Alumni Spotlight: Aline Talmage

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April 23, 2013

Aline Talmage is a native of north west Georgia and grew up enjoying traveling, riding horses, hiking, playing sports, dancing and reading. In 2005, she received her undergraduate degree from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, where she majored in Spanish and minored in secondary education with an ESL endorsement. One of her favorite memories of that time is her study abroad experiences in Costa Rica and South Korea. After college, Aline started work as a Spanish public health interpreter, where she found her passion for health care and working with the Latino community. Over the next five years, she worked in a variety of positions, including comprehensive sex education, Latino youth suicide prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, and even spent a season as a wrangler and horse trainer in Wyoming. 

In 2010, Aline started graduate school at the University of Georgia in the School of Social Work. In the process of seeking out global education opportunities and training, she got to know the College of Public Health and the Center for Global Health, and ended up becoming the first UGA student to graduate with a dual masters in Clinical Social Work (MSW) and an MPH (Health Promotion and Behavior) with a certificate in global health. She also founded the international social work student group at the School of Social Work, served as a graduate assistant to the Director of Global Programs and was a principal dancer on the UGA ballroom performance dance team.

There are many people who were an important part of Aline's experience while she was in school. Specifically in the College of Public Health, she would like to thank Dr. Pamela Orpinas, Nina Cleveland, Mumbi Okundaye, Dr. Richard Schuster, and Dr. Monica Gaughan for being wonderful teachers and/or a huge support of the dual degree program.


Below Aline describes her new employment opportunity now that she has completed her dual program. 

Description of job/agency
I am employed full time with Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4), which has provided a range of mental health, substance abuse and family counseling services in the Chicago area for over 40 years. They have been recognized as innovative and culturally competent leaders in mental health and were named in 2012 as a National Best and Brightest Companies to Work for and also as one of the top 100 workplaces in Chicago. 

I wear two hats at C4. I work part time as one of their community-based, child and adolescent therapists (though I also see families and adults) and part-time with C4's Associate Director on a special project. This project is funded by the Illinois Children's Health Care Foundation's "Healthy Minds. Healthy Children. Healthy Chicago Initiative (H3)" and focuses on the development of a holistic (public health), age-appropriate, and culturally sensitive approach to children's health care. C4 is partnered with Erie Family Health Center (a leading community based, health organization) to develop a framework for a fully integrated primary/mental health continuum of care for children's age 0-18 in Chicago's Westside. This is a multi-year project with distinct planning and implementation stages. The ultimate goal is to use this work to help inform and implement similar projects in the future across the state of Illinois.

How did you find it?
I actually interviewed with Erie Family Health Center for a position as a behavioral health consultant, but they couldn't hire me because I didn't have my clinical social worker license (LCSW). The person who interviewed me at Erie spoke with the Associate Director of C4 and recommended they contact me since C4 did not have the same licensing requirements. 

What you are most excited about doing?
Honestly, I am really excited about both hats I wear. I love working clinically with clients and am excited about the experience, training and supervision I am getting so that I can eventually seek my LCSW license. The H3 project puts me right on the forefront of emerging and innovative research and practice in delivering quality health care. I get to work with a diverse team of professionals and am really challenged to use all my skills sets from both disciplines. It is a really exciting time to be a multi-disciplinary professional. 

Did your internship help you in securing the position? Did it help prepare you to work there?
My internship definitely helped prepare me for this position. Integrated behavioral health with primary care wasn't even on my radar until a big portion of my internship involved primary and secondary research on integrated care models and we even started implementing some small pilot projects on site.  I don't know if I would have been so strongly considered for the position without that direct experience, nor would I have known what to look for, job wise. Not only was my internship a fantastic experience, but it really launched my career.  

I've been very fortunate to have been given the opportunity, so early on, to fully use both degrees. The coursework I took in both programs is very relevant to the wide range of activities I will be engaged in.