Cummings Graduate Institute Celebrates New Doctor of Behavioral Health Graduates

The nonprofit, private, post-secondary institution specializing in integrated behavioral health education honors the doctoral program culmination of two new DBH graduates.

March 22, 2023
Tempe, AZ

Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies (CGI) is thrilled to announce the graduation of two new Doctors of Behavioral Health. Dr. Ellen Fink-Samnick, DBH, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, CCM, CCTP, CRP and Dr. Ebony Watson, DBH, LCSW, MSW, completed the requirements for the Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) program. On January 12, 2023, the new graduates were celebrated at the DBH Commencement Ceremony in Tempe, AZ. We are honored to have worked with them during their studies and applaud them for their perseverance and tenacity as they completed their doctoral degrees.

Dr. Ellen Fink-Samnick, DBH, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, CCM, CCTP, CRP

Dr. Ellen Fink-Samnick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board-certified Case Manager, and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She always aimed to attain a terminal degree but never found the right fit for her interdisciplinary lens until she discovered CGI’s Doctor of Behavioral Health program. Dr. Fink-Samnick is a clinical supervision trainer and instructor for the National Association of Social Workers of Virginia and Metro DC, lead for Rise Association’s Social Determinants of Health Community, moderator of Ellen’s Ethical LensTM on LinkedIn, author of Ellen’s Interprofessional Insights, and faculty at the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, George Mason University’s School of Public Health, and most recently Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies. Her latest books include The Essential Guide to Interprofessional Ethics for Healthcare Case Management, The Social Determinants of Health: Case Management’s Next Frontier, End of Life Care for Case Management, and upcoming Social Determinants of Mental Health: Advancing Wholistic Practice Excellence. Dr. Fink-Samnick is known for her fierce professional voice.

Dr. Fink-Samnick’s DBH Culminating Project was entitled Advancing the Wholistic Health Equity Quality Roadmap: Integrated Care’s Quality Quotient. Her culminating project explores how the wholistic health equity determinants (WHED) of social determinants of health and mental health, systemic racism, and overall traumas contribute to poor clinical outcomes and fiscal losses at each touchpoint of care, especially for vulnerable and marginalized populations. Dr. Fink-Samnick developed an 8-step roadmap for national regulatory entities and healthcare organizations to attain wholistic health equity successfully. A roadmap at the national level is a moral, ethical, and financial imperative to ensure inclusive, quality-driven, patient-centered, and concordant interventions for all populations.

Learn more about Dr. Fink-Samnick’s culminating project and her post graduation plans

Dr. Ebony Watson, DBH, LCSW, MSW

Dr. Ebony Watson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with ten years of experience working in integrated healthcare. She was drawn to the Doctor of Behavioral Health degree program due to its clinical practice focus and incorporation of the Biodyne Model. Dr. Watson graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Doctor In Behavioral Health (DBH) from Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies. Dr. Watson is passionate about promoting health equity and plans to continue to work in integrated care as a Behavioral Care Provider (BCP). She aims to offer her expertise, advocate for marginalized populations, and help them navigate the healthcare system, establish and successfully meet their personal goals of care.

Dr. Watson’s culminating research project entitled “Preventing Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Amongst African American Women” focused on the impact of supportive doula services throughout the perinatal process and the effect on adverse outcomes. The targeted population was African American mother’s in the postpartum phase up to a year after delivering their baby. Dr. Watson hypothesized that if African American mothers experience a lack of perinatal support, they will have an increased probability of experiencing adverse pregnancy outcomes such as hypertensive disorders, low birth weight, and preterm birth. Dr. Watson successfully defended her study on December 12, 2022, advocating for the evidence-based need for more culturally competent care within primary healthcare settings, including collaborating with community-based certified doulas to help decrease ethnic healthcare disparities and improve pregnancy outcomes for African American mothers.

Learn more about Dr. Watson’s culminating project and her post graduation plans.

When reflecting upon the new graduates’ accomplishments, Dr. U. Grant Baldwin, Jr. DBH, Director of the DBH program, shares,

“Dr. Watson and Dr. Fink-Samnick are shining examples of emerging scholars, leaders and innovators that CGI strives to cultivate and develop for the betterment of the healthcare system. CGI has complete confidence that both of these brilliant minds will impact improving healthcare quality and will push the envelope to ensure that special populations receive the attention and focus they deserve. I am incredibly grateful they chose and entrusted CGI to help guide them to finding their unique voices in integrated health care.”

Each new DBH graduate brings a unique perspective on improving healthcare as a Doctor of Behavioral Health. CGI looks forward to seeing how our graduates will improve healthcare delivery and patient care.

Relive the joy of the DBH Commencement Ceremony honoring Dr. Ellen Fink-Samnick, DBH, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, CCM, CCTP, CRP and Dr. Ebony Watson, DBH, LCSW, MSW below.

About Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies (CGI)

Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies is a nonprofit, DEAC accredited, online post-graduate institution of higher learning offering post-graduate education and training in the field of integrated behavioral healthcare. CGI is focused on meeting the healthcare industry’s need for a highly-skilled workforce to support an integrated approach to addressing patients’ needs. To learn more about CGI visit,

For further information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies
Melissa McGurgan