University with her BSW. Following her graduation from GMU, Tanisha moved to Pittsburgh where she earned her MSW at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in December of 2016.

Tanisha spent 15 years working in the child care field. Starting out as a preschool teacher, she has worked as an infant multiples specialist for the past nine years. Her many years of early childhood development experience and her experience working with families has helped her begin to transition into a career as a social worker in the field of child welfare. Tanisha most recently interned with the foster care unit within the Department of Community and Human Services in Alexandria, Virginia. While there, she developed a training for foster parents titled "Ambiguous Loss in the Foster Care System”. Tanisha also worked with the Fairfax County Kinship Care Committee during a semester-long independent study. While attending the University of Pittsburgh, Tanisha worked at Pittsburgh’s only crisis nursery, Jeremiah’s Place.

While attending GMU, Tanisha served two terms as an officer in the school’s social work student association, and served as the NASW-VA BSW Student Representative during the board’s 2014-2015 term. She has also been a volunteer with the children’s bereavement camp, Comfort Zone Camp, since the summer of 2014.

After completing a three-month Death and Dying fellowship with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation early in 2017, Tanisha began working as an ICU social worker at UPMC Presbyterian where she hopes to strengthen the end-of-life skills she learned during her JHF fellowship to affect change regarding the end-of-life culture within the hospital system.

Tanisha has been an NASW member for four years, and is proud to have served on the NASW-PA board as Southwest Division Representative since the fall of 2015- honored to be part of an organization that shares her passion for advocating for the best interests of professional social workers, as well as the communities they serve.

Professional interests: ICU Social Work, Medical Social Work, End-of-Life, Hospice/Palliative Care, Child Welfare, Forensic Social Work, Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Community

POSITION STATEMENT: I am a firm believer in the power of professional associations. Associations such as the NASW act as a unified voice representing a broad spectrum of social work professionals and the clients they work with. I joined the NASW as a BSW student, served on my first chapter board as the NASW-VA BSW Representative during my senior year and was elected NASW-PA Southwest Division Representative at the start of my first year of graduate school. 

During these first two years of my term as Southwest Division Representative, I have had the opportunity to serve on many committees including the Ethics, Social Justice, and Conference committees; I co-chaired the Child Welfare Task Force; and I currently serve on the NASW Delegate Assembly. I am now asking you, the membership of NASW-PA, to allow me the opportunity to serve as your chapter Secretary so that I may continue my work of amplifying not only your voices, but the voices of those you have dedicated your lives to working for, with, and alongside.

Katherine Jrateh, MSS, LSW

BIO: Hard work, determination, and teamwork are core attributes and beliefs of candidate Jrateh. A life-long resident of Pennsylvania, with nearly three decades of social work experience, Katherine V. Jrateh is passionate about social justice, clinical-practice, and social work education. Nearing completion of her leadership doctoral degree program, Ms. Jrateh is poised to make substantial contributions to social work, as a leader and scholar. Ms. Jrateh’s recent history of service in the Girard College Community (as the President of the Girard College Federation of Teachers), and committee experience (serving the NASW PA Practice Standards committee) demonstrate a proven record of and capacity for non-profit governance leadership.

POSITION STATEMENT: In the current political and social climate, we MUST elect leaders with integrity and a shared vision of a prosperous NASW-PA. As your Secretary, I would stand with NASW-PA on the critical social issues, working collaboratively to advance the agenda and mission of the organization. As I have done for over three decades, I bring to any service or leadership experience/opportunity an emphasis on substance and quality---honoring and distinguishing the executive leadership of organizations I have served.

I stand on a strong platform for social justice and am known for my convincing voice. If elected I will professionalize the role/function of the office, and administer the role/function in the context of best-practice standards for non-profit governance. Under my leadership, NASW-PA can expect great things!
  • Articulate and appropriate speech/written expression
  • Cultural-Competency
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving
  • Accuracy
  • Accountability
In this time of increasing marginalization of vulnerable populations, you should use your vote to empower NASW-PA to move forward. Vote to elect Katherine V. Jrateh for Secretary, and register your own commitment to advancing our cause!

Brandywine Division Chair
Term: 7/01/17 - 6/30/20

Nikole Heilmann, LCSW, ACSW

BIO: For the past 17 years, I have worked as a School Social Worker at the William Penn School District in Delaware County. I also provide outpatient therapy at Springfield Psychological. Previous employment includes Catholic Social Services as a therapist and St. Gabriel’s Hall as a social worker. In addition to being the current Brandywine Division chair, I am involved in the Delaware County Suicide Prevention and Awareness Task Force as an executive committee member, and program and events committee co-chair. Some of the committees I am on as the Brandywine Division Chair are the School Social Work Task Force and chair of the Division Chairs phone calls. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Academy Certified Social Worker, Certified School Social Work Specialist and a Qualified Clinical Social Worker.

POSITION STATEMENT: As the Brandywine Division Chair, a position that I have held for the past three years, I would like to continue bringing informative continuing education events to the Brandywine Division. The steering committee and I will continue to increase awareness of what roles social workers have in our communities and how important membership in NASW and NASW-PA is to our profession. I am proud to be an NASW member with all the advocating that we are doing in the state and nationally to support social workers.

Central Division Chair
7/01/17 - 6/30/20

Therese Rodriguez, LCSW

BIO: Therese has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Catholic University with a Child and Adolescent concentration and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for the state of Pennsylvania. She has worked with families as well as with children, adolescents and adults of all ages. Therese has a diverse professional background, having practiced in such settings as Early Intervention, Family Based Services, Special Education and Alternative Schools, Brain Injury and Stroke Rehabilitation, Inpatient Behavioral Health, Hospice, Home Health and Dialysis. Therese has practiced in South Florida, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland and has enjoyed serving clients in Central Pennsylvania for nearly 8 years. She currently travels to Cumberland, Perry, Dauphin, York, Adams, Franklin & Fulton counties providing Social Work support to families with children identified with early intervention needs. Therese enjoys the opportunity to provide services in the client’s home environment. Therese has been an active participant in the NASW-PA Central Division Steering Committee for the last 3 years, working with a dedicated and creative group of social workers.

POSITION STATEMENT: Having practiced in a broad variety of settings, with widely diverse populations, I understand many of the challenges facing social workers in their differing areas of practice. It is my goal to identify ways of meeting needs for continuing education and to increase opportunities to bring area social workers together for networking and for professional collaboration and growth. In focusing on our needs, it is my hope that we can grow in professional satisfaction and efficacy.

Eastern Division Chair
7/01/17 - 6/30/20

Christina C. Gigler, MSW, LCSW, ACSW

BIO: Christina Car Gigler, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, is a Clinical Instructor and Director of Field Education in the MSW Program at Marywood University, Pennsylvania at the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Program locations.  She is a BSW alum of Shippensburg University and a MSW alum of the University of Maryland at Baltimore.  She has extensive practice experience as a clinician and clinical supervisor in a variety of child welfare settings, including psychiatric, diagnostic, residential and foster care programs.  She has developed and facilitated local, regional, state and national presentations on topics of clinical supervision, field instruction, crisis intervention, social media and ethics.  She has been a member of NASW - PA since 1987 and has been actively involved in NASW division leadership since 2007 as a steering committee member, Treasurer and currently as Vice-Chair.

POSITION STATEMENT: I would be honored to continue actively working toward growing our division and supporting NASW membership and involvement through facilitating regular workshops and events, creating a leadership team and offering mentorship and support to members and social work non-members. I have a strong passion for our profession and want to continue social work advocacy and social justice work as well as help others build their leadership skills. I am fortunate to have worked with some amazing social workers during my career, and I have learned much from them as well as have felt supported by them which helps me continue to thrive and enjoy being a social worker.  NASW has helped me develop as a social worker through the professional relationships I have had the opportunity to cultivate, and I want to help others flourish as well.  My goals are to continue to expand our division activities while increasing NASW membership with the goal of serving and meeting the needs of social work professionals and BSW and MSW students.  I truly believe the expertise and skill set of social workers is desperately needed in today's world, and I still believe together we can help serve the needs of many vulnerable populations and individuals.

North Central Division Chair
7/01/17 - 6/30/20

Evan Baier, LSW

BIO: Evan is a mental health therapist at Diakon Family Life Services in Williamsport, PA. He graduated from Marywood University with his Master’s in Social Work in May of 2016. Throughout his experience, Evan has interned at Geisinger Hospital in Danville, Western Wayne school district, and a partial program for adolescents and children. Evan is interested in mindfulness to bring out more emotional and physical health in others.

POSITION STATEMENT: Throughout my education and experience there has been a negative stigma towards the social work profession. Friends, family, and acquaintances may cringe and grimace when you say that you want to be a social worker. Images of child protective services taking away children from families or working at the assistance office helping people acquire disability are flooded to their heads and they wonder what kind of person would want that sort of life for themselves. I believe the most powerful tool a social worker has is education and turning that education into a learning experience for others. By teaching others what a social worker does every day there can be a greater appreciation for them in society. Most people who want to take on the responsibility of being a social worker understand that prestige, power, and wealth may be out of our grasp, but that is not why a person gets involved in social work. We become inspired by helping others receive the services they need to live a healthy lifestyle or giving those who have been disadvantaged a chance to be successful. I hope that through working with the NASW I am able to remove the stigma surrounding social work and promote the powerful positive impact that social work has on society, while also inspiring others to enter the field of social work.

Member at Large
7/01/17 - 6/30/20

Moneefah Jackson, MSW, CADC, LSW, LCADC

BIO: I hold a Master Degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University. I am a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I am also a New Jersey License Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Pennsylvania. I have been working in the social service field for about 20 years. I have worked in residential facilities, outpatient counseling centers assisting clients with substance abuse, along with mental health and family preservation services. I volunteer my time as a member of the Union County New Jersey Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC), where I have responded to various crisis situations and have shown great skill in calming and guiding people through stressful situations. I was a big sister to a 13-year-old young girl providing her with the love and support that she needed to assist her with having a positive view of life. I was honored for the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society. I served as a board member for the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN). I have developed my own curriculum to educate professionals about sexual abuse at Rutgers University (Institute for Families) and at the Northeast Family Preservation Services Network. Also, I developed a supervision curriculum in order to train the supervisors and team leaders in Nashville, TN FPS program on how to provide effective supervision to their workers. I am a professor of Seton Hall University. I am a member in good standing of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). I have been in private practice (A New Day- Family Behavioral Health Services, LLC) for 21/2 years.

POSITION STATEMENT: I have strong beliefs in the NASW organization and the “code of ethics” that the organization stands by. I believe that it takes a strong and determine team to continue to reinforce the importance of the organization continued growth. I am committed to the NASW mission, including increasing awareness and understanding of the role and value of NASW and to support the organization growth and development. I have strong leadership, planning and collaboration skills and the ability to present information and conduct training. Since some of our current and soon to be social workers lack the importance of joining the NASW, my goal is to visit the different universities (e.g., Kutztown, Penn State, Temple, La Salle) to discuss the benefits of the organization and the need to be supportive. Although I am not yet one of the leaders for the organization, I currently encourage current and soon to be social workers to join NASW. If I am the chosen candidate, I would like to do more research on the foster care system in regard to supporting the children at risk, families and the resource parents concerning removal and adjustment to the changes that took place in their lives. Because of my background and experience in being in a leadership role, I believe that I have the capacity, motivation and the opportunity to join NASW-PA leadership. I also believe that I have a strong leadership background that will be able to assist the organization in increasing its growth.

Letty Thall, ACSW

BIO: Letty D. Thall has decades of social service advocacy and nonprofit management experience. She has built coalitions, spearheaded community education campaigns, and developed public policies in the fields of maternal and child health, mental health, child welfare, and early education. 

She was a founding Board member of Women’s Way, a vice chair of the first Mayor’s Commission for Women in Philadelphia, and was Vice President of a bi-partisan political action committee dedicated to electing women to the state legislature. She served on the Board of Directors of the PA Head Start Association leading their Government Affairs Committee. She currently is a co-chair of the PACE committee for the PA Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Her employers have included United Way agencies and small non profits, a congressional campaign, community mental health center, and the Maternity Care Coalition. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and holds a MSS in social planning from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She is married, and has the pleasure of being a grandparent and parent of two adult children, one who has been part of the behavioral health system for over 20 years.

POSITION STATEMENT: I have enjoyed my participation on the PACE committee immensely over the past six years with different leaders, members, and staff support. It has been a pleasure to work with the talented members utilizing the strengths and skills of each to select candidates for endorsement, organize fundraisers for candidates, and participate in the annual Legislative Education and Advocacy Day in Harrisburg. PACE, or the Political Action for Candidate Election committee, is dedicated to advancing the social work profession and issues impacting the populations social workers serve.

It has been very gratifying to see excitement grow throughout our membership to engage with elected officials. We are able to provide an understanding of the human impact of their administrative and fiscal decisions since we can describe the people and situations that we encounter everyday in our professional lives. We have successfully advocated for ourselves and for those we serve!

Based on this experience and my skills in coalition building through my professional and volunteer positions, I would like to continue to help develop and implement strategies throughout the chapter. We are a strong and healthy organization that nurtures individuals and encourage participation on many levels of our association. The commitment to social justice issues through our individual, organizational and institutional engagement makes me proud to be a social worker and wish to contribute my time, knowledge, and experience to our efforts on the Board of Directors.

MSW Student Representative
7/01/17 - 6/30/18

Melissa Fisher, BS MHT

BIO: Melissa graduated in 1992 with honors from Hahnemann University with a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health Technology degree. Melissa's field placements included work within the in patient child and adolescent psychiatric unit of Hahnemann Hospital.  She also was placed at John F. Kennedy Community Mental Health Center as an out patient coordinator for one year. Melissa then continued as an ongoing supervisor for Children and Youth in Montgomery County Pennsylvania.  She resides in Upper Bucks County, PA with her husband and seven children.  She began her studies at Widener University in August of 2016.

POSITION STATEMENT: I am honored to be considered for this position.  As a newer Social Work student at Widener University, I have a strong and dedicated interest in the field of social work.   I have created a social media page to connect students with each other within the MSW program at Widener.  I believe that knowledge and connection are our greater strengths.  I am involved in two non profit organizations in my area.  The first organization helps people with addiction to access treatment, with the hope to lessen the deaths from this epidemic. Secondly,  I am on the board of directors with another non profit that helps with the reduction of the stigma associated with addiction.  I joined the NASW as a student member because I feel the need to be connected to other social workers to advocate and inspire others. Another added benefit of membership and leadership is learning from my predecessors to be ethically and educationally sound.   To be the NASW-PA MSW student representative will allow me to help bridge the connection between the association and our MSW student members.  I pledge and commit to the duties of this position to the best of my ability.  

Liane Friedberg, BSW

BIO: I received my Bachelors in Social Work back in Texas at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. As an undergraduate I was involved in the NASW Texas Chapter, volunteering at the conference and participating in workshops. In the Spring of 2016 I received the Outstanding Social Justice and Service Award for my involvement as the Social Work Student Organization Co-Leader for two years, my dedication to the social work program at UHCL, and my involvement within the school community and out in the Houston community.

In the Fall of 2016, I moved to Philadelphia to continue my social work education at the University of Pennsylvania. I enjoyed my experience in Texas so much that when I moved here for graduate school, I got involved in the Southeast Division of the NASW PA Chapter, and was invited to participate as a member of the steering committee, as well as have been volunteering for and attending various Division events.

I am an organized person and thrive on team work in the professional Social Work setting. I enjoy networking, community outreach, micro and macro work, and being an advocate for social workers. Coming from a social work undergrad I have a passion for this profession and recognize the importance of not only advocating and supporting our clients, but to advocate and support each other as social workers.

POSITION STATEMENT: I am running for the MSW Student Representative position because of my passion for community outreach and advocacy, and to promote the increased involvement of my peers with the NASW-PA as part of the professionalization process. I want to reach out to universities in Pennsylvania and facilitate collaboration among my MSW student peers, promoting the understanding of what NASW is and why it is important to be involved as a student, and how this activism can benefit them professionally in the future. As students we are the future social workers and we have a responsibility to support our colleagues in Pennsylvania. If I am elected as MSW Rep I will make sure to be a voice for all MSW students and to make sure that we can meet the needs for the students and NASW.

Julie Platt

BIO: I am currently enrolled in the dual Public Health and Social Work Master’s program at the University of Pittsburgh. My focus is on public policy and behavioral health care. My most recent field placement was at State Representative Jake Wheatley’s Pittsburgh office where I worked on constitute concerns and community engagement events. My previous field placement was with the Violence Prevention Initiative at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Public Health. At this placement, I worked on engaging a wide range of stakeholders in addressing the precipitous rise of homicides among Black youth in Pittsburgh.

Most recently, I established an Advocacy Club and newsletter to keep social work students at the University of Pittsburgh aware of the Republican Party’s agenda on both the national and state levels and how this agenda affects their work and values. Prior to enrolling at the University of Pittsburgh, I spent a year working in South Africa for Grassroot Soccer where I was an assistant program manager for the Coach Development and Career Training program. I graduated from Wesleyan University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies.

POSITION STATEMENT: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King

This is one of my favorite quotes because it demonstrates hope in the human condition. However, I am always left wondering who pushes this moral arc towards justice? My past two years in the University of Pittsburgh’s Masters of Social Work program has answered this question, social workers. Being in my program and seeing MSW at work firsthand, I realize the arc only bends because we bend it. Social Workers are the linchpin that hold together the fabric of America’s social safety net. Every day, I am inspired by my fellow social workers who champion the causes of our most vulnerable populations. They work tirelessly to push systems towards moral justice and protect populations who often go ignored. This passion was exemplified to me on Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD). It was inspiring to see social work student advocates from various universities in PA come together to work on protecting and updating our scoop of practice.

It is this culture of openly sharing diverse views and seeking common solutions that underpins the power of social workers. Our many voices put us at a unique advantage to elicit change across multiple sectors from the local, state and national level. As your representative, I would encourage MSW’s to recognize the power they hold and the importance of utilizing that power in the legislative spheres.

Master of Social Work Students in Pennsylvania must have an active voice in the conversation when advocating for social systems. As MSW students, we have different mobilization techniques and policy priorities when it comes to advocacy and lobbying. As the PA-NASW master student liaison, I would bridge the gap between those who laid our social work foundations and the future leaders of our field.

As your student representative, my top priority is to always listen my fellow master’s students. In addition, I intend to focus on:
  • Expanding Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) to include follow up sessions and networking opportunities.
  • Creating weekly newsletters regarding policies that are important to social work students and the communities they represent.
  • Increase membership to younger master students.
  • Opening more accessible resources through the NASW social media channels; and
  • Developing cross collaboration and coalition building between Pennsylvania Schools of Social Work.
Our voices, although diverse in perspective, echo the value expressed in our Code of Ethics. It would be an honor to represent the collective voices of all MSW students across Pennsylvania and to ensure that we continue to advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations.

BSW Student Representative
7/01/17 - 6/30/18

Tiffany Peruso

BIO: My name is Tiffany Peruso and this upcoming fall I will be a senior at Millersville University. I am a social work major with a double minor in psychology and gerontology. I am very involved at my school as I serve as a project lead for the Millersville peer educators, teach swim lessons for our Millersville Aquatics club, and volunteer at our local campus cupboard. Some of my favorite things are traveling, hiking, camping, and going to the beach! I hope to soon serve as your BSW student representative!

POSITION STATEMENT: I am running for the position of the BSW student representative. With my extensive experience in serving in student leadership roles, I believe I can help our chapter by voicing the concerns of our current students and helping to make positive changes.





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