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AAISW e-Newsletters will provide all the members with important news and happenings with in the organization. Please click on the following links to get all the recent and archived news. More..

AAISW Proudly Presents


Summer In USA

Welcome to the American Association of Indian Social Worker's Inc.




March is Social Work Month. The American Association of Indian Social
Workers (AAISW) salutes all its members for their commitment and
dedication. The National association of Social workers (NASW) has, as in
previous years, selected a theme for this years Celebration -"The Power Of
Social Work- Pass it On" Our power is enshrined in service. We serve people
when we empower them. Every time we empower, we are passing on the power of Social Work.

On behalf of the board of directors and executive committee of our
association, and on my personal behalf, I take this opportunity to
congratulate you on this occasion and thank you for your dedication and
devotion to duty. The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee met a
number of times to finalize a schedule of activities for the current year.
We will keep you informed about these activities through this News Letter as well as other communiqués mailed regularly.

     We are delighted to resume the publication of our monthly News Letter. It is
my sincere hope that newsletter will be both a vehicle of communication and
an instrument to bring us all together. The success of this venture depends
on us, the membership. This is our voice to our community and it's
leadership. Be free to share your ideas, your opinions and your views on
social issues...share your expertise, particularly clinical expertise
through the pages of this newsletter. Patronize it regularly by
contributing articles, news items, job openings, opportunities for education
and training etc. I take this opportunity to thank the editors for their
willingness and spirit of accommodation.

   Wishing you and your families a Happy Spring, Happy Social Work Month.


John John Mattam CSW
President, AAISW.


The Inauguration of the New Executive Committee of the American Association of the Indian Social Workers and the Holiday Party were celebrated with pomp and splendor on January 24th, 2004 at the Charis Christian Center auditorium in Queens. The freezing cold and adverse weather conditions did not dampen the festive spirit of our members and their families in coming together to make it a memorable event.


The program started with registration coordinated by Mr. James George- Treasurer AAISW and Ms. Jhancy Anthony. The public meeting commenced about 4.00pm with the welcome speech by Sajan Thomas, Secretary who was also the Master of Ceremonies.  Mary Ann George’s the melodious prayer song was uplifting to everyone in the auditorium.  Sunny Paulose CSW, senior member and the Treasurer of FOKANA introduced the chief Guest George. Koshy the President of FOKANA. Mr. Koshy in his inaugural address stressed the importance and role of Social Workers in today’s changing society. He urged social workers to become agents of social change and get involved in the multiple challenges and complexities of the Indian Community.


John Mattam in his Presidential address gave a brief outline of the programs and activities of the Association for the coming year. He also spelled out primary focus of the Executive Committee as the enhancement and professional growth of the members through various educational programs.


The lighting of the Traditional lamp “Nilavilakku” by Mr. Koshy marked the formal inauguration of the Association, which was followed by Oath taking ceremony by the Committee members. Dr. Paul Njalieth introduced the newly elected executive committee to the audience. Dr. Francis Jacob in his felicitation stressed the need to galvanize the association by making it truly national and not just parochial. Mr. George Thaila gave a ‘Walk down’ of the 10-year history of the association and its phenomenal growth through the years.


The second part of the celebration- the entertainment programs presented by our children- conquered the hearts and mind of every one. It was a spectacular show of talents filled with fun and thrill. The colorful and enchanting single dances by Amy Abraham, Veena Cherian and Silpa Francis kept everyone in rapt attention. Stacy and Sheena Machanical, Reshma and Manisha George, Noel and Nikhil James performed their best group dance winning applause from the spectators.  Mary Ann George, Silpa James Rony James along with Xavierkutty Thomas, John Kuruvila and John Kusumalayam entertained everyone with their heart warming solo performance.  Instrumental music Anuraj George (clarinet) Jerry Mathew (violin) Roy Cyriac (African Bongo) etc added further flavor to the cultural events of the night.


Sajimon Kadavil , Joint Secretary proposed vote of thanks to everyone. Saji Joseph Vice President took care of the sumptuous dinner, which was enjoyed by everyone. The Asianet TV and other weekly Indian publications provided Media coverage.



Unlike previous years when office bearers of our Association were nominated and elected unopposed, this year’s election was competitive and passonate. The election of the executive committee for 2004- 06 periods- originally scheduled for 6th of December- was postponed to December 20th 2003 due to unpredictable weather condition. The election was held at the Raj Mahal restaurant in Queens.  

There were two panels, but only the office of the President and that of the Joint Secretary were contested. John Mattam and Regi Markose were the candidates for President while Sajimon Kadavil and Babu Joseph vied for the office of Joint Secretary. Prior to the election, association General body asked the candidates to speak about their vision for the association. The Election Commission comprising of Luke Malika, Alex Chamakala and Paul Njalith conducted the election through secret ballot.   

When election results were announced, John Mattam and Sajimon Kadavil were declared elected to the positions of President and Joint Secretary respectively. The election process upheld values of democracy. Saji Joseph as Vice President, Sajan Thomas as Secretary and James George as Treasurer were elected unopposed.   

After the election the general body nominated the following persons as Board members- Abraham Thomas, Jhancy Antony, Kamalesh Bagga , Sajan Jose and Biju Philip. About seventy members who had paid in their 2003 membership fee participated in the election. 


Schizophrenia and Mental Health Connection

The development of modern views on psychopathology has not followed a straight path, however we are able to identify a general movement away from superstitions and magical explanations about mental illness and more towards scientific explanations. Early superstitions were followed by the emergence of medical concepts in many countries such as Egypt and Greece. Many of these concepts were developed and redefined by Roman physicians. In the 5th century AD, people widely believed that mental illness was caused by the devil. One treatment involved making holes in patient's skull believing that the devils could get out of his head. 

In the 16th century, asylums and other institutions were founded as a popular method of treatment .The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed a number of scientific and humanitarian advances .The revolutionary nature of Philippe Panel's work is captured in his famous words, "release the patient from the chains". 

Schizophrenia and Bipolar affective disorder are the two prominent diagnoses established early on in Psychiatry. The concept of Schizophrenia has under gone a drastic change over the years. In 1809 --1873 Period French Psychiatrist Benedict Morel had used the term "Demence Precoce" for group of people whose symptoms began to show in their adolescence. In 1856-1926 Emil Krapelin (who coined the term Manic Depressive Psychosis) translated Morel's Demence Precoce to Dementia Praecox

meaning distinct cognitive process (dementia) and early onset (praecox) 

In 1911 Eugene Bleuler coined the term Schizophrenia (splitting of the mind) for the disorder. Bleuler was famous for his articulation of primary and secondary symptoms of schizophrenia. The primary symptoms of schizophrenia are four A's: Association, Affect, Autism, and Ambivalence. The secondary symptoms are hallucinations and delusions.

 In 1980 T.J. Crow proposed a classification of schizophrenia into type 1 & 2, based on the presence of positive and negative symptoms. The positive symptoms include delusions and hallucinations; negative symptoms include Anhedonia (no interest), Alogia (Poverty of speech), Flattening of affect (flat affect), and Ambivalence ("to be or not to be").  

A similar evolution can be traced in the development of our understanding of Bipolar affective disorder.

 The ancient Greeks understood mania as a state of raving madness with exalted mood. Even though there were lot of discussions regarding the topic of mania and depression for almost 2000 years the complete clinical work up was done in 1850 by Jean Pierre. It was Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) who coined the term manic-depressive psychosis.

 When we discuss the history of bipolar disorder we must mention the term, melancholia and mania, which were coined by the Greek and Roman thinkers in B.C. Hippocrates (460-357 BC) described melancholia (black bile) as a state of aversion to food, insomnia, irritability, and gentleness.

 Around AD 30,The Roman physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus, in his work De Re Medicina described melancholia (from Greek melan -- black, and chole -- bile) as A depression caused by black bile. In 12th century Moses Maimonides considered melancholia a discrete disease entity. In 1686 Bonet described a mental illness that he called maniaco-melancholicus. In 1854 Jules Falret described a condition called folie circulaire in which patient experiences alternating moods of depression and mania. In 1882 Karl Kahlbaum, using the term cyclothymia, described mania and depression as stages of the same illness.

 As we look at the evolving history of psychiatry and appreciate the milestones in its development we are permitted to ask: what is the shape of things to come in the area of treatment of the identified mental illnesses? We hope during my lifetime they could be able to find a cure for Schizophrenia. Social workers in conjunction with other professionals can play a vital role in dealing with mental illness and related issues. Mental illness.


Biju Philip CSW

Senior Social Worker Woodhull Hospital        


Significance of March

March means many things to many. To basketball lovers, it’s “March Madness”. To Meteorologist, it’s unpredictable weather patterns. (March goes out roaring like a loin, they say). To nature lovers, it’s wonderment and sheer excitement. To Social Workers, it’s ‘Social Work Month’.      

                        It is not mere coincidence that social work month is observed in March. March is the embodiment of newness, freshness and hopefulness. March ushers in spring. Spring denotes all things new and fresh. Easter is celebrated in spring and Easter is “new life from death”. If winter, with its long nights, fallen leaves and bitter cold reminds us of death and darkness, spring brings new life and Easter is rising from the from the dead. Spring with its blooming wonders and budding green foliage instills hope as Social Workers instill hope in the hearts of people. Social workers, because they touch the lives of people, instill hope and bring new life. Social Workers bring in a new perspective, new dimension to people who are puzzled with their life. Often, Social Workers are instrument in brining hope and happiness to people.

                        No wonder that March was selected as the month to celebrate Social work profession and the part they play in bringing new life and hope to all.          


Dr. Francis Jacob PhD.

Chief Editor, AAISW



Please Mark your Calendar!

March 27, 04- Social Work Month Celebration and General Body Meeting at

              Raj Mahal Restaurant Queens.


April – 04 - Public Seminar on Medicare/Medicaid


May – 04 – Membership Drive.


June 6, 04- Fund Raising Event- Summer in USA at Martin Van Buren High  

             School, Queens.   


June- 04- CSW Review Course 2nd Part



John Kusumalayam – Promoted as a Social Work Supervisor at

St. Agatha Home of New York Foundling Hospital.

The following members have started their new job. Congratulations and best wishes.


Mr.Santhosh Thomas                   Woodhull Hospital
Mr.Santhosh Varghese                 Harlem Hospital
Mr.John Kurien                                 Metropolitan Hospital
Ms.Nimmy Joy                                  Metropolitan Hospital
Mr.Joby Joseph                     Bronx Psychiatric Center
Mr.Shibu Kurian                       Bronx Psychiatric Center
Mr.Siby Chacko                              Kingsboro Psychiatric Center

Congratulations to Geo Joseph who has passed the CSW exam last month.

Mr. Jose Joseph and Susan Joseph have become the proud parents of a baby girl Emily. Also, Varsha Joseph and Tom Joseph had a baby son Congratulations….

A Joke

Jones is driving past the state mental hospital when his left rear tire
suffers a flat. While Jones is changing the tire, another car goes by,
running over the hubcap in which Jones was keeping the lug nuts. The
nuts are all knocked into a nearby storm drain.

Jones is at a loss for what to do and is about to go call a cab when he
hears a shout from behind the hospital fence, where one of the inmates
has been watching the whole thing.

"Hey, pal! Why don't you just take one lug nut off each of the other
three wheels? That'll hold your tires on until you can get to a garage
or something."

Jones is startled by the patient's seeming rationality, but realizes
the plan will work, and installs the spare tire without incident. Before
he leaves, he calls back to the patient. "You know, that was pretty
sharp thinking. Why do they have you in there?"

The patient smiles and says, "I'm in here because I'm crazy, not
because I'm stupid."

Roy Thomas CSW



Among other things one of the top priority of the AAISW is enhancing the professional growth of its members. One of the means towards this goal is in-service program.

Under the auspices of AAISW, a well-coordinated CSW Review Course was conducted at the Woodhull Hospital on 28th of February 2004. Classes were conducted in three sessions from 9.00 am to 4.00 and about 30 social workers working in various facilities attended the classes. Participants included five non-AAISW members from Woodhull Hospital. The massive attendance at the class surprised everyone. Dr. Craig Crabtree PhD Social Work Supervisor at Woodhull led the classes.  Participants were given study materials containing thousands of possible questions and answers.

Sajan Thomas, Secretary AAISW welcomed the gathering and John John Mattam -
President AAISW proposed vote of thanks. Mr. Abraham Thomas was instrumental in
arranging the beautiful conference room at Woodhull. Many thanks to the participants and hope soon all our members will
be licensed.


The Power of Social Work- Pass It On.......

Dear friends
The theme for this year's Social Work Month is 'The Power of Social
Work: Pass It On' This has special meaning to us because, as social
We pass the power of social work on to the people whom we help, giving
them renewed hope.
     We pass on the vision and purpose of social work on to the community when we practice what we learned at social work school. 
  We pass the passion of social work on from one generation of
social workers to the next by our commitment to social work principles.

Since 1984, March has officially been designated as the month to
acknowledge and recognize the contributions made by social workers to improve and to the quality of life.
 Often working behind the scene, Social Workers are
trained to address problems people face. Some of our members have made notable advancement in their career as social workers. Some are recognized in their community and beyond for their hard work, vision and wisdom.  
We are humbled and proud of their achievement as one big family.


This year, we've called many of you and asked for your input. We
wish to thank all of you who took the time to speak to us and give us
your honest feedback. We appreciate your great
participation, contributions and personal help to mark our events a
great success, which we would have never accomplished without you.

I personally, take this opportunity to thank you again and anticipate
your co-operation in future to make our coming events a great success.
I wish you all a happy Social Work Month. Thank You.


Sajan Thomas, CSW

Secretary, AAISW





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