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Chapter Ballot Announcement
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NASWAZ Board of Directors Ballot Now Posted - Voting Now Open!

The Chapter Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification (CCNLI) sought chapter members interested in running for the NASWAZ Board.

MEMBERS: Click on the button below and take a moment to vote in the Chapter elections or click here to submit your vote before 11:59 PM Arizona Time on June 19, 2018.


As NASWAZ Board Secretary, I am pleased to announce the ballot for the 2018 Chapter elections.

--Heidi Rodriguez, NASWAZ Chapter Board Secretary

Secretary (Choose up to 1)


Treasurer (Choose up to 1)

Michael Tokunaga, LMSW: Michael Tokunaga, LMSW obtained his master's degree in Social Work from the University of Hawaii. His primary experience has been in the field of gerontology, case management, substance abuse, and hospice. He has served a four-year term as NASWAZ Branch 4 Representative and has been a member of NASWAZ since 2001. He is a medical social worker.

Platform Statement: I have served as Branch 4 Representative for the past 4 years and being part of the Board of Directors has given me an opportunity to observe the hard work that goes into running a Chapter. The financial picture of the Chapter is sound, and I am running as Treasurer because I would like to help maintain the financial integrity of the Chapter and to seek new revenue streams, so the Chapter can better serve its members. I have a degree in business and have served as Treasurer of a volunteer organization in Hawaii as well as worked on the budget for the Adult and Community Services Branch for the Department of Human Services, State of Hawaii. My goals, if elected, are to present the budget in a user friendly manner that is often difficult due to its complexity and to assist the Board of Directors and Executive Director in fulfilling the mission of the Chapter.

Branch 1 Representative (choose up to 2)

Erica Leffler, LMSW: Erica Leffler is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) who has been working as a patient care manager for a Community Behavioral Health System since July of 2017. Recently she stepped into the community liaison role, working to address the mental health and substance use issues of military and geriatric patients by discussing the programs and services and working to tailor programs to meet community needs. She has also worked as a behavior coach for AZ Youth and Family Services in the homes of families and in facilities. Her past internship experience was with Thunderbird High School in N. Phoenix and her undergraduate internship was at an agency that helped address the needs of children with special needs with a concentration on border issues since she was living in El Paso, Texas. She has been a member since she began her undergraduate program at UTEP. She also participated in Social Work Advocacy Day for Social Work Month in March of 2015 where she lobbied in Austin, TX to vote on issues such as the Medicaid Expansion Act and student loan forgiveness for MSWs working for non-profits.

Platform Statement: I feel that although direct practice and patient care is my calling in terms of my primary responsibility as a licensed master social worker, I am also compelled to pursue a more macro role. While in my undergraduate program I was surrounded by instructors who wore so many social work hats which inspired me to also take on those responsibilities. I hope to support the NASW mission by continuing to wade through the trenches at the micro level and bring those issues to the forefront of policy and community development. I want to support fellow social workers in continuing to be recognized as professionals both through licensure and adequate pay. I also hope to support initiatives that allow for student loan forgiveness options for social workers in all types of functions. I plan to attend the 2018 national conference and bring back as much knowledge and experience possible in support of what needs to be done locally.
April Reed, LMSW: April Reed is Vice President of Advocacy and a Designated Legislative Lobbyist. She received her master's degree in Social Work from Arizona State University in May 2005. She creates programs that empower individuals with disabilities and their families through advocacy-related workshops, one-on-one mentoring, facilitating wellness groups, providing technical assistance to develop consumer-driven initiatives and developing community partnerships to address barriers to consumer choice, equal rights and self-determination. She supervises several programs including the 65-member peer mentor volunteer team; Benefits 2 Work Program for Social Security beneficiaries working or seeking employment; This is MY Life self-advocacy educational program for individuals receiving services through the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities: The Community Leadership Academy; Theatre360 and the Living Well with a Disability Program. Previously, she was served as the Volunteer Manager for 13 years within the same organization. She has been a member of NASWAZ since 2003.

Platform Statement: I have worked in the disability community for thirteen years, empowering individuals with disabilities to live independent, productive lives in the community. In this position I would hope to work to create even more opportunities for my fellow social workers to increase our learning and professional development, and to support social workers in our active participate and engagement in the advocacy and legislative process, so that we may better represent the clients we serve.
Ty Simon, MSW, LCSW, BCD: Ty Simon has a broad range of social work field experience that includes the following: Director of Psychological Health- Luke AFB Mental Health Program Manager, Luke AFB; DoD PTSD Research lead- Offutt AFB, NE; Substance Abuse Program Manager- Offutt AFB, NE; High School Day Treatment Program Therapist- Hickory, NC; Clinical Research Coordinator- Hickory, NC; Fathers' Group Facilitator- Conover, NC ; Clinical Team Lead- Winston-Salem, NC; AARP Intern- Columbia, SC; School Social Work Intern- Columbia, SC; Dept of Juvenile Justice Social Work Intern- Columbia, SC.

Platform Statement: Given my experience in a broad range of areas from research and policy-making to program directorship, I feel I'm at a point in my career where I can help continue the advancement of the social work profession through representation. After now 10 years in a profession which has afforded me so much, it's now time to give back and there's no better way to do this than representing those who continue to be the voice to so many others.

Karen Voyer-Caravona, LMSW: Karen received her MSW - Policy, Administration, & Community; Arizona State University in 2014 and MA - Expressive Therapy, University of Louisville in 1993. She has been a Licensed LMSW in AZ since 2015. Upon graduating from ASU with her MSW, she has been employed a Fidelity Reviewer for a state agency. Her team is tasked with assessing how closely service for individuals diagnosed with an SMI or co-occurring disorder align with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's EBPs: Assertive Community Treatment, Supported Employment, Permanent Supportive Housing and Consumer Operated Services (peer run programs). She obtained her LMSW in December 2015. Prior to her MSW, she was employed in municipal government: City of Flagstaff (AZ) where she was the Executive Assistant to the Mayor and City Council and prior to that with Louisville Metro Government (KY) where she was the Legislative Aide for District 8. Prior to that experience, she received an MA in Expressive Therapy from the University of Louisville (KY) in 1993, and subsequently worked primarily in as an art therapist with adults diagnosed with an SMI and co-occurring disorders, and as a child and family therapist with a focus on child sexual abuse and incest family treatment.

Platform Statement: I am committed to strengthening the voice of professional social workers in the Legislative Process as it relates to social justice and human needs. As a former municipal employee, I know that in many forums where decisions are weighed, and all feasible solutions supposed to be offered, social workers, and the knowledge and expertise they bring, are often under-represented, if they are represented at all. In many instances, social workers bring necessary information and perspectives that serve to bolster argument from other professionals who are charged with provided public service for the common good. In such instances, opportunities for natural partnerships for advocacy are missed. I am particularly interested in the impact of city and state planning and economic development decisions on our community's most economically vulnerable including children, older adults, and people with disabilities. Insufficient housing options that are affordable to individuals and families at every income level, along with a public transportation system that is not available to the people who need it at the places and times they need it are significant barriers to finding and retaining good jobs, educational opportunities, quality of life enhancing recreational outlets and necessary healthcare services. Social workers must be present and actively engaged in these discussions as they have the potential to fulfill the most basic needs of the people we serve, and those to the many who are risk for losing their economic footing.

Branch 2 Representative (choose 1)

Francisco Duran, BS: Frank Duran, BS, earned his undergraduate degree from theUniversity of Arizona: (Bachelor of Science: Family Studies & Human Development) and is completing his Masters of Social Work at Arizona State University.Frank has been a member of NASW since 2017 and has served a one-year term as NASW's MSW Student representative. Frank is currently employed as a Quality Management Specialist.

Platform Statement: The role and responsibilities I would want to encompass as a professional social worker would be improving the quality of life of individuals, underprivileged populations specifically, through creation and modification of policies. There is a true need in advocating for the best interests of these individuals. A primary goal and objective for joining the National Association of Social Workers is to prepare and apply effective ethical practice for individuals within the community by valuing diversity in various populations through ethical principles without discriminating on age, sex, or gender. Promoting social, political, and economic justice is significant because empowering success is a commitment behind social work. My commitment is to prepare competent and effective practitioners who contribute to an individual, group, or community by engaging with both local and state policy makers.

Erin Lowry, LCSW: Erin Lowry, LCSW, earned her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 2006. She has performed a variety of roles within the field of Social Work. She is currently working alongside Law Clinic Directors at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law to create a robust interdisciplinary educational experience for Social Work Interns and Law Students. She has a private practice in Tucson, with an emphasis in trauma and sexual health. She is also currently and has worked for Arizona State University as a Field Liaison and Faculty Associate. Throughout her career as a Social Worker she has served in many capacities, primarily in the field of behavioral health, as a clinical supervisor, mentor, therapist, educator, substance use disorder counselor, case manager and crisis services worker. This includes working in a variety of treatment settings, including inpatient, residential, integrated healthcare and outpatient. She has experience in program development, including areas of revision of policies/procedures and grant writing.

Platform Statement: My passion for Social Work has been expanding to macro efforts over the years while remaining active at the micro/individual level. I enjoy collaborating both within and across disciplines to effect change as it takes a variety of skills, perspectives and interventions to meet the challenges that we face today as a society. I value diversity in all forms. Life-long learning and creating educational opportunities for Social Workers to continue to develop professionally and personally is also of particular interest. I am compassionate, empathetic, diplomatic, conscientious and thorough. It would be an honor to serve as a Branch 2 Representative and support the needs of local members, while furthering the mission of the NASW.

Branch 4 Representative (choose up to 2)

Sally Mead, LCSW: Sally has her MSW and is currently completing DSW. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker within the State of Arizona with over 30 years of experience in clinical social work-including outpatient medical and mental health clinics, inpatient/hospital social work, psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment program, children's health access management program, VA -work with veterans with PTSD and readjustment issues, trauma treatment and CD treatment, homelessness recovery program, parenting classes (in Spanish and English). She has been a member of NASW since graduation with MSW (1990).

Platform Statement: I will motivate and bring together the social workers in the Prescott/Prescott Valley, AZ area to promote positive social change and activism. Encourage gathering of the minds to bring about heightened awareness, increased movement to support our mission as social workers and members of the NASW AZ.

Val Piacitelli, LCSW: Val received her master's of social work from ASU in 2003. She is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has over 15 years' experience working in the criminal justice, legal, education, and medical fields of Social Work. She has worked with eating disorders, substance abuse, police department, cancer care, sexually maladaptive behaviors, Serious Mental Illness and many other areas of social work. She has worked at Chandler Gilbert Community College as an advisor and instructor, ASU as adjunct faculty and Boston University's online Social Work program as a field instructor. She has been a member since 2003 and is eager to increase her involvement within the Chapter.

Platform Statement: If considered for this position, I will collaborate and align with the community and National Association of Social Workers to keep my branch well informed and active in the field. I will bring my social work and education experience to the table to enhance the lives of my fellow social workers and advocate for those we serve.

Ruby Rideout, LMSW: Ruby obtained her master's degree from Western Michigan University. She has served a one-year term as NASWAZ Branch 4 Representative. Her experience within the field of social work includes the following: Chief, Social Work Service; Assistant Chief, Social Work Service; Acting Chief, Social Work Service; Medical Foster Home Coordinator; PRRC Clinical Social Worker; Behavioral Healthcare Network Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Peer Support Supervisor; Behavioral Healthcare Network Residential Services Supervisor; Hospital PRN Therapist; Community Mental Health Coordinator; Residential Treatment Crisis Stabilization Specialist; County Community Mental Health Families First Therapist; Catholic Family Services Families First Therapist; and County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Case Manager.

Platform Statement: I am committed to the professional growth of social work. Over the years, I have championed recovery oriented mental health treatment and the care for vulnerable populations to include humane, person-centered care for elders striving to age in place. I am interested in developing educational opportunities for social workers for improved understanding of ethics in health care. I was honored to be selected as one of 15 of an applicant pool of 122 to participate in the inaugural Graduate Certificate in Health Care Ethics through the VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care.

BSW Student Representative (choose up to 1)

Ruth Jolly: Ruth is currently working to obtain her bachelor's degree of Social Work at Arizona State University holding an honors designation of Magna Cum Laude.

Platform Statement: It is my desire to become a student representative for NASW Arizona Chapter to encourage social work student involvement with NASW at an early point in their educational journey. This will be coupled with ensuring that every student's voice is heard. I plan on implementing these practices by focusing on the exceptional student population that is represented across BSW programs in the state of Arizona. In this position, I will also, draw from my own strengths of being a transfer student, non-traditional student, member of Barrett, The Honors College and one who changed their major to social work. The intersectionality and representation that I have in these groups have taught me to respect the unique path that leads each student to pursue an undergraduate degree in social work. It has opened my eyes to a better understanding that no two stories are alike. Nor, are any two students. It has also taught me that there are challenges that students have along the way to degree attainment. It is my privilege to advocate for student concerns and bring issues to the board in an ethical, respectful manner that furthers student success, professional connections, and development.
Lisa Lee: Lisa is working to obtain her bachelor's degree of Social work at Arizona State University. She has always been interested in helping others and advocating for the less fortunate. She is an active student member of the NASW.

Platform Statement: I am an honest, trustworthy student that is eager to obtain my Social Work Degree. I am excited to give back to the community. I want to be to contribute to the community as best I can!

MSW Student Representative (choose up to 1)
Rhegan Derfus, BSW: Rhegan received her BSW from Northern Arizona University in 2017. She is a current MSW student at Arizona State University with an anticipated graduation date of 12/2019. She has worked in the field of early childhood prevention for eight years. As a home visitor for two different evidence-based home visiting models, she has worked with hundreds of high-risk families to support their parenting knowledge and increase their capacity for a positive parent-child relationship. More recently, she has begun working on more of a macro level with the Cooperative Extension. She serves on various community collaborations such as Strong Families Home Visiting Collaboration, Cochise County Breastfeeding Taskforce, and Healthy Cochise, with the aim of increasing healthier outcomes for children and families living below the poverty line. She is also a certified Strengthening Families Protective Factors trainer, and deliver protective factors trainings all over the state, to include at major state conferences. She recently became a member of NASW. She has experience working as a local (Sierra Vista) CEU and Networking Coordinator for NASWAZ Branch 2.

Platform Statement: would proudly and competently serve as the MSW Student Representative. I am in good standing academically am already fulfilling some duties of the Student Representative by locally representing the chapter and the profession appropriately, keeping up to date with issues needing NASW action. I am a gregarious, passionate, and committed social worker, both professionally and as a student. I seek this opportunity to offer my current expertise and further grow my skills and knowledge.

April Fischer, BA: April is a current MSW student at Arizona State University. She is also receiving her Master of Science degree in Forensic Psychology. She initially obtained my bachelor's degree in Journalism, however, has since discovered that social work and helping others is her true calling. She has interned at The Crossroads, where she worked directly with incoming patients and conducted evaluations. She has volunteered with The Singletons for two years. The Singletons aids single parents diagnosed with cancer. She is currently set to begin an internship at a substance abuse treatment facility in May. She has been a member since she began her MSW studies last semester.

Platform Statement: I endeavor to serve those who most need help: individuals who live with stigma. I will be a voice for the voiceless and use my own experience overcoming addiction to advocate for those currently suffering. I plan to share my story of recovery with other young people, and to show them that they deserve their best life. I want to provide community resources to better serve addicts living in suffering and those living in recovery.

Julie Kent, BSW: Julie received her associates in Social Work from Pima Community College, and bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) and Public Affairs from ASU; she currently finishing her MSW at ASU with graduation expected in May 2019. She is currently a disability advocate specializing in most things relevant within public education and special needs students. Her experiences include: habilitation specialist for children and young adults with autism and various other disabilities; resource specialist for families of disabled youth and young adults; fundraiser specialist/events planner for nonprofits; outreach specialist/recruiter for various agencies; Community Organization presenter/contributor for the social services program at Pima Community College; advocacy liaison for Northwest Valley Connect, a nonprofit who provides free transportation to those with disabilities, seniors and veterans; Grant Research specialist for Northwest Valley Connect; Department of Child Safety experience (formerly CPS) six years in both On Going Case Management and Investigations; 20 years' experience with employee development, employee retention, new hire recruiting and training, managing incentive matrix's and innovation committees. Julie also has two years as a student member of the NASW.

Platform Statement: It is my desire to serve as an acting member of the NASW. Being involved in my community and learning more about ways I can become involved as well as getting others involved will be the ultimate goal of my experience should I get this position. It is my goal to run as a City Council Woman once I complete my degree as well as work to change and enhance policies that go against social justice. Should I get this position to serve or be part of this board, it is my hope to utilize experiences learned to influence policy and procedure changes.
Carlos Ramos, BASW: Carlos received his Bachelor's of Arts in Social Work from NAU Yuma in May 2018. He is a current MSW, Social Work (PAC Concentration). He was a Social Work Intern, Arizona Community Foundation of Yuma Officer where he assisted with the following projects: Community Organizing for Assistance to Refugees (Fall 2016), Point-in-Time Count (Spring 2017), Service Learning Project, Friendly Visiting with Elderly (Spring 2017), Community Organizing for Assistance to Victims of Natural Disasters (Fall 2017), and Community Change Project, Increasing Retention of Local Native American Students in Higher Education (Fall 2017). He has also served a one-year term as NASW BSW Student Representative.

Platform Statement: My prior service on the Board has helped solidified my continued commitment to strengthening our Chapter by helping to elevate the Social Work profession. If elected to continue my service on the Chapter Board as the MSW Representative I can promise that the voice of all students will continue to have a strong representation at the table. As future Social Work leaders, we must acknowledge that service to our profession begins prior to our commencement.

Jorden Troie, BSW: Jorden received her bachelor's degree of Social Work in 2017. She will begin her pursuit of his master's degree of Social Work and master's degree of Public Administration in August 2018 and will be graduating in May 2020. Her career in social work started as a House Parent for LGBTQ youth in the foster care system. After nearly 2 years of working with youth in foster care, she transitioned her career into working with 18 to 24-year-olds in a professional development program. In her current role at Year Up as a Grant Administrator and Student Services Coordinator, she manages grant funding and internal Year Up Scholarship budgeting. As a member of the Student Services department, she works in a small group of 3 professional social workers and licensed counselors. Since starting her career, she has continued to be the youngest member of each organization that she has worked with and continue to break through age barriers known to young professionals. She has volunteered for the NASW National Conference in 2016 and attended Social Work Day at the Legislature in 2015 and 2016.

Platform Statement: I am a good candidate for the MSW Student Representative position because of my unique perspective in social work and ability to bring new ideas to the table. I will begin studying for my MSW and MPA at ASU in August of 2018 and want to incorporate ASU's social work student body in new ways. I would like to take this opportunity build on current NASW initiatives, while bringing a new energy to the committee.

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Networking in Phoenix (1 CEU)

Networking in Prescott

NASWAZ Branch 3 CEU Event: Integrated Behavioral Health in Rural Primary Care

NASWAZ Public Policy Committee Member Call

Networking in Sierra Vista (1 CEU)