HU Social Work Professor’s Law and Ethics Textbook Published
New Mexico Highlands University social work professor Andrew Israel’s textbook, Using the Law: Practical Decision Making in Mental Health, was published by Lyceum Books in October for national distribution.
“I’m not aware of any other textbook that offers a multidisciplinary approach to law and ethics for social work, psychology and counseling students,” Israel said. “Mental health students and professionals looking for legal guidance need a reference that transcends the artificial boundaries of their individual professions. These professions serve the same client base using a multidisciplinary approach, especially in rural New Mexico. The central question is how to make better practice decisions for clients.
“As a textbook, it will help students clarify professional issues. I’m also hoping that frustrating workplace dilemmas can be simplified with the books’ decision-making framework,” Israel said.
“This textbook is well written, easy to read, and well organized,” said Robert Ortega, a social work professor at the University of Michigan who reviewed Israel’s textbook.
Israel is uniquely qualified to write with authority about legal and ethical issues within the mental health professions, and this is his second textbook. He graduated cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law and practiced law in New Mexico for 10 years. His expertise is in civil rights, child welfare, and domestic relations. He is past director of the State Bar of New Mexico Public Law Section.
Tiring of the contentious law profession, Israel went on to complete his master of social work in the Highlands University School of Social Work. Dean Alfredo Garcia asked him to join the social work faculty in 1996, and he served as associate dean from 2005 — 2010.
“Once I started teaching I loved it so much that I never looked back,” Israel said.
Israel developed and teaches graduate social work courses in law and ethics, social welfare policy, and grant writing. He also designed and implemented a trial practice training program that emphasizes children’s court procedures, and working cooperatively with attorneys. He recently designed an undergraduate course in community organizing that will be offered for the first time spring semester 2011.
“The most rewarding thing about teaching is when a former student contacts me and says they aren’t intimidated by the legal process and ethical dilemmas,” Israel said. “We all have more ability than we think we do to rise above the fear of litigation.”
Israel’s latest textbook is written to help simplify legal concepts for students and provide a framework to streamline decision making across disciplines. It also gives practical examples of decision making in cases involving diversity issues and cross-cultural mental health practice.