J’May Rivara, an associate teaching professor and assistant director of the School’s Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work, will retire at the end of the Winter quarter. She has agreed to return to the School in January part-time to continue in her leadership role.
“ J’May has directly taught and mentored more than 2,000 students over the course of her remarkable career at the UW and has influenced the trajectory of social workers who are now leaders and change agents in our community,” said Dean Eddie Uehara. “She is recognized and appreciated for her many gifts as a teacher, mentor and field education leader as well as her success in strengthening and enhancing learning opportunities in health care settings that support the School’s mission and vision of equity and social justice.”
J’May joined the faculty in 1979 as a clinical instructor, became a lecturer and then a senior lecturer. She was appointed an associate teaching professor in September 2020, making her part of the first cohort of candidates promoted to this rank and setting a standard for future appointments.
J’May was co-director of the School’s Field Education Program from 2007 to 2009, and since 1995 was the field faculty lead for the School's health care concentration. She is also an adjunct associate teaching professor in the UW School of Public Health, where she has been a faculty advisor to more than 120 School of Social Work concurrent MSW/MPH students during the past 25 years.
J’May has focused her scholarship on family functioning, pediatric traumatic brain injury, and the impact of field education on student learning. She has been a leader in promoting field education as social work’s signature pedagogy and advocating for integrating social justice into the teaching of policies and practice. She has been the field faculty liaison for more than 120 students who received oncology social work scholarships and training through the Carol LaMare Scholars program. After her retirement, she will continue in her role as part-time assistant director of the School’s Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work, created through a generous gift from Lynn and Howard Behar.
Dedicated to community service, J’May has been an active long-time member of several professional social work organizations and been on the board of directors at several community health and mental health agencies. In 2000, she received the Social Work Educator of the Year award by the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Work. She holds a BS in sociology from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in social service from Bryn Mawr College.
Please join us in thanking J’May for her outstanding contributions to the school community and the profession. Early in the new year, we will announce details for a retirement party; stay tuned.