Amy Lemen, MSW '07, Wins 2015 NASW Emerging Social Work Leader Award

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) – New York City Chapter has honored Amy C. Lemen, MA, LCSW, a Silver School Master's of Social Work alumna, with its Emerging Social Work Leader Award for substantive contributions to the social work profession and the improvement of human conditions in New York City. NYU Silver School Clinical Professor Virge Luce nominated Ms. Lemen for this award, "In just a few years, Ms. Lemen has made numerous contributions to improving service delivery, program and resource development, teaching, and the development of practice knowledge – advancing the social work profession," she said.

Ms. Lemen oversees all programs and services for The Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center. She is the managing director of the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative. She is a psychotherapist specializing in helping individuals, care partners, and families with the emotional adaptation of living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. She is an adjunct assistant professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work (NYU-SSSW) where she earned her MSW in 2007.

Amy is the founding NYU coordinator for the Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program-NYC, the Fresco Institute’s innovative community partnership with JCC Manhattan. The Institute supports its patients and families through collaboration in the development of exercise, education, and support programs in the community. "My role with the Parkinson’s Wellness program has been to act as a bridge between NYU Langone and JCC Manhattan, coordinating the efforts of two very different organizations to provide high-quality programs and services for our patients, families, and the community." The NYC program is currently being adapted in cities around the country as the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative. The National Initiative has launched in Boston and Washington DC and will open in Chicago and Tampa in early 2016.

As a co-founder of the Fresco Institute’s Interdisciplinary Home Visit Program for Parkinson’s disease, she is incredibly proud of her team in this compassionate care and clinical research program that extends specialized services into patients’ homes to improve their quality of life and outcomes. "We have a philosophy of being patient-centered and thinking holistically to improve the lives of our patients," said Ms. Lemen. "With the programs that we’ve developed in the home and the community, we’ve had the opportunity to think outside of the box about what would make a positive impact for our patients in a more comprehensive way."

Ms. Lemen credits her Silver School field placement for giving her the idea and confidence to help create a home visit service. "I completed my field placement in Brooklyn, providing home care, and it showed me the power of helping people in their environments. I learned so much more coming into the client’s home that I would never have known working solely in the clinic." She continued, "I’m very grateful to the Silver School because when I started my studies, I said that I wanted to be a neurology social worker, which they hadn’t heard of at the time," Ms. Lemen said. "Peggy Morton, Virge Luce, and the late Gladys González-Ramos worked closely with me to identify internships that would enable me to pursue my interests and gain valuable experience. And today, I’m a clinical social work specialist in the field of neurology."

Ms. Lemen’s work with the Fresco Institute involves collaboration with the NYU Langone Neuroscience Institute and the Fresco Institute Italia to build a network of research, education and clinical programs and services in Italy. In addition to her leadership roles with the Fresco Institute, Ms. Lemen launched the Fresco Institute’s Master of Social Work Internship Program, a clinical, educational program, developed in collaboration with the Silver School and the National Parkinson Foundation. "I have a real passion for education and I love being an instructor. It was very important to me to develop educational initiatives that have an impact on the next generation of social workers who are interested in neurology, geriatrics, or health care." She counsels social work students to, "Trust your gut, follow your passion, and always remember to put what’s best for the client first."