About Karen


Karen Perez., MSW., LCSW., CT., CFS

Fluent English, Spanish, and ASL (American Sign Language)

PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION

2005                    Clinically Certified Forensic Counselor, National Association of Forensic Counselors

2005                     Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor III, Academy of Certified Domestic Violence Counselors

2004                     Clinically Certified Sentence Mitigation Specialist, American College of Certified Forensic Counselors

1999-2001             Certified Traumatologist, University of South Florida, Traumatology Department

1999                     Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Florida State University

2000-2002            Masters of Social Work ‘02, University of South Florida

1999-2000             Bachelors in Social Work ‘00, University of South Florida

1997-1998             Associates in Liberal Arts, Hillsborough Community College

 

LICENSES, CERTIFICATIONS

State of Florida Licensed Clinical Social Worker SW 11254

State of New York Licensed Clinical Social Worker SW 73-08402

 

Clinically Certified Forensic Counselor, National Association of Forensic Counselors

Certified Domestic Violence Counselor III, Academy of Certified Domestic Violence Counselors

Certified Sentence Mitigation Specialist, American College of Certified Forensic Counselors

Certified Traumatologist, University of South Florida, Traumatology Department

Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Florida State University

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT EXTERNSHIP

Intern with DCF (2000-April 27, 2002) (Care Team Coordinator 2002-2006)

Provide care management oversight, team supervision and services oversight. Provided administrative and management duties related to supervision including care management oversight, performance management and development, team building, and services supervision.

 

APPOINTMENTS TO STATE BOARDS

AFGE Local 547 Union Steward, Veteran Administration 2008 to 2013

Mayoral appointed member, Hillsborough County Health Care Advisory Board,

Appointed Member, Health Care Professional 2006 to Present

Federation of Families, Board Member, 2006 to Present

 

AWARDS AND JOB-RELATED ACTIVITIES

Latino Who’s Who – December 17, 2012

Keynote Speaker, P.O.R.T Training, AFGE District 5, Leadership Academy, 2012 – H.E.R.O

Psychology Who’s Who –June 20, 2011

Puerto Rican Woman of the Year, 2008.

Keynote Speaker, Luster All Training Center of Hope, Graduation Ceremony, 2006.

American Red Cross Certificate of Appreciation, Trauma Work with Katrina Victims, 2005.

Kappa Delta, Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment, 2004

USF Research Day 2002: Empowering Populations at Risk-Award Recipient Speaker

Effects of Trauma Counseling on Global Assessment as Functioning for Survivors of Human Induced/Natural Disasters, 2002.

Golden Key National Honor Society, Member, 2000.

Mrs. Brandon International, 2000.

University of South Florida, Recognition of Superior Academic Achievement, 1999-2000.

University of South Florida Latino Scholarship Awards Program, Scholars Response Speaker, 1999.

Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Association, Member, 1999.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Certificate of Appreciation in Juvenile Justice Week, 1999

The Spring Daytime Auxiliary, Guest Speaker Domestic Violence, August 1999,

Phi Theta Kappa Society, Member, 1998.

Hillsborough Community College, Certificate of Achievement for Academic Excellence in Psychology, 1997-1998.

Domestics Violence in the Americas Conference, Panel Speaker, 1998

Certificate of Award, For Significant Contributions to Advancing the Awareness of Women’s History

Certificate of Membership, Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency

SERVE (School Enrichment Resource Volunteers in Education) for Hillsborough County, 1997

Award Winner of Excellence, 1997 Campaign

Young Middle Magnet School, Mentorship, November 1997.

 

CIVIC ACTIVITIES

VanBuren Middle School, Guest Speaker (2007)

Hispanic Caucus, Speaker – Hispanic Vote, Hispanic Politicians and Hispanic Voice in Florida (2007)

Florida State Democratic Convention (2007)

Lutz Democrats Candidates Forum, Speaker (2006)

Meet the Candidates, Speaker (2006)

John Knox Village Candidate Forum, Speaker (2006)

Carrollwood Meet the Candidates Night (2006)

General Election Candidates Forum (2006)

Children’s Board Lion’s Eye Institute Dinner, Guest Speaker-Mental Health of School Age Children (2006)

Meet and Greet the Candidates at Tampa Palms (2006)

Great American Teach In (2006)

Puerto Rico Cultural Day, Guest Speaker (2006)

Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, Presenter, Mental Health and Its Effect in African Americans (2006)

Central Florida University, Young Latina Women and the Pursuit of Higher Education, Keynote Speaker (2006).

Counsel for Forensic Counselors Conference, Los Angeles, CA, Domestic Violence Awareness-Domestic Violence and Its Effects on Children, Presenter (2006)

University of South Florida Conference, Comparing the Era of Oliver Twist to Today’s Times, Keynote Speaker (2006)

Florida State University Conference, Immigration Debate, Keynote Speaker (2006)

Candidate for State House of Representatives District 60 – Ran for State representative against a two term incumbent for District 60 (2005-2006)

American Red Cross Certificate of Appreciation for Trauma Work with Katrina Victims (2005)

Candidate for State House of Representatives, District 60 – Run for State representative against a one term incumbent. Run in the Primary on August 31, won the primary by 66% of the District vote which qualified me to run in the General election on Nov. 2, 2004. Had to organize a campaign committee, bring in qualified personnel from the community and other political organizations. Researched the issues affecting the community with a focus on women and children’s needs. On Nov. 2nd lost the general election by receiving 42% of the vote and my incumbent received 58% (2003-2004)

In and Out of Shelter Group Facilitator for Self Esteem, The Spring of Tampa Bay – Facilitator of Latin women groups on self-esteem on Monday nights in shelter and out of shelter Saturday morning group conducted every Saturday morning (2000-2001)

Boys and Girls Club of Tampa, Keynote Speaker Youth Winter Awards Ceremony, 2000.

Brotherhood, Sisterhood Oratorical Showcase, 2000.

Probation Officer, Department of Juvenile Justice – Conduct home, school and work visits. Counsel children who are in the justice system. Work   along with the parent to provide a better focus for the children. Facilitate girls refocus groups in office on the second Tuesday of every month and Saturday from 1pm to 2pm conduct self-esteem groups at the West Detention center in Tampa for teenage girls. (1999-2002)

Hotline Counselor, CASA Domestic Violence Shelter – Volunteer answering crisis calls at night on the weekends, and filling in-take for clients coming in shelter, Motivational speaker through United Way for CASA. (1999-2001)

United Way of Pinellas County-Speakers Bureau, representing (CASA) Center Against Spouse Abuse, 1998-Present

Member of American Heart Association, 1998

Member of National Association of Social Workers, 1997

Member of the Exchange Club of Tampa, 2004

Member of the Professional Hispanic Professional Women, 2003

Member of Tampa Organization of Black Affairs, 2004

Member of Hillsborough/Tampa Human Right Association, 2003

Member of the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce, 2004

Member of the Hispanic Chamber, 2003

Member of the Democratic Executive Committee of Hillsborough County, 2003

Member of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, 2006

Member of League of Women Voters, 2002

Member of Phi Alpha (Social Workers Honor Society), 2000

Member of LULAC, League of United Latin American Citizens, 2003

 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2010 – Present – Embracing Changes Center for Wellness, LLC – President/CEO

Overall responsibility for the planning, direction and supervision of all agency operations, Directly responsible for all public information services and media relations pertaining to agency operation. Hold current State of Florida professional license Social Work. Computer skills to include web based research, word processing, e-communication and financial spreadsheets. Individual, Group, Family, EAP, Leadership and Team Building. Working with adolescents and children. Traumatologist, Critical Incident Intervention Services, Crisis intervention and Domestic Violence intervention.

2012 – 2013 – Appointed AFGE Local 547 Vice President, Veteran’s Administration Hospital. As the Vice-President – in addition to performing the duties spelled out in the Local Constitution and Bylaws 1. act as backup to the President in the duties outlined above. In addition act as the Chief Steward. I also act and carried out all employer directed moves communicating them to the bargaining unit members. I work as a member of the Local Officers’ team and on the E-Board. I am responsible for organizing and recruiting new members. I perform other duties as assigned by the President.

2016 – Present Home Based Primary Social Worker, Veteran’s Administration Hospital.

Provide In-Home psychodynamic interventions, crisis intervention, grief/bereavement counseling, problem solving, stress reduction and developing healthy coping strategies. Provide counseling for disease acceptance and understanding. Responsible for developing and implementing individual Plan of Treatment which assist patients and families to cope and/or restore social, emotional, financial and environmental factors which affect and/or affected by illness. Conduct psychosocial assessments. Partners with patient to identify needs and develop and implement individual treatment plan based on mutually agreed upon treatment plan. Discuss options for care proactively including VA resources and external community/government resources to assist patient and family in developing short and long term care plans as appropriate. Team with other disciplines in assessing, planning and providing services for patients utilizing bio-psychosocial information. Assist patient in advocating for self to receive appropriate services within the VA and in the community. Responsible for completion of required documentation in a complete and timely manner. Collaborate with internal and external resources in the VA and the community to meet mutually agreed upon goals and objectives. Provides information and referral to community resources as requested. Works with referral sources to clarify and complete required clinical and psychosocial information. Perform other related duties as necessary.

2008-2016 Social Worker for Foxtrot, Veteran’s Administration Hospital.

Provide psychodynamic interventions, crisis intervention, grief/bereavement counseling, problem solving, stress reduction and developing healthy coping strategies in individual/family/group settings. Provide counseling for disease acceptance and understanding. Responsible for developing and implementing individual Plan of Treatment which assist patients and families to cope and/or restore social, emotional, financial and environmental factors which affect and/or affected by illness. Conduct psychosocial assessments. Partners with patient to identify needs and develop and implement individual treatment plan based on mutually agreed upon treatment plan. Discuss options for care proactively including VA resources and external community/government resources to assist patient and family in developing short and long term care plans as appropriate. Team with other disciplines in assessing, planning and providing services for patients utilizing bio-psychosocial information. Assist patient in advocating for self to receive appropriate services within the VA and in the community.  Responsible for completion of required documentation in a complete and timely manner. Collaborate with internal and external resources in the VA and the community to meet mutually agreed upon goals and objectives. Provides information and referral to community resources as requested. Works with referral sources to clarify and complete required clinical and psychosocial information. Perform other related duties as necessary.

2007-2008     Clinical Therapist, Social Worker, Educational Instructor Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Women’s Center.

The Women’s Center Social Worker assists female veterans with a variety of needs which includes: Domestic Violence Counseling, Trauma Counseling, Clinical Therapy, education, linkage with community resources, advance directives. This Social Worker also provides psychosocial expertise to the Women’s Center team; as an Educational Instructor, I have taught the Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, hospital wide, and have taught Domestic Violence courses.

2003-2006   Hospital Clinical Therapist, Social Worker, Memorial Hospital

Provide family, individual and group counseling for patients on the psychiatric unit of the hospital. Work directly with the doctors for discharge planning for the patients in order to secure their mental, emotional and physical well-being of the patient. Plan for aftercare for the patient and the members of the family. Arrange for housing, or ALF living for the patients that have no placement after discharge.

2003-2006     Family Reunification Specialist, Northside Mental Health Assess.

Interpret and deliver care related to information concerning the life-span development of clients within the infant, pediatric, adolescent, adult, and geriatric age groups. Possesses a positive attitude concerning all aspect of working in a challenging environment, including significant patience and respect for clients who can become quite angry and demanding, sensitivity to cultural needs and willingness to serve as a positive member of a working team.

 

2000-2003       Care Team Coordinator, Hillsborough Kids, Inc. MSW Intern with DCF (2000-April 27, 2002) (Care Team Coordinator 2002-Present).

Provide care management oversight, team supervision and services oversight. Provided administrative and management duties related to supervision including care management oversight, performance management and development, team building, and services supervision.

 

1979-2001             Actress, Model, Certified Stunt Woman, New Millennium Talent Management Group

Traveled frequently, presented on different movie sets as well as European model for catalog modeling. Maintained certification for stunt work and worked on different sets as body double and leading stunt fighter and coordinator for five years, supervising various stunt workers on several sets.

CURRENT PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Appointment to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital Transportation Committee, 2013.

Appointment to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital Educational Committee, 2008.

Veteran’s Administration, Visn 8, State Wide, Women Veterans Advisory Committee, Board Member, 2007 to Present

Veterans Administration, Leadership Development Committee, Co-Chair, 2007

PUBLICATIONS—BOOK, VIDEOTAPE, LIVE TELECONFERENCE

Perez, Karen (2006, December) Easter Seals Interview

Perez, Karen (2006, September) League of Women Voters, CTTV Studios

Perez, Karen (2002, May) Effects of Trauma Counseling on Global Assessment as Functioning for Survivors of Human Induced/Natural Disaster USF School of Social Work Publication