Apr
24

The Role of Faith in Healing and Health
Apr
24

Chasing the American Dream
Apr
24

Congregations and Health: Research Directions
May
09

Graduation

NewCurriculum 250The College of Social Work is pleased to announce changes to our MSW program beginning 2014-2015! In response to the evolving needs of our social work community and partner agencies, the current Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE) Standards, and ongoing efforts towards quality improvement, the College of Social Work is modifying our MSW program curriculum. Major features are highlighted below.

A.Foundation Year
Similar to the current curriculum, the new Foundation Year of study will equip MSW students with the basic competencies needed to practice social work in accordance with the CSWE Educational Policies and Academic Standards (EPAS) for 2008. However, the Foundation Year will include some significant changes. First, all students will take a required course on issues of diversity and social justice. Second, there will be changes in the structure of field education. All students will take a weekly integrative field seminar for the first half of fall semester as they prepare to enter the field practicum. During the second half of the semester, the seminar will meet bi-weekly while students begin their practicum. During the second semester of Foundation Year, students will spend two days a week in their field practicum. Third, Foundation Year students will now be able to take an elective during the spring semester, providing them an important opportunity to explore personal areas of interest before they begin their Advanced Year.

B.Advanced Year
Replacing the current curriculum that is divided into areas of practice based on system levels (e.g., individuals, families, and groups; or organizations and communities), the new Advanced Year of the program will allow students to select a specialized area of practice. The new Specializations will provide MSW students with advanced practice social work competencies and offer greater flexibility and choice according to students’ areas of interest.  The Advanced Year plan of study builds upon Foundation Year knowledge, skills, and values with special attention to theories, policies, and interventions grounded in current research within an identified area of practice. This framework includes five Specializations among which students may choose: Health and Behavioral Health; Children, Youth and Families; Aging; Military; and Community, Social and Economic Development.

The new MSW program curriculum will begin for our full-time and part-time incoming MSW students in the fall semester of 2014. Please note that MSW students who are currently enrolled and those who are admitted as Advanced Standing students for Summer 2014 will continue their studies under the current MSW program curriculum.

Dean Anna Scheyett said, “The new Specializations will allow students more flexibility in their education and give them a deeper understanding of their specific areas of interest. Faculty and students alike are excited about this new approach.”
The Field Education Office will be hosting webinars in April, detailing changes as they pertain to field education.

Open HouseNewsStoryThe Center for Child and Family Studies showcased its research faculty, Quality Assurance program, Training team, and Information Design team at a recent Open House. Faculty discussed ways to collaborate across disciplines and explored Center expertise.

In particular, Center staff can assist faculty with dissemination of research results. For example, grants often call for dissemination of findings, yet conference presentations and scholarly articles rarely reach practitioners. The Center’s Information Design team and Training team can help faculty think through the best way to target practitioners—a website, online modules, or curricula for in-service trainings.

COSW students discovered that the Center provides rich opportunities for support and professional development. Students can participate in research studies, training development, media production, and language interpretation in a supportive, professional environment that fosters creativity, diligence, and initiative.

Center Interim Director Cynthia Flynn said, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to create more ties between the Center and the College. There are so many ways that we can support each other’s work.”

COSW NASWMany College of Social Work faculty and students not only attended the Spring Symposium of the South Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Work, but they also presented.

Mary Ann Priester, a PhD student, presented with Dr. Dana DeHart and Dr. Teri Browne: “Evidence-based Interventions for Tri-morbid Trauma, Substance Use, and Mental Disorders.”

Dr. Browne also presented “The ACA: Opportunities for Social Work to Improve Health Parity” and served as a panel presenter for the session “The Affordable Care Act: What Social Workers Need to Know.”

Poloko Ntshwarang, a PhD student, presented “A Study Project on Community Development: Insights from Botswana.”
Jennifer Butler, an adjunct professor in the BSW program, presented “Understanding and Treating Self-Harm Behaviors.”

Tori Charles, a first year doctoral student who is also serving as secretary on the NASW-SC Board of Directors, presented “Vulnerable to Valuable: All Conversations Matter” along with two co-presenters from Winthrop University.

Dr. Susan Parlier presented alongside BSW student Joseph Cerniglia and MSW student Leah Leventhal to present “SW Reinvestment Act (SWRA): Building the Profession’s Future.”

Jennie Ann Cole, a third year PhD student, presented “Homelessness from the Perspective of Storytelling with Formerly Homeless Participants” and service on a panel on activism.

Candice Morgan, a PhD student, presented “Rates and Characteristics of Violent Death Victims Among Recently Released Prisoners: Stories Behind the Numbers” and co-presented with MSW student Makarios Tabor on “Visual Service Plans: Creating Better Outcomes with Diagram-Based Logic Models.”

Dr. Daniel Freedman, a clinical assistant professor, presented “Meaning-Centered Treatment in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders.”

Dr. Kristina Webber presented “Closing the Achievement Gap by Combating Stereotypes: A Brief Writing Intervention” with co-authors Natasha K. Bowen and Kate M. Wegmann, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Suzanne Sutphin, a research assistant professor, presented “Working with Kinship Caregivers: Identifying and Addressing Service Needs.”

Dr. Pippin Whitaker, an assistant professor, presented “Youth Capabilities and Leadership Action for Teen Dating Violence Prevention” along with Tamara E. Savage, a PhD student.

Meredith Powers, a PhD student, presented “Ecological Justice: Roles and Responsibilities for Social Workers” along with several MSW students.

Carrie L. Draper, a field supervisor and adjunct instructor, presented “Integrating Social Workers into the Public Library Setting” along with MSW students Yhoselin Gonzalez and Kimyatta Cousar.

In addition, Dean Anna Scheyett facilitated the student panel for the conference, and Michael Ottone, a field clinical instructor, attended the symposium as president of the NASW—SC.

GoldCertificationThe COSW Green Initiative’s great improvements in all five of the COSW buildings have earned the college the Gold Award for Green Office Certification from Sustainable Carolina. Currently the COSW is the only academic college to have achieved certification as a Green Office by Sustainable Carolina.

The Green Office Certification program is a self-audit of green practices by participating offices throughout campus. The goal is to help offices reduce their environmental impact by implementing changes towards sustainability. Examples of new changes introduced to the College include placing recycling receptacles by trash bins in common areas, a small mini-bin for trash by each desk, new reusable dishes in break rooms, and new guidelines and tips for green dining and offices.

Spearheaded by Meredith C.F. Powers, a COSW doctoral student, the COSW Green Initiative began in Fall 2013 with the goal of infusing ecological consciousness into the College of Social Work’s policies, practices, and curriculum during the 2013-2014 academic year. Powers said, “Our main goal is to institutionalize this consciousness so that it becomes part of the culture of the college and is able to outlast any one person’s presence.”

Powers sees this certification as just the beginning. The next step is to work towards greening the COSW curriculum by infusing ecological consciousness and its relationship to social justice into all of the classes. Working with Powers is The Green Team Advisory Committee, which includes faculty, students, and staff. Powers said that this process is already beginning with an elective course, “Ecological Justice,” which will be offered this coming Fall.

The Green Initiative is also sponsoring a lecture series, development workshops, and updated online resources for social workers. The next Greening Social Work Series lecture will be held at the Green Quad Learning Center, Building D on Friday, April 25 from 10:00am-11:30am. The presentation will be provided by George Appenzeller, LCSW, LPC, and is entitled “Putting the Environment in Person-In-Environment.”

Jack D250The College of Social Work is proud to have two poets in our midst. Darlene Jones-Jack and Susan Boykin have each published a poem in the journal The New Social Worker’s Social Work Month series online.

Darlene Jones-Jack (pictured) is a graduate of the University of South Carolina’s Master of Social Work Program. She is currently working as a Program Coordinator at the Center for Child and Family Studies. Read her poem “Be a Helper: Why I Became a Social Worker.”

Susan Boykin is an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina's Charleston Campus. She has been a social worker since 1981. Read her poem “Ode to Group Treatment.”

COSW NASWAwards March2014 0479The winners of the MSW and BSW student of the year awards, given by the South Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, are COSW students Aaron Guest and Caitlin Cribbin.  

Aaron is a second year student in the MSW/PH (public health) dual degree program. The person who nominated him noted, “Aaron really embodies everything I hope to see in a social worker.  He is smart and capable and takes initiative.  He has excellent advocacy skills and organizational skills.  Most importantly, he is a warm, caring, somewhat self-effacing young man with a true heart for the profession.  Knowing Aaron makes me proud to be a social worker and gives me confidence in the future of the profession.”

Caitlin is a senior completing her field internship at C. A. Johnson High School in Columbia, SC. Her nominator stated, “Ms. Cribbin’s career interests and goals are split between clinical work and macro work. She considers the major goals of the social work profession to be empowering clients and advocating for social justice.… her heart is to serve as an advocate and counselor for vulnerable and at-risk populations, especially in the fields of mental health practice. Ms. Cribbin demonstrates an understanding of values and ethics that is consistent with the social work profession.…Ms. Cribbin’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills are outstanding. I expect Ms. Cribbin to be an asset in the social work profession.”

The faculty congratulate both students, and Dean Anna Scheyett said, “We are very fortunate to have such gifted and dedicated students. We are extremely proud of Aaron and Caitlin.”

IPE FirstNazFairThis month USC’s chapter of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement Open School partnered with First Nazareth Baptist Church to host its first ever Health Fair.

IHI Open School is an interprofessional education organization comprised of students and faculty from all health sciences programs at the university. Its objective is to improve community health by providing upcoming health professionals opportunities to learn about quality improvement and patient safety.

Nearly 100 students from a variety of disciplines volunteered at the Health Fair, as well as members of the COSW Black Social Work Student Association, Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, and First Nazareth Baptist Church.  

With the Affordable Care Act’s March 31st enrollment deadline approaching, members of the IHI Open School were inspired to provide uninsured members of the community with resources to make informed health decisions. University students Sara Goldsby and Nadya Toubou-Fackche coordinated and co-chaired the event. Thanks to their efforts, attendees gained access to information about the Affordable Care Act, medication safety, end-of-life options, and more. The chapter also collaborated with several community agencies to provide health screenings, exams, and assistance with insurance sign-up.

Sara, a dual degree masters student in the College of Social Work and the Arnold School of Public Health, was recently elected chapter president of IHI Open School. Sara expressed that “while this event was initially a student idea, it evolved into a true partnership and collaboration with First Nazareth Baptist. The students and the congregation worked together to develop the event, and to tailor it to the community’s needs and wants. It was that cooperation, and the cooperation from the other community agencies involved that made the event possible.”

VietnamMaymesterDr. Huong Nguyen invites students and faculty to study social problems and social work in Vietnam this Maymester.  Vietnam is the site of rich cultural diversity and home to about 86 million people. Globalization has largely contributed to Vietnam being one of the fastest developing countries in the world. Having opened its doors to the Western word since the mid-1980s, Vietnam has cultivated a cultural complex in which Western values intermingle with Vietnamese beliefs. With its new foothold on the global stage, the country thrives in a state of continuous redefinition and transformation.    

Since its decision to adopt a market economy in the 1980s, Vietnam has not only experienced vast economic growth, but has set its sights on “social reforms” one of which being the historic development of the social work profession. The Vietnamese government currently aims to train new and to retrain 60,000 social workers by 2020 to deal with social problems resulting from fast modernization, urbanization, and globalization.  

MOLISA 1Dr. Nguyen said, “The students I have taken to Vietnam before often told me that the trip was a life-changing experience to them. So that’s what I hope for this first cohort of USC students and faculty who are going to Vietnam: a life-changing experience. At the most basic level, I hope a trip to Vietnam will bring them new insights about what social work can be and what social workers can do.”

All USC students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty are eligible to apply.

If you are interested, this flyer contains more information.

RaymondScheyettThe College of Social Work is encouraging alumni to accept the Dean’s Challenge this year. Dean Anna Scheyett and former Deans Frank Raymond, Leon Ginsberg, and Dennis Poole have each made a financial commitment to support the COSW, and they challenge all alumni to join them.

To celebrate the College of Social Work’s 45th anniversary, we are asking that alumni each donate at least $45. If every graduate did so, we would raise an additional $268,380 to enhance the College of Social Work educational experience at Carolina. We are well on our way towards reaching that goal. Through your support, you will be stepping up to the challenge and leaving a lasting impact on your alma mater.

“I support the COSW to ensure future social workers have the opportunity to learn the skills they need to help grow our community,” Jeremy Martin, MSW, ’12 stated. “By supporting the COSW I can be sure that tomorrow’s social workers can find the education they need to thrive.”

The College values every gift to the College of Social Work. Please consider making a gift or pledge now.

About 30 students and family flew nearly 8500 miles from Korea to Columbia in December as part of a hooding ceremony for new master’s degrees being awarded on the 20th anniversary of USC’s groundbreaking graduate program based in Korea.

The University of South Carolina was the first U.S. educational institution to offer a full master’s program in social work in Korea. Its success—despite economic challenges—is testimony to the quality of the program and the value Koreans place in university degrees from the United States, said Dr. Gil Choi, a USC professor of social work and the program’s director.

The Korean MSW program has 175 graduates, including this year’s cohort of 25 students. Fourteen of the graduates and 22 family members flew to the United States, arriving in Columbia December 12, four days before USC’s graduation ceremonies. Each traveler spent about $3,500 and about 45 hours traveling to and from Columbia for their five-day visit.

Read more...

A HannerAndy Hanner recently established the R.A. Hanner Family BSW Endowed Scholarship Fund, the first scholarship for the College’s Bachelor of Social Work program. Upper division BSW students with demonstrated financial need who are interested in working in the mental health or addictions fields will benefit from this scholarship.

Hanner says, “I hope this scholarship will foster and develop more social workers who want to make a difference in our world. Joining with the strong team at the College of Social work will definitely help prepare these students for the demands of the future.”

Hanner is a social worker, therapist, and administrator. He has founded multiple behavioral health companies and has spent his career in behavioral health and addictions. He also serves as the College’s chair for USC’s historic Carolina’s Promise campaign.

He supports the COSW and social work education “because it is such a critically important and valuable profession. A competent, well-trained social worker can be a dynamic change agent, shifting the momentum toward hope in one life, a family, an entire community in need."

Roth newsheadDr. Ben Roth, assistant professor with the College of Social Work, has been invited to present at a roundtable discussion on Poverty and Service Delivery in Suburban America on January 14, 2014, in Washington, DC. The roundtable is hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose of the roundtable is to bring together nationally recognized scholars, practitioners, policy experts, and government officials to discuss poverty and service delivery in suburban America. Participants will identify research and policy development needed to understand and address this issue.

The invitation to Dr. Roth is in recognition of his contributions and expertise in the area of poverty and immigration. As a member of the panel “Characteristics and Needs of the Population Experiencing Poverty in the Suburbs,” Roth plans to share his perspective of immigrant and minority populations living in poverty in the suburbs and discuss how that fits in with the broader understanding of inequality.

CSWE 2013Several members of the College of Social Work faculty presented findings at the Council on Social Work Education’s meeting in Dallas Oct. 31-Nov. 2. They were:

  • Aidyn Iachini, “An Innovative Pedagogical Approach to Teaching Social Work Program Evaluation”   
  • Melissa Reitmeier and Terry Wolfer, “Enhancing Social Work Field Education: Using Decision Cases for Field Instructor Training”
  • Krysti Webber along with her former colleague, Kimberly J. Strom-Gottfried, of the University of North Carolina, “Assets and Impediments in the Adoption of Ethical Decision-Making Models”               

Anna Scheyett served on a panel with faculty from four other universities, “Is There Still Room for Women in Social Work’s Global Era?” And Nikki Wooten served on a panel moderated by Carol Doelling of Washington University in St. Louis, “Getting Hired in Academia: A Primer for Doctoral Students.”
The College of Social Work’s Teri Browne, Naomi Farber, Rob Hock, and retiree Jim Ward also attended the CSWE’s 59th annual program meeting, “Global Social Work—The World is Here.”

Whitaker NewsThe Verizon Foundation has awarded Dr. Pippin Whitaker a 2-year, $15,000 grant to develop an iPad app to be used by Irmo High School students to assess dating relationships with the goal of reducing dating violence.  Dr.  Whitaker, a COSW assistant professor, received recognition for the award at the Nov. 16 USC football game against Florida at Williams-Brice Stadium.

“I am pleased that the Verizon Foundation is supporting our work with high school students and administrators to engage youth as leaders and advocates to promote healthy teen relationships,” Dr. Whitaker said.

About 1 in 3 youth and young adults has experienced some form of teen dating violence, including psychological and physical violence.  In South Carolina high schools in 2011, about 1 in 8 girls and 1 in 10 boys were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend, Whitaker said.

The Verizon Foundation is funding the second phase of the project. In the first phase, researchers interviewed youth, parents, educators, and state representatives. Youth said they want safe, confidential, and ongoing support to build healthy relationships, Dr. Whitaker said.

The COSW grant was part of $75,000 the Verizon Foundation awarded to seven agencies in South Carolina to assist victims and work toward preventing domestic violence.

“Verizon takes seriously our commitment to ensuring sufficient resources are available to victims of domestic violence,” said Jerry Fountain, Verizon Wireless president for the Carolinas and Tennessee. “Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time when we should all reflect on what we can do to help those in our communities who need help.”

WolferCaseDecisionCoverSocial work professor Terry A. Wolfer is the lead author of a book published in November designed to bridge class work and field work. Wolfer and University of Oklahoma social work professors Lori D. Franklin and Karen A. Gray wrote the book Decision Cases for Advanced Social Work Practice: Confronting Complexity.

Published by Columbia University Press in New York, the book contains 15 cases that involve child welfare, mental health, hospital, hospice, domestic violence, refugee resettlement, veterans’ administration, and schools. The cases were chosen because they confront common ethical and treatment issues.

COSW Dean Anna Sheyett said the book is designed to help students sharpen their critical thinking. In each case, students must sort through the ethical, practice, and personal issues they will face in their careers. The cases revolve around client autonomy, supervisory conflict, and other themes with a depth and complexity that precludes easy answers.

“One of the great challenges in teaching social work practice is helping students move beyond tidy, textbook formulations to wrestle with the messiness of true practice,” Sheyett said.

Wolfer has been using the case method since 2000 for a capstone course that doctoral students take in their final semester. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Recent Contributions in Social Work Education Award from the Council on Social Work Education.

Flynn adoptionThe Center for Child and Family Studies is improving the odds for teens to build lifelong ties

When Dr. Cynthia Flynn started interviewing youth who were adopted as teenagers in 2001, she was helping build the foundation for a shift in thinking about families, age, and adoption.

In the field of adoption, where research has been scant, one finding has dominated thinking: Chances of adoption dwindle with age. Flynn and other researchers, however, realized that lower odds didn’t mean impossible odds, and increasing adoption opportunities for teens is vital because permanency is a life-long need.

Flynn, Wendy Welch, and Dr. Kathleen Paget published “Field-Initiated Research on Successful Adolescent Adoptions” in 2004. The federally funded research revealed teens and adoptive parents sharing their questions, decision processes, and actions as they moved from considering adoption to legal completion. Other studies had looked at reasons adoptions failed; Flynn’s group examined the ingredients of success. The paper’s straightforward language lent greater power to the voices of the youth and adults.

“I was awed and inspired by what some of the parents went through. They put their lives on hold to provide these teens with what they needed,” said Flynn, now interim associate director of The Center for Child and Family Studies at USC’s College of Social Work.

The Center has been involved in helping the S.C. Department of Social Services fulfill one of the study’s key recommendations: “Employ caseworkers who specialize in adolescent adoptions.” One such practitioner is Debbie Beecken, a certified adoption investigator for more than 17 years. She spent most of her career with non-profit agencies recruiting families for children whose needs and circumstances made adoption challenging. Since January 2013 she has been employed by the Center to train newly hired adoption specialists for DSS.

Teens’ chances for adoption have improved as the number of case workers trained in the methods of matching older youth to families has grown, Beecken said. “We don’t give up on them.”

Buddhist approach to mental health templeThe Venerable Thich Minh Thanh, head-monk of Thang Nghiem Temple in Hanoi shared Buddhist approaches to mental health. Buddhist temples in Vietnam are a frequent destination for Vietnamese people with mental health problems seeking healing. Since 1997, the Venerable Thich Minh Thanh has helped many people suffering symptoms ranging from stress, anxiety disorders, and depression to hallucinations, schizophrenia, and/or seizures.

His therapeutic method is based on Buddhist philosophies about the mind, the self and the root causes of mental health problems. In this talk, he will explain the philosophies and methods he used to help Vietnamese people with mental health problems.ThichMinhThanhFull

Contributing to the talk, Dr. Huong Nguyen presented select cases successfully treated by the Venerable Thich, which she had observed during an ethnographic study between 2011 and 2013.

This event was sponsored by USC’s Science and Religion Initiative.

Cuban 2013Two professors of social work from the University of Havana spent a week here sharing ideas and talking with students and faculty.

Dr. Sadye Logan hosted two visiting scholars from the University of Havana (Cuba) October 3-10.  

Mariana Munoz Rodriquez and Lourdes Teresa de Urrutia Barroso, professors of social work at the University of Havana, exchanged interdisciplinary ideas with emphasis on social work.  

“There was a feeling of openness—a real connection was made,” said Dr. Logan, a Distinguished Professor Emerita with the College of Social Work (COSW) and the I. DeQuincey Newman Professor of Social Work Emerita.

The Cubans and COSW faculty explored possibilities of establishing transdisciplinary international community research initiatives, and explored the possibility of developing student and faculty exchanges.

“It’s something that requires additional discussion,” Dr. Logan said. “This is the first step in creating a possible future partnership.”

“This puts the university and the COSW in the forefront of a future opportunity,” she said. “Cuba is our closest international neighbor, and we’ve never thought to reach out.”

Dr. Logan hosted the visit with the support of a grant she was awarded from the USC Provost Office’s Institute for Visiting Scholars Program. She had met Dr. Rodriquez in 2012, when she was visiting Cuba as part of a delegation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Meredith C.F. Powers, a COSW doctoral student, is using her skills as a social worker to promote environmental practices that benefit people and their communities.

And she’s starting at home with a small grant from the USC’s Student Sustainability Fund to infuse ecological consciousness into the College of Social Work’s policies, practices, and curriculum during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Powers said she wants to engage students, faculty and staff in practices that most already support: conserving resources so that work is more productive and less taxing on the environment.

Rather than creating a new group, she will be encouraging the College of Social Work to seek a Green Office Certification from Sustainable Carolina. The campus’ sustainability initiative scores departments to award them bronze, silver or gold medals to serve as publicity tools to promote their dedication to sustainability.

To earn any level, an office must meet basic requirements, including having recycling receptacles by trash bins in common areas, and a small recycling bin by each desk. An office earns points for practices such as limiting air fresheners to baking soda, reducing margins on printed materials, maintaining a compost bin in the kitchen and having employees use the stairs (if they can).

DHart 350x350Dana DeHart, PhD, said she will be looking for new ways to support the work of researchers in her new role as the COSW’s assistant dean for research support.

“My main task for this first semester is to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, meeting with all faculty as well as incoming PhD students and post-docs,” Dr. DeHart said. “This is to learn about their individual needs for research support as well as to establish an agenda for building research infrastructure as a college.”

Dr. DeHart also said she wants to make faculty research more accessible for teaching, practice, and policy.

Dr. DeHart received her doctoral degree in experimental psychology from the University of Louisville in 1995, and worked with the COSW’s Center for Child and Family Studies from 1997 to 2012. She has been a research associate professor and member of the graduate faculty since 2009.

Pitner R 350x350

Ronald Pitner will bring a fresh wave of energy to the I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice as it strengthens its ties to the community. As the newly appointed I. DeQuincey Newman Chair, Pitner directs the institute, which is dedicated to building bridges between the university and the community to enhance social justice.

His priorities are to disseminate social justice research, promote dialogue on social justice issues through town halls and other forums, and increase student involvement. “Active student involvement strengthens, reinforces, and sustains the mission of the institute,” Pitner said.

A long-term goal is to make the institute a hub for social justice research and related projects. A shorter-term goal is establishing an annual small grant to support a social justice–related research project. The grants would go to projects involving a collaborative team, consisting of a faculty member, a student, and a community partner.

Another goal is to create an advisory council comprising USC faculty, a student representative, representatives from other South Carolina universities, and key community stakeholders.

The institute, housed in the College of Social Work, honors I. DeQuincey Newman (1911–1985), a clergyman and Civil Rights leader who worked to improve conditions for both whites and blacks in rural South Carolina.

Nguyen featureDr. Huong Nguyen has organized a two-week training program for 23 of Vietnam’s top government officials. The delegation is led by the Vice Minister of the national Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (similar to the US DHHS). Accompanying Vice Minister Doãn Mậu Diệp are directors, heads, and deputy-heads of different bureaus, and departments of the Ministry.

Social work is in its infancy in Vietnam, and the delegation members are interested in creating the infrastructure to support services to vulnerable populations, including children, people with disabilities, veterans, and people with mental health problems.

Starting September 16, the delegation is participating in lectures and presentations by COSW faculty and guest speakers. They are also visiting state agencies and nonprofits to see firsthand how policies are implemented.

Andrews C newsDr. Christina Andrews is ready to watch history unfold in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse.

The USC social work professor is part of a nationwide team of researchers studying the impact of health care reform on substance abuse treatment.

By September, the researchers will begin collecting data from clinics and other treatment centers. After the Affordable Care Act takes effect next year, the researchers will collect another wave of data to allow them to chart the changes brought by the law that many, including the president, refer to as "Obamacare."

The law will expand eligibility for substance abuse treatment and put it on a more equal footing with other medical care. It marks the biggest change in substance abuse programs in decades, Andrews said. “We have the opportunity to collect the data now before the changes occur.”

Dr. Peter D. Friedmann at Brown University is the principal investigator.

Andrews is a co-investigator who will be working with Drs. Colleen Grogan and Harold Pollack at the University of Chicago. Their focus is surveying state agencies that run Medicaid, license treatment facilities, distribute substance abuse treatment funds, and establish health insurance exchanges.

The study, the National Drug Abuse Treatment System Survey, is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It has been conducted in five waves from 1988 to 2005 following the same nationally representative sample of clinics and other treatment centers.

The College of Social Work will be enhanced this fall by the addition of new faculty with experiences ranging from helping refugees in Tanzania to helping troubled youth in East Harlem.

And their paths to social work were as diverse as their interests. The five new teachers and researchers are: Breanne Grace, PhD, Michigan State University; Nikki Wooten, PhD, University of Maryland; Benjamin Roth, PhD, University of Chicago; B. Sudie Nallo, MSW, Washington University; and Kristina C. Webber, MSW, who is finishing her dissertation for her doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina.

GraceBreanne300X300Breanne Grace, PhD
Picking ‘once in lifetime’

Breanne Grace, PhD, joined the faculty in August as an Assistant Professor with research interests in refugees.

Dr. Grace grew up in Colorado, but her mother had kin in Sweden. So Sweden might have been a natural pick for overseas study before her senior year started in 2003 at Saint Olaf College, about 40 miles south of Minneapolis.

But Dr. Grace wanted to go to Tanzania, and her mother encouraged her.

“Oh, come on,” Dr. Grace recalled her mother saying, “you can go to Sweden anytime, and stay with your family. You’ll never get another chance to go to Tanzania.”

She has now spent about six of the past 10 years living, researching, and working in Tanzania. She has become fluent in KiSwahili and conversational in a Somali dialect of KiZigua/KiZigula.
While there she worked with refugees, igniting her passion for helping them and understanding their plight. All she needed was a profession that could support her passion. “I chose sociology. It was a means to an end for me.”

WootenNikki 300X300Nikki Wooten, PhD
Serving the military


Dr. Nikki R. Wooten joined the faculty in January as an assistant professor. Her research includes studying how military personnel and veterans cope with the stress of military service and deployments.

Dr. Wooten taught at Boston University for over three years after earning her doctoral degree in social work from the University of Maryland.

She is a major in the District of Columbia Army National Guard with more than 24 years of military service.

She has been part of a team using Department of Defense and Veterans Administration data to identify missed treatment opportunities for substance use among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The team is supported by funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is also funding a supplemental grant to Wooten to study the early identification of substance use and psychological problems in Army women veterans.

Dr. Wooten grew up in Tarboro, a town in the tobacco-growing region of eastern North Carolina, where military service is a family tradition.

She has a brother in the Army Reserves who served two tours in Afghanistan, an aunt who served three tours in Iraq, an uncle who retired from the Army at the rank of master sergeant, and an uncle who is a Vietnam war veteran.

Dr. Wooten earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992, and her master’s in social work from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1995. She is also a licensed clinical social worker with experience providing services to military personnel, veterans, and their families.

Benjamin Roth, PhD
RothBenjamin 300X300 Listening to immigrants


Dr. Benjamin Roth joined the faculty in August as an Assistant Professor. His interest in studying immigration began when he was working on his master’s degree in social work at Hunter College in New York, N.Y.

Roth, who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was working with a family service agency that helped low-income immigrants living in East Harlem.

His visits left him with visions that evoked the scenes of New York slums of the late 19th century captured by photographer Jacob Riis.

“Many of the immigrant families I worked with were living in terrible housing conditions,” he said. “When I heard their migration stories, and learned how their landlords were refusing to respond to their complaints, it was clear I wanted to go into social work.”

His work also allowed him to see the influence that nonprofit organizations could have as advocates for disadvantaged families and immigrants—a theme that continues to be a focus of his research.

At the University of Chicago, where he earned his doctoral degree last spring, he studied how the children of Latino immigrants in two Chicago suburbs adapted to life in the United States. Dr. Roth said he was attracted to Columbia in part because of the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in South Carolina and neighboring states.

Sudie Nallo, MSW 
Empowering others


Sudie Nallo joined the faculty in August as a Clinical Assistant Professor. Her research interests include micro-lending and other programs that benefit marginalized populations.

Ms. Nallo was born in Conway, S.C., in 1981, the second of three children of Amidu and Agnes Nallo. Her parents emigrated from Sierra Leone as young people in the late 1970s.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in English from Wake Forest University in 2004, she worked for a year with AmeriCorps/VISTA at Greensboro College in North Carolina, matching students and faculty with volunteer opportunities with more than 30 nonprofit groups.

“AmeriCorps was my ‘ah-hah’ moment,” she said. “My job was to train volunteers to interact and engage with community leaders, allowing people to be the solution to their own problems—empowering them, rather than creating a dependency.”

In 2007, she moved to St. Louis to begin work on her master’s in social work degree at Washington University. While there, she worked under Dr. Amanda Moore McBride, the Director of the Gephardt Institute, who helped hone her skills in cultivating ties between a university and its community.

She also began working as a researcher and loan counselor for the nonprofit Justine Petersen Housing and Reinvestment Corporation. Ms. Nallo helped small businesses develop stronger roots and grow through “micro-loans,” loans for as little as $500.

In her final semester before she was awarded her MSW in 2008, Ms. Nallo began working as a field and research graduate intern for the Centre for Enterprise Development and Action Research in Ibadan, Nigeria.

In one project, she helped a group of orange growers band together to make frozen juice concentrate, rather than selling their fruit as a perishable commodity. She continues to consult for the organization and periodically travels to Nigeria.

Kristina C. Webber, MSWWebber Kristina300X300
Bridging differences


Kristina C. Webber joined the faculty of the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina in August. Her research probes school social work, effective education and youth development programs, and sources of racial/ethnic disparities in education.

Ms. Webber, a granddaughter and great-granddaughter of coal miners, grew up in Shelbiana, a former coal mining village nine miles outside Pikeville, Kentucky.

Her mother was trying to support the family in an area where jobs were scarce. When Ms. Webber was in middle school, her mother moved the family to a town near Washington, D.C., where they lived for a time with extended family.

For Ms. Webber, the move involved crossing a cultural divide far wider than the 400 miles between Shelbiana and Washington, D.C. Her experience of that transition is one reason her research interests include the role of schools in helping children cope with psychological stress.

Ms. Webber graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1997. Afterwards, she helped manage a hotel and volunteered with a women’s shelter.

The hotel offered her a promotion to general manager, but it meant a move to another town. She realized she would have to leave the shelter where she had enjoyed helping women and their children rebuild their lives after domestic abuse.

“I felt much more alive and passionate about what I was doing there than with my day job,” Ms. Webber said. “It felt like a career-defining moment for me.”

She earned her master’s in social work at the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus in 2002.

She moved in 2003 to South Carolina, where she worked for Charleston County School District. She was in the doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2008 until this year.

This spring, the College of Social Work bid farewell to three of its faculty, Drs. Arlene Andrews, Sadye Logan, and Rita Rhodes. All three professors enjoyed rich and varied careers at USC and were honored at a retirement reception in May.ArleneRetire

Dr. Arlene Andrews, PhD, LISW, was a Carolina Distinguished Professor and director of the College’s doctoral program. Trained as both a clinical psychologist and social worker, Dr. Andrews offered a unique and broad perspective to her practice, both as in the field and as a professor at USC. Dr. Andrews assisted in founding the Nurturing Center and was the 2008 recipient of the Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award and the 2012 USDHHS Administration on Children, Youth, and Families Commissioner’s Award for the State of South Carolina. Her contributions to vulnerable populations are vast, and her long and rich career was definitely celebrated at the COSW’s event. Dr. Andrews claims, “My greatest joy at the College of Social Work has been work[ing] with students, in so many ways: in the classroom, through research projects, on committees, in the field, and as [a] mentor to doctoral students as they develop teaching and research skills.” Donations may be made in her honor to the Carolina Fund, which is within the USC College of Social Work.

SaydeRetireDr. Sadye Logan, DSW, MSW, LISW-CP, was the former I. DeQuincey Newman Chaired Professor in the COSW and served as the founder and director of the Isaiah DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice from 2001 to the fall of 2013. During her tenure as director, Dr. Logan maintained active community outreach. A recipient of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Pioneer Award and elected to the Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Hall of Fame 2013 for outstanding contributions to the field of social work, Dr. Logan has enjoyed a rich and fulfilling career, which made the retirement event even more meaningful. “For me and my family,” states Dr. Logan, “it was a very touching and most enjoyable event. Your kind words, prayers, good wishes, and very generous gifts are most appreciated.” You can make a donation in her honor at the Viola Vermelle Logan Memorial Book Award Fund, which is also within the College of Social Work.

RitaRetireDr. Rita Rhodes, PhD, MSW, was an associate professor in the College, and her work focused mostly on vulnerable women and injustices they face. With a background in history and women’s studies, Dr. Rhodes brought a broad and interdisciplinary perspective to the College. Her social work practice and research included women and addictions, domestic violence, and incarcerated women. However, the part of her job she most relished was teaching. At the reception, Dr. Rhodes received a warm thank-you for all of her service. She expects her retirement to be busy. She plans to maintain her connection with the College by continuing to serve as a field liaison, and will be working with co-author Miriam Johnson on a new edition of their text on human behavior. Besides those professional activities, she expects to play flute, practice yoga, “continue with my frustrating hobby of gardening and perhaps decide to clean my basement.” Donations may be made in her honor at the Women’s Shelter on North Main Street in Downtown Columbia. This event marked a new chapter in each of the professors’ lives. As Dr. Andrews states, “This really is a commencement of a new adventure, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!”

 

Korea 20AnniversaryIn one of the largest hotels in Seoul, over 150 Koreans and Americans gathered for a ceremony to celebrate 20 years of success. Alumni, faculty, and other dignitaries spoke to the extent that the program has contributed to the field of social work in Korea.

Mr. Kee Yoon, a social worker who runs facilities for youth and for older adults in both Korea and Japan, and whose daughter received her MSW through our program, talked about his views. He stated, “Social work in Korea is much more advanced than in Japan, in large part because of your program, which has infused a different way of thinking about social work into the country. Your program doesn’t just provide lecture, you teach critical thinking, you encourage discussion, you require demonstrating practice skills. It is excellent.”

During the ceremony, Dean Anna Scheyett gave the keynote address about community-based strategies to prevent suicide, a critical issue in Korea, and Oyong Kwan, founder of the Korean National Alliance for Mental Illness and a graduate of the program, translated for her. Dr. Myung Soo Lee followed with a presentation about suicide prevention approaches and services in Korea.

Other dignitaries in attendance included Mr. Jaykun Yoo, a former Korean congressman; Mr. Sung Chul Cho, the current president of the Korean Association of Social Workers (KASW); Mr. Sung Kyun Choi, former president of the KASW and member of the first cohort of graduates from the program; and Dr. Oye Sung Hyun, president of the Korean Council of Social Work Education.

The committee responsible for the ceremony raised enough money for the celebration and to fly the founders of the program, former COSW Dean Frank Raymond and former COSW faculty member Paul Kim, over for the event.

The evening concluded with a performance from Professor Insoo Park, one of Korea’s premier opera singers, and a dinner and auction.

In December, the program’s seventh cohort will fly to Columbia for graduation. Each cohort raises money all year long so that they can all make the trip. Several members of this cohort are pictured here with Dr. Scheyett (top row, second from the right) and PhD candidate Candice Morgan (top row, second from the left), who taught in Korea this summer.

Including the students in the seventh cohort, the Korean MSW program has 175 graduates. Gil Choi, director of the program, said, “Our graduates are involved in all aspects of social work practice in Korea, and we have produced much of the leadership in the field. We have created a solid foundation to continue to build upon.”

Dr. Scheyett said, “It was incredibly heartening to see everyone so enthused about this program. The Korean social work community is eager to maintain a connection with the University of South Carolina, and they are very interested in the future of the program.”

 

N BrownMilitaryA soldier’s mom worries every day. Nancy Brown’s son came home safe but the USC social work professor has seen others who survived war only to take their lives under the stresses that linger. Now she has helped start a program at USC that equips people to help struggling veterans.

Read more.


The National Kidney Foundation of South Carolina has presented Dr. Teri Browne with their 2013 Chairman’s Award, which T BrowneCUrecognizes her outstanding vision, generous commitment, and support of their organization. Dr. Browne has been involved with the Foundation nationally for 18 years and has been a part of the local Foundation for 5.
Dr. Browne serves on the planning committee for the Foundation’s annual Patient Empowerment Day, which aims to help kidney patients and their families learn about kidney disease, connect with other patients, and meet with experts in the field. This year, Columbia’s Patient Empowerment Day was the largest in the country.
According to Dr. Browne, “Working with the National Kidney Foundation helps ensure that my research is patient-centered. You want to conduct research that matters to patients and come up with problems and solutions that matter to patients, not just academics. It also provides an important opportunity for the College because kidney facilities are the only area of healthcare that mandates that social workers have MSWs. This makes kidney research an important and exciting area for social work study.”
For the last three years, Dr. Browne has been overseeing a team of three graduate and five undergraduate students from the College of Social Work. As part of their activities, the students volunteer at the National Kidney Foundation of SC. They contact patients, work with dialysis units, and help events run smoothly.
Felix Weston, one of Dr. Browne’s research assistants, said, “Dr. Browne has been one of the single greatest influences in my love for research and this wonderful field of social work. She is very passionate and extremely knowledgeable in regards to her work and it has been an honor and a privilege to learn from her. The work that Dr. Browne has done and is continuing to do will help millions of individuals who suffer from kidney disease, and she is very deserving of her award.”


Pictured from left to right: BSW Student Keenan Fisher, BSW Student Cassidy Shaver, MSW student Felix Weston, MSW student Caitlin Horan, MSW student Lesley Jacobs, Dr. Teri Browne, BSW Student Valare Stiling



 

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