Josephine Defini, LCSW

Josephine Defini and her 6-year old black lab, Zion

Josephine Defini was an LCSW and held a PhD in mental health from New York University. She had more than forty years' experience helping people struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, and disabilities. She was a leader in student training in the field of social work. She passed away suddenly on May 3, 2016.

In addition to working for twenty years at Beth Israel Medical Center and twenty years at Lighthouse International in New York City, she had a private practice. Over the years, many of the individuals with whom she worked have struggled with HIV/AIDS, substance abuse or mental illness. Dr. Defini also had extensive experience in working with older adults with vision loss, helping them and their families through the adjustment process.

As the Director of the Mental Health and Social Work Department at Lighthouse International, her duties included leading interdisciplinary teams consisting of not only social workers but rehabilitation teachers, orientation & mobility instructors, RNs, and other specialists.

She was a contributing author to The Lighthouse Handbook on Vision Impairment and Vision Rehabilitation, and published academic articles in the Journal of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She was also a frequent guest lecturer on topics including HIV and vision loss, disability awareness, suicide and grieving, and brief therapy.

Dr. Defini's current and past volunteer work included serving as a voting member of the Ryan White Planning Council on the Committee for Persons with HIV and Special Needs, the International Relations Committee of the American Council of the Blind and as a member of the Caring Community at All Souls Church in NYC.

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