Tessa Garcia McEwen, AM, LCSW, DCCS, CDP

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Certified Dementia Practitioner
Department of Neurology
Quality of Life & Family Support Services

Tessa brings over 20 years working with diverse populations in the nonprofit and medical sectors, from youth and parents, to women in maternal health, and older adults, doing her best to listen first before giving care. Currently at UChicago Medicine, she is interested in providing patients, care partners, and families — across intergenerational lines and identities — with personalized access to resources, short- and long-term care planning, and exploring creative strategies together for increased quality of life.  Tessa primarily supports all of those that come through The Memory Center, with Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias (ADRDs). She also provides support via consult for all of the outpatient neurology and neurosurgery clinics, which includes patients with ALS, epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and more.

On her off time, Tessa serves as a global facilitator for youth and care partners at Lorenzo’s House, a local nonprofit with worldwide reach that helps to close the care and connection gap for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other related dementia. She co-facilitates ‘Bright Brunch’ for the care partners, and supports youth ages 8-35+ with a parent diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other related dementia through monthly group sessions (for both current support, ‘Light Club’ and bereavement support ‘Shine On’), and the annual Youth Summit, open to all around the world. 

As a graduate student recipient of the Albert T. Schweitzer Fellowship, she focused on bringing grief and loss support to local communities, and cultural humility and compassionate care to medical settings, and continues to do so through speaking engagements for medical professionals, graduate students, and community members.  Her early career includes 10 years working in nonprofit management, diversity equity and inclusion, and marketing/communications design and outreach for marginalized voices and identities.

Tessa is co-founder and medical sector co-lead for Dementia Friendly Hyde Park, and serves on several boards and professional associations in the field for social work, healthy aging, and dementia care. She assists with grant writing and research projects and holds a certification from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. Tessa completed her B.A. in Sociology at The University of Notre Dame and a masters in clinical social work at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

Memberships, Certifications, & Professional Groups: 
-Candidate, Certified Grief Educator, by David Kessler (current Spring 2024 cohort)
-Certified Dementia Capable Care Specialist (DCCS), Crisis Prevention Institute
-Certified Dementia Connection Specialist (DCS), Dementia Connection Institute
-Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners
-Cognitive and Memory Professionals (CAMP), a professional group for Chicagoland area
-Dementia Friendly IL Subcommittee member
-Illinois Cognitive Resource Network member
-Dementia Friends Champion, Dementia Friends USA, trained facilitator
-SHARE Network Chicago, a GWEP Grant Recipient of HRSA, team member, speaker/presenter
-‘Art Is…In’, leadership team member
-Lorenzo’s House, co-founding Board Member, global facilitator/curriculum designer
-Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, representative for UChicago Medicine, Board Member
-Dementia Friendly Hyde Park, co-founding team member, medical sector co-lead
-Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Team, Department of Neurology, UChicago Medicine

Neurology & Neurosurgery Specialty Outpatient Clinics at UChicago Medicine:
https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/conditions-services/neurology-neurosurgery

 

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