First-year clinical student Delilah Dylan Dominguez is the winner of the I.J. Shapiro and A.J. Borrell Award for best MSSW Student Paper on Geriatric Mental Health Services.

The Shapiro and Borrell Award, granted for the first time this year, is sponsored by Senior PyschCare, a leader in innovative care for age-related problems in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Senior PsychCare’s mission is to help seniors attain the highest possible level of functional ability while maintaining their quality of life.

Borrell Award Dominguez
Dean Luis Zayas with Delilah Dominguez, Dr. Leo Borrell, and Dr. Namkee Choi

Dr. Leo Borrell, President and Senior Consultant of Senior PsychCare, initiated this paper contest in honor of his father and father-in-law. The purpose of the contest is to solicit ideas from master level social work students on ways to improve geriatric mental health services by making them more innovative, effective, and efficient.

Delilah’s paper, titled “Creative Expression: Reducing Depression in Nursing Home Residents,” was unanimously selected by the School review committee. “Delilah’s paper was innovative and at the same time solidly based on current literature and on her experience working with older adults at her internship in South Austin,” said Dr. Carol Lewis, Associate Director of the Center for Social Work Research.

At her internship, Delilah observed that nursing home residents struggled with depression. “I have professional training in theater and a strong interest in the arts,” said Delilah. “The Shapiro & Borrell Award challenged me to consider how I might creatively combine these interests with social work to improve geriatric mental health services. I firmly believe that creativity can be used at any age as an intervention to affirm life’s meaning and to remind us of our collective humanity.”

The School expresses gratitude to Dr. Borrell for his support and his recognition that social workers are critical in providing mental health services to older adults. As the aging population grows in Texas and the nation, it is especially important to have a trained workforce to provide needed services. This opportunity encourages social work students to focus on this area and reduces their debt burden while in training.