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School briefs

Associate professor Paul Lanier was selected to participate in August in a Children’s Advocates Roundtable panel discussion, which was hosted by the California Children’s Advocacy Institute. Lanier and other panelists focused their discussion on predictive risk modeling in child welfare. Lanier also recently presented at the Prevent Child Abuse America National Conference in  Milwaukee. His paper was titled, “Using Predictive Analytic to Prevent Child Maltreatment: Applying Ethical Frameworks for Algorithmic Transparency.” He and doctoral student Quinton Smith also co-presented, “Exposure to ACEs and Family Resilience: A Comparison of Race and Ethnic Differences Using National Data.”

Clinical assistant professor JP Przewoznik was invited to present at the North Carolina Victim’s Assistance Network Statewide Academy on “The Relationship Between Sexual Violence and LGBTQ+ Communities.”

Doctoral student LB Klein was invited to speak at the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Klein and a colleague from the University of New Hampshire co-presented, “An introduction to the Addressing Alcohol’s Role in Campus Sexual Assault Toolkit.”

Associate professor Betsy Bledsoe collaborated with Kathryn Collins and Mel Bellin from the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) to host the first “Train the Trainer for Trauma Adapted Family Connections (TA-FC).” The event was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), UM SSW, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). Bledsoe also made several presentations over the summer including: “Ethics of Evidence-Based Practice with Children and Adolescents,” and “Maternal Depression and Children’s Health: A Look at Outcomes and Why Maternal Mental Health Matters,” at the Children’s Services Conference in Greenville, NC. She also presented workshops on the “Social Determinants of Health,” in Greenville and on the “Ethics of Evidence-Based Practice with Children and Adolescents” in Greensboro, NC.

The School welcomed Joseph DiConcilio as its new assistant dean for administration. Diconcilio is responsible for school personnel in the areas of human resources, finance and facilities. He joins the School from the School of Nursing.

Faculty members Rainier Masa and Travis Albritton were among the panelists for “Navigating the Invisible First-Gen Grad Student Identity” on Sept. 16. The program was hosted by the UNC Graduate School initiative “Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS,” which provides resources for first-generation graduate students to succeed in the academy.

Panelists also included Yesenia Marino, Ph.D., who completed her doctoral degree in health behavior at Gillings School of Global Public Health; Malini Basdeo, a doctoral student at University of Hartford who is completing a doctoral psychology internship at UNC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); and Rhonda Gibson, Ph.D., Shumaker Term Associate Professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Yesenia Pedro Vicente, diversity and student success program coordinator with UNC Graduate School, served as moderator for the discussion.

Sarah Verbiest, director of the School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families, and an interdisciplinary team from UNC’s Center for Maternal and Infant Health launched the website,, an expert-written postpartum self-care information hub designed by mothers to support mothers and their babies. The website aims to provide the latest medical evidence and offer real, honest stories to inform postpartum planning.

Faculty, staff, friends and family gathered on Sept. 19 to honor clinical associate professor Mary Anne Salmon, who is retiring this month after 33 years of service to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including 31 years within the School of Social Work.

Salmon, who joined UNC in 1986 as a research associate for the Health Services Research Center (now the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research), devoted her career to working to improve programs and policies that impact America’s growing aging population. Most of her tenure was spent as a research specialist with the Center for Aging Research and Educational Services (CARES) within the Jordan Institute for Families. She was among the first employees to be hired for the new center when professor Gary Nelson opened it in 1987.

Salmon’s passion for supporting and strengthening services for vulnerable older and disabled adults and their families extended to statewide service. For years, she served on a team that assists the Division on Aging and Adult Services and Area Agencies on Aging with the extensive process of certifying senior centers across the state. She was also a valuable member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging, helping to educate lawmakers and the public on the need for resources for North Carolina’s growing baby-boom generation.

As a School faculty member, Salmon also worked with the Rethinking Guardianship Initiative, evaluated online training for child welfare workers, and served as chair of the School’s pre-Institutional Review Board Committee.

During the retirement celebration, colleagues and friends praised Salmon for her advocacy and work to dismantle racism within her community as well as for being a supportive and often very vocal voice on behalf of marginalized populations. Dean Gary Bowen presented Salmon with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, among the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina. The award is given to individuals for exemplary service to the state and to their communities.