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Congrats to Dr. Terry Northcut, Social Worker of the Year

Each year, the NASW-IL chapter recognizes a fellow social worker for their extraordinary work within the field. This year, we proudly congratulate our own Dr. Terry Northcut as the recipient of the Social Worker of the Year award.

The award recognizes, among other traits, those who “represent the highest ethical standards of social work, contribute to the social fabric in tangible and intangible ways, and take risks and enlist public support for improved human services.” (Learn more at http://naswil.org/news/chapter-awards/.)

Dr. Northcut is married with 2 children, but when she’s not traveling or with her family, she spends quite a bit of time here at the Water Tower Campus. She began her social work career as a clinician in adult outpatient mental health and then pursued the teaching route and her doctorate; she quickly recognized that she loved being in the classroom. Dr. Northcut has taught at Smith College, USC, University of Tennessee, and Belmont College. Here at Loyola, she’s been teaching our Religion and Spirituality course, along with foundational MSW classes, for over 10 years. This spring, she’s leading a group of students up to Montreal to present on integrative models of cultural competencies and using mindfulness in one’s practice.

Dr. Northcut’s professional interests lie in integrating psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral theories and techniques. This summer, she’ll travel to Ethiopia on a summer research stipend. She first traveled there as a fellow from the Children’s Human Rights grant a few years ago. She and her fellow researchers are conducting a pilot study of ten post-partum mothers, aiming to determine the success of projective picture tests in measuring the quality of attachment to their children. Since “Ethiopia is a story-telling culture,” Dr. Northcut and her fellow researchers hope to invoke story-sharing from their test subjects through the use of picture cards. If the tool proves to be useful in measuring attachment behaviors, they will utilize future test results to support the question of how to pursue mental health care and healthcare in the Ethiopian culture, and how to ideally educate and re-train Ethiopian mothers on parenting.

Dr. Northcut’s contributions to the social work field are indeed inspiring – we are lucky to have her here at Loyola. Congratulations, Dr. Northcut!

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