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School briefs

Chancellor Carol Folt recently honored several of our faculty members during an awards breakfast for their years of service to the University. Those honored were:

  • Vanessa Mitchell, 35 years
  • Marie Weil, 30 years
  • and Rebecca Brigham, Vilma Gimenez, John McMahon, Sherry Mergner and Linda Rhodes, 25 years.

Congratulations to all the honorees!

Ph.D. student Laurie Graham was selected for the UNC Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The goal of these fellowships is to provide IVP researchers and practitioners with a variety of mentoring and career development opportunities. Graham’s application was selected from an extremely competitive pool of 34 applications from graduate students throughout the UNC-CH campus.

Assistant professor Rachel Goode is partnering with the UNC Weight Management Program at the UNC Department of Family Medicine to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a six-month combined Appetite Awareness Training and behavioral weight loss program. The study is funded by the UNC Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC) and will explore changes in weight and binge eating among eligible Black women, who are being recruited to participate in the study. Several students and alumni are involved in the project including current students: Mariah Cowell, Courtney Cooper-Lewter, and Kylie Piper; and Laurel Sisler, MSW ’13, director of the Tobacco Treatment Program and Weight Management Program at UNC Family Medicine; and Stephanie Wilhoit-Reeves, MSW ’13, manager of the Weight Management Program.

Assistant professor Paul Lanier is among more than 40 researchers and experts from universities and organizations across the country working closely with faculty at Washington University at St. Louis as they develop The Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy Research and Training (CICM). The new center, which is being funded by a nearly $6.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, will focus on best practices for prevention and screening of abuse and neglect, as well as treatment of children affected by abuse. Part of the center’s award will also help fund the research project known as  Child Welfare Data SMART (Selection, Management, Analysis, Replication and Transfer). Lanier, whose research interests are in child maltreatment prevention and strengthening families, is a principal investigator for North Carolina on the Data SMART project, which will focus on testing innovative efforts to improve screening capacity to target prevention and early intervention services. Research professor Dean Duncan and research assistant professor Rod Rose are co-investigators on the project.

Clinical assistant professor Tonya Van Deinse is the principal investigator (PI) on several recently funded projects, including one with the Criminal Justice Resource Center of Durham County. The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the center $749,000 for a project that will focus on strengthening case management, support and programming for adults with co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness who are leaving jail and returning to the community. The goal is to prevent recently released adults from returning to jail. She is also working with the N.C. Department of Public Safety to launch the North Carolina Predictive Analytics Supervision Effort (NC PASE). The project, which is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, aims to reduce recidivism and violations among adults on probation using strategic supervising guidelines. Van Deinse will lead the implementation and testing of these guidelines; George Mason University’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence! will conduct the predictive analytics. Finally, Van Deinse is the PI for “Defining the Core Components of Specialty Mental Health Probation,” a project funded by the Fahs Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation. The project will examine distinct approaches to supervising individuals with mental illnesses who are on probation and define the core components of the prototypical model of specialty mental health probation as it is implemented in North Carolina.

Faculty and staff hosted a retirement celebration on Oct. 16 for clinical professor Anne Jones. Jones retired this semester after nearly 42 years of service to the social work profession, including 16 years as a faculty member at UNC’s School of Social Work.

Faculty and staff also recently honored clinical assistant professor Jennie Vaughn, who has accepted a position with the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies in the UNC School of Medicine. Vaughn had been with the School of Social Work for 14 years, which included work with Project NO REST, the School’s MSW/MPH dual-degree program, service on the MSW admissions committee and leadership of the School’s awards committee.