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School briefs

Lisa Zerden, senior associate dean for MSW education, met recently with N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, along with representatives from both DHHS and the N.C. Chapter of National Association of Social Workers, to discuss social work, integrated care and Medicare transformation.

Earlier this month, Zerden presented “HIV/AIDS in North Carolina: Policies, Practice and Partnerships to Improve Care,” as part of the Winston-Salem Clinical Lecture Series. Zerden discussed how North Carolinians of color are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS and the reasons contributing to this disparity. In addition, the presentation focused on federal and state level policies that further perpetuate vulnerability and highlighted areas where policy reform and harm reduction practices have helped reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS and associated infections.

Clinical assistant professor Josh Hinson and Dr. Martha Carlough from the UNC School of Medicine are teaching “Refugee Health and Wellness Interdisciplinary Seminar” this year. The colleagues received an AHEC Campus Innovation Grant for $39,870 to develop the course. Nineteen students from social work, public health and medicine have enrolled in the 3-credit hour course. The class addresses refugee health and mental health topics including the resettlement process; working with professional interpreters; trauma-informed care; cultural humility; health promotion; eligibility for benefits and services; human trafficking; substance use; interpersonal violence; maternal and child health issues; aging; and advocacy. In addition to course work, students will form interprofessional teams and will be matched with refugee clients or families in the Triangle. Teams will visit refugees’ homes to complete health, mental health, and social support assessments, and to assist refugees with overcoming barriers to care.

UNC-PrimeCare and the N.C. Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers co-sponsored the, “Essentials of Integrated Care,” workshop on Sept. 15. More than 150 social workers attended the event at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill. Conference topics included a Medicaid update from Dave Richard, deputy secretary of the Division of Medical Assistance in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services; ethical considerations of integrated treatment; roles that social workers play; billing and reimbursement; and essential skills for social work professionals. UNC-PrimeCare is based within the School of Social Work and is a federally funded integrated healthcare initiative that aims to expand the behavioral healthcare workforce by rigorously preparing students to work in primary care settings as behavioral and mental healthcare specialists.

Project NO REST and MAHEC (Mountain Area Health Education Center) jointly provided an inaugural conference designed to “Fortify Efforts to Eradicate Human Trafficking in North Carolina [FEET].” Project NO REST 2017 Conference: FEET on the Ground in NC was held at Renaissance Hotel in Asheville, NC, on Aug. 15 and 16, and attended by more than 300 individuals representing a wide range of key organizations from across the state, from law enforcement agencies to human services professionals. The event was sponsored by North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the N.C. Division of Public Health, State of North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission, Women for Women, UNC School of Social Work, UNC School of Government, and UNC School of Media and Journalism.