Integrating Self Awareness and Multicultural Competencies into Social Work Practice with Older Adults

March 10, 2018


9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
Room 109 McMahon  


Clinicians in the field will often feel uncomfortable working with a client that belongs to a culture different from their own.  These fears, lack of knowledge and specific competencies will often paralyze the clinician from engaging successfully with the older adult. The workshop will begin with an introduction, a review of the learning objectives, group exercise (ice breaker) the participants interview each other using 11 questions related to cultural identity. A self-reflection about new information emerged from the exercise. Didactic lecture will be used to explore ageism, racism, poverty, acculturation, caregiver risk, late life health changes and mental health services with a focus on how multicultural awareness in practice will enhance connection and success working with a large number of diverse older adults living in New York City. A tool “Components of Cultural Assessment” will be handed out with a period of discussion about the 16 domains. Case illustrations will be provided with the opportunity to break into groups to develop critical thinking using the knowledge and tools presented in the workshop. 

There is an exercise called the “Wheel of Culture” where workshop participants are provided with a color on the wheel, they spin it and the color that the arrow lands on will pose a specific example of older adult from specific culture in need of help from a social worker – using the knowledge presented in the workshop, what are some of the possible cultural realities posed by that group and how can you be helpful.  Two (15 minute breaks) will be provided in between the lecture, group exercises and final summary of the key objectives with a review of new information, skills and tools provided for the participants.  


Elizabeth Alvarado, LCSW-R, ACHP-SW is a visionary social work leader, clinician, supervisor, mentor and educator across health care delivery systems, transitional care planning and aging services. Ms. Alvarado was born and raised in the community of Washington Heights to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, her early childhood experiences, bearing witness to the many harsh realities of growing up in a community overwhelmed with severe poverty, oppression and discrimination, fostered her interest in the pursue of a MSW degree from Fordham University. In 1997, after graduation she continued to work with vulnerable high risk client populations at New York Presbyterian Hospital for over twenty years. She developed and facilitated the first Spanish speaking support group for clients receiving cancer care at the hospital.  She continued in this role until she was promoted to a social work manager in 2002 in charge of 26 inpatient medical social workers.

In 2008, she moved into a promotional opportunity as Director of Programs role within Isabella Geriatric Center to help develop community-based programs in Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.  She was successful in the implementation of four distinct community based programs. The programs included grants and contracts awarded for a DFTA Case Management program, Caregiver Program, Two Medicaid Waiver Programs for people with Traumatic Brain Injury or the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Program, moving young people placed prematurely into a skilled nursing home, transition back into the community with Medicaid funded waiver services.  In 2009, she was accepted into the first cohort of supervisors trained in the field of Gerontological Social Work Practice. After completing her fellowship training, she has delivered many lectures or staff development trainings for agencies providing aging in place services. In 2014, she was appointed to the national NASW Supervisory Leaders in Aging Committee.  Since 2012, she has provided ongoing guidance and support to graduate social work students, enrolled at Boston University School of Social Work Online Program.  

Until January 2016, Ms. Alvarado was the Director of Psychosocial Services at MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care. During this time she built the Psychosocial Department from forty social workers to fifty-five and increased social work core competencies across all settings. Ms. Alvarado successfully advocated and built one of the largest social work internship programs in New York City. This included a successful application to NYS for the MJHS Institute to become a provider for CEU’s for social workers. To add to her portfolio during a one-year transitional period, she graciously accepted the request to assume the position of Director of Bereavement, Director of Pastoral Care and Director of Creative Arts. She teaches at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work, Social Policy 2, and Palliative Care Social Work Practice. She also teaches at the Silberman School of Social Work a course in Clinical Practice with Older Adults.  Elizabeth enjoys music, dancing and spending time with her beloved family.

Continuing Education Hours

Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service is a provider of social work continuing education hours, as approved by the New York State Education Department Board for Social Work.

Completion of these classes will result in the receipt of three (3) continuing education hours. CEHs are not awarded for partial completion of the class.

Class Fee

The price is listed below: 

  • Fordham GSS Alumni:  $95
  • Fordham GSS Students:  $55
  • Fordham Current Field Instructors:  $55
  • Other Students:  $65
  • All others:  $105

Register for the Class Now!

Refunds and Cancellations

In the event that the class is cancelled, a full refund will be given.

Contact Us

Keila Zapata-Kelly, MSW, CASAC-T
> Administrator of Continuing Education & Social Work Licensure