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Assisting Lives Impacted by Conflict and Disaster

Bruna Cardoso Lopez

Social Work Field Placement Coordinator, MSW '17

Headshot of Bruna Cardoso Lopez

Bruna Alumni Update

My name is Bruna Cardoso Lopez. Currently, I am the Social Work Field Placement Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in the San Diego office. The mission of the IRC is to provide assistance for people whose lives are impacted by conflict and disaster, including the climate crisis, to survive and recover. I supervise both graduate and undergraduate student interns from various programs throughout the U.S.

In our department, we work with asylum seeking families and survivors of domestic violence. Having graduated from the leadership and social change concentration, my passion is in the administrative and managerial areas of Social Work . Personally, I am interested in the intersection of immigration status and access to health care, particularly for people that may be undocumented and terminally ill.

My professional background is in medical and forensic Social Work. At the IRC, I have the privilege to balance the agency’s needs with the integration of the core competencies from the Council of Social Work Education. For my student interns, I focus on the alignment of the Grand Challenges of Social Work and the Strategy100 outcomes of the IRC such as safety, health, education, economic wellbeing, and power.

The School of Social Work prepared me to critically analyze policy and how it impacts practice. Our ability to deliver quality care and services is directly controlled by policies of inclusion and exclusion. This is a result of federal, state, and local rules and regulations. Often, we assume that immigration law is only controlled by Congress and the White House but client’s ability to thrive in their daily routines is also a matter of location. With the research experience from the graduate program and the professional knowledge gained ever since, I can see the connections and the effect it has on client’s access to housing, nourishment, medical care, employment, and retirement.

My interest in this work comes from my own personal story of immigration to the United States. My time at UIUC is near and dear to my heart and I still miss campus life! I try to maintain an open line of communication with my professors as I highly value their influence. My time at La Casa Cultural Latina also allowed me to form lifelong connections and friendships. Go Illini!

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