DSW Past events

2023 UNITE Research Showcase w/Rosenstein Lecture

2023 UNITE RESEARCH SHOWCASE On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, UNITE will host the 2023 UNITE Research Showcase - centered around elevating and promoting the importance of racial equity research at […]

Are Stand-Alone Psychoeducational Models Effective for Court-Ordered Individuals with a Substance Use Disorder?

The presentation will cover what psychoeducational groups are and what this model looks like in treatment. The history of where psychoeducational groups started will be discussed and how the original model has developed into what psychoeducational groups look like today. Why a group model is effective will be covered and why there is an emphasis placed on the group instead of an individual session.

The transformation from how psychoeducational groups started to how psychoeducational groups look now will be discussed on the foundation of various theoretical approaches. The theoretical foundations will include the psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavioral theory, attachment theory, transtheoretical model, and motivational interviewing. There will be a discussion on how the search strategy was carried out throughout the research process including what databases were used, the search terms, and the process of selecting the literature for this project.

Finally, the presentation will include how there can be an improvement in practice, research, and policy. The future of psychoeducational groups will be contingent on how this is carried out.

Integrated Psychotherapy in the US Army: A Common Factors Perspective

In a military treatment facility, providers are encouraged to utilize evidenced–based psychotherapies (EBPs) as suggested by the DOD/VA in their clinical practice guidelines. However, there are many barriers and issues with (EBPs) that limit their use. Integrated psychotherapy may be the answer.

This presentation will discuss the concept of Integrated psychotherapy, identify integrated psychotherapies that exist in research on a military population, and discuss the common factors theory. The presentation will also include an example of what an integrated therapy may look like by showcasing a basic conceptual model combining EMDR and Contemporary Psychodynamic therapy techniques. A case study is included in the presentation, in which this model was retrospectively applied to a patient.

How Secondary Traumatic Atress is an Occupational Hazard for Pet Hospice Support Staff and Psychoeducational Support Groups are the Curative Model

There are three separate yet interrelated products that made up this final capstone product. The completed product is focused on pet hospice veterinary support staff and the need for an evidence-based mitigation protocol to combat secondary traumatic stress.

The first product was the Systematic Literature Review (SLR). The SLR utilized a scoping review process to locate prior research or literature related to pet hospice veterinary support staff and secondary traumatic stress. No existing literature or research was found on these two topics.

The second product was a conceptual paper that introduced the creation of psychoeducational support groups for pet hospice veterinary support staff, once the occupational hazard of secondary traumatic stress was defined for this population. Psychoeducational support groups, using the andragogy within adult learning theory as a platform, provided the intervention for support within veterinary medicine.

The third and final product was the practice application paper, which outlined how to operationalize a psychoeducational support group in a pet hospice setting with support staff. This final product also explored limitations and future directions for social work practice.

The Community as an Ecosystem: Channeling Local Strength through Volunteerism to Promote Rural Development

What does the research say about the connection between volunteerism and rural community development? This session will present findings from the literature base, specifically regarding how the community functions as an ecosystem in which every member has a role to play. Focus will be given to challenges facing rural communities, cultural strengths of rural people, and how volunteerism can utilize those strengths to increase community development.

A new training curriculum grounded in research will be conceptualized as a solution to increasing volunteer reliability in the service delivery process. Major takeaways for those working with volunteers include new ways of thinking about intrinsic motivation, connecting volunteer work to larger community challenges, and important considerations for working in culturally sensitive ways with rural people and communities.

The Rule Of Engagement In Alternative Learning Environments: Don’t Forget About Caregivers

What is an alternative learning environment, and who attends school in these settings? A quick Google search can answer this and more about alternative learning environments and attendees. However, little is known about the caregivers of these students–the parents, grandparents, and guardians whose lives are significantly impacted by their patterns of school difficulty.

Alternative learning environments are often the last shot at education for students and the last hope for their caregivers. For the latter, there may also be other feelings about the transition, layered with environmental and familial stressors, impacting their beliefs and attitudes about it. This transition is an opportunity for school personnel to address the systemic factors affecting caregivers and students that played a role in this transition. The opportunity begins with reimagining the intake process.

This presentation is for education system stakeholders and participants interested in school social work or school administration, particularly in alternative learning environments. Participants will be challenged to explore reasons why the overall approach to the engagement of caregivers of students in alternative learning environments must change. A brief overview of traditional approaches to engagement will be provided, noting why these approaches have not been effective for this population of students and caregivers. Participants will be introduced to a conceptual model grounded in an ecological systems approach to the intake process. Finally, implications for practice application and further will be discussed.

Addressing Racial Inequity in Child Welfare through Child Welfare Worker Training

This session will disseminate the scholarship and Capstone Project on addressing racial inequity in child welfare through child welfare worker training. Content will include statistics and data on the current scope of racial inequity in child welfare to provide awareness of the practice problem. A synthesize of the literature will be provided on anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) training topic and fidelity for child welfare workers.

The identification of training ineffectiveness in worker ability to apply skills learned in practice will be highlighted, along with identification of current theory guiding practice and ADEI training. A new theoretical framework will be presented including Critical Race Theory currently guiding some implementation of training, and the addition of Transformative Learning Theory, Active Learning Theory, and Social Learning Theory to guide child welfare worker learning and ability to apply knowledge in practice.

Lastly, a proposed application to practice will be presented, including the delivery of training on an ongoing basis, activities to facilitate belief transformation, activities to facilitate active learning, and the enhancement of fidelity in practice through coaching, modeling, and inclusion in supervision.

Falling from the Discharge Cliff: How Social Work Interventions can Bridge the Gap after Psychiatric Hospitalization to Improve Patient Outcomes

The period after psychiatric hospitalization can be difficult for individuals for a number of reasons. Numerous barriers exist to establishing outpatient mental health care. Without continued treatment, individuals are at risk for increased symptom burden, hospital readmission, and suicide.

Emerging best practice recommends that hospitals follow-up with patients following discharge to ensure good continuity of care. Despite this growing acknowledgement and need for accountability, hospitals are slow to implement such interventions. The following capstone project explores whether transitional care interventions led by social workers improve various patient and systems-level outcomes.

Employing a functional use of self, social workers are uniquely equipped to implement creative interventions in the gap following psychiatric discharge. Finally, research informs practice through direct implementation of a caring contacts program. Both the literature review and practical application of phone-based contact interventions show promise in positively impacting various outcomes, including reduced suicide rate, decreased hospital readmissions, and increased kept outpatient appointments.

Addressing the Systemic Oppression of the Mental Health Workforce: Utilizing Tenets of Emotional Intelligence to Liberate Burnt-Out Providers

Humans manage healthcare systems, and all systems change the experience and acknowledgment of systematic errors. Fortunately, for the most prominent life-preserving system in the world – the United States Healthcare System, human error is the beginning of creativity and change. The mental healthcare system and its workforce are desperate to create an effective burnout remediation program.

Burnout affects an individual’s quality of life and impacts an organization’s treatment outcomes. The phenomenon is commonly addressed through minimization or, worse, a professionally acceptable experience in the mental health field. Current prevention and remediation efforts rely heavily on self-care practices while ignoring the organization’s contributory role in burnout causality.

The system highlights an error in organizational responsibility to address burnout as its latter approach, focused on individual self-care accountability, has drastically failed. This capstone presentation synthesizes decades of research on burnout, emotional intelligence, and organizational leadership practices to support the development of burnout remediation programs across the mental health profession.

The Development of Intensive Therapeutic Retreat Model to Enhance the Treatment of Individual Psychotherapy and Increase the Quality of Life in Women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

This capstone presentation is focused on presenting a new modality of treatment for women with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The presentation contains an introduction and overview of three products:

(1) a systematic review of the literature regarding wellbeing and retreats; (2) a conceptual paper grounded in the person-centered theory related to utilizing retreats as an adjunct treatment to traditional psychotherapy; and (3) a practice paper that outlines the formulation of a new treatment modality for women with PTSD.

Each of these products are affiliated and presented together to create the final framework and for this capstone presentation.

Homelessness is Deadly, Complicated, and Solvable: Tracking Mortality Data of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Individuals experiencing homelessness demonstrate more significant health disparities than their housed counterparts and are among the most vulnerable of all populations, which has been proven to result in premature mortality. The mortality rates of people experiencing homelessness (PEH) have been comprehensively documented; however, the United States has no formal tracking method or statistics for people who die while experiencing homelessness.

A community partnership between federally qualified health centers, hospitals, community-based mental health agencies, homeless service providers, and the medical examiner will assist in tracking the health and mortality of the population through street outreach to ensure accurate assessments and screeners are used to track, advocate, and support this population. Research has concluded that achieving an integrated approach to care depends on successfully coordinating services through complex but sensitive care coordination. A homeless mortality review task force can address this detrimental gap in services for PEH if we ground practice in theory. The standpoint framework drives social workers and other health care professionals to be analytically mindful of the complexities and intersectionality of the population and to be comprehensive in our approach to practice.

The systematic review focused on evaluating a HMRTF’s ability to successfully decrease mortality rates in individuals experiencing homelessness while increasing routine medical appointment utilization through street outreach, data collection, and collaboration among community partners. The conceptual paper theoretically grounded the HMRTF in the standpoint perspective of social work. This framework enhances the HMRTF’s effectiveness in working with vulnerable populations and demonstrates the intersections of race, ability, poverty, and homelessness. The final product, the practice application paper, focused on applying research knowledge and synthesis to this gap in services.

Social work professionals who utilize standpoint theory are more cognizant of the population’s unique barriers, social determinants of health, susceptibility to premature mortality, and the necessity of meeting PEH where they are to treat their chronic conditions. To effectively treat PEH, the implications of their illness, identity, and the possibility of early mortality must be examined. Negligence of these factors will result in less effective social work and health care coordination.

Just Because We Are Black: Exploring the Impact of Racial Trauma on African American Adults and Introducing an Approach to Assessment

Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), describes the emotional and psychological distress that people of color experience as a result of racism and discrimination. African American, or Black people, are the most vulnerable group for experiences of and exposure to racism and discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race can have negative impact African American individuals, their families, and their communities as a whole.

Symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) can manifest as a result of racism and discrimination. It is important to understand that racial trauma can occur as a result of historical trauma, transgenerational trauma, and racial microaggressions. No culturally sensitive tool has been developed to assess for racial trauma specifically in African Americans.

This capstone presentation will provide an overview of a systematic literature review describing forms of racial trauma and contributing factors to racial trauma, the impact of racial trauma on mental health, and introduce a culturally appropriate assessment tool to assess for racial trauma in African American adults.

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Reenvisioned to Mitigate Stigma and Enhance Treatment Effectiveness

When the clinician or treating therapist shifts their perspective from pathology to person, stigmatizing beliefs and generalizations can cause a decrease in compassion, understanding, and effectiveness of treatment. This presentation seeks
to educate its viewers on ways to mitigate stigma within the clinical setting and enhance treatment effectiveness through the use of a proposed shift in treatment modality, training, and assessment. The writer additionally introduced a new
course of therapeutic treatment and introduces the relational model of social work practice to BPD in addition to the use of mentalization-based therapy (MBT).

A revamped assessment tool will aid in accurately diagnosing and treating the pathology of borderline personality disorder through measurable data over treatment, specifically in the PHP, IOP. and OP settings. Finally, clinician training has been introduced to ensure all clinicians are adequately informed on the use of relational-engagement therapy and its benefits for those diagnosed with or displaying borderline traits.

In totality, this presentation ultimately seeks to debunk much of the stigma in the clinical setting towards a very much misunderstood and misdiagnosed population.

Improving Access to Quality Mental Health Services for Georgia’s Youth Through Enhancements in Social Work Education

Disparities in access to mental healthcare among marginalized K-12 youth in Georgia are severe. Georgia ranks 49th in the nation in access to mental health services but first in the prevalence of mental health issues (Reinert et al., 2022). In addition, despite substantial research and evidence highlighting the importance of early intervention treatment for mental health issues, complex and compounding treatment barriers persist.

Research demonstrates that children with access to in-school mental health services are significantly more likely to receive treatment. Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT), a culturally sensitive, evidence-based therapeutic intervention, is poised to be able to address these disparities in access to care. In addition, school-based social workers—already serving in K-12 Georgia schools—are perfectly positioned to provide critically-needed school-based mental health treatment services.

Product one is a systematic review focused on primary research that assessed the outcomes of the effectiveness of CCPT in addressing unmet mental health needs in K-12 public schools. The purpose of conducting a systematic literature review was to establish a foundation of quality research assessing play therapy outcomes in school settings and to explore previous attempts to address inequities in access to care. Next, product two is a conceptual paper exploring grounding CCPT theoretically in the systems perspective of social work and an anti-oppressive practice approach. Finally, product three outlines a holistic approach to operationalizing child-centered play therapy (CCPT) training in K-12 school systems across Georgia—through targeted enhancements to social work continuing education training.

Through innovative social work education initiatives—such as widespread Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) training during school social worker continuing education—social work educators could increase clinical education opportunities for K-12 school staff while increasing access to quality mental health care for our most at-risk youth—and potentially transforming Georgia’s mental health in the process.

Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: Best Practices for Volunteer Retention

Social work and volunteerism have been closely connected throughout history as each is rooted in service to others and their creation shares an intertwined beginning. While research is lacking around leadership in nonprofit, charity, and volunteer organizations, the connection between leadership behaviors and volunteer commitment significantly impacts volunteer service on both the domestic and international stages. As volunteerism rates are at historic lows, many aspects and populations in society rely on volunteers to provide necessary support and resources in order to survive.

This presentation examines how leadership behaviors impact volunteer commitment and how leaders of nonprofits can utilize a best practice framework to positively impact the volunteer experience to increase motivation and engagement. By closing this gap in research and providing context around leadership, nonprofit organizations can enhance effective leadership, improve culture and climate, and increase volunteer engagement and retention. Analyzing volunteer motivation to engage and commit to an organization as related and impacted by leadership behaviors provides insight into future direction for research and program implementation.

“I Like My Baby Heir, With Baby Hairs and Afros”: Use of Story Theory in Addressing Maternal Health Outcomes for African American Veterans and Service Members

Maternal morbidity and mortality among African American women has been a systemic and pervasive issue in the United States for decades. In 2020, Congress began to address the issues around the deaths of African American women in the Mombius 2020 Act. In 2021 congress expanded those efforts by passing the “Protect Moms Who Serve Act 2020”.

This act began to address the lack of maternal health services to veterans and services members throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs, with a focus on African American and Native women. This presentation will outline the current issues around maternal outcomes in African American women veterans and service members. This presentation will address how using Story Theory, medical professionals can begin to listen to the narratives African American Service Members.

The Story and Narrative Theory centered B.O.O.T. Maternal Assessment and Interview is being proposed to address communication issues between providers and patients. The B.O.O.T.S. assessment can be used by military, veteran, and civilian providers alike.

Rebranding the Battle Against Clinician Burnout 

This presentation will take a close look into the issue of burnout among marginalized healthcare providers (women and LGBTQ+). This showcase will dissect key points in history that target wellness and define terms that are relevant to understanding the effects of burnout on a person’s work-life balance. It will be divided into several sections, including an overview of the problem and contributing factors, a thorough review of relevant literature, a conceptual idea that will explore both the problem at hand and theories that can help with its effects, and finally a practice application that will serve as the recommendation for a change in policy to act as preventative care and education for working social workers in the field.

Each section will walk us through existing research, theory, and practice of Kentucky state-licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). The end goal of this paper will be the acknowledgment of the professional failings for social workers in the field, as well as an actionable plan that will create change for a healthier practice for the future of the social work profession.

Positioning Critical Race Theory with Anti-Diversity, Equity, Inclusion within Social Work Education

Within predominantly white social work programs, students of color, particularly African American faculty and students, are resigning or withdrawing, citing targeted microaggressions, lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as a lack of cultural humility from peers, faculty, and practicum supervisors (Gooding, A., & Mehrotra, G. R.). The Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards manual (EPAS) outlines the knowledge, values, and skills that formulate competencies central to social work education. The literature suggests that cultural competency identified in past editions of the EPAS does not effectively address discrimination, systematic oppression, and marginalization faced by persons of color.

A shift to cultural humility requires individuals to perform self-reflection, personal critiquing, and addressing biases. Merging critical race theory with cultural humility provides an internal and external epistemological review of how these barriers have continued without interruption. Social work education should be purposeful in creating authentic, measurable, and deliberate outcomes to address the multilevel loss of students and faculty of color by purposefully charting a path forward that is anti-racist, diverse, equitable, and inclusive in scholarship, education, and practice.

The capstone project will look at this path forward through a systematic literature review, and a conceptual and practice framework.

Sexual Reproductive Healthcare: Reproductive Autonomy, Access Inequity, And The Call For Service Expansion

Sexual Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) and the right to control over one’s own body in sexual and reproductive matters, are fundamental core component of an individual’s being. The SRH landscape changes on a daily basis with changes to policy and legislation, majority of which further restrict access. Advocacy and education will be key in advancing SRH access moving forward however in order to move forward we must examine and acknowledge past practices.

Disparities In Mental Health Technology Among African-Americans: Breaking Cultural Inclusion Barriers

Mental health Technology is an innovative service delivery method used to minimize healthcare access challenges. African-Americans have increased their engagement in mental health technology in various aspects as professionals and patients while companies scale in capacity and funding to expand their technological reach globally. The need to explore the intentionality of cultural inclusion, research analysis, evidence-based practices, program design, organizational structures, and policy implementation is essential to ensure the sustainability of mental health technology as a reliable model in the future of healthcare.

This presentation will examine the capstone project as a collection of three papers, the Systematic Literature review, Concept paper, and Practical application paper, analyzing cultural inclusion concerns from the African-American patient and professional perspective. There was an examination of patient issues related to program design, evidence-based interventions, therapist matching, marketing, and research, with professionals experiencing inequities in hiring practices, career ladders, diversity training, strategic planning, STEM careers, and organizational ownership.

This presentation will take a deeper dive into the systematic literature review which explored the current literature, common themes, research barriers, and future research implication for practice. It will further explain the concept paper which described the interconnection between anti-oppressive theory, systems theory, the historical constructs of structural racism, and the structural discrepancies that reinforce obstructive ideologies in the cultural inclusion reform process. Lastly, it will discuss the practice application paper which investigated the root cause of cultural equity challenges, examined behavioral leadership theory doctrines, and provided problem-solving strategies using a three-tiered method of practical reform interventions. This is a call to action for mental health technology cultural inclusion reform.

Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment And The Effect On Overall Treatment

In clinical social work practice a clinician often assesses risk, level of care, and the overall mental capacity and capability of the clients they serve. In some instances when a client is deemed at a high level of risk, the client may be subject to being admitted to involuntary psychiatric treatment. Involuntary psychiatric treatment is when a client is admitted and/or mandated to a form of treatment intervention against their will.

This often results in clients being uprooted from their everyday lives and can cause a major disruption within contexts of their employment, social relationships, family, and societal responsibilities. While this form of treatment is necessary in some instances of clinical practice in order to ensure that a client and others around them are safe, this capstone seeks to define involuntary clients, determine appropriate interventions, increase treatment outcomes, and bridge the gap between levels of care and the treatment options that are provided to those who are deemed at different levels of risk.

Exploring and Tackling Poor Engagement in Mental Health Services for U.S. Military Veterans with Serious Mental Illness: Collection of Papers

This capstone project focuses on the treatment engagement challenges for military veterans with serious mental illness (SMI). Poor engagement in care is correlated with negative outcomes for this population. By exploring the scope and conceptualization of this issue, a solution is proposed to tackle poor engagement with SMI veterans.

To begin, a systematic literature review examines the effectiveness of intensive case management with a therapeutic alliance for this population. Due to the lack of literature available on this issue, the conceptual paper proposes a self-determination theoretical approach to improve treatment engagement with SMI veterans. Broadening the conceptualization, the final piece of this capstone project proposes a practice application for clinicians to enhance their skills to engage SMI veterans in mental health services.

Rise Up: Dismantling Institutionalized Racism Embedded in Healthcare to Improve Health Outcomes for Black Women

Black women in America are paying the cost for systematic failures in the healthcare system. This presentation will focus on the prevalence of institutionalized racism in healthcare dating back to slavery. The presenter will discuss the role of social determinants of health in addressing health disparities, and the reasons these health disparities continue to exist today, despite healthcare advancements as well as numerous, and often costly, public awareness programs and public health initiatives.

In addition, the discussion will address disproportionate outcomes in healthcare for Black women compared to their white counterparts. An overview of the theoretical framework of Black feminism, weathering, critical race, and Sojourner Syndrome will be highlighted, as these factors bring significant relevance to understanding health disparities.  The presenter will provide an overview of the discrimination survey and explain why this survey is a necessary component across the healthcare spectrum. 

Finally, the presentation will address gaps in research that inevitably lead to poor health outcomes and unsatisfactory quality in care for Black women. Highlighting the solutions to long-term systematic change, the discussion will explore the ultimate implications for social work practice, the role and the impact social work leaders play in addressing health disparities.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy as a Pre-Habilitative Psycho-Oncology Approach with Head and Neck Cancer Patients

This scholarly Capstone Project intends to introduce the integration of a novel therapeutic framework to bridge the unmet psychological needs of the head and neck cancer population.  The Capstone Project provides trending information on the etiology of head and neck cancers including increasing diagnoses related to the Human Papillomavirus and thus why some in the medical community refer to this cancer as a “quiet epidemic”.  The primary focus will be to illustrate the disproportionately high psychological distress experienced by this population, the traditional therapeutic interventions applied and the need for a new approach. 

The project will introduce the model of Pre-Habilitative Psycho-Oncology using Accelerated Resolution Therapy, or PPA, to be implemented in the oncology clinic setting. The new model, which will be social work led, will establish consistent and thorough biopsychosocial assessments on every patient with a new head and neck cancer diagnosis, identify those experiencing psychological distress and intervene prior to the initiation of treatment, rather than during or after.

The pre-habilitative approach seeks to reduce anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation through the techniques used in Accelerated Resolution Therapy. Through the unique social work lens, PPA will help patients develop coping skills, enhance resilience, and improve quality of life.

Tools of the Trade: Educating Future Social Workers for Anti-Oppressive Practice

This presentation provides an overview of the capstone project and explores the findings from researching the question: What does the literature say about teaching cultural humility in social work education? Cultural humility is an important component of anti-oppressive practice. Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) is a component that is required in social work education by the Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE).

The CSWE allows flexibility for how accredited social work schools implement this in education. The presentation includes a brief overview of the systematic literature review that revealed inadequate empirical evidence for the methods used to teach cultural humility. Three teaching methods stood out: Intergroup dialogue, experiential learning, and reflective writing.

There will also be an overview of suggested theories that are useful, Critical Race Theory, Systems Theory, and Experiential Learning Theory. Finally, an overview of the implications and proposed solutions.

Anorexia, Neurocognition, and Practice Implications: An Outpatient Treatment Model

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a potentially lethal eating disorder, and current available treatment(s) for anorexia are inadequate at best (Bulik, 2013). The illness has an alarmingly high relapse and mortality rate (Bulik, 2013), which seems to have correlation to many factors that may be preventable. With access to a timely and accurate diagnosis, access to treatment on a variety of levels of care and newer and more improved treatment modalities, treatment for anorexia may begin to rise to the occasion. This capstone project seeks to examine some of the more specific challenges and potential solutions to these problems.

Three products make up this capstone project: a systematic literature review, a conceptual paper, and a practice application paper. The systematic literature review provides a targeted review of selected literature that serves to inform a new conceptualization of the selected social problem. The practice application paper presents a model that can be applied and work to resolve the social problem.

The systematic literature review examined literature on anorexia and the brain. Literature was chosen that appeared to have implications in studying the neurological effects of anorexia, and the way(s) an individual exhibits these effects during the illness. It was discovered that there are significant neurological changes and deficits occurring in the brain of an individual with anorexia, and that these symptoms are often directly related to poor treatment outcomes. These findings informed the conceptual paper and practice application papers. The conceptual paper explored the efficacy of the 12-Step intervention in addictive disorders, due to the neurological, cognitive and behavioral similarities between addictive disorders and anorexia. The practice application paper describes a steps model as a non-clinical intervention for anorexia.

Peer Support in a ​Recovery-Oriented Setting

Peer support is not achievable outside of a recovery-oriented system of care. This capstone project will identify the strengths and challenges of peer support in a behavioral health setting and will address the research question: How do you define, supervise, and train the peer support worker role in a behavioral health recovery setting? It defines recovery as defined by SAMSHA and will address peer support within this context.

This capstone will lead the journey on the history of mental health recovery, and historical gains in the mental health consumer movement, it will address mental health parity. It is a collection of three distinct papers that each stand alone in their own merit but collectively address peer support in a recovery-oriented setting. The unique view of this collection of papers looks at the current consensus of literature “Peer support is beneficial but proceed with caution”.

This collection of papers will highlight the “peer support is beneficial” but look specifically at “the proceed with caution” and addresses the findings identified in the capstone to propose and apply a solution to the identified challenges within the field by proposing the creation of a nonprofit called RESILIENCE, that will offer peer support, and consultation for organizations engaging in peer support, with program development, implementation, and evaluation.

Identification and removal of barriers to VA mental health treatment for Black female veterans

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is the largest integrated healthcare system in the nation. It is seen by many as a safety net for the nation’s veterans. Research has been conducted with both male and female veterans to identify barriers they may experience while seeking mental health treatment from the VA. However, the veteran population is more than diverse than just looking at differences in gender. Females are the fastest growing group pf veterans. Currently they make up 11% with a projection of being 18% of the population by the year 2046. That being said, female veterans are not a homogeneous group. Forty-three percent of female veterans identify as a member of a racial/ethnic group. Those identifying as Black were at 12%, representing the largest single racial/ethnic group. The goal of this capstone project is to identify barriers Black female veteran encounter to accessing mental health treatment from the VA. This project also examines the current approach while presenting a new conceptual framework that acknowledges these barriers and a culturally responsive approach to removing them.

Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Social Workers in Public Education

Social workers practice in various settings outside of their discipline. These host settings may present challenges for social workers due to inadequate supervision and performance evaluation often provided by a leader without knowledge of the field’s ethics and professional standards. The public education system is one of these settings.

This capstone project explores the current supervision and evaluation frameworks for non-traditional staff within schools and proposes a best-practice solution to improve the experiences of school social workers. Barriers to effective evaluation at the individual and organizational levels are identified and the impacts on the professional growth of these staff are defined. The National Evaluation for School Social Work Practice is utilized to propose an interdisciplinary approach to performance evaluations for these staff that blends transactional and transformational leadership styles.

This approach defines professional competencies and standards assessed by building administrators, such as principals and assistant principals, and those that are more effectively assessed by a social work supervisor. Utilizing an interdisciplinary framework for supervision and performance evaluation equally emphasizes the needs of the organization and the professional to improve outcomes for students, staff, and the school community. Although specific to public education, the proposed framework can serve as a model for other host settings to improve the experiences and job satisfaction of social workers in other sectors.

Embodying Freedom: Addressing Mental Health in the Black Church Utilizing Trauma Informed Care

The presentation will explore the history of the Black church and the negative impact of generational trauma. Mental health disparities will be identified and explored to increase awareness and dispel stigma in Black church communities. This presentation focuses on Afrocentric and systems theory to analyze historical context, modern representation, and provide future implications for collaborative faith-based health resources.?

Restoreth My Soul is a new trauma-informed care program for Black churches developed by the presenter. Restoreth My Soul will be launched in September 2023. The program aims to create conversations about mental health in local/international African American church communities through webinars and virtual conferences.

Although these conversations are uncommon, Restoreth My Soul intends to provide resources to reduce the members and leaders silently suffering as result of their trauma. The intended outcome of the program is the educate, evaluate, and implement mental health policies in Black congregations. For more information about RMS sign up for the mailing list at www.chelecebrown.com.

Deep Community Partnerships: The Future of Community-Based Senior Services in a Value-Driven Era

This presentation will review three scholarly products that examine how chronically ill older adults interact with healthcare systems and senior service delivery systems in the United States. Product One examines how community-based senior programs that are funded by the Older Americans Act (OAA) positively impact health outcomes and promote health and wellness among the older adult population. Product Two examines how Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) interact with the patient and with one another using the lens of Systems Theory.

Product Three examines best practices regarding care coordination among all systems that impact the older adult, uses a case example to discuss how care coordination addresses service gaps, and discusses strategies that organizational leaders can use among all systems to promote care coordination behaviors.

Current Best Practices in the Delivery of Online Social Work Education that Maximize Student Engagement and Success

The practice of online social work education at the college and university level goes back nearly as far as the mass propagation of internet access in the 1990s. Higher education has a history of working to accommodate students who work or otherwise have challenges being present at a brick-and-mortar campus during traditional working hours, Monday through Friday. Over the years, colleges and universities have offered evening and weekend classes, correspondence courses via the United States Postal Service, and even self-paced CD-ROM programs.

As internet access has increased over the decades, so has the amount of web-based social work courses and programs. With the arrival of Covid-19 in March 2020, institutes of higher learning had to quickly pivot to online instruction, and quickly adapt and utilize web-based learning management systems and media to engage and educate students. As higher education has returned to a new normal following Covid-related restrictions and lockdowns in the early 2020s, it is important to take a new look at the delivery of online social work education to ensure current best practices and innovations are in place to maximize student engagement and success in this important area of social work practice.

Clinician Survivors of Client Suicide: A Policy for Colleges and University Campuses

Being a clinician survivor of a client suicide is a devastating and tragic risk of working in the mental health field. Following the loss of a client to a completed suicide, the clinician survivor is left with personal and professional struggles. This presentation will provide an overview of a systemic literature review of clinician survivors of client suicide.

The literature review will focus on the significant experience that the loss of a client to a completed suicide has on a clinician. Theoretical perspectives will address the impact that a client’s suicide has on a clinician. Systems theory will provide an explanation of the clinician’s struggles following a loss of a client.

Wounded health theory offers the clinician survivor hope to transform from a wounded individual to a wounded healer following the client’s death to a completed suicide. A policy will be offered to support clinicians on a college or university campus following a client’s suicide using the steps from Crisis Incident Stress Management.

Exploring Social Worker Wellness: Balancing Individual Self-Care and the Responsibility of Leadership

This presentation will review three scholarly products that explore practitioner wellness in the context of the social work field. As the burnout rate among social workers is higher than in other professions, self-care and organizational wellness are promoted to combat this phenomenon. The first product, a systematic literature review, provides a foundation of information found in the current literature.

Social worker self-care and wellness are explored within education, organizations, and within the broader professional culture. The second product, a conceptual paper, promotes the idea of holistic practitioner wellness by viewing it through the lens of three theoretical frameworks with an emphasis on the impact of the workplace setting and leadership. The third product, a practice application paper, offers a wellness program for social work organizations.

This program was adapted using an existing framework identified in product one and applies the information synthesized in product two.

Decentering Privilege Via Clinical Social Work Supervision

Social Workers are often seen and valued in our society as change makers, especially related to social justice. While that presents as a shared value and focus across the field there is little research or guidance from social workers, specifically clinical social workers, about supervision frameworks that ensure anti-oppressive direct clinical care is being provided.

This presentation will showcase the history of this issue, important notations from the utilization of a systematic literature review, mentions of other attempts and supports to rectify this concern, a highlighting of anti-oppressive supervisory models created by clinicians from other clinical disciplines, an in depth case study and logic model that leads us to the five step supervisory framework created by University of Kentucky doctoral candidate, Rachel Buxbaum, to support the decentering of privilege via clinical social work supervision.

Serious Mental Illness Recovery: Seeing the Person Not the Stereotype

Serious mental illness (SMI) is heavily stigmatized by the public and within healthcare systems. This stigma can be a barrier to treatment and recovery, negatively impacting the person, their family, and the community. Becoming aware of the stigmatizing beliefs of clinicians and acknowledging implicit bias exists among clinicians is imperative to the success of treatment.

Through formulating and practicing an integrative approach to treatment, people with SMI can receive ethical and competent care. Social workers often serve at the forefront of care for vulnerable populations and can act as effective agents in changing the therapeutic dynamic with people with SMI.

Reclaiming Social Justice in Clinical Social Work: A Metatheoretical Supervision Model to Develop Justice-Oriented Practitioners

The promotion of human rights, equity, and social justice are central tenets in the social work discipline. However, as a profession, social work has experienced ideological fissures, leading to failures to capture the complexities of contextual and systemic influences in clinical practice. This capstone project seeks to address this dichotomy in education and practice by situating clinical supervision as the ideal pedagogical space for the development of justice-oriented practitioners.

In this presentation, the author will first report on the findings of a systematic literature review investigating the role of social justice in the salient clinical supervision literature. Next, the author will propose the rationale for a conceptual model for social justice–oriented clinical supervision. The Critical Relational Model (CRM) emerged during the analytic process, demonstrating the layered and contextual nature of clinical supervision (e.g.: sociocultural identities, power dynamics, systemic injustices).

Grounded in a constructionist metatheory and applied though a relational lens, the model draws from critical theories, critical pedagogy, anti-oppressive and decolonizing frameworks, while centering the supervisory relationship in the process of learning and growth. Last, the author describes how the model can be applied in clinical supervision to develop critical skills and meta–competencies, decolonize supervision, and promote epistemic justice. Beyond a supervision model, the CRM is a call to action.

Given the growing socio-political and racial tension in the US and emerging debates over the many manifestations of injustice, oppression, marginalization, discrimination, and human rights violations impacting individuals’ lived experiences, there has never been better time to reclaim social justice in the clinical arena.

The Epidemic Of Suicidality Among Young Adults

The presentation focuses on the societal issue of suicidality among young adults and how the COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on this societal issue. This presentation explores this social problem by examining a literature study, a conceptualization of the social problem, and how the social problem is seen in a practice context. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss some of the primary contributors to the social problem at hand, as well as the increased prevalence of substance use disorders observed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these two concepts are related.

This presentation examines the 8754: Impact Young Adults policy and how it offers resources to substance use?clinics and first responders throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This presentation’s emphasis on the significance of educating the community about potential risk factors, warning signals, chances for awareness and education, and the need for resources will aid in bringing about the necessary change. A substantial proportion of young adults are engaged in a “quiet war” with suicidality and other mental health difficulties and are unsure about what to do next.

This presentation addresses this topic to raise awareness and encourage that one young adult to seek attention or assistance. One young adult lost to suicide is one young adult lost to many.

The Opioid Epidemic in Black Communities

This presentation will look at the opioid epidemic in Black communities. Black individuals now die at higher rates than white individuals from opioid overdoses. Once considered a white disease, communities of color have not been given attention in the epidemic, and resources have focused on rural, middle-class white communities.

This presentation will address this problem and discuss the impact of systemic racism in regard to addiction treatment and, more specifically, opioid use disorder. Historical context will be provided, and the impact of the opioid crisis on Black communities today will be discussed. The presenter will suggest that the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Systems Theory combined can be used to implement comprehensive and culturally responsive care for Black individuals and communities.

The presentation will address the need for macro-level change through policy but will end with suggestions for immediate solutions to remediate care disparities and reach more Black individuals.

Simulation in Social Work Education: Elevating Competence in Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicide Risk Assessment

This presentation will provide an overall summary of the presenter’s capstone project. The presentation will cover three distinctive products: the systematic literature review, the conceptual paper, and the practice application paper.

The first product, a systematic literature review, focused on simulation-based learning as an innovative, experiential, teaching method in enhancing clinical competency skills in MSW students in field practicum and practice.

The second product, a conceptual paper, presented a multi-dimensional framework for understanding and grounding simulation as a pedagogy, in addition, its ability to connect field education and social work curriculum is presented.

Bridging the gap in research, the 3rd and last product, a practice application paper, presents a simulation educational model for curriculum development that can be applied to graduate social work clinical courses.

Eliminating the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness in Healthcare Settings: Examining Provider Training Using Anti-Oppressive Instruction and Contact (AOIC) Training

This presentation will review the scholarly literature surrounding current interventions that have been attempted in the hopes of alleviating the stigma and biases that exist in healthcare settings for individuals who have a history of mental illness. Product One will discuss the stigma and biases that exist for individuals with mental illness, the resulting healthcare disparities, and the detrimental effects they have on patient welfare. It will also examine the success and failures of existing interventions in eliminating those biases.

Product Two will take a closer look at the existing interventions to assess the positive and negative aspects of each in order to evaluate what may be useful when proposing a new training intervention as well as stress the importance of extended patient contact during the intervention.

Product Three outlines a new training and contact intervention that teaches medical personnel, both current and future, how to use an anti-oppressive approach when working with patients. It also includes extended contact with individuals with mental illness which will be an integral part of the intervention.

A Grief Response Guide: Addressing Violence Exposure Among Urban Youth

At the nexus of therapeutic practice and urban youth’s mental health, including depression, anxiety, and grief there are gaps in knowledge. The knowledge available on the mental health of urban youth and their exposure to violence could be used to build interventions and services that support the integration of academic success outcomes through trauma informed care. Young people exposed to violence are affected by fatalism and disenfranchisement, especially those from inner city and high crime neighborhoods.

To better understand how loss impacts urban youth, a theoretical framework that combines two concepts—the socio-ecological theory and the meaning reconstruction theory—is presented. Our objective is to contrast these theories’ justifications for modern treatment methods and their application to young people, then offer a post-positive framework for successful interventions based on these beliefs. The knowledge related to urban youth and exposure to violence can be addressed through culturally aware practice and assessment of need.

The capstone will identify and propose the HEARTS resource created to address the disproportionate services for urban youth and share the research that supports this innovative approach to urban youth and grief.

Rural Mental Health: Cultural Competence, Ecological Perspective, and Training

The aim of this capstone presentation is to bring attention to the unique barriers of availability, accessibility, and acceptability that rural populations in the United States tend to face in relation to mental health services. This capstone presentation will discuss how cultural competence in rural areas is lacking and should be tailored to the area where the rural population served resides. Cultural competence tailored to the population served is important for mental health agencies and providers to possess to work effectively with rural populations.

Specifically, understanding how each unique rural area presents with barriers to mental health services that have an interconnected relationship with the culture in that area. The incorporation of ecological perspective into cultural competence is a proposed solution for mental health agencies and professionals to use to more effectively understand the influence of their geographic location on their area’s culture. Recommendations to alter trainings for mental health professionals at rural community mental health centers, along with agency policy, are provided to incorporate this perspective.

Leadership Strategies for New Supervisors on Leading a Diverse Workforce

It is said that people spend more time at work than they do at home. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on average, people spend one-third of their life at work (BLS 2022). Having a poor experience in the workplace leads to turnover, decreased productivity, disengaged employees, and poor customer service.

Leading others can be difficult, and most times leaders supervise by the way they were led or have no supervisory training at all. This capstone product provides three distinct scholarly articles that address leadership strategies for new supervisors in leading a diverse workforce.

Product one is a systematic literature review that examined leadership frameworks that promote job satisfaction and retention of healthcare employees. Product two consists of a conceptual framework for cross-cultural supervision, that promotes employee engagement and retention. Product three focuses on leadership training and the importance of the supervisor-supervisee relationship.

A New Social Work Leadership Standard: Empathetic Leadership

The social work profession has no developed leadership approach. This presentation will discuss the history of leadership in social work and the professional implications that have resulted from not having a developed leadership approach such as burnout. The presenter will then explore Empathetic Leadership as a standard leadership model in social work practice by defining empathy, leadership, and when leaders lead with empathy it can be transformational because research is suggesting that leaders who are empathetic have workers who experience less burnout.

The implications that empathetic leadership could have on the social work profession aren’t known but the possibilities are exciting because the research points to healthier work environments, increased productivity, and overall better health outcomes for employees. To create this level of change it would take a systematic approach starting with a Empathetic Leadership Curriculum Pilot to teach, model, and replicate empathetic leadership theory and skills to MSW students.

Could empathetic leadership improve burnout? This presentation will have you wanting to answer that question.

Real and Radical Allyship: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Black Trans Women

Black trans women are one of the most vulnerable populations in America. Black trans women face multiple forms of legalized and social discrimination that impacts both their livelihoods and mental health. Unfortunately, most social workers and other mental health professionals are not trained on how to address the mental needs of Black trans women.

This presentation will explore the impact of discrimination on the mental health of Black trans women, how clinicians can treat the mental health needs of Black trans women, and how clinicians can become radical allies to Black trans women in the process.

Developing A Trauma-Informed Care Training Model For Youth Emergency Shelter Care

Trauma is a pervasive issue that impacts all youth within congregate care settings. Because of the complexity of trauma and the increasing rates of youth admitted to congregate care settings, service delivery systems, such as youth emergency shelter care, should incorporate trauma-informed care practices to assist in decreasing staff burnout and vicarious trauma, as well as assist the youth in post-traumatic recovery and growth. Trauma-informed care is a clinical model designed to address the comprehensive understanding of trauma, both clinically and organizationally.

This presentation will examine an effective implementation method for Developing a Trauma-Informed Care Training Model for Youth Emergency Shelter Care. The proposed training model will be intended to implement for staff training purposes but will ultimately be a systematic framework that will impact all levels of an agency. If youth emergency shelter care agencies were to incorporate this framework, they would be providing knowledge and understanding to their staff?and security and safety to their residents.

Leadership in Overcoming Confirmation Bias through Effective Communication: A Reflection-Based Conversation Guide

Confirmation bias can hinder effective communication, especially in environments where groupthink can exacerbate the problem. This presentation focuses on the need for leadership to overcome confirmation bias through reflective practices, effective communication, and the use of a conversation guide.

The presentation will define confirmation bias and its impact on communication. It will explore how confirmation bias can create blind spots that prevent individuals from considering alternative perspectives, leading to communication breakdowns.

It will examine the importance of reflective practices in overcoming confirmation bias before engaging in conversation. By assessing personal biases and reflecting on their mindset, leaders can identify opportunities for growth and develop a more open-minded and respectful approach to communication.

Next, it will discuss effective communication strategies that leaders can use to counter confirmation bias. It will explore techniques such as active listening, asking open-ended questions, and encouraging constructive dissent. These techniques can help participants to identify and challenge assumptions, leading to better communication outcomes.

Finally, we will introduce a conversation guide that can help facilitate constructive dialogue and promote open-mindedness and respect. This guide provides a structured framework for discussing complex issues and encourages participants to consider multiple perspectives.

By the end of this presentation, participants will have a better understanding of confirmation bias and its impact on communication, as well as practical tools and techniques for overcoming this bias. They will also be equipped with a conversation guide that can help foster constructive dialogue and promote open-mindedness in future conversations.

Bridging the Gap: Healthcare Access To Medication-Assisted Treatment and the Power of Coalitions

The opioid epidemic continues. Opioid-related deaths have dramatically increased in the past decade, and issues related to opioids continue to affect millions. National efforts have been implemented through legislation to impact untreated addiction by increasing the availability of harm reduction services and removing barriers to treatment for addiction.

This presentation will provide a historical overview of the opioid epidemic and the efforts made by legislation during that time to address the identified misuse of opioids and the fatal consequence for the nation. An understanding of access barriers for those who need treatment will be provided. Then a proposal to address those barriers will be discussed through the classic theoretical tenets of Systems Theory and Psychodynamic Theory but through a contemporary lens delivering a grassroots approach to building a coalition of professionals to tackle the opioid epidemic in their communities.

Symptomatic Overlaps Between Autism and Dementia in Older Adults

Few studies have examined the overlap of symptoms between autism and dementia in people over the age of 65. This research proposal will address the gap in the literature which indicates that it would be informative to conduct a study similar to a previous one but with a more diverse subsection of people with late onset dementia. This review will broaden the understanding of the relationship between autism and dementia, highlighting the impact of the similarities.

Through an analysis of interviews of patients and caregivers, a consideration of innovative technology/Social Learning Theory, Constructivist Grounded Theory, assessment scales for dementia and autism, and a promotion of advanced care planning, this study will explore whether there is a link between autism and dementia and if there is, what further development is needed of existing interventions.

Effective Treatment For Young Children With Co-Occurring Anxiety And Speech, Language, And/Or Communication Needs

There is a high co-occurrence of anxiety and speech, language, and/or communication needs (SLCNs) in young children. Many young children with SLCNs have had repeated, distressing experiences around language and communication resulting in frequent dysregulation when they are expected to use language and/or communications skills they do not have. This makes traditional mental health therapeutic modalities challenging as they often rely on spoken language.

This presentation will address treatment needs for young children experiencing anxiety and SLCNs. The current research on this population will be reviewed, including conventional treatment modalities. The presenter will provide explanations about SLCNs, how young children with SLCNs and co-occurring anxiety present to treatment, and the population’s specific treatment needs.

Additionally, a treatment framework will be presented via a fictionalized case study to demonstrate how child-centered play therapy through the lens of polyvagal theory can be used to provide effective and holistic mental health treatment for young children with co-occurring anxiety and SLCNs.

Discriminatory Healthcare Experiences and Opioid Use Disorder: A Study of Mental Health Outcomes

When the opioid crisis re-introduced itself to the United States in 1975, individuals began advocating for change regarding treatment of various substance use disorders – something that the health care system was not prepared for or interested in. The creation of programs outside of the hospital setting in forms of detox centers, inpatient programs, and outpatient programs set the tone for discriminatory views and biases regarding SUD that have continued to be present for the past decades.

The purpose of this project is to examine mental health outcomes of discriminatory healthcare experiences and opioid use disorder through three different papers: the systematic literature review, the conceptual paper, and the practice application paper.

The systematic literature review presents an evidence-based analysis of the current knowledge regarding mental health outcomes of discriminatory healthcare experiences and opioid use disorder. It reviews literature related to the history of healthcare and opioid use disorder discrimination and various themes among past research findings and recommendations.

The conceptual paper identifies, explores, and analyzes relevant theories that can be used to address mental health outcomes of discriminatory healthcare experiences and opioid use disorder. It synthesizes knowledge, past change efforts, and presents new recommendations to fill gaps in research.

Lastly, the practice application paper uses synthesized knowledge and theories to solve this practice problem.

The Strong Black Woman Schema: A Proactive Approach to Conceptualizing and Providing Mental Health Treatment for Black Women Who Identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema

The Strong Black Woman Schema is the ideology that Black women should display mental and physical strength, stoicism, and nurturer traits. While Black women who identify with this schema typically associate this term with a positive identity, there are adverse outcomes that stem from this identification. Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman schema experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress.

No treatment modality has been determined to treat Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema. This capstone presentation will present a systematic literature review that discusses how the Strong Black Woman Schema is defined and the self-perceptions of Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman schema and explore the impact that anxiety, depression, and psychological distress have on Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema. This presentation will also aid in conceptualizing the Strong Black Woman schema through the lens of Psychodynamic theory and the introduction of the Strong Black Woman Framework.

The presentation will conclude by introducing a four-part treatment model entitled the A.S.C.C. model, or Assess, Stabilize, Catharsis, and Community, as a proposed treatment model for clients who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema at a micro level. This paper will also discuss limitations associated with systematic literature review, conceptual work, and application work centered around the Strong Black Woman Schema and provide implications for future research on identifying and treating Black Women who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema.

Suicide Postvention for Private Practice Social Workers: Using Supportive Supervision practices

Suicide postvention is a growing terminology and practice in the mental health professions. Supervision practices are a key element of suicide postvention practices, in the field of social work there is an isolated group that does not have this important component of suicide postvention. Supportive supervision practices as described by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) are one component that can be put in place to support those private practice social workers who currently lack this crucial component of suicide postvention.

Internalized Homonegativity in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals: An Integrative Treatment Model

This capstone project’s main aims are to (1) identify psychotherapy interventions in the literature that specifically addresses internalized homonegativity (IH) in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (LGBI), (2) present a conceptual model integrating several therapeutic approaches to target the multifaceted nature of IH, and (3) adapt the conceptual model for individual psychotherapy. Specifically, the systematic literature review (SLR) explored the research question, “What psychotherapeutic interventions have been identified in the literature to address the internalized homonegativity (IH) of LGB adult individuals?” The goal of the SLR was to identify the therapeutic approaches that had been adopted for use with LGBI, targeting IH. The findings illustrate four main psychotherapy approaches, (1) psychodynamic psychotherapy, (2) gay-affirmative therapy, (3) person-centered therapy, and (4) cognitive therapy. The conceptual model outlines a new and novel approach to treating IH in LGBI, named the Internalized Psychotherapy Model for Internalized Homonegativty (IPM-IH). The IPM-IH systematically integrates interventions from each of the four therapy models. The practice application paper builds on the conceptual paper by detailing how the IPM-IH is applied to individual therapy. The IPM-IH for individual therapy with LGBI is a three-stage approach that systematically addresses the intrapsychic, cognitive, and interpersonal functions implicated in IH. The treatment model describes the (1) assessment, (2) treatment, and (3) evaluation stages of treatment. While each paper has a particular focus, the culmination of the three papers results in a novel approach to working with LGBI with internalized homonegative biases.

Social Work Supervision in the Department of Veterans Affairs: A Supervision Model to Address Retention

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest employer of master’s level social workers in the United States (Department of Veteran Affairs). Social Workers have been employed in the VA since 1926. The VA currently employs over 19,000 social workers nationally and because of this sheer scope in number requires critical approaches to ensuring that supervision in regard to administrative, educational, and supportive supervision are consistent across all locations.

Social work within the VA provides services to veterans that touch upon a myriad of programs including mental health, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, suicide prevention, geriatrics, primary care, homeless services, and caregiver support. The nature of the vast types of services that social workers provide in this system call for a unified approach to training and supporting supervisors responsible for the oversite to social work staff in cross sectioned areas, requiring a level of competent knowledge and expertise that spans across specialties.

Since the Covid 19 pandemic, staffing has suffered with a large exodus of healthcare providers including qualified social workers. The lack of resources and the staffing shortages have left social workers still working in the VA healthcare system with large caseloads, feelings of burnout and cross covering in areas outside their primary area of expertise. Supervisors in the system have often been quickly promoted to cover administrative responsibilities with little education, training or mentoring to prepare them for the role. The lack of adequate supervisory support is leading to the turnover rates and ultimately impacting patient care provided of these critical services from social work.

Organizational support for adequate and consistent supervision provided to social workers in the VA is critical to motivating and retaining staff in this growing resource constrained setting. Review of the research and current literature supports that the provision of quality supervision plays an integral role in reducing turn-over rates, burnout, overall job satisfaction and patient outcomes. The following review of the literature posits that the importance of consistent provision and oversite of supportive supervision to social workers in healthcare settings such as the VA is critical to retention efforts and patient outcomes.

Intellectual and Physical Disabilities – Social Inclusion Among Children

Legislation has implemented laws that mandate that students who qualify for special education services have equal opportunities in the school environment. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Education for All Handicapped Children in 1975 ensured that all children receive free education and that institutions accommodate each child. However, they do not specify what accommodations. This is up to the individual's school district and what programs they offer. Some students who qualify for special education services are placed in self-contained classrooms; these students learn academics and life skills. Unfourtanky many of these classrooms are secluded from the general education environment and other students. This affects them socially. I propose mainstreaming self-contained students with general education students during exploratory classes. Inclusion benefits not only students in self-contained classrooms but students in the general education setting as well. Our educators aim to prepare students for life as best as possible. These students will only sometimes be in a secluded setting that fits their needs.

The Revelation: To help develop preventive ways and methods to decrease burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma within school social workers

The presentation will explore the impact of burnout, compassion fatigue, and lack of supervision within school social workers. In school social workers, research has been lacking, particularly in terms of burnout, compassion fatigue, self-care, and supervision. Taking care of yourself and implementing different interventions are important to eliminate other problematic stressors as a school social worker. There are a variety of interventions developed to support students which helps decrease burnout and compassion fatigue. This capstone will create awareness of different restorative practice interventions, self-care techniques, and ways to implement appropriate supervision to decrease burnout and compassion fatigue. It's important to provide a theoretical perspective, the strengths of using both approaches are their identification of the problem and the creation of a feeling of reliance. They look to enhance social and emotional awareness, support for all involved, and resources.

Trauma-informed care initiatives have been successful addressing trauma and the barriers because of traumatic experiences. The capstone creates awareness to implement trauma-informed care initiatives within child welfare agencies to promote greater well-being, retention, supportive environments, professional development, and self-care. Utilizing theoretical approaches such as strength-based, solution-focused, systems, and trauma-informed care are essential in implementing a practical solution within organizational leadership. Implementing policies, training, and leadership support will help to increase retention, create a safe environment, promote greater well-being, and eliminate barriers. Providing support to school social workers is essential to support their well-being and to ensure that adequate services are provided to students and the school community.

Implementing Trauma Informed Care Initiatives within Child Welfare: A Best Practice Guide to Preventing Burnout, Trauma, and Mental Health within Child Welfare Organizations

The presentation will explore the impact of burnout, trauma, and mental health barriers that child welfare workers endure while working. There is a lack of self-awareness for the barriers experienced, resulting in high turnover rates, stress, high caseloads, lack of support, and inconsistency providing adequate services to children and families within child welfare. There are a variety of interventions developed to support children within the child welfare, however there is a lack of support for providers within child welfare. Trauma-informed care initiatives have been successful addressing trauma and the barriers because of traumatic experiences. The capstone creates awareness to implementing trauma-informed care initiatives within child welfare agencies to promote greater well-being, retention, supportive environments, professional development, and self-care. Utilizing theoretical approaches such as strength-based, solution-focused, systems, and trauma-informed care are essential in implementing a practical solution within organizational leadership. Implementing policies, trainings, and leadership support will help to increase retention, create a safe environment, promote greater well-being, and eliminate barriers. Providing support to child welfare workers is essential to support their well-being and to ensure that adequate services are provided to children within child welfare.

Adverse Childhood Experiences of Social Workers: Competencies for Clinical Supervisors

People are often drawn to helping professions because they have experienced some form of adversity in their lives. This presentation explores the concept of the "wounded healer" and how this manifest in social work practice. The presentation explores the concept of the “wounded healer” and theories that explain the reported high rates of adverse childhood experiences by helping professionals, particularly social workers. An examination of the Kentucky Board of Social Work (KYBSW) approved clinical supervision training required for licensed clinical social workers in pursuit of providing clinical supervisions. After a review of the current competencies of the KYBSW approved training, a curriculum and competencies will be explored by the presenter, that includes information regarding the disproportionate experiences of childhood adversity, ways to support certified social work practitioners, and ways to encourage open communication during supervision. With the use of clinical supervision, the negative implications of childhood adversity can be reduced. The purpose of this, is to enhance the integrity of social work practice, enhance clinical social work, and prevent impaired social work practice by raising awareness and supporting social workers.

Intentional and Informed Learning Environments: A Blended Approach to Disrupting the Disproportionate Placement of Black Students in Special Education

Disproportionality in special education refers to the rate at which students from diverse backgrounds are placed into special education in comparison to their White peers. Disproportionality exists across public schools in America, and efforts to reduce disproportionality have been unsuccessful. Research suggests that black students and black students are rapidly qualifying into special education, receive harsher discipline methods, and are placed into self-contained special education programming at significantly higher rates than all their peers. Black students are twice as likely to qualify for special education under an emotional impairment, and three times more likely than their white peers to be identified as having an intellectual disability. Placing students in special education at monumental rates and misidentifying need is directly associated with negative outcomes, including greater involvement with the juvenile justice system and lesser access to higher education. Rooting practice in theory, this presentation will explore the perceived causes of disproportionality and align them with evidence-based solutions to create viable district-level change.

Social Work, we have a problem: Increasing LGBTQ competence in social work education

The presentation examines the current reality that many social work students graduate or enter field placement lacking a basic LGBTQ competence needed to deal with the unique challenges that this population presents with. The literature confirms this fact despite mandates put forth by the CSWE and the NASW Code of Ethics calling for a basic knowledge around issues of diversity and oppression. Research shows that issues of homophobia, transphobia, heteronormality, and cisgenderism continue to have an impact in social work classrooms today. Rooted in queer theory, systems theory, and relational cultural theory, an intervention in the form of a class dealing with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities has been developed. Covering issues across the lifespan, student will gain the basic knowledge needed to effectively assess and intervene with the LGBTQ community while examining the individual bias one brings to the field and developing an action plan for further development.

Technology as a Change Agent for Social Work Supervision

Through this presentation entitled “Technology as a Change Agent for Social Work Supervision,” attendees will gain an understanding of how technology can advance the field of social work, specifically highlighting supervision practices. The presenter will summarize scholarly literature and the implications for conducting effective telesupervision. Specifically, discussing what literature identifies as key aspects that can enhance the effectiveness of engaging in supervision through virtual means. Next, the presenter will define traditional supervision, distinguishing administrative and clinical supervision. The presenter will reveal the difficulties of the combination of administrative and clinical supervision and how reconceptualizing traditional practices through an innovative leadership approach can address those identified challenges. The presenter will demonstrate how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assist administrators and leaders in evaluating if onboarding a contractual telesupervision program is most effective for their organization. Finally, the presenter will discuss best practice standards for contractual telesupervision. You will leave the presentation empowered by the opportunities technology affords social work practice, especially in addressing industry issues such as provider shortages, employee turnover, and access to clinical training and development opportunities.

Examining the Need for Social Work Education and Training for Child Welfare Staff

This presentation overviews an examination of the need for social work education and training for child welfare staff. Although social workers' extensive education and ongoing training make them preferable for child welfare positions, many states have had to broaden their hiring searches for these positions. In West Virginia, child welfare staff only need to have a four-year degree. These child welfare staff members are missing crucial foundational knowledge and training for working with the vulnerable families served by the child welfare system.

There is a gap in the literature surrounding the need for social work special education and training in child welfare and whether it affects the families served. However, there is information regarding the need for some specific training that would be helpful in child welfare jobs. Given the sometimes oppressive nature of child removal systems, the need has been identified for providing child welfare staff with social justice training, specifically in anti-oppressive practice. Through collaboration between child placing agencies and social work schools through Title IV-E funding in WV, training can be implemented to increase the competence of child welfare workers that do not have previous social work education.

Implementation of Campus-wide Well-being Initiatives

This presentation highlights the final capstone project of Jack W. Wheeler in completion of his Doctor of Social Work degree at University of Kentucky.

Higher education is meant to be an environment that enriches the lives of individuals and of societies. Unfortunately, college campuses have become places for languishing as students, staff, and faculty report growing concerns related to mental health, loneliness, and poor coping behaviors. In contrast, campuses that promote well-being support the sustainability and health of future societies, stronger communities, and flourishing people.

Jack’s presentation begins with an understanding of the current issues impacting well-being on college campuses. He then explores the concept of campus-wide well-being from a socio-ecological perspective and how campuses have recently attempted to address these concerns through clinical interventions.

Next, Jack describes three papers that supported his exploration, understanding, and application of campus-wide well-being initiatives. First, a systematic literature review guides the framing of terms, theories, and processes that universities have studied to address campus-wide well-being. Jack shares the review process that he conducted and the findings from across the studies. The second paper highlights the Okanagan Charter as an international framework that is guiding campus-wide well-being efforts. Jack describes the Okanagan Charter and highlights how it is being applied around the globe. The final paper provides a case study for how one university has attempted to apply principles of the Okanagan Charter using a collective impact model. Jack reflects on the lessons learned from this case study for future application of the Okanagan Charter within and across institutions.

Bringing a Balm to Anxious Souls – A Bowen Family Systems Theory Approach to Working with Reactive Religious Families

It is no secret, anxiety is running rampant in our world today. In particular, reactivity fueled by religious beliefs has created some of the most intense conflicts in society today; whether it be Christian Nationalism fueling the attacks on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, or the ongoing flashpoints in Israel and Palestine leading to both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, or the restriction of reproductive care and LGBTQ+ rights in the name of Christian values. However, mental health clinicians often find themselves at a loss with how to work with clients and families who have been torn apart by such beliefs, either due to their own biases or general lack of education regarding religion and spirituality. In this presentation, Bowen Family Systems Theory, an evidence-based framework of human behavior, will be introduced specifically with regards to working with family systems enmeshed in religious reactivity. A conceptualization of this framework will be presented, followed by a case study demonstrating its effectiveness.

Evidence-Based Practice Skills in Social Work Education: Preparing more skillful social workers

“Why did I never learn this?” “I have been in therapy for years; why did my therapist never teach me this?” These were questions I was asked too often during my time as a clinician for an adult partial hospitalization program. My clients were referencing the concrete therapeutic skills they had learned during Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills groups. Unfortunately, many social workers are never taught how to implement clinical evidence-based practices, such as DBT skills, during their graduate education. This inadequate clinical education leads to unprepared and unconfident mental health providers. This presentation will explore how evidence-based practices are currently taught in clinical social work education and identify the deficits of these teaching methods. Then, a conceptualization for using experiential learning techniques within the social work classroom will be explored. Finally, a DBT skills group-informed design that uses experiential learning techniques for teaching various clinical evidence-based practices will be discussed.

Behind the Color Line- Advancing Racial Equity in the American Dream

Race and social justice issues continue to play a significant role in the achievability of the American Dream for Black Americans. Drawing on parallels from W. E. B. DuBois' Souls of Black Folk, this capstone presentation will provide a systemic overview of how the color line contributes to the ever-widening achievement gap in America. Compounding historical and current-day trauma has adverse permeative effects on Blacks' emotional well-being. This capstone is concerned with promoting well-being and equity, drawing upon the empowerment theory of practice. Moreover, this capstone highlights how a critical race framework for empowerment theory in social work practice can positively impact Black Americans. This presentation highlights how community organizations can be conduits to infuse equity into Black communities. As such, it can be concluded that community settings can support empowerment directly by enhancing individual strengths or resources or indirectly by mitigating oppression. Utilizing community organizations provide a unique opportunity for social work leadership to apply racial equity strategic planning to catalyze individual and systemic change at the root level.

Bridging the Gap Between the Black Community and Mental Health: A Call to Action for Strengthening Black Children and Families

Mental health has undeniably been a taboo topic of discussion for many people to engage in across all races and ethnicities. Reasonably, due to the lack of knowledge, misunderstanding of terminology, stigma, as well as shame, society continues to be dissuaded from seeking treatment when mental health challenges arise. However, within the Black community, the percentage of utilization of mental health services is devastatingly low and is negatively impacting the well-being of Black children and families. Since Black people have been plagued with compounding contributing causes to their reluctance to seeking help, which also includes ongoing racism, systemic oppression, a variety of urban environmental factors (i.e., poor healthcare options, subpar education, and socio-economic inequalities), gender discrimination, and lack of equitable policies and laws, it is evident that there is a grave need to bridge the gap between the Black community and mental health. By bridging this gap, a valuable opportunity to change the narrative of mental health and by leaning in on the resilience that the Black community has had to possess in order to overcome slavery, this capstone confirms an essential need for improving the Black community’s overall health. Furthermore, social workers at all levels, but especially within the macro- and leadership-level, have the fiduciary duty to advocate against social injustices inflicted upon marginalized communities, such as the Black community, and need to begin thinking of more innovative ways to provide not only mental health awareness, but also enhanced mental health services to this community. By eradicating stigma, addressing systemic barriers, empowering different decision-making abilities, and reimagining mental health programs, as well as policies and laws; together, we can work towards healing the Black community and improving the overall wellness of Black children and families.

From Concept to Completion: Trauma-Informed Approaches to Program Design and Evaluation in Child Welfare Serving Agencies

Trauma is a public health issue that affects individuals, families, and communities. Children who enter child welfare face a substantial risk of re-traumatization secondary to multiple factors including but not limited to failed reunification, disruption of foster care placements, or a lack of child welfare serving agencies (CWSA) that incorporate trauma-informed care (TIC) as an expectation in their organization. Historically marginalized communities face a higher risk due to the overrepresentation of these communities in child welfare.

Child welfare serving agencies are in a unique position to not only treat trauma but to mitigate the risk of trauma by incorporating trauma-informed approaches to the program design and evaluation of their programs. This presentation begins with an examination of a systematic literature review on trauma-informed care in program design and evaluation. This presentation identifies methods agencies may take to apply trauma-informed approaches to program design and evaluation including the use of technology and the conceptualization of Relational Cultural Theory (RCT); a theory traditionally used in direct practice, and its adaptability to mezzo and macro social work practice.

Removing the Masc: Dismantling Gendered Occupations through Social Work Education

Have you heard the conversations and encouragement for females to enter STEM; what about for males to enter health, education, administration, and linguistic (HEAL) fields?

Join the presenter as he explores how “masculine mystique, the mask that men wear psychologically which prevents them from experiencing aspects of themselves associated with femininity and helps them maintain distance and power over others,” contributes to occupational segregation (Kahn, 2009, p. 283). Research has found that hypermasculinity and hegemonic masculinity keep men in high-risk male-dominated occupations. In addition, data reveals that male-dominated occupations have higher rates of physical injuries, depression, and anxiety due to the demands to be physically tough, fearless, and emotionally isolated in the face of risk and danger.

Next, work-life spillover and how that impacts individuals holistically will be brought forward while recognizing that men’s mental health, often affected by work, has ramifications for all. Austin will discuss theories, childhood, gendered language, and the research that suggests they influence males not to enter female-dominated occupations. Hear how this project evolved into a conceptualization through an intersectional lens to find that female-dominated occupations are more often female-majority and male-dominated. New theories to best understand this ideology and concepts, such as the glass escalator and the gender wage gap, will be acknowledged.

Furthermore, receive how this is a social work education issue and an identified grand challenge in social work, as it aligns with the dignity and worth of all individuals. Austin is taking action by applying what Hampton (1969) said, “theory’s cool, but theory with no practice ain’t shit” (as cited in Malloy, 2017, p. 9). Lastly, the presenter will discuss how these practices can be evaluated, future research ideas, and provide an opportunity for Q&A. Join as Austin presents HEAL (HIMM) health, illness, men, and masculinities to promote systemic change.

In-home therapy for the Medicaid population

This capstone presentation focuses on implementing in-home therapy for the Medicaid population in New York state. This project aims to explore why and how in-home mental health services should be an option for Medicaid recipients and to provide a systematic, evidence-based approach to rendering services.

The presentation will cover the three completed papers:

A systematic literature review (SLR): The first part of the presentation will cover the findings of an SLR, which was conducted to identify and synthesize relevant research on in-home therapy for low-income groups. The results of this review provide an evidence-based foundation for integrating in-home therapy into social work.

A conceptual paper: The second part of the presentation will focus on the systems theory of social work, which provides a practical framework for the transition to in-home therapy and highlights its benefits. The presentation will highlight the core mission of social work as defined by the National Association of Social Workers and how the systems theory aligns with this mission. This part of the presentation will demonstrate how a holistic approach that considers all aspects of the individual, including their cumulative identities and experiences, is necessary to address mental health in the Medicaid population.

A practice application paper: The final part of the presentation will provide insight into the logistical aspects of developing a mobile practice. This section will include obtaining funding, a case study, training, privacy and confidentiality, and burnout. 

This presentation aims to demonstrate the importance of in-home therapy for the Medicaid population and provide a functional, evidence-based plan to support this approach.

Substance use vs. Comorbidity: Disparities and Stigma

Due to the significant impact that drugs often have in society, substance use is one of the grand challenges today. As we know, substance use is a major health risk that factors in all ages. In addition, causing further social and economic strain. In parallel, it is interesting to assess correlating factors surrounding comorbid mental health issues. Curiosity has raised questions surrounding the gaps faced within both populations. What are the leading causes that continues to promote disparities, and hinders access to substance use or those comorbid with mental health issues? Because both substance use and mental health issues have made lasting impression on society, exploring the gaps within treatment and accessibility can explain the causes of disparities. This presentation overview aims to uncover the root of the issue that promotes disparities and creates barriers against accessing to substance use treatment, while providing possible solution to the issue.

What is autism: Using CDT to understand better, diagnose, and support women

The presentation will focus on what autisim is and how can use critical disability theory to assess women better, leading to higher rates of identification, and ways to treat and support. We will learn why this population is being left out of social topics and reform around langauge and diagnosing. Afterward, we will talk about ways to educate ourselves and listen to women when presenting their stories. Next, we will discuss the framework of CDT and the intersection of autism and how this helps us see autism as a difference of abilities, not a disability lens. We then will talk about the implementation of psychoeducation around this topic and how we can dispute it throughout school and health care settings. Possibly leading to changes in social work education, testing, and continuing education around autism and its symptomologies for women and away from the disability viewpoint.

Mitigating Compounded Barriers to Independence: Improving Outcomes Post Emancipation for Foster Youth with Secondary and Tertiary Barriers to Success

The experience of poor outcomes continues to maintain a position as an undesired rite of passage for foster youth preparing to leave foster care. If experiencing crime, homelessness, poverty, victimization, unemployment, or poor health (Rome & Raskin, 2019) isn’t enough, the encountered outcomes can be exacerbated for foster youth in various subpopulations with unique needs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2021) now records data in their AFCARS Report reflective of overarching outcomes for foster youth after age eighteen. Additionally, John F. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program continues expansion of funding independent living services to prepare foster youth to successfully age out of care (Chor et al., 2018). Despite the data and funding, improvements to the provision of preparatory independent living programming lacks. This article identifies pregnant and parenting teen, youth with non-traditional western religious and spiritual practices, and foster youth with disabilities subpopulations with additional unique secondary and tertiary needs that compound barriers to successful adulthood. Provided the compounded difficulties, the author answers how service providers, clinicians, and key stakeholders can intervene to improve outcomes for subpopulations facing compounded barriers to aging out of foster care.

The Underutilization of Homeless Resources

This presentation takes a look at why homeless still exists through the lens of unused resources. The research dives into the current methods that are being used, a model that is currently working, and how certain changes being implemented can improve the problem. This project is comprised of three papers that examine the underutilization of homeless resources. Each paper scrutinizes the topic using a different lens. The first of the papers is the Systematic Literature Review unbiasedly reviewed the literature to determine which resources were being used and their effectiveness. The second paper is the Conceptual Paper that shined a light on holes in the existing research. The last paper is the Practice Application paper which allowed the author to provide a solution based on the research completed. Researching homeless resources from different viewpoints allowed for a conclusion to be made on why homeless resources are underutilized and homelessness still exists.

Beyond Gatekeeping: Building a Community to Support Suicide Survivors

Suicide is a complex phenomenon, yet past attempts to change it have relied on an oversimplification that to prevent suicide, suicidal people need professional mental health treatment. Fortunately, that notion has faded. Suicide is now recognized as a public health issue; One that spans various continuums of culture, socioeconomic status, and demographics. With a better understanding and increased recognition of suicide as a public health issue, more stakeholders have engaged in suicide prevention efforts, new research has emerged, and more attention and resources are being dedicated than ever before. This capstone project explores the impact a suicide death has on the community and the postvention activities to mitigate risk for those individuals exposed, the suicide survivors.

The literature review highlighted the continued recognition of increased risk for suicide among survivors and recognition of postvention as a prevention strategy. However, the literature review identified a gap in current postvention research: the absence of exploration into universal strategies such as a postvention psychoeducation for the community. Many efforts identified were limited to the clinical setting, which would require suicide survivors to actively engage in services following a loss. The conceptualization paper acknowledged the success of gatekeeper training to educate the layman on identifying someone at risk for suicide and facilitate a referral to appropriate resources. With this model in mind, the theoretical frameworks from structural functionalism, transformative learning, and adaptive leadership were explored, as well as the availability and capability of the social work profession to implement and provide this community-based postvention psychoeducation. Lastly, the practical application paper investigated the implementation of supplementing current gatekeeper training with postvention psychoeducation. This capstone presents the rationale for and application of a proactive, universal approach to provide communities a way to understand, accept and support one another through the uniqueness and variability of grief after suicide.

An Educational Intervention to Engage Predominantly White Churches in Racial Justice Work

This presentation highlights conclusions from three scholarly products examining different aspects of race within white-majority churches. Findings originate from sociology, psychology, social work, education, and religion research literature. Central to this presentation is a discussion of white racial identity formation, white racial affects, and the dominant ideology of whiteness within individuals, churches, and American society. Churches are viewed as white spaces reflecting the dominant white culture. An educational framework incorporating critical consciousness, intersectionality, and contemporary emotion theory addresses the particular needs and challenges of predominantly white churches seeking to become anti-racist organizations. This presentation proposes an educational intervention incorporating an instructional framework with church leaders at a mainline Protestant church. This approach involves two dimensions in becoming anti-racist: the individual and the corporate. The White Racial Identity Development Model and The Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multi-Racist Institution serve as key elements in the church’s critical self-evaluation process. The presenter recognizes the foundational assumptions and perspectives within this research project. Implications for personal growth, the social work profession, and white churches are identified along with future research needed.

Suicide Postvention: Supporting Social Work Clinicians and Mental Health Professionals in Eastern Kentucky

Losing a client to suicide is devastating to a practicing Social Work Clinician. The suicide loss of a loved one is devastating to anyone. When the person is confronted with loss from both in practice and in their personal life, this can be an unprecedented trauma for the Social Work Clinician. Postvention Services that are accessible and local provide grief and trauma treatment to the clinician. In rural Eastern Kentucky, a postvention service resource can connect Social Work Clinicians with trained mental health professionals for grief and trauma services. These services will help clinicians avoid stigma and successfully receive compassion and empathy.

Supporting Social Work Employment-Hosted Practicum Placements: Challenges and Recommendations

In 2022, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) altered its policy regarding field education placements within a students’ place of employment. For the first time ever, students can now count their paid work as field learning if they can demonstrate how that work connects to the social work competencies. Employment-hosted practicum (EHP) placements present specific challenges for both students and field educators. To explore this issue within social work education a capstone project was completed that consisted of a systematic literature review, a conceptual paper, and a practice implications paper. In this presentation, the findings of those capstone products will be reviewed. Topics of the presentation will include an overview of the evidence on social work EHP placement learning outcomes, the introduction of a conceptual framework that incorporates stage-based learning theories and how it supports an understanding of how learning takes place within EHP placements, and an Inquiry-based learning tool is proposed as a potential support for students to successfully frame their EHP placement learning by the nine social work competencies. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of implications for social work educators and an exploration of potential next steps.

Black Women and the Weight of the World: When the Weight Becomes Too Much to Bear

Black women have historically been seen as caretakers, nurturers, and the backbone that holds Black families together. Despite these perceptions, Black women continue to compete for workplace acceptance, equal pay, and something as simple as being able to wear their natural hair without fear of corrective action and ridicule. This leads to excessive pressure on Black women in their daily lives, yet mental health issues are not as widely and frequently discussed nor prioritized among this population.

Research shows when Black women seek mental health services, they are less likely than White women to get professional mental health services and treatment and are more susceptible to being misdiagnosed (Jones, 2015). Black women also experience higher rates of stress-related physiological illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and obesity (National Center for Health Statistics, 2007; Chinn et al., 2021).

This scholarship provides further exploration into the underrepresentation of mental health issues and treatment among Black women. This scholarship will also explore help-seeking behaviors among Black women when seeking mental health treatment and the various components that contribute to this issue. Recurring themes such as the Strong Black Woman Schema and Black Superwoman Phenomena are also contextualized including their implications among Black women.

Human Trafficking of Children: A Real Issue in the United States. Promoting an Awareness and Comprehensive Perspective to Solutions

This presentation will provide a comprehensive study of vulnerabilities presented to children of becoming a victim of exploitation and trafficking, as well as the need for local, state, and federal agencies to come together to provide a comprehensive approach to providing awareness of the problem issue, intervention services, and therapeutic approaches utilized for surviving victims. The presentation will begin with a systematic literature review of the vulnerabilities that lead to the exploitation of children leading to child trafficking. It will discuss numerous risk factors that cross all races, socio-economic backgrounds, and cultures, yet only certain children become victims of exploitation and trafficking. The presentation's conceptual paper will present the hidden issue of trafficking and how the United States has instituted federal laws against trafficking, yet the numbers of victims continue to rise. The numerous instituted laws will be discussed, confusing as to how the numbers of victims continue to increase contrary to the law inductions. The final piece of the presentation will focus on establishing an awareness of the trafficking of children through a trauma-informed approach to intervention and treatment. Evidenced-Based therapeutic modalities will be described to help to explain the process of children becoming a victim of trafficking as well as being considered perpetrators of criminal behaviors.

The Trauma of Poverty: An Exploration of the Impact of Poverty on Mental Health

Mental health implications will be explored as it related to the traumatic impact of poverty on individuals’ mental health. Special attention will be paid to the Black community, specifically as it relates to PTSD and depression. The concepts will be explored through a systemic literature review, conceptual paper, and practice application paper; all of which will provide implications for practice. Implications for practice will include interventions at both the micro and macro level.

Trauma-Informed Care: A Collaborative Strategy to Address Escalating HIV-infection Rates

HIV continues to be an epidemic among African American gay and bisexual men. In Kentucky, almost 70% of new HIV infections are among this group. This percentage is over eight times higher than the total number of African Americans in the Commonwealth.

This presentation examines contributing psychosocial factors likely contributing to this disparity, seen not only in Kentucky but nationwide. We also look at potential strategies to augment existing HIV education and prevention strategies. These proposed strategies call on the clinical mental health community (clinical social workers, counselors, etc.) to engage in interventions likely to reduce the disparity by collaborating with existing HIV service providers and while teaming with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to eliminate HIV.

This presentation explores explicitly how trauma-informed care, combined with promoting self-determination while providing screening and timely service referrals, can minimize HIV spread among African American gay and bisexual men.

A Comprehensive Design for International Social Work Field Education (ISWFE)

The increasing attention paid to the impact of globalization on social work has led to a growing appreciation for the benefits of International Social Work Field Education (ISWFE). ISWFE involves social work students completing a portion of their mandatory fieldwork hours in a country other than their home country. Social work professionals are increasingly working with diverse client populations, which requires a higher degree of multicultural understanding. Training students solely within their own cultural context can lead to a limited worldview, whereas ISWFE helps social work students to recognize their own biases and beliefs, while gaining a deeper understanding of social work practices and issues affecting the global community. During this presentation you will learn the many benefits of ISWFE, the unique challenges of ISWFE, theories that help to analyze these challenges, and best practices to combat these challenges which are incorporated into a comprehensive design for ISWFE. In addition to the extensive literature review conducted regarding ISWFE, the author also consulted experts on international field study both within and outside the field of social work for advice in designing this model. The ultimate goal is to implement this design, collect data, and further add to the research regarding International Social Work Field Education.

Social Impact of Gentrification on Minority and Poor Neighborhoods

People who have endured living in neighborhoods sought after for gentrification are not always studied for the purpose of determining what happened to the people, their homes, their schools, their community services, or their beloved churches. A review of the literature seldom reveals the outcomes associated with this process. Some literature provides scant information about how the process started, who was involved, and who solved the problem. The literature reviewed shows that gentrification can occur both in large cities and in smaller communities. Generally, poor and minority neighborhoods are the target of these actions. Deeper study can determine which entities are responsible for the initiation of the actions. Examples are government agencies, investors, and even universities. This work will focus on one of communities in Kentucky which began just after the civil war with approximately 7000 individuals and families, and which has fizzled to a present community of 700 people with few, if any, community services. The resulting community has been made vulnerable to investors seeking to build at least one distillery and one brewery, possibly as a start to refurbishing the neighborhood into other such entities, further destroying the history of this once vibrant neighborhood and all without the planning input of the descendants of people who once owned this historic neighborhood. Restoring historic neighborhoods may be made vibrant again with the proper input of the neighborhood owners.

Strengths-based Case Management with Military Veterans: Building Protective Factors Against Suicide

Our military faces significant challenges in returning and adjusting to civilian society. The experience of military service highlights the dichotomy between an opulent civilian society and the starkness of combat deployment. In addition to re-acclimating to civilian society after service, combat veterans often return home with physical, emotional, and neurological injuries.

Service members enlist in the military for a variety of reasons aligning with satisfying their basic psychological needs. Upon the completion of their military career, veterans often face barriers to meeting basic psychological needs as they transition to civilian life. When faced with barriers to achieving basic psychological needs, veterans may experience suicidality.

While this is a simplified explanation of veteran suicidality, it underscores how the transition home may impact the veterans’ ability to adjust to life outside the military. The focus on basic psychological needs provides a theoretical foundation for why veterans may struggle with suicidality. It also leads to the means of reducing veteran suicidality.

A strengths-based case management approach empowers veterans to meet their basic psychological needs, achieving self-efficacy, connectedness, and expertise. The veteran’s inherent and communal protective factors are identified and enhanced within the strengths-based case management model. These protective factors become tools that mitigate suicidality.

Leveraging Social Work Leadership to Impact Health Promotion in Senior Citizens

As the population continues to grow, the increasing age must be considered.  Approximately 54 million adults ages 65 and older live in the United States, which accounts for about 16.5% of the nation’s population. According to America’s Health Rankings (2021), the United States has a sizable and growing population of older adults. By 2050, the number of persons 65 and older will be expected to increase to an estimated 85.7 million, or nearly 20 percent of the country’s total population (America’s Health Rankings (2021).  There are vital roles leaders must play to develop solutions to impact senior citizens’ health promotions that are interwoven throughout the real-world coalition work.  I aim to assist in the awareness that strong leadership within community coalitions provides unique opportunities to increase service accessibility and promote healthy living for senior citizens.  

2023 College of Social Work Faculty Retreat

The 2023 College of Social Work Faculty Retreat will be held at the Embassy Suites Coldstream, 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511. The retreat will be in Coldstream Ballrooms 4 […]

College of Social Work Open House

Center of Excellence in Rural Health 750 Morton Blvd, Hazard, KY, United States

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Dream Exploration Workshop

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