Thursday, July 16, 2020

Associate Professor Mary Lou Balassone, who served as director of the BASW program starting in 2010, retired June 30, 2020. 

Mary Lou joined the School faculty in 1987 as an assistant professor and coordinator of the health care specialization. Her teaching skills, scholarship and research helped further develop the field of public health social work, foster care adoption and undergraduate social work education while her practice remained focused on serving at-risk women and children.

“Our School community owes a profound debt of gratitude to Mary Lou for her years of incomparable service,” said Dean Eddie Uehara. “She has taught courses across all three academic programs – a rare accomplishment and a tribute to her talents as an outstanding teacher.”

Mary Lou’s practice experience included developing and implementing a wrap-around program for pregnant and parenting teens, case-management with drug-addicted pregnant women, and coordination of a reproductive health clinic. Her research focused on adolescent reproductive health, evaluating community programs that serve adolescents and pregnant women, and assessing health care policy focused on families formed through foster care adoption. 

Her decision to enter social work began during her undergraduate days when she enrolled in a BSW program, hoping to work with at-risk women and children. She went on to receive her MSW and MPA at Syracuse University where she focused her studies on health care administration. In 1987, she received a DSW from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mary Lou wrote many professional journal articles, book chapters, monographs and book reviews. Over the years, she served on committees overseeing the MSW and BASW curricula and has been a member of multiple search and ad hoc review committees. She also served as our School representative to the UW Faculty Senate. 

As part of her community service, she was a court-appointed special advocate for dependency cases and often gave presentations to potential foster parents about issues such as attachment, child abuse and neglect.

Mary Lou, along with recent retiree Susan P. Kemp, will be honored this fall at an upcoming faculty recognition event. Details will be announced later.