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Leadership Workshops

Spring 2016

From Emotions to Advocacy: How My Son’s Autism Made Me a Better Social Worker

presented by Sherry C. Mergner, MSW, LCSW, January 29th, 2016, 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.
Tate-Turner-Kuralt • Room 300

Sherry C. MergnerHearing the words "your child has autism" for the first time can have a profound effect on parents, caregivers and other family members. Receiving the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often met with not only guilt and fear but also social isolation and a lack of knowledge about how to deal with the unexpected level of care that is required. Parents’ hopes and dreams as well as expectations of themselves as parents may be radically altered; their ability to focus on their child’s needs in the midst of this emotional turmoil can be greatly compromised. By receiving the emotional support needed, many parents can and do rise to the challenge of providing for their child with special needs and find courage, contentment and connection.
In this highly personal narrative, the presenter, a mother of a child with autism and a licensed clinical social worker, describes her own journey of adjustment to the reality of her child’s autism. She will share how her son’s autism not only made her a better mother, but a better social worker.   
Sherry C. Mergner, MSW, LCSW is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the AHEC Liaison at UNC-CH, School of Social Work, where she coordinates continuing education programs for mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability professionals. Sherry also provides clinical services to families at the CIDD. From 2010-13, Sherry served as the Project Coordinator for an Autism Masters Training Grant through UNC-CH, School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Services. She is the proud mother of Noah, 16 years old with High Functioning Autism and Nathan, 14 years old who is typically developing. Sherry has served as a Mother’s Mentor for UNC-CH, TEACCH and was on the board of the Orange/Chatham Chapter of the Autism Society of NC from 2005-2007. She is very active in her community and within her children’s school promoting autism awareness and education.


Advancing Social Justice through Community-Campus Partnerships

presented by Al Richmond, MPH, January 26th, 2016, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Tate-Turner-Kuralt • Room 300

Al RichmondFor nearly two decades, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) and their partners have worked to bridge the chasm between communities and campuses across the county by supporting the development of scientific evidence that supports and upholds all those engaged in promoting health and well-being in communities. Far too many communities suffer from the crippling effects of diminished economic and social opportunities, making it difficult to lead productive and healthy lives. Their commitment to social justice and health equity has grounded their work to bring positive social change as the current climate in our nation cries out for authentic partnerships to combat social injustice.
Al Richmond, MPH has over 25 years of experience in a career that has uniquely blended social work and public health. He is a national leader in advocating for the engagement of communities in health research.  As the executive director of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health he leads an international organization committed to transformative partnerships between communities and academic institutions to advance health equity. Al is a North Carolina native, who in 2014 was selected as a participant in the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations.



Fall 2015

Improving the Lives of Young People Aging Out of Foster Care with Collective Impact

presented by Stan Holt, MSPH, Ph.D., October 5th, 2015, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Tate-Turner-Kuralt • Room 300

Stan HoltThe Fostering Youth Opportunities (FYO) initiative implemented by the United Way of the Greater Triangle utilizes the principles of collective impact to help young people aging out of foster care become self-sufficient by the age of 24. Over the last two years, collaborative projects have been funded in Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston Counties with partners including nonprofits across various systems and the public sector. This session will explore the lessons learned about the use of the collective impact principles and the need for system leaders as the project unfolds.

Stan Holt, MSPH, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Community Impact at the United Way of the Greater Triangle. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years, including roles as both an Executive Director and Development Director. He received his Master’s Degree from UNC-CH School of Public Health and recently completed his doctorate in Public Administration from NCSU. He is the project leader for Fostering Youth Opportunities, UWGT’s initiative to support young people aging out of foster care. Stan consistently volunteers in the community, including his service with Durham County’s Public Health Board and Department of Social Services’ Board.


Improving the Lives of Young People Aging Out of Foster Care with Collective Impact.pdf


Examining Professional Privilege through a Critical Lens

presented by Laurie Selz-Campbell, September 15th, 2015, 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.
Tate-Turner-Kuralt • Room 300

Laurie Selz CampbellAs social workers, our Code of Ethics mandates that we uphold the dignity & worth of all people, speak to and about our clients respectfully, and advocate for social change on behalf of vulnerable & oppressed groups. And yet, how often do we find ourselves reducing our clients to their diagnoses, talking about them in derogatory ways, or mandating what is best for them?  And how often must we represent or support institutional practices that discount, exploit, or discriminate?

This workshop begins from the premise that being a professional social worker confers a degree of privilege not unlike that based on race, sexual orientation, gender identification, and other factors of difference.  Professional privilege is typically invisible and unquestioned, with the potential to reinforce the very dynamics of oppression that we are ethically bound to confront.  Together, we will explore the manifestations of professional privilege on individual and institutional levels, and will begin to reflect on how we might use our privilege toward the ends of alliance and social justice.

Laurie Selz-Campbell, MSW, CPRP, is a clinical assistant professor at the UNC-CH School of Social Work. Her interests span both direct and macro practice, including mental health recovery, arts-based interventions, and facilitation of community dialogues focused on system and social change.  Through her work in mental health peer support and her teaching on stigma and oppression, she has developed a strong interest in understanding the ways in which professional privilege can promote – or thwart – ethical and socially just practice.


Professional Privilege through a Critical Lens.pdf


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