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Dr. Debra Kram-Fernandez spent the first ten years in her career working as a social worker and dance therapist with individuals, families and groups who experienced serious mental illness. Much of the focus of her work involved helping people develop coping skills, self-advocacy skills, and instilling hope. Next she worked for 2.5 years as the Study Coordinator for the New York State site of a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association funded multi-site study on Women, Co-occurring Disorders and Trauma. Following this experience, she worked for six years in child and family welfare. The last two years of her child and family welfare experience, prior to coming to Empire State College, she worked as the Sanctuary Implementation Coordinator for the family foster care unit of a child and family services agency in New York City, and was able to participate in helping the agency to obtain Sanctuary certification.
As part of Dr. Kram-Fernandez’ experience with Sanctuary and Child Welfare Services, she was exposed to The World Café (theworldcafe.com) and honed skills in hosting structured conversations for the purposes of creating group, community, organizational and global change. She is currently on faculty at the State University of New York-- Empire State College where she has the opportunity to develop and offer a number of classes on topics related to mental health, creative arts therapy, group work and social justice.