Skip to main content

School hosts inaugural Faculty Summer Institute

Nearly 20 faculty members from schools of social work from across the country participated this month in the inaugural Faculty Summer Institute at UNC School of Social Work. The institute was sponsored by UNC’s new National Initiative for Trauma Education and Workforce Development (NITEWD), which launched last year, in part, to increase the nation’s pool of mental health clinicians who are trained to serve traumatized youth and their families.

The three-day summer institute was the NITEWD’s first major event and brought together social work educators primarily from historically Black colleges and universities and institutions with majority-minority student bodies. These educators are among the first to be trained in a new MSW course that focuses on evidence-based trauma treatment with an anti-racist, anti-oppression lens.

Research has shown that children and families who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) often lack access to culturally relevant trauma treatment. The initiative developed the new MSW course to address this issue and to build the capacity of specially trained social work and mental health providers available within communities.

Based on the number of faculty who participated in the summer institute, an estimated 350 social work graduate students from across the nation will be trained over the next year in providing evidence-based trauma treatment to BIPOC children and families in need.

“NITEWD’s most important goal is to reduce the disparities in evidence-based trauma care for BIPOC children and families,” said initiative co-director and UNC School of Social Work associate professor Betsy Bledsoe. “I feel proud of the progress we have made toward ensuring all children and families have equal access to evidence-based trauma treatment.”

The National Initiative for Trauma Education and Workforce Development

The National Initiative for Trauma Education and Workforce Development is funded through a five-year, $3 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. School associate professor Betsy Bledsoe and research professor Virginia Strand serve as co-directors of the initiative and professor Trenette Clark Goings serves as co-investigator.