Brown School to present 2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The George Warren Brown School of Social Work will honor five distinguished individuals for outstanding service to their profession during its annual Alumni Awards celebration at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 in Whitaker Hall Auditorium.

Three alumni will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards and two faculty members will receive Distinguished Faculty Awards. The honorees:

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Rita Montgomery Hollie (BA ’69, MSW, JD ’73) Looking for the most effective way to be a change agent for the poor, Hollie applied to the Brown School and enrolled as the first student in the school’s MSW/JD dual-degree program. She started her career at the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, where she applied consumer protection legislation to the problem of lead-based paint; she also helped form the adoption agency Friends of African American Families and Children Service Center. Hollie has taught law courses and served as a St. Louis municipal judge, where her primary focus was on adoptions, guardianships and child advocacy. Today she is a founder and partner of Montgomery Hollie & Associates, LLC, a St. Louis-based law firm specializing in all aspects of adoption and family law.

Barth A. Holohan III (MSW, MBA ’01) Holohan is committed to ensuring a greater quality of life for older adults. In addition to being the co-founder and co-owner of Family Partners Adult Day Services, Holohan is the founder and president of St. Louis-based Continuum, a company that provides private duty home care, nursing, retirement community programs, personal emergency medical response systems and geriatric care management. Holohan serves on many boards and was a 2005 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year finalist. In 2007 he was awarded the St. Louis Business Journal 40 under 40 Award and the SSM Health Care Stewardship Award.

Sudha Nair, Ph.D., (MSW ’91) Nair has provided leadership in creating, testing and improving many of Singapore’s community-based social services and public policies. She also has been a leader in addressing the problem of domestic violence, serving as the founding director of Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence, the primary Singapore organization focused on this issue. Nair is also a leading scholar studying problem gambling in Singapore. Among her many recognitions, Nair has been named Social Worker of the Year in her country. Currently she is a member of the faculty and deputy head of the Department of Social Work at the National University of Singapore. She also directs the Centre for Social Development, Asia — the sister to Brown School’s Center for Social Development.

Distinguished Faculty Awards

F. Brett Drake, Ph.D., and Melissa Jonson-Reid, Ph.D. Both Jonson-Reid and Drake bring a shared passion for child welfare and evidence-based practice to their research and teaching at the Brown School. Their latest venture — a new book titled Social Work Research Methods: From Conception to Dissemination — provides students with a practical guide for conducting social science research projects from start to finish. They currently are collaborating on research that extends their work in child welfare to address issues facing young adults. The research, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), represents the first direct CDC grant to the Brown School.

Although clearly a powerful pair, each has made great individual contributions to the field and to the Brown School. Drake’s research has focused on early intervention cases of child neglect and the connections between socio-environmental conditions and child neglect. Jonson-Reid studies outcomes associated with child adolescent abuse and neglect, with a specific interest in policy and professional development in the area of school social work. She also recently submitted a CDC grant to start a Brown School Center for Violence and Injury Prevention.

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