Frances B. Sellers Award – Reunion 2003

Lorna Hines-Cunningham’s career is a success story.  Through her work, she can enable others to write their own success stories–surely an endeavor that would have earned her the approval of Frances B. Sellers.

Lorna describes her choice of Drew as a “total accident.”  Dissatisfied with her Bronx high school’s guidance counseling, she consulted a friend at the Harlem College Assistance Project who led her to Drew.  Although she found a significant and “scary” difference in environment between The Forest and the Bronx, she plunged into studies and activities–from Hyera to Educational Opportunity Scholars events, from the Acorn to Students Against the Vietnam War–that made her a consummate student advocate and profoundly affected her life.  She speaks enthusiastically of her sociology major and the influence of Inez Nelbach, Joan Steiner, James Mills, Alton Sawin, Sara Griebel of Drew’s counseling center, and Jim O’Kane.

It was O’Kane who directed Lorna toward Columbia University School of Social Work, where she earned a master’s in social work with honors in 1975.  During an extensive and successful career in behavioral health she has acquired additional credentials and training in psychoanalysis, family systems treatment, cultural competence, trauma, incest, and child sexual abuse.

Since 2000 Lorna has been network director for behavioral health at the Generations Plus Manhattan Network, after two years as associate executive director.  Currently she is responsible for clinical and administrative oversight of behavioral departments within Harlem, Lincoln, and Metropolitan Hospitals in New York City.  She came to Generations Plus from the Brooklyn Children’s Psychiatric Center, where as deputy director she had major administrative and clinical responsibilities.  She also has a private psychotherapy practice, and since 1989 she has been adjunct associate professor at New York University’s School of Social Work.  She claims her greatest professional satisfaction from developing a residential care center for long-term psychiatric patients at Rockland Psychiatry Center in 1989, and from initiating and developing an outreach program, “A Time for Healing,” to assist the Generations Plus community in coping with the World Trade Center disaster.  Her list of publications, chiefly on family violence, child sexual abuse, and trauma, is extensive.

Lorna and her husband, Paul Cunningham, live in Teaneck, New Jersey with their three children:  Jennifer, 20, a junior at Penn State; Joiselle, 18, entering Duke University in the fall, and Michael, 8.  They describe themselves as devout members of Christ Episcopal Church in Teaneck.