Dela Alexander

Dela Alexander

Dela Alexander

Upon completing my MSW degree at the University of Southern California in 1976, I began my professional career as a medical social worker in Los Angeles, working at an orthopedic hospital for children.  Shortly thereafter, I moved to Manhattan where I again worked in a hospital and became familiar with hospice care.  Upon moving to Charlottesville I had the privilege of working for the City planning and community development office where I assisted the incipient local hospice effort that eventually grew into the Hospice of the Piedmont.   Working for the City of Charlottesville as a planner for social services, I had a terrific overview of the rich network of social, educational and health-related services in our community. 

When my children were born, I left City employment to care for them, but eventually returned to work at The Senior Center, Inc.  Among other responsibilities, at The Senior Center I planned health fairs, implemented a foster grandparent program, and planned a variety of health-related and cultural programs.  After 13 years with The Senior Center I left to pursue a new challenge as director of the UVA branch of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  Although the focus of the branch was outreach and education, and not social service per se, I was still able to work with disadvantaged populations by encouraging our educators to bring natural history programming to vulnerable populations, young and old, alike. 

In 2005, funding was cut to the Virginia Museum of Natural History and the local branch closed.  Fortuitously, at this time the School of Medicine was developing an innovative new service-learning course, Social Issues in Medicine (SIM), and hired me to participate in its development.  This opportunity allowed me to return to my medical social work roots, but in a different capacity, and participate in the training of future physicians.   In 2010 my responsibilities at the UVA School of Medicine expanded to include the administration of the Generalist Scholars Program.  By administering both the SIM course and GSP, I can make use of my considerable community knowledge to enrich both curricula and offer students meaningful opportunities to learn about and become involved in the greater Charlottesville community.

 

In addition to work, I enjoy traveling, especially to places where Spanish is spoken.  I like to walk with friends, swim in the summer, hike in the fall, do yoga throughout the year (!), read and visit art museums.  I also enjoy making healthy vegetarian meals.  All these activities are most meaningful when enjoyed with my family, which consists of my husband, 2 adult children, and various dear friends.