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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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