Winter 2022

Why I Give: Florian Portis

Florian Protis, LICSW, LICSW-C, (BASW ’00, MSW ’01) Founder and Executive Director, Therapeutic Links Behavioral Health Services

Florian Protis, LICSW, LICSW-C, (BASW ’00, MSW ’01)

Founder and Executive Director, Therapeutic Links Behavioral Health Services

Please tell us more about your journey from the University of Pittsburgh School Social Work to your current work in the field.

After graduating with my Master of Social Work, I continued to work for the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families for a year, before moving back home to Maryland, where I secured a social worker position with the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency. Over the course of 12 years, I’ve held roles as a social worker for the District of Columbia Public Schools (providing evidence-based counseling to students) and as a clinical manager and clinical director for two outpatient mental health clinics. These positions allowed me to leverage my training in a macro-level practice, management and clinical skill set. Florian Protis

I am now the founder and executive director of Therapeutic Links Behavioral Health Services, a private practice with two locations in the Washington, D.C., metro area. I lead a team of 15 licensed therapists and three administrative staff members.

Thinking back on your time at Pitt Social Work, what are some of your fondest memories?

The most meaningful memory I have was being awarded a paid field placement through the partnership between Pitt and the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families. The application process was pretty intense and competitive. I truly enjoyed working closely with Edward Sites and Patricia Wright. I’m also honored to have attended the school under the leadership of Pitt’s longest-serving dean and only African American dean [at the time of my attendance], David E. Epperson.

What motivates you to give back to Pitt Social Work?

I believe that philanthropy is about service, and it just made sense to give back to my alma mater that serves and provides education based on what their students need to make an impact on society as a whole. I was a recipient of various grants, scholarships, and opportunities at Pitt that allowed me to benefit from an authentic learning experience. It’s important to me that students have access to the same quality of education that I received from Pitt. There has been a paradigm shift in the way we address mental health and social issues, and I believe that Pitt is equipped to prepare students for the challenges ahead.

Do you support a specific fund or program at the school? What other causes or organizations do you support?

At the school, I support the Center on Race and Social Problems and the School of Social Work Scholarship Fund.

I support fundraising efforts for various national and local organizations that promote health and disease prevention and address health disparities. I’m also an avid contributor to initiatives that provide sustainable relief to homeless and low-income children, families, and veterans.