Dr. Healy received both her MSW and PhD degrees from Simmons College School of Social Work in 1981 and 1996, respectively. She also completed an NIMH fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 1984. She joined the faculty of the University of Southern Maine in 1996. Dr. Healy moved into academia following a career in direct practice in multiple health and mental health settings, including home health care, acute and long term care, and community mental health. Just prior to beginning to teach full-time, she was the director of mental health services at a visiting nurse association. For several years, Dr. Healy also maintained a private practice specializing in personal and family stress associated with aging, physical challenges, chronic and life-threatening illness, and sexual orientation. Much of Dr. Healy's research has examined the ethical tensions inherent in social work practice with community-dwelling elders. More recently she has focused on health promotion for elders and caregivers.
Her current interests also include mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies.