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TFT Stipend

Training for Transitions: Preparedness for Behavioral Health Social Workers

TFT provides a $10,000.00 stipend to students in their advanced year who make a commitment to complete a field practicum in a preapproved TFT site that serves school aged youth, adolescents, emerging adults and their families/caregiving systems at risk for mental illness, substance abuse and/or engaging in harmful, or potentially violent behaviors.

TFT Stipend Application Guidelines:

To be eligible for the TFT stipend you must apply and be accepted to the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work MSW program, as well as apply and be accepted as a TFT Candidate (advanced year students only). All applicants to the full-time and advanced standing MSW program may apply for the TFT stipend.

In order to receive optimal consideration for TFT stipend, early application and acceptance to the USC COSW MSW Program is encouraged. In addition to USC COSW admission criteria, stipend recipients must:

  1. Be accepted into the USC COSW for full-time study.
  2. Submit a TFT Stipend Application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as one PDF, which shall include:
    1. Completion of a Field Education Readiness Worksheet. Attach worksheet to the TFT MSW ADVANCED YEAR Field Placement Application.
    2. Update Resume to include undergraduate field placement experience and most recent employment/volunteer experience. Attach resume to the TFT MSW ADVANCED YEAR Field Placement Application. Be sure to demonstrate evidence of work or volunteer experience with at-risk children, adolescents, emerging adults and family systems, if applicable.
    3. Initial, Date, and Sign various assurances. Attach form to the TFT MSW ADVANCED YEAR Field Placement Application.
    4. Provide a letter of recommendation from your current field placement instructor that speaks to your internship competency attainment, ability to work with others, work ethic, general commitment to learning and growing as an emerging MSW, and experience & passion in working with at risk youth and interprofessional teams.
  3. Receive approval as a TFT Candidate by the Director of Field Education, Dr. Melissa Reitmeier. An advanced year student’s submission of an application does not guarantee an opportunity to compete for or engage in a TFT practicum. TFT applications must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Field Education prior to setting up an interview.
  4. Once approved TFT Candidates will receive a list of approved TFT practicum sites.
  5. TFT field practicum acquisition may be highly competitive. Students should be aware that even if accepted as an applicant that TFT partnering sites set their own preferences when selecting preapproved TFT advanced MSW students via interviews and final acceptance is at the will of the prospective field instructor by the TFT site

Click here to download the application.

If you are interested in more information about TFT or applying for a TFT stipend, please contact Dr. Melissa Reitmeier (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

This project and the TFT stipend is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professions, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Projects of Regional and National Significance, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No. 93.243 (HRSA-14-077).

respectingdiversityUSC’s College of Social Work is putting itself on the map—in Vietnam and India, specifically. The College of Social Work (COSW) already boasts a thriving MSW program in Korea, and now a series of exchanges has increased the College’s international presence and created new opportunities for faculty and students. Recently, the College hosted Dr. M.N. Parmar and Dr. Bhavna Mehta from the Maharaja Sayajirao (M.S.) University of Baroda in Gujrarat, India. Their visit was supported by a grant from the Provost’s Visiting Scholars program.

The M.S. University Faculty of Social Work is ranked third in all of India. Dr. Parmar explained that his visit to USC had 3 foci: research, extension, and academics. Dr. Mehta expressed hope for research collaborations and learning about social work intervention programs here, noting that “collaboration will pave a way for making social work learning global for students and faculty” at both universities. While at USC, Dr. Mehta and Dr. Parmar met with the Vice President of Research, College of Education faculty, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, the Study Abroad Office, and College of Social Work community partners. Each professor also gave lectures on their research to an audience of COSW faculty and students.

Dr. Mehta and Dr. Parmar’s visit is a continuation of a blossoming relationship with India. Last February, the COSW and the M. S. University co-sponsored the International Conference on Women and Millennium Development Goals. Sudie Nallo was one COSW faculty member who presented research, and she is eager to continue working with scholars in India. Professor Nallo says, “This is a great opportunity for resource sharing and collaboration and an amazing opportunity for internationalization of our academic and field programs.” She notes that “the timing is great—we are becoming more engaged internationally,” citing the Korea-based MSW program and the new Maymester in Vietnam.

The Maymester in Vietnam was coordinated last year by COSW professor Huong Nguyen. A group of 11 students and 2 professors made the trip, and she hopes for even more participants this year. Students have called the program “life-changing,” and Dr. Nguyen believes that viewing social work through an international lens teaches valuable lessons in cultural competence and in the foundations of the field.

Studying abroad “makes students more mindful when they work with people from other cultures,” claims Dr. Nguyen. While cultural competence can be taught in a classroom, only immersion in another culture can truly drive the lesson home. Students are exposed to social work via a different political, social, and economic system. USC students in Vietnam can “learn how key concepts in social work are constructed and not universal across all cultures.” She adds, “what’s considered true and best practice now is different” in other cultures, and in time those best practices will change here, too.

Dr. Nguyen hopes her students take all of these lessons to heart, but she especially hopes they understand the “huge lasting impact” even the smallest action can make. BSW student Haley Landreth says, “Vietnam was an incredible journey for me,” and claims that the country is “the absolute perfect place to visit for social work.” Emily Flores, a graduate student, also valued her Vietnam experience. “Traveling to Vietnam reinforced the notion that there are people who are working on the same issues all around the world,” she says. “Although many are facing similar challenges, our approaches vary, and we stand to gain a valuable perspective from those who practice social work in other cultures and contexts.”

These international collaborations are exciting, but they are also vital for adapting to a changing world. As Dr. Parmar explains, social work research must be international and interdisciplinary. “The problems of the human being can’t be solved with one field,” he argues, so collaborating across multiple borders is a necessity. Flores agrees, saying, “Innovation is possible if we are able to collaborate and openly share ideas. Just as they are attempting to develop a social work infrastructure in Vietnam and seeking outside advice on how to best do that, we can benefit from new ideas and perspectives in the practice of social work.” Everyone is to gain from cultural exchange—scholars, social workers, and the people they serve. It’s not just our differences that make international relationships fruitful; Dr. Mehta sees many similarities between Gujarat and South Carolina. “Boundaries are blurring,” she notes, and we can all learn from each other.

Expanding the College’s international presence by facilitating the exchange of ideas between India, South Carolina, and Vietnam is but one way the College of Social Work is looking to the future.

Each year, the College of Social Work makes a promise to its students and the communities it serves to better the lives of those who thrive in South Carolina. This semester, the College is extending that commitment by welcoming six new faculty members who share the same promise to better the lives of those they serve. It is through our faculty members that learning begins, community efforts are initiated, and lives are changed for the better.

The College of Social Work welcomes Dr. Daniel Freedman as Clinical Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the BSW and Social Work Minor Programs; Dr. Sung Seek Moon as Associate Professor and Director of the MSW Korea-based Program; Dr. Shaun Owens as Assistant Professor for the SmartHOME™ Initiative; Dr. Kristen Seay as Assistant Professor; Dr. Patricia Sharpe as Professor; and Dr. Margriet Wright as Clinical Assistant Professor.

Dr. Dana DeHart, Assistant Dean for Research Support, was invited to attend the U.S. Department of Defense Victim Assistance Leadership Council meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, as a subject-matter expert. The Council was established on November 23, 2013 and membership includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense and service-level Family Advocacy Program senior personnel. The following day, Dr. DeHart provided an invited presentation entitled, “State of the industry: Victim service standards and implications for military staffing,” to the United States Secretary of Defense and the United States Marine Corps, Washington, DC. Dr. DeHart will provide ongoing consultation to both groups regarding victim services standards and staffing for the United States Military.

ATBHCOSW’s Dr. Teri Browne and graduate student Sara Goldsby presented at All Together Better Health, the international interprofessional education conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in June 2014. Dr. Teri Browne presented a workshop entitled Boldly Going Where We’ve Gone Before: Social Work Leadership in Interprofessional Education, Practice & Policy Development with social work colleagues from across the country including Maureen Rubin, a COSW alumna, which focused on ways to involve social work students in interprofessional education. She also collaborated with fellow Gamecocks Dr. Beverly Baliko from the College of Nursing and Dr. Betsy Blake from the College of Pharmacy on a poster presentation that described their student-centered approach to improving interprofessional learning experiences for large groups of students.

October 24, 2014

The College of Social Work was honored to welcome the visiting scholars Dean and Professor M.N. Parmar and Professor Bhavna Mehta from MS University of Baroda in India.

Dean M.N. Parmar has been teaching for over 17 years and his areas of interests are personal management training for youth working with community people. Professor Bhavna Mehta has been teaching for over 24 years and her areas of interest include women’s studies, social justice and human rights health & development.

On July 22nd, Dr. Maryah Fram, associate professor at the College of Social Work, was featured in @UofSC’s article, “Professor says Teaching is a Privilege”.

The article highlights her love of teaching and the joy she receives from dynamic connections she has with students. According to Fram, the greatest honor she has received, even above professional accolades, was the honorary induction by the Phi Alpha National Honor Society for Social Work,

October 7, 2014

The College of Social Work was honored with special guest, Rear Admiral Peter J. Delany, Ph.D., LCSW-C for a 2-day visit and presentation. Dr. Delany serves as the Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Roth SisCharityAwardDr. Ben Roth and Dr. Breanne Grace have been awarded a grant through the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina to better understand and support the network of organizations serving immigrants throughout South Carolina. The project includes a series of state and regional networking meetings, and is part of a larger study called the Immigrant Access Project (IAP). According to Roth, “The goal of the IAP is to assess the capacity of existing providers to meet the needs of low-income immigrants in South Carolina, as well as the factors limiting more effective service delivery.”

HRSA logoThe Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) awarded a three-year, $925,787 grant to the College of Social Work, Masters of Social Work Program. The grant will be used to expand the College’s existing field education program under the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professions, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Projects of Regional and National Significance. 

Lize S DeLHNewsGovernor Nikki Haley appointed Dr. Steven Lize to the John de la Howe School Board of Trustees. He joins Barbara Devinney and Tom Love of McCormick, Patricia Silva and Donna Wesby of Aiken, Felicia Preston of Columbia, and Dan Shonka of Central on the board.

Dr. Lize is a research assistant professor in the College of Social Work. He serves concurrently as a technical consultant to the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which works with states to implement a cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven effective by research.  Dr. Lize also has experience working as a program evaluator for the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability where he assessed the state's programs for youth and adults in the criminal justice system.

Chou R250The College of Social Work’s associate professor Dr. Rita Jing-Ann Chou, who serves as the Director of the South Carolina Center for Gerontology, has been named a Fellow by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Additionally, PhD student Tori Charles has received an award for doctoral students from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW).

Fellowship represents a high honor within the GSA. Fellows must be nominated by their colleagues who are Fellows themselves, and considered by the GSA based on their contributions to the field.

WonYoungChoi 250COSW alumnus Won Young Choi was appointed by the president of Korea to be the Senior Secretary to the President for Employment and Social Welfare. As such, he assists with presidential policy development on employment, labor, health, social welfare, gender equality, family, and food & drug safety. Having served as a Korean government officer for 30 consecutive years, he is now one of the most powerful policy makers in the country. He previously served as the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the second highest position in the ministry.

Won Young Choi graduated from the MSW program at USC’s Columbia campus in 1998, and he earned his doctorate degree in social welfare from Yonsei University in 2006.

Mer AusConfMeredith C.F. Powers, COSW PhD Candidate and Green Initiative Project Coordinator, is on a mission to prove that social workers and environmentalists can be one and the same. Recently, her passion inspired a trip to Melbourne, Australia, to present at the 2014 CSWE Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education, and Social Development. Meredith is pictured here with her former UNC professor Dee Gamble who publishes and presents on issues of sustainability and social work. Meredith's presentation, entitled “Making a Big Impact with a Small Footprint: Infusing Ecological Consciousness into the College of Social Work,” focused on the social and ecological injustices in the world, how social workers are already equipped to alleviate these problems, and how the College of Social Work at USC is responding to these environmental concerns.

In a ground-breaking event, USC’s College of Social Work (COSW) recently co-sponsored a Vietnamese national conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. With a focus on social work and mental health care, the conference strengthened the exchange of ideas and best practices between the COSW and Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA; equivalent to the US Department of Health and Human Services) and multiple universities.

Vietname GroupSocial work is in its infancy in Vietnam, and MOLISA officials are interested in creating the infrastructure to support services to vulnerable populations, including children, people with disabilities, veterans, and people with mental health problems. In his keynote address, Vice Minister Doãn Mậu Diệp emphasized the need for schools of social work to develop courses in the field of mental health care. The College of Social Work signed memoranda of understanding with Hanoi National University of Education, the University of Labor and Social Affairs, and Vietnam National University. These MOUs will open up many opportunities for social work in Vietnam in general and schools of social work in particular. Professors and lecturers from USC will share experience and knowledge regarding social and mental health.

The conference was envisioned and organized by COSW faculty member Huong Nguyen, one of the first Vietnamese people to receive a doctorate in social work, in collaboration with the University of Labor and Social Affairs and with support from a grant from the USC Walker Institute. COSW faculty members Kirk Foster, Sue Levkoff, and Naomi Farber contributed significantly to the conference, and—as did Dr. Nguyen—each presented to an audience that included executive leaders from government ministries and agencies across Vietnam. COSW Dean Anna Scheyett also delivered a keynote entitled “Social Work and Mental Health: Roles and Competencies.”

Dr. Nguyen said, “It is exciting to be part of this critical time in Vietnam as they start to build the infrastructure for social work. The changes they are making can be implemented on a national scale, and they have the potential to have a significant, lasting impact.”

HamiltonIntnerior250The College of Social Work is currently spread out across seven buildings, but it will soon have one permanent home.  The historic Hamilton College is currently undergoing a major renovation, projected for completion by fall 2015.  The College of Social Work will take the wing facing Pendleton Street Garage.

Hamilton College was built in 1942 as a training space for the U.S. Navy and housed classrooms and the Armory.  Around the same time, a graduate program in social work was struggling to get off the ground and was eventually forced to fold due to the effects of World War II on enrollment.  Now the story of social work at USC has come full circle as the war effort that once seemed to spell the end of the program is providing its new home.

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