Marylou Sudders

Marylou Sudders, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services and Visiting Scholar at BCSSW

Marylou Sudders, a visiting scholar at the Boston College School of Social Work, has spent years fighting to curb the opioid epidemic, reform the child welfare system, and eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

Now she has been inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare for her commitment to addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing society today.

“Secretary Sudders’ induction as a fellow of the Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare is a proud moment for all of us at BCSSW and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Gautam Yadama, dean of the Boston College School of Social Work. “Secretary Sudders is a role model for our students on how to be an effective and influential social work practitioner and advocate for our families and children who are vulnerable.”

Sudders, who chaired the health and mental health field of practice at BCSSW from 2012 to 2015, has filled some of the most prominent public policy positions in Massachusetts over the past three decades.

Sudders has served as Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services for the past five years, overseeing a budget of $24 billion and 22,000 public employees who deliver essential services that affect the lives of one in four Massachusetts residents.

As president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children from 2003 to 2012, she promoted the rights and well-being of more than 20,000 children and families. And as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health from 1996 to 2003, she helped to pass legislation that required insurance plans to offer the same coverage for physical and mental health problems.  

Sudders joined the BCSSW as a full-time faculty member in 2012 after she taught on an adjunct basis for five years. In this role, she helped monitor the reform of the delivery of healthcare to Massachusetts residents and drafted changes to gun control laws in the state.

In 2014, she received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to fund a program that trained more than 50 second-year master’s students in the School of Social Work.

Sudders joins Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, James E. Lubben, Kevin Mahoney, and Ruth McRoy as faculty members in the School of Social Work who have been named fellows of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.