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Faculty, staff and student briefs

John Anderson received the Information Technology Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was selected from nearly 60 individual nominees to receive the campuswide award, which recognizes outstanding IT support by IT professionals at UNC. John is the web and e-learning developer for Behavioral Health Springboard.
Travis Albritton, a clinical assistant professor, presented “Young, Black and Male: Negotiating Stereotypes While Living and Learning,” at the American Educational Studies Association Conference in Seattle Washington on November 4. Albritton was also invited to present “Integrating Theology and Social Work,” at the North American Association for Christians in Social Work on November 19.
Florida State University College of Social Work has named Jack Richman, professor and associate dean of international programs, its Distinguished Social Work Educator for 2016. The award ceremony, held in Tallahassee on Sept. 29, is an annual recognition of FSU’s distinguished alumni.
Dean Gary Bowen has been selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and will be inducted during a ceremony at the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) annual conference in January. In notifying Gary of his selection, Academy President Richard Barth noted, “Academy members … are enormously talented and committed. We have some great efforts underway — especially the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative.” Faculty members Mark Fraser, Matthew Howard and Sheryl Zimmerman are also Fellows of the Academy.
The UNC School of Social Work and the Jordan Institute for Families co-sponsored the sixth Wicked Problems of Child Welfare Institute in Chicago, IL on November 1-2, 2016. The theme for this latest series: “Fulfilling the promise of permanence–Thriving families for all children.” The Institutes, which professor Mark Testa helped develop, are designed to bring together representatives from Children’s Home Society of America and their member agencies, university researchers from across the country, government leaders, and foundations to address eight “Grand Challenges” of child welfare.

Testa and Selena Childs, a clinical assistant professor and director of strategic initiatives for the Jordan Institute for Families, are also members of a team at the School that were recently awarded a U.S. Children’s Bureau contract to develop “Curricula to Support Evidence Building Design and Implementation in Child Welfare.” The project will involve a range of activities related to developing, and engaging with accredited social work programs and state child welfare training academies to adopt and deliver a state of the art curricula that focus on 1) practical strategies to support evidence building in child welfare, and 2) evidence-informed processes for designing and implementing changes in child welfare practice. The goal is to ensure that future child welfare professionals enter the workforce prepared with knowledge and skills that promote evidence- and data-informed decision-making for program improvement; support strategic implementation of policies and programs in complex systems; facilitate the integration of rigorous evaluation with program design and implementation; and support the institutionalization of continuous quality improvement.

Rainier Masa, an assistant professor, was selected to attend the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network Mentoring Day. The conference, held in Miami Oct. 18-21, provides early career investigators an opportunity to meet with senior-level researchers to share and receive one-on-one mentorship. The daylong orientation also provides a variety of seminars tailored to the mentees’ needs, including crafting a successful NIH grant, mechanisms for support for early career and transitional investigators, HIV research priorities and a brief review of HIV prevention research. During the conference, Masa also presented a poster on the “Effect of a Livelihood Intervention on Food Security of People Living with HIV in Rural Zambia.” This poster was co-authored by Gina Chowa and Victor Nyirenda.
Congratulations to our staff members who have earned Star Heel recognition for excellence in service to their division and to the University. Carolyn Adams, John Anderson, Cindy Justice, Ruth Morgan and Diane Wyant were named as Star Heels for fall 2016 (John, Cindy and Ruth are pictured here). Thanks for all that you do!
Sara Harwood Mitra, research project manager for Global Social Development Innovations, represented GSDI for two poster presentations at the 144th annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver, Colo., Oct. 29-Nov. 2. Rainier Masa and Gina Chowa, associate professor and director of GSDI, authored the posters, “Food insecurity and sexual risk taking among adolescent girls and boys in Ghana,” and “Food insecurity and parent-youth relationship in Ghana.”
Rebecca Macy, the L. Richardson Preyer Distinguished Chair for Strengthening Families, participated in an invited, national meeting on Nov. 11, in Washington, D.C., focused on advancing community-based participatory research methods in the development of intimate partner violence studies and evidence. The meeting was hosted by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, which works to improve community response to domestic violence and, ultimately, prevent its occurrence.
Several years ago, the School of Social Work deemed November “Wellness Month” as a reminder that professional self-care is a survival skill for social workers and social work students. To help students alleviate stress, the School’s Office of Student and Academic Affairs provided additional support over the past few weeks, including healthy snacks, hot teas, and hot chocolate. In addition, students were encouraged to take occasional breaks from their many assignments and participate in activities such as mindful coloring or a game of cornhole. Thanks to Annie Francis, coordinator of student affairs, and to MSW students Britnie Hopkins, Bethany Bivens and Megan Cooper for helping to coordinate the many activities.