Director of Jack Aron Center Adult Outpatient ServicesNew York“We serve everybody who comes through the door. That’s our mission. Even if we find them inappropriate for our program, we put a referral in place to make sure they get the services they need."
Karen Mohammed has been working in the field of social work for seventeen years, as a counselor and as a director of criminal justice, domestic violence, and substance abuse treatment programs.
Karen, a licensed mental health counselor, decided to pursue work in a social field because she was passionate about helping others: “I’ve always been one to be supportive and help people get their lives back. I have a fire in me and I just knew that I knew that it was my purpose to help others.” She has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Long Island University and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. She has taken social work courses and seminars at Fordham University and New York University as well.
Karen interned at a foster care agency and a domestic violence agency called Sanctuary for Families. She also worked as a medical clerk at United Bronx Parents, a substance abuse treatment program, before coming to Phoenix House as a case manager in 1997. After becoming senior case manager and prevention specialist supervisor at Phoenix House, Karen left to pursue her graduate degree and get more education in other fields of social work. When she became director of a domestic violence program, Crossroads, she got training in the cycle of violence and built the program from the ground up.
Although she loved helping women and reuniting them with their children, she missed working in the field of substance abuse and decided to return. She sought out more education in the field of substance abuse treatment and earned a post-master’s certificate for Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Abusing Clients from New York University. She served as clinical director of outpatient services at Cornerstone of Medical Arts Center Hospital and as program director of Providence House, a transitional shelter parole program for women. In 2010, she returned to Phoenix House as director of the Jack Aron Center Adult Outpatient Services, where she oversees the administrative and clinical operations and supervises staff.
Karen says the program serves its clients through flexible hours—from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM and on Saturday—and uses a comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum that often helps people who struggle with co-occurring disorders. “We serve everybody who comes through the door,” Karen says. “That’s our mission. Even if we find them inappropriate for our program, we put a referral in place to make sure they get the services they need.”’
“I’m passionate about the work that I do,” Karen says. “It’s my purpose. It’s a reward in itself when I see people become more productive, independent, and self-sufficient.”