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Thomas Robertson is a lifelong resident of Koʻolauloa and has spent much of his career dedicated to serving the Koʻolauloa community. He graduated with a BS from Brigham Young University-Hawaiʻi and then received an MSW from The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He was drawn to work in the field of social work as a way of helping other people and making the world a better place. He has a wide range of skills related to clinical practice with individuals, groups, and families. In addition to direct practice, he also has experience with macro systems, having served on large-scale mental health projects in Hawai‘i. He is currently on the board of directors of the Hawai'i chapters of the National Association of Social Workers and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Thomas has a passion for education and has been adjunct faculty at Brigham Young University–Hawai‘i since 2017, and as a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Thomas is a doctoral candidate at the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health at the University of Hawaiʻi, working towards a Ph.D. in Social Welfare.

Educational Background

  • Doctoral Student of Social Welfare, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, HI (August 2019 - ongoing)

  • Master of Social Work, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, HI (Aug 2005 - May 2007)

    • Concentration: Behavioral Mental Health

  • Bachelor of Science, Brigham Young University–Hawaii Campus, Lāʻie, HI (Aug 1998 - May 2004)

    • Major: International Business Management

    • Minor: International Cultural Studies, Communications Emphasis


Research Experience & Areas of Interest

January 2022 - Present: Graduate Assistant 

  • Hawaii Caring Systems Initiative, Conducting Qualitative Interviews with Medical Providers in the State of Hawai‘i Medical System

January 2020 - May 2020: Educational Research Fellow

  • Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Center for Learning and Teaching


May 2020 - Sept 2020: Doctoral Research Practicum, Hawai‘i CARES​

  • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health

Research Interests - Suicide prevention and postvention; Rural and medically underserved communities; Severe mental illness; Social isolation & loneliness; Indigenous health systems; Indigenous suicide prevention;  Behavioral health integration; Student resilience

Research Experience

Teaching Experience

2022 - Present

Lecturer, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Thompson School, Department of Social Work

  • Instructor for the following courses:

    • Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities (SW 403)

    • Advanced Practice in Behavioral Mental Health (SW 725)​​

2017 - Present

Adjunct Faculty, Brigham Young University, Hawaiʻi Campus, Lāʻie

  • Instructor of the following courses: 

    • Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SOCW 357)

    • Social Work With Individuals (SOCW 362)

    • Social Work Values and Ethics (SOCW 390R)

    • Social Work With Communities and Organizations (SOCW 462)

    • Community Mental Health (SOCW 468)


Certificate from Center for Learning at Teaching (CLT), Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi

2019 - Ongoing

Attend pedagogical seminars and workshops through the CLT


Doctoral Teaching Practicum, University of Hawai‘i

Teaching Experience

Graduate Assistantships

2021 - Present

Graduate Assistant, Office of Public Health Studies, Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health

  • Assist principal investigators in the Hawai‘i Caring Systems Initiative (HCSI) in research and community engagement related to youth suicide prevention

  • Develop an environmental scan related to medical systems at the state level

  • Research literature on suicide postvention data collection

  • Begin developing a unique postvention interview question protocol to be used by HCSI

2019 - 2020

Graduate Assistant, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, UH, Mānoa

  • Assist principal investigator for Hawaiʻi CARES in research and reporting on quality assurance and evaluation activities

  • Collect, analyze, and report data with the use of R, WITS electronic medical record system, Excel, and other analytic tools as needed

  • Assist with various research and evaluation related tasks including literature reviews, the development of research projects, analysis of and presentation of research data, development and writing of reports, the management of research projects

  • Provide screenings, intakes, assessments, and community outreach for those seeking substance use disorder treatment in the state of Hawaiʻi

  • Other miscellaneous duties as assigned

Graduate Assistantships

Professional Experience

2015 -2021

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Koʻolauloa Health Center, Kahuku & Hauʻula, HI

  • See individuals, couples, and families for psychotherapy

  • Provide ongoing assessment and diagnosis for each client, create therapy treatment plans, document sessions

  • Use evidence-based practices (EBP) to treat people with behavioral health concerns

  • Use EBPs for smoking cessation, the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, and other addictions

  • Collaborate with the medical team to provide multidisciplinary treatment

  • Proficiently use electronic medical record systems to manage patient health information

2009 -2020

Team Leader / Clinical Supervisor, North Shore Mental Health, Oʻahu, HI

  • Run team meetings, discuss staff caseloads, assist in problem-solving client issues

  • Provide direct supervision to staff for the development of clinical skills

  • Supervise MSWs toward clinical licensure

  • Communicate with the program director regarding staff supervision and related information

2015 - 2022

Practicum Instructor / Internship Supervisor

  • Periodic supervision and instruction of internship students

  • Create learning agreements

  • Meet with students on a regular basis to track progress

  • Give feedback to help with an improved experience at the internship site

  • Review and sign off on case documentation as a Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP)

2010 -2019

Therapist / Sole Proprietor, Psychotherapy Solo Practitioner

  • See individuals, couples, and families for psychotherapy, primarily using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

  • Provide ongoing assessment and diagnosis for each client, create therapy treatment plans, document sessions

  • Use evidence-based practices to treat people with severe and persistent mental illnesses

  • Use EBPs for smoking cessation, the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, and other addictions

  • Manage private practice, including claims submissions, maintaining client files, and all other managerial work related to running a private practice

2012 -2013

Therapist / Counselor, Action with Aloha, Aiea, HI

  • Work with military-affiliated individuals and couples in direct practice

  • Use short-term solution-based interventions for marriage counseling, interpersonal problems, and non-substance related addictions

  • Provide ongoing assessment for each client, create therapy treatment plans, document sessions

2007 - 2019

Community-Based Case Manager, North Shore Mental Health, Oʻahu, HI

  • Provide community-based case management to clients with severe and persistent mental illnesses to assist them towards further independence and stability in the community

  • Assist clients in accessing community resources such as psychiatry, intensive therapeutic treatment, substance abuse treatment, public assistance, health insurance, housing, etc

  • Work one on one with clients to develop coping skills, communication, psycho-educational, and other skills related to recovery

  • Provide crisis support and intervention to clients as needed, 24 hours a day

  • Assist the client and team in the creation and implementation of individualized master recovery plans

  • Perform intake assessments, and maintain up-to-date client records including progress notes, LOCUS, recovery plans, crisis plans, consents, etc

  • Advocate for clients in various agency and courtroom settings, help the client develop self-advocacy skills

2004 - 2005

Skills Trainer, North Shore Mental Health, Lāʻie, HI

  • Work one on one with children with developmental disabilities in the classroom and in community settings

  • Work directly with other support staff at the schools to follow the IEP

  • Assist the client with learning skills to be more fully integrated and mainstreamed into the educational system

  • Utilize evidence-based practices to implement the target goals, evaluate, and reassess the intervention

  • Document each encounter, and create a report for supervision


Bersamira, C., Robertson, T., & Sabagala, A. P. (2020). How the Hawai‘i CARES Program Aims to Strengthen Addiction Treatment Through a Social Work Lens. HAWAI‘I JOURNAL OF HEALTH & SOCIAL WELFARE, 79(1), 3.

Professional Experience

Qualifications & Skills

Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Hawaiʻi (January 2010 - Present)

Qualified Mental Health Professional in the State of Hawai‘i (January 2010 - Present)

Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist: MAYO Clinic Certification (September 2016 - Present)

Certified Substance Abuse Counselor: Hawaiʻi (June 2017 - Present)

Certificate from Center for Learning at Teaching, Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi (2019)

Qualifications & Skills

Memberships & Associations

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hawai‘i Chapter, Board of Directors

National Association of Social Workers, Hawai'i Chapter, Board of Directors, Member at Large

Hawaiʻi State Rural Health Association, Member

Society for Science-Based Medicine, Member

National Association For Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, Member

Memberships & Associations


2006 - 2007

Student Social Worker, Hawaiʻi State Hospital, Kāneʻohe, HI

  • Provide one-on-one counseling to hospital patients using a variety of clinical approaches

  • Work with the clinical team to create individualized recovery plans

  • Work with clients in a variety of psychosocial rehabilitation settings

  • Work with community providers to find placement for patients upon discharge from the hospital

  • Make arrangements for hospital patients to be linked to resources upon discharge

  • Attend weekly training and seminars

2005 - 2006

Student Social Worker, Hawaiʻi 360 Family Support Project, Windward Oʻahu, HI

  • Assist families with navigating the network of disability services

  • Assist in running panel discussions with participating families and stakeholders

  • Along with project members, presented at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities


Awards & Recognitions

  • Scholarship Awardee, Richard S. & T. Rose Takasaki Endowed Scholarship (2019)

  • Scholarship Awardee, Jensen Lampson Memorial Scholarship (2020)

  • Scholarship Awardee, Sentaro and Laurel T.T. Kaneda Scholarship (2021)

  • Outstanding Case Manager, Awarded by ʻOhana Health Plan (December 2016)

  • Ten Years of Excellence in Service, Awarded by North Shore Mental Health (December 2016)

  • Top Employee for the Year, Awarded by North Shore Mental Health (2016)

  • Fifteen Years of Excellence in Service, Awarded by North Shore Mental Health (2020)

Awards & Recognitions


April 2023

Presenter, OD2A: Overdose Data to Action Seminar 

  • Suicide, Substance Use, and Maintaining Mental Wellness

April 2023

Presenter, Dissertation Proposal Defense 

  • Learning from Suicide Loss Survivors: Developing and Testing a Systems-Pointing Interview Protocol

Nov 2022

Presenter, Hawai'i Behavioral Health and Wellness Convention 

  • “Maintaining Mental Wellness While Providing Services on the Suicide Prevention Continuum” 

June 2022

Poster Presentation, National Association of Social Workers, National Conference 

  • “Learning From Suicide Loss Survivors: An Interview Protocol in Development” 

March 2022

Presenter, University of Hawai‘i, Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health

  • “Suicide Postvention at the Macro, Mezzo, and Micro Level” 

February 2022

Presenter, BYU-H Center for Learning and Teaching

  • “Taking Care of Yourself While Teaching in a Pandemic”

December 2021

Presenter, Hawai‘i Library Association, Annual Conference

  • “Share Your Perspective: ADHD and Libraries”

June 2021

Presenter, Bank of Hawai‘i, Employee Mental Health Seminar

  • “Beyond Myths and Stigma: Men’s Mental Health Today”

April 2019

Presenter, Rainbow Schools, Health and Safety Workshop with Ko‘olauloa Health Center

  • “Understanding their world through emotions and behaviors: Managing tantrums, shyness, separation anxiety, and more.”


Additional Activities

May 2022 - Present

Student Representative, Graduate Student Organization

  • Univerity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Jan 2021 - May 2022

Ph.D. Student Representative, Ph.D Committee Member​

  • Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, the UH Mānoa

February 2019

Judge, American Bar Association Client Counseling Competition

  • Host School: William S. Richardson School of Law, Mānoa, Hawaiʻi

2017 - 2021

Writer, Periodic articles published on topics of mental health in North Shore News

  • Existential Anxiety, July 2021

  • Adjusting to Change, May 2021

  • Empowering Goals in Therapy, October 2020

  • Panic Attacks, February 2020

  • Bipolar Disorder, May 2017

Additional Activities
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