Rich Bradway is a lecturer in the School of Social Work. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University (SDSU), Master of Social Work from the University of Houston, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Following his graduation from SDSU he pursued a successful business career in commercial real estate. After ten years in the real estate business, he realized “this is not what makes my heart sing” He went to work with developmentally disabled adults assisting them to reach their highest level of independence and became involved with Big Brothers in Orange County. These life experiences shaped Richard’s professional journey and made him realize “social work brought more meaning to my life than anything I had done previously.” He pursued his MSW at the University of Houston, while at the same time owned an industrial packaging supply company. After graduate school, he worked as a case manager in downtown Houston with individuals living with HIV, co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and homelessness. His business background prompted him to look at social work from a systems and business perspective. An early mentor taught him “no money, no mission” He learned to analyze program budgets, funding sources, clinical interventions and participant outcomes to insure program sustainability.
Prior to coming to SDSU, Rich held the position of Senior Vice President for Mental Health Systems (MHS). He oversaw fifty different programs throughout California addressing behavioral health issues, homelessness, needs of veterans and the various impacts of poverty. During this time he had the opportunity to address social policy issues at the local, state and national levels. Prior to his executive role he was the Director of Housing for MHS and managed the Family Recovery Center (FRC) in Oceanside.
At FRC he oversaw a team serving pregnant and post-partum women impacted by substance use, mental health and domestic violence experiences. Many were seeking to reunite with their children who were currently living in foster or kinship care. There he witnessed firsthand how entire family systems could be shaped for the better by utilizing cutting edge wrap around services to address the multitude of needs of the women and children served. He described this as “one of the greatest experiences of his life.”
Rich’s research endeavors include the design, implementation and outcomes of programs addressing: co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, process improvement and social entrepreneurship. During his employment with MHS, he was the Project Director for five different SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) grants. Rich reminisced about his experiences working with social workers throughout his professional career by stating “we tend to be exceptional connectors, whether it’s with individual clients, groups, families, communities, funders or policy makers, we are adept at bringing people and resources together-this is one of our greatest strengths.”
Rich teaches introduction to Motivational Interviewing and Macro Practice classes to both graduate and undergraduate students. This academic year, he is one of the field instructors for graduate social work students. From day one of joining the faculty, he adopted the view that students are his colleagues and that there are no teachers, only learners. He believes that if he collaborates with students, he can help co-create a positive environment for learning. Rich stays up to date with Evidence Based Practices and brings those along with practical experience into the classroom. Years of providing clinical and administrative trainings has taught him the importance of attending to different learning styles and most importantly, make it fun! He shared that he finds working with students personally rewarding, “I’m excited to be some small part of preparing the next wave of social workers to address the many issues we have in our society.” His advice to future social workers is “get to know your classmates-the relationships you build and the connections you make…those are invaluable.”
When Mr. Bradway is not teaching, he is busy in his private practice or consulting with non-profit organizations. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Insight San Diego whose mission is “to cultivate mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion for the benefit of ourselves and the world”. He shared that self-care is part of his daily life where he tries to do something each day for his mind, body and spirit. To that end he enjoys fly fishing, body surfing, cycling, meditation and spending time with his wife and two small dogs.
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written by Claudia Gonzalez, MSW