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Mary E. Sormanti, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S.

Professor of Professional Practice, School of Social Work

Mary Sormanti has experience in direct practice, program development, and research with individuals, families, and communities affected by serious illness, bereavement, intimate partner violence, and disaster. She has worked in partnership with local and national organizations including the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Project Liberty.

Dr. Sormanti is a senior educational partner at the Center for Complicated Grief, where she organizes the field placement program, supervises MSW interns, and participates in research and educational projects. She also teaches a course in narrative medicine through the School of Professional Studies. She serves as a member of the Publication Committee of Columbia University Press, and on the Columbia Commons IPE Steering Committee, which developed and implemented Columbia’s first Interprofessional Day of Action in April 2018. This event brought together more than 1,800 students, faculty, and staff from nine schools and programs across the University, including the School of Social Work.

Dr. Sormanti was the faculty recipient of a 2015 Community-Based Participatory Research Pilot Award from the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Her research proposal, submitted with Marilyn Pacheco of Isabella, examined feasibility, acceptability, and potential benefits of creative arts groups with community-dwelling older adults.

Dr. Sormanti maintains clinical licensure in New York and in Massachusetts.


  • Ph.D., Boston College
  • M.S.W., New York University
  • M.S., Columbia University




Book Chapters

Sormanti, M. (in press). Facilitating women’s development through the illness of cancer: Depression, self-silencing and self care. In D. Jack & A. Ali (Eds.), Cultural perspectives on women’s depression: Self-silencing, psychological distress, and recovery. New York: Oxford University        Press.

Sormanti, M. (2008). Bereavement practice. In T. Mizrahi & L. Davis (Eds.),   Encyclopedia of social work(20th ed.) (pp. 192-195). New York: Oxford    University Press.

Sormanti, M. (2007). Clinical practice with individuals and families coping with life-threatening illness. In E. L. Csikai & B. Jones (Eds.), Teaching resources for end-of-life and palliative care courses (pp. 284-289). Chicago: Lyceum Books.

Journal Articles

Sormanti, M., & Smith, E. (in press). Intimate partner violence screening in the emergency department: Residents’ perspectives about barriers and supports. International Quarterly of Community Health Education.

Wong-Kim, E., Sormanti, M., Tang, K. L., & Ngai, S. (in press). Talking cancer, saving lives: Breast cancer awareness training for health professionals in Hong Kong. International Quarterly of Community Health Education.

Sormanti, M., & Shibusawa, T. (2008). Intimate partner violence among midlife and older women: A descriptive analysis of women seeking medical services. Health & Social Work33(1), 33-40.

Sormanti, M., & Shibusawa, T. (2007). Predictors of condom use and HIV testing among midlife and older women seeking medical services. Journal of Aging & Health19(4), 705-719.

Ballan, M., & Sormanti, M. (2006). Traumatic grief and the social model: Practice guidelines for working with adults with developmental disabilities in the wake of disasters. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal2(3), 78-96.

Sormanti, M., Wu, E., & El-Bassel, N. (2004). Considering HIV risk and intimate partner violence among older women of color: A descriptive analysis. Women & Health39(1), 45-63.

Kayser, K., & Sormanti, M. (2002). A follow-up study of women with cancer: Their psychological well-being and close relationships. Social Work in Health Care35(1/2), 391-406.

Kayser, K., & Sormanti, M. (2002). Identity and the illness experience: Issues faced by mothers with cancer. Illness, Crisis, & Loss: Multidisciplinary Linkages10(1), 10-26.