Dispatches from the Field: Vivian Pham, 2nd-Year MSW Student

Vivian Pham

Vivian Pham

Student: Vivian Pham, 2nd-Year MSW candidate

Agency Partner: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Responsibilities at the Placement: Pham is placed in Dana-Farber’s Office of Workforce Development, which sits in the Department of Human Resources; she is the first ever graduate social work intern placed in this particular office. She works alongside two full-time staff members and an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow.

The Office of Workforce Development provides meaningful programs and experiences that equip youth and adults with career and college readiness skills. Specifically, it connects underserved and underrepresented Boston Public high school students to year-round internships at Dana-Farber. It also provides coaching and adult development programming to staff and Boston residents. These experiences often lead to full-time employment at Dana-Farber.

The office is also following alumni of the student and adult initiatives to determine their effectiveness, and this is where Pham comes in. She led the program evaluation by creating a tracking database with metrics designed to measure the office’s impact and to ultimately calculate the return-on-investment. Her analysis will culminate in a recurring quarterly report – “a deeper dive” – into the number of alumni who have pursued healthcare majors and careers, particularly those who are currently employed full-time at Dana-Farber.


The workforce development team at Dana Farber, from left: Candace Burns, Amber Villanueva, Pham, and Rachada Hiranyaket, (Pham's supervisor and a BCSSW alumna)

The workforce development team at Dana Farber, from left: Candace Burns, Amber Villanueva, Pham, and Rachada Hiranyaket (Pham’s supervisor and a BCSSW alumna).

“The field education office at BC really cares about its students,” says Pham. “When I spoke with my field education specialist, he listened to my interests, the areas I needed to grow in, and provided thoughtful advice about the agencies I would best fit in. He took the time to get to know me, and this came through in my placements.”

Pham appreciated the opportunity to work, and then grow, in a space where she had little experience and she says that the “mix of macro and clinical” in her Dana-Farber placement provided a perfect fit for her.

“Social work needs practitioners and leaders who understand how to cultivate positive, genuine relationships with those not traditionally considered to be in our field, and then work collaboratively on sustainable change. Knowing I have both macro and clinical skills in my tool kit gives me confidence that after I graduate, I can play a role in brokering the kind of partnerships that make social transformation happen.”

One thought on “Dispatches from the Field: Vivian Pham, 2nd-Year MSW Student

  1. Pingback: BCSSW Field Education Serves Greater Boston | Innovate@BCSocialWork

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