News Details

Improving Outcomes for Drug-Involved Defendants

Barrie Nussbaum

Authored by: Lisa Dugan

Photography by: Candace diCarlo

Student Life


For patients with acute organ disease, transplant surgery can offer the chance at a new lease on life. But with supply severely limited, medical professionals must ensure that every available organ is used effectively.

For her field placement, second year MSW student Barrie Nussbaum is working with an interdisciplinary team at Hahnemann Hospital to help ensure the success of transplant surgeries. “In addition to a full medical workup, all transplant candidates must undergo a comprehensive psychosocial evaluation,” she explains. “As part of that evaluation we assess the patient’s support system, their compliance to treatment and their risk of substance abuse all of which have bearing on the outcome of the surgery.”

In her work with the transplant unit, Nussbaum also provides supportive counseling to patients and families who are facing acute, chronic, and end of life health issues as well as post-surgical counseling to help patients cope with medication management and the emotional issues that sometimes arise after receiving a transplant organ.

While the learning curve has been steep, Nussbaum says the experience has been a fascinating opportunity to learn about medical social work. She finds it particularly gratifying to represent the social work profession on an interdisciplinary team. “In this role, I have the opportunity to advocate for patients in a way that helps broaden the perspective of the medical team.”