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National social work academy honors UW professors Nurius and Lindhorst

November 20, 2015

The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare has selected UW School of Social Work Professor and Grace Beals-Ferguson Scholar Paula Nurius (left) and Carol LaMare Associate Professor Taryn Lindhorst (below, right) as fellows in recognition of their distinguished accomplishments as scholars and practitioners dedicated to advancing social good. Lindhorst and Nurius will be inducted into the Academy during a public ceremony at the Society for Social Work Research conference in Washington, D.C. on January 14, 2016. Induction remarks will be given by School of Social Work Endowed Professor of Prevention J. David Hawkins, one of five previously selected Academy fellows from the School of Social Work.

“I am proud to be part of a profession that has maintained a deep and sustained commitment to issues of social justice, inequalities and well-being,” said Nurius, adding that she looks forward to the challenges and opportunities that membership in the Academy entails for her and for the School of Social Work. Says Lindhorst: “It’s like the Academy Awards of academic social work. For the past 15 years, the University of Washington has supported me in research that uses novel methods to improve the lives of battered women. I am excited to have the collaborative work I have done recognized in this way.”

Election into the Academy is through a process common to many scholarly academies, involving confidential nomination by current fellows and election by a super-majority of fellows. “The fellows of the Academy are all strong leaders in integrating scientific methods and social work practice and policy and an enormous resource for the field. I am delighted that 13 more fellows will be inducted, as this will significantly strengthen the range and impact of our work to benefit our wider society,” said AASWSW President Richard Barth, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

“I am thrilled to see two highly accomplished social work scholars and valued colleagues join the esteemed ranks of the Academy,” said UW School of Social Work Dean Edwina Uehara. “This well-deserved recognition highlights the rich contributions that Taryn and Paula have made to the science of social work and to generations of social work students.”

The establishment of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2010 represented an effort by the leading national social work organizations to strengthen their capacity for rigorous analysis that can guide effective human services policies, programs and practices. The Academy encourages and recognizes outstanding research, scholarship and practice that contributes to a sustainable, equitable and just society.

In January, the Academy announced a set of Grand Challenges for Social Work—an initiative to accelerate social innovation over the next 10 years—which draws on the talents of leading social work scholars across the country. The School of Social Work has played an instrumental role in the development of the initiative and the scholarship supporting six of the 12 challenges that range from closing the health gap to reducing extreme economic inequality.

MSW student Christopher Brown awarded national innovation prize

November 13, 2015

brownSocial work student Christopher Brown and the organization he founded, Growing Veterans, has been recognized for bold and innovative outreach to veterans with The J.M.K. Innovation Prize, which announced individual grants of $175,000 to ten groups across the country on Nov. 12.

“We are incredibly honored to be recognized among the ranks of the J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize winners,” said Brown. “In addition to being excited to collaborate with such an impressive group, we will be able to put these funds to use immediately as we ramp up our peer-support programming in 2016.”

Watch this video of Christopher Brown talking about his vision for Growing Veterans.

Brown, a former Marine, served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before leaving the military in 2008. Since then, at least 15 men from his battalion have committed suicide. The unit’s unusually high suicide rate—almost four times the rate for young male veterans overall and 14 times that of Americans generally—was the focus on a New York Times story in September.

Brown started Growing Veterans—a nonprofit organization based in Lynden, Washington—in 2012 with two goals: to prevent suicide among vets and help them reintegrate into society, and to promote sustainable agriculture. The organization runs two farms in Skagit and Whatcom counties and sells its produce at the Seattle VA hospital’s weekly farmers market, and also donates produce to local food banks. Veterans work on the farms doing everything from planting seeds to harvesting produce. The organization is hosting its first peer-support training session in January, and Brown hopes to eventually use the 40-acre Skagit farm as a veteran retreat and training center.

“Growing Veterans is simultaneously filling two important needs by helping veterans reintegrate into their home communities and providing good and affordable food for the broader community,” said the J.M. Kaplan Fund’s Executive Director Amy Freitag. “It’s a solution with multiple impacts on lives and economies.” 

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize is designed to seek out the most promising ideas in the field of social-sector innovation. Each award consists of up to three years of support at $50,000 per year, plus $25,000 for technical assistance or project expenses. The prize is sponsored by the New York-based J.M. Kaplan Fund, a family-supported philanthropy. This year the prize committee recognized ten outstanding organizations out of a pool of 1,138 applicants from 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen named top influencer in aging by PBS’ Next Avenue

October 27, 2015

Social work professor Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen has been named as one of the top 50 Influencers in aging by PBS’s Next Avenue—the first and only public media station for America’s fast-growing aging population. “In recognizing those making a difference in how we live as we grow older, Next Avenue hopes to highlight new ideas, spark conversation and inspire others to engage in this important work,” says Next Avenue Managing Director Susan Donley. Read the full list of 2015 Influencers in Aging.

Fredriksen-Goldsen emphasizes a cross-generational approach in promoting longevity, health and well-being. As director of Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence, she focuses on aging, health and well-being across diverse and historically disadvantaged communities.

Additionally, Fredriksen-Goldsen is conducting the first longitudinal study of LGBT older adults and caregivers to better understand factors that account for health trajectories over time. She has also worked with older adults living with HIV in China and their caregivers, as well as American Indians at risk of cardiovascular disease. She has received numerous awards for advancing aging and health services, education and research. In 2014 received the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

Read full article:
2015 Influencers in Aging (PBS Next Avenue)

Study says LGBTQ seniors at high risk for poor health in Seattle and King County

October 6, 2015

The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) older adults in Seattle and King County is expected to double by 2030, and they face higher risks of disability, poor health, mental distress and isolation—along with a social service sector unequipped to deal with their needs. That’s the conclusion of a study released Oct. 6 and led by professor Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen and colleagues at the University of Washington School of Social Work. The study identifies widespread social and health disparities experienced by LGBTQ older adults in Seattle and King County who, Fredriksen-Goldsen said, have unique needs and multiple barriers to accessing appropriate care.

Geekwire profiles School of Social Work's use of technology to create change

October 1, 2015

Edwina “Eddie” Uehara, a University of Washington professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean in Social Work, is eager to facilitate cultural exchanges. Not exchanges of people from different countries or ethnicities, but from disciplines that can be worlds apart: computer technology and social work. “It really is this moment,” said Uehara, “when all of us are pivoting toward harnessing what this region is good at.” It’s bringing together the Puget Sound area’s tremendous technology skills, its devoted philanthropists and the academic expertise and community relationships of the UW’s School of Social Work. Each brings its own strengths, she said, with technology’s penchant for innovation, moving quickly and embracing change and the UW’s deep understanding of complicated social issues and trust from the community.

Dean Uehara announces new $20 million gift from Connie and Steve Ballmer

September 30, 2015

Today, UW School of Social Work Dean Edwina S. Uehara announced a new gift of $20 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer—$10 million of which will be used to provide much-needed scholarship support. "This new funding will more than double the amount of philanthropic support we offer to our students each year," said Dean Uehara. "It will make a profound difference to students in need." The Ballmers’ new gift brings the couple’s support for the School of Social Work to $32 million over the past five years.

Forefont hosts state's first higher education suicide prevention conference

September 25, 2015

Each year, around 1,100 undergraduate students around the United States die by suicide; in the last six years alone, 18 University of Washington students have taken their own lives. “That number sounds horrific, and it is, but it’s also squarely in line with the national average,” said Lauren Davis, director of school and campus programs at Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, an interdisciplinary organization based in the University of Washington’s School of Social Work.

Puget Sound artists on the African diaspora now on exhibit

September 25, 2015

The UW School of Social Work Art Committee, in partnership with Seattle's C Art Gallery, is presenting a vibrant exhibit illustrating how Africa has challenged, enhanced and influenced Puget Sound artists through the continent’s color, patterns, imagery and subject matter. Africa provides a subtle influence and, at times, significant impact on the communities where we live. This is evident in the news we read, in our local economies, and in our reflections on our diverse neighborhoods. This influence also shapes the works of local artists featured in this exhibit.

This exhibit—now on display through Dec. 23 in the School of Social Work first floor gallery—is curated by C Art Gallery and reflects its mission to present and to promote artists of different cultural backgrounds to encourage acceptance and appreciation of cultural differences.

An artists’ reception is open to the public on Thursday, Nov. 5, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

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