J’May Rivara was first appointed a School of Social Work lecturer in 1985 while working as associate director of Social Work at the UW Medical Center. In 1995, she joined the Office of Field Education as a full-time lecturer, was promoted to senior lecturer in 2017 and associate teaching professor in 2019. J’May taught required Health Care Practice courses at the School of Social Work from 1985 to 2007.
Since 2010, she has co-directed the Carol LaMare Scholars Program, serving as the field faculty lead and liaison for students completing advanced practicums in oncology, palliative care and in life-limiting illness. The network of more than 130+ Carol LaMare Scholar alumni meet annually and are in clinical and leadership roles practicing in hospitals, clinics, palliative care and hospice programs in the Seattle area. In 2019, she became the assistant director of the Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care under the leadership of the School of Social Work professor Taryn Lindhorst, Behar Endowed Professor of Oncology and Palliative Social Work and director of the Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work.
Rivara graduated in 1975 from the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. From 1975 to 1995, she was a clinical social worker, manager and researcher in health care settings in Boston, Massachusetts; Hazard, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee, and Seattle, Washington. She also served as a practicum instructor and on the field education faculty at the University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee and the University of Washington.
Her teaching and research have been focused on family functioning, chronic illness, pediatric traumatic brain injury, and the impact of field education on student learning. From 1987 to 1995, she was co-investigator, Children’s Head Injury Outcome Study, at Seattle Children’s Hospital. From 1995 to 2021, she was a member of the field faculty in the School of Social Work Office of Field Education, where she served as co-director from 2007 to 2009.
She was the OFE field faculty lead for the School's health care concentration from 1995 to 2021. As core faculty and field coordinator for the SAMHSA- funded Northwest Leaders in Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (NL-SBIRT) Interdisciplinary Training grant, she organized an active behavioral health field instructor group. For many years, she served on the Interprofessional Education (IPE) Health Sciences Committee. J’May also held an appointment as adjunct associate teaching professor in the UW School of Public Health (MPH) and served as a faculty advisor for School of Social Work concurrent MSW/MPH students from1995 to 2021.