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School briefs

Congratulations to our wonderful CITU team, which received UNC’s Information Technology Team Award for 2017! The team, Phil Kaufman, Vanessa Mitchell, Jim Griffith and Larry Rosenfeld, were presented with the university-wide honor during a recent campus ceremony. CITU was among several campus information technology employees recognized in the team category awards. Several SSW faculty members nominated the team, noting specific accomplishments and the team’s positive “we’re here to help” attitude. We thank CITU team members for all that you do and celebrate your well-deserved recognition.

Clinical assistant professor Travis Albritton and MSW student Brenna McColl attended the American Educational Studies Association annual conference. The conference, which was held in Pittsburgh Nov. 1-5, focused on “Memory, Remembering and Forgetting, Re-envisioning Educational Worlds.” Albritton and McColl presented together on “Critical Social Justice Education as a Way of Remembering.” During the same conference, Albritton also presented the paper, “Re-visioning Educational Praxis: Afrocentricity, Culturally Relevant Teaching and the Need for Liberating Epistemologies.”

Clinical assistant professor Tauchiana Williams presented during the opening session of the 2017 fall conference for the North Carolina School Social Workers Association. The October conference, which celebrates the profession of school social work, was hosted in Greensboro and focused on the theme, “The Power of School Social Workers: Past, Present, Future.”  Williams’ presentation covered the history of school social work in North Carolina, describing how the role began and evolved and included highlights of early meetings with UNC School of Social Work Dean Arthur Fink and the work of the late Dr. Gary Lee Shaffer in moving the profession forward.

Assistant professor Amy Blank Wilson recently participated in the panel discussion “Reducing Behavioral Health Inequities in the Criminal Justice System,” at the Smart Decarceration Initiative’s 2nd National Conference at the University of Chicago. This year’s conference focused on “Tools and Tactics: Promising Solutions to Advance the Era of Smart Decarceration.”

Assistant professor Paul Lanier was selected to present at the symposium,  “Toxic Stress in Contemporary Families: Getting from Adversity to Capacity,” which was hosted by the National Council on Family Relations. Lanier’s session was titled, “A Nationally-Representative Study of Exposure to Multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Association With Pediatric Health Outcomes.” Lanier also presented, “The Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Well-being: Comparing Cumulative Risk and Latent Class Approaches Using National Data,” at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

Research associate Todd Jensen delivered two presentations at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. Jensen’s presentations were titled, “Constellations of Stepfamily Relationship Quality: A Factor Mixture Model” and “Preventing Family Maltreatment Among Airmen: A Focus on Personal Resilience.” During the conference, Jensen also received the “Best New Professional Research Article Award.” He was recognized in the 2017 Focus Group category for his article, “Stepfather involvement and stepfather-child relationship quality: Race and parental marital status as moderators,” which was published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Assistant professor Rainier Masa received a 2017 developmental award from UNC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), an NIH funded program. The $30,000 award will be used for a feasibility study of a life-skills training and economic strengthening program for adolescents living with HIV in Zambia. Associate professor Gina Chowa and Jeff Stringer, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology with the UNC School of Medicine and CFAR International core director, will served as Masa’s developmental award mentors.

Clinical associate professor Lisa Zerden recently delivered the presentation, “Social Work Workforce Development and Behavioral Health,” at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Zerden spoke during the session titled, “Understanding Health Care Reform: Multilevel Mixed Methods Approaches.” Doctoral candidate Brianna Lombardi delivered the presentation, “A Systematic Review of Social Workers’ Roles in Expanding Models of Healthcare,” during the same session.

Professor Mark Fraser recently completed a short course on intervention research for the faculty at Metropolitan University in Copenhagen. In addition, he delivered a lecture on the same topic at Aarhus University in Denmark.

The SSW Field Advisory Committee held its semi-annual meeting on Oct. 31 at SHIFT NC in Durham. The FAC is comprised of 16 field instructors representing varied practice areas.  Committee members are responsible for advising the School on policies and issues related to field instruction; providing a forum for social work program community stakeholders to share their expertise and communicate opinions or concerns; and supporting and representing the interests of the UNC School of Social Work in the community and within their agencies. Rebecca Brigham, assistant dean of field education, offered the advisory committee updates on School happenings including: new MSW program models, exploring online education,  the full implementation of the new online platform SSWiS, accreditation, and new language (generalist and specialization). Discussion topics included how best to train field instructors on the School’s new technical standards, Brigham’s research on navigating racism in field education (which is awaiting IRB approval), and planning for the May 2018 Field Instructor Appreciation Day.