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Alumni briefs: Reda,’01; Craig, ’05, and Wacker, ’07

Stephen Reda, MSW ’01, has been a stay-at-home father with his two daughters for the last few years. After graduation, Reda assisted in the creation and the opening of the first adult day health care center in Orange County, N.C. After serving as a hospital social worker, including at Durham Regional Hospital (now Duke Regional), Reda moved in 2006 to Nashville, Tenn., to work for a local nonprofit hospice. In 2011, Reda decided, with his wife’s support, to leave his career so that he could help raise their daughters full time.

Carlton Craig, Ph.D. ’05, was named a professor and the director of the School of Social Work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in July. Craig previously served as the Vernon R. Wiehe Endowed Professor of Family Violence at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work.

Julia Wacker, MSW/MSPH ’07, manages the North Carolina Mobile Medication Program (MMP), which recently was awarded the highest honor in the Pioneer Institute’s 25th Annual Better Government Competition. The state program, which is coordinated by the N.C. Hospital Association and funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, was chosen from 100 entries from across the nation for its approach to reducing the number of psychiatric hospitalizations and repeated emergency department visits by individuals with severe behavioral health disorders. The program focuses on low-income participants who have been prescribed psychiatric medications and have a history of hospitalization or repeated emergency department visits. In its first year, MMP helped reduce the number of psychiatric hospitalizations by 83%, and ER visits by 94%.

“The Pioneer award was a wonderful recognition of the incredible work being done by our N.C. Mobile Medication Program teams,” Wacker said. “The award helps validate our belief that MMP is a simple, yet innovative and highly replicable model directly addressing a significant gap in mental health care: patients’ lack of understanding of and therefore, motivation to take their medications. Using a patient-centered approach, the MMP team partners with participants to identify barriers and build skills in medication management.” As the winning program, MMP received a $10,000 prize, which Wacker said will be used for continued professional development, as well as advocacy efforts to further pilot the program model in additional communities.