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Administrator receives award for work in mental health and diversity, equity, and inclusion

Sheila Graham, Ph.D., associate director for social justice

Sheila Graham, Ph.D., associate director for social justice, received the Harriet Copher Haynes Diversity Scholarship Award from the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD). Dr. Graham, who has served in her role since 2016, was recognized for her work in campus mental health and her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University and beyond.

“Having worked with Dr. Graham since June 2016, I’ve experienced first-hand her passion, commitment, and wisdom in the realm of social justice,” said Jason Parcover, Ph.D., assistant vice president for student wellbeing and director of the Counseling Center. “She is one of the most talented clinicians and supervisors I have had the privilege of working with in my 25 years in the field. I have witnessed how Dr. Graham facilitates deep and meaningful growth in the clients she works with in individual therapy, process therapy groups, and affinity spaces for queer and Black, Indigenous, People of Color students. She is also a gifted trainer of other clinicians and professionals. Her sense of responsibility, commitment to the highest standards of professional ethics, and overall reliability are outstanding. Dr. Graham is an excellent team member, is an extremely hard worker, and treats those around her with a great deal of respect. Simply put, I’m delighted Dr. Graham has received this prestigious award and couldn’t be prouder to work alongside her in the Counseling Center.”

At Loyola, Dr. Graham leads a team of staff who focuses on how oppressive systems may affect mental health. In addition to traditional therapeutic services, the Counseling Center works to proactively consider ways in which race, ethnicity, ability, gender identity, social class, age, sexual orientation, religion, body size and shape, and citizenship status (among others) impact the well-being of Loyola’s campus and larger community. 

Dr. Graham, who is a member of OutLoyola and The Collective—groups that address the needs of LGBTQ+ communities at Loyola—has also worked to develop professional development opportunities for clinical staff to deepen awareness of their own identities and the ways they impact therapeutic services at Loyola. Dr. Graham is the chair of the Counseling Center’s Social Justice Committee and a member of the President’s Council on Equity and Inclusion.

Dr. Graham earned her B.A. in Psychology and Black Studies from Amherst College in 2003, and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University in 2010.

“As a clinician my passion and purpose has always been in supporting the resilience of people whose experiences have been historically excluded or held at the margins,” said Dr. Graham, who serves on the board of directors as the affiliate equity officer of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Maryland. “As a Black-Latina, queer, first-generation college student and daughter of immigrants, I enjoy being a support to students who like myself, experience the negative impacts systems of oppression have on the mental health of individuals on the margins. Working with colleagues at the Counseling Center who are equally passionate about uplifting the voices of these individuals, is part of what motivates me daily.”

Dr. Graham was recognized for this award virtually at the AUCCCD Annual Conference held in Seattle, Wash., on Oct. 9 – 13, 2021.

The AUCCCD is the largest organization of campus mental health leaders in the world. Each year, AUCCCD recognizes member achievements that exemplify excellence in the promotion of campus mental health.

Learn more about the social justice work through Loyola’s Counseling Center.