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Brunel Social Work welcomes new Division Lead: Professor Holly Nelson-Becker


The Social Work Division is delighted to announce the appointment of Holly Nelson-Becker as Professor of Social Work and Division Lead. Professor Nelson-Becker joins us from Loyola University, Chicago, where she held the post of Professor and Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work. Her PhD is from the University of Chicago and she obtained a Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State University. 

Professor Nelson-Becker brings a wealth of international experience to Social Work at Brunel: she is leader of the social work section for the Coleman Palliative Medicine interprofessional training programme, has co-authored US standards for spiritual care in palliative care, and is past Chair of the Interest Group on Religion, Spirituality, and Aging for the Gerontological Society of America. She co-authored the Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II standards for leadership and served on the National Program Committee for the Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work. She was awarded Fellowship of the Gerontological Society of America in 2013.

The strengths perspective and positive psychological principles form the foundation for Professor Nelson-Becker’s research and teaching. She has investigated pathways to resilience and well-being in older adults and her research focuses on ageing with an emphasis on end-of-life concerns, spirituality, and diverse cultural expressions. She has authored over 50 publications. Her recent book is Spirituality, Religion, and Aging: Illuminations for Therapeutic Practice published February 2017 by SAGE. 

Commenting on her appointment, Professor Nelson-Becker said, “Brunel University London has long-established excellence in the field of ageing. It has a Social Work division that has proven to be very nimble. I am excited about joining Social Work in the Department of Clinical Sciences and increasing capacities to secure and expand the value of social work as it positions itself to meet increasing local to global needs. As social work researchers and educators, we are well-prepared to respond. Challenging times provide new opportunities. We were born for this work and this time.”