Mann Externships 2012-2013

Ana Maria Martinez, Summer 2012

Ana Maria graduated in May 2012 with majors in cognitive science and psychology. She applied for the Mann Child Policy Externship to gain experience in trauma intervention with children and families, after having previously volunteered with children at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Shelter and hospitalized children at Rainbow Babies. Ana Maria hopes to become a social worker, and is pursuing her MSW at the Case Western Reserve University Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

Ana Maria was placed with Mental Health Services (MHS) Children Who Witness Violence program and Cuyahoga County’s Defending Childhood Initiative, primarily under the supervision of Rosemary Creeden, Associate Director of Trauma Treatment Services at MHS. Ana attended clinical meetings and case reviews with MHS staff. She helped organize an all-day meeting of The Defending Childhood Initiative, which included scheduling speakers and developing an agenda to present child trauma-related research and train workers on a violence exposure-screening tool. She also assisted with training child welfare staff on Trauma Informed Child Welfare and shadowed caseworkers for Children Who Witness Violence.

Ana Maria revised and redesigned an informational booklet for children entering foster care or adoption. The document is being reviewed for accuracy before being provided to a teen advisory group for further input and a final revision. Ana Maria also produced a policy brief and presented to MHS and the county’s Division of Children and Family Services staff on the relationship between poverty and trauma and teen pregnancy.

“I feel incredibly lucky that I had a placement opportunity that met my goals of being exposed to direct practice experience and working in policy programs and administration,” says Ana Maria. “I was able to get very meaningful perspectives on how agencies can come together to form initiatives, and the challenges in conducting effective research while keeping ethical and practical clinical practice. Firsthand experience with professionals is an opportunity that could have never been replicated in a classroom.”

The MHS Children Who Witness Violence program provides crisis and short-term services to children and families impacted by violence. The project coordinates a Crisis Response Team providing a comprehensive assessment of children exposed to violence, followed by coordination of trauma and support services. In addition, training professionals who encounter children who witness violence, a community awareness campaign and a process and outcome evaluation are included in the initiative. Cuyahoga County’s Defending Childhood Initiative is part of a federal U.S. Department of Justice initiative which aims to prevent and reduce the impact of children’s exposure to violence in their homes, schools, and communities breaking the cycle of crime, violence, and abuse in the community.

“Ana was an excellent addition to our Trauma Services and the Defending Childhood staff,” Creeden remarks. “She almost singlehandedly put together a critical all day meeting of The Defending Childhood Initiative, helping to ensure that this public policy initiative be implemented in a meaningful and effective manner.”

Siqi (Cecilia) Li, Fall 2012

Cecilia is a senior studying cultural anthropology and psychology. She will graduate in May with her master’s degree in medical anthropology. Cecilia has a strong interest in education and education reform and hopes to pursue a career in cultural studies of education.

Cecilia was placed at Friends of Breakthrough Charter Schools, supervised by Jessica Cohen, Director of Grants and Foundation Relations. Cecilia conducted research on the role and impact of charter schools, the funding deficit in public education, the Cleveland education system and recent education reforms, including the proposed school funding formula. This research helped to inform Friends of Breakthrough Schools about potential school funding opportunities. Cecilia was also involved in the November school levy campaign, helping to promote Issue 107, a four-year levy that helps finance public and charter schools in Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She worked closely with the Director of Advocacy at Friends to organize campaign-related research, attend strategy meetings and participate in major events. The levy was passed by voters in November 2012, which will provide essential financial support to improve overall school quality and children’s educational outcomes. Her final presentation focused on the 2012 Cleveland Plan, what she believes is a promising solution for transforming school systems in Cleveland.

“The Mann Child Policy externship has been a great opportunity that allowed me to gain professional experiences in the local education sector.” 

The Friends of Breakthrough Charter Schools is a non-profit development and advocacy organization of Breakthrough Charter Schools, a high-performing network of free, public charter schools in Cleveland, Ohio that aims to provide quality and college-preparatory education in Cleveland’s underserved neighborhoods. Friends is responsible for closing the gap in public funding needed annually, and works with community, business and political leaders to build city-wide support for high-quality public school options for all children in Cleveland.

Christie Ellis, Spring 2013

Christie Ellis was placed with the Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC) and supervised by Joan Englund and Elizabeth Cornachione. During the semester, she researched many different areas of policy ranging from programs that revolved around children and mental health, such as the BEACON project and closely following the Attorney General’s child safety summits on foster children. Her largest project dealt with Governor Kasich’s budget, and the (at the time) impending discussion in the Ohio House of Representatives regarding Medicaid expansion.

The Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC) fosters education and awareness of mental health and addiction issues while advocating for public policies and strategies that support effective, well-funded services, systems and supports for those in need, resulting in stronger Ohio communities.

“I was exposed to a variety of policy players who shared concerns about mental health policy and I was able to fully appreciate the impact that each player can have. In the future, I would like to begin a professional career revolving around advocacy work so that I can someday influence policy.”

Download full student spotlight