While I was going into social work, I was processing what it means as a Native American person and social worker working with different populations. The cross-cultural aspect has always been integrated with social work for me. The overarching theme in my research is cultural issues in the helping process. Whether it’s a substance abuse, nursing home, or child welfare issue, I’m always interested in how that cultural piece fits in with helping people.
Buffalo has many ethnic populations. There’s a very strong Native community and many different refugee populations. I find it a very interesting place to work and do research. I think the social work profession has a mission to work with disenfranchised populations. I’m really proud that our school is embracing human rights as a social work issue. Being associate dean for academic affairs gives me the opportunity to highlight diversity in international issues within the school.