Rachel Gaydosh (MSW ’15) has always dedicated her heart to micro level social work practice, particularly to roles that engage children and their families. When her Foundation Year field placement was at a macro level agency, that did not directly involve working with children, she chose not to view it as a disappointment, but rather as an opportunity. “Interning at the Mobile Safety-Net Team, gave me a valuable viewpoint of what poverty looks like at the community level,” she explains. “It gave context to the micro level issues I’m passionate about that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.” She went into her Advanced Year placement at West Buffalo Charter School in the role of a school social worker, equipped with a fuller picture of the struggles that her clients were facing, confident in her ability to offer them informed help.
Gaydosh’s field experiences not only helped expand her knowledge of macro level issues; they also directly assisted in establishing her post graduate work. Gaydosh was one of only four MSW graduates to be accepted into an Advanced Clinical Social Work Fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) in New Haven, CT. The Yale Child Study Center is the Department of Child Psychiatry for the Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital. According to the Yale Child Study Center’s website, “Since 1911, the Center has been serving children and families from birth through adolescence. At our core is the mission to improve lives of children and families through research, service, and training.” The fellowship Gaydosh was selected for is a year-long program in which she will receive interdisciplinary training and also have the opportunity to work professionally in one of Yale Child Study Center’s in-home programs. The program she will be working in is called, IICAPS, Intensive In-home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services. As Gaydosh explains, “families who get referred to this program, for a variety of reasons, a traditional outpatient setting just isn’t working for them. The program is designed to serve children and adolescents who are at heightened risk for psychiatric hospitalization or juvenile detention, due to severe mental health issues. I will be working as a team with another clinician on all of the cases. We go into the home and address things at a systems level to help facilitate improvement in both the child/youth’s functioning and family functioning in four domains: child, family, school and physical environment & community.”
She credits her field placements and her professors for preparing her for the intensive interview process. “It was like nothing I had ever done before,” she shares. “But I think what actually surprised me is that, overall, I felt prepared. My supervisor, Melissa Abrams, at West Buffalo Charter School really helped me prepare, as did Linda Dinger, my Interventions professor. What was great was they asked me a lot of questions about different cases and different scenarios, and because of my experience at the Charter School, I was really able to speak to those situations. And they did ask questions about macro level issues, which was great, because I had my first field experience to call back upon. At the end of the day I was exhausted. But it was worth it.”
Gaydosh intends to soak up everything the fellowship has to offer and return to Buffalo when it is complete. “I consider myself a Buffalonian through and through. I have my roots here.” She is thrilled to be able to continue serving her community in the future, fortified by her UBSSW experience, her family, friends and colleagues, and by the skills acquired through involvement in a prestigious fellowship.