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Megan Moore leads study identifying disparities in care among children with traumatic brain injury

May 23, 2016

Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can face a difficult road to recovery, requiring services such as physical therapy and mental health treatment for months or years to get their young lives back on track.

When those children come from low-income households with limited English proficiency, there can be significant barriers in getting them the care they need.

A recent University of Washington study found that less than 20 percent of rehabilitation providers in the state accepted Medicaid and also provided language interpretation to children with traumatic brain injuries. Just 8 percent provided mental health services to those children, and Spanish-speaking families had to travel significantly further to access services.

The findings highlight how already disadvantaged children are further impacted by limited access to the rehabilitation services that vastly improve long-term outcomes, said lead author Megan Moore, the Sidney Miller Endowed Assistant Professor in Direct Practice at the UW School of Social Work and a core faculty member at the UW Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.


Forefront leads initiative to reduce suicides among university and college students in Washington state

May 12, 2016

The University of Washington is leading a new, four-year collaboration aimed at promoting mental health and preventing suicide at colleges and universities around the state.

The initiative is a partnership between Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention—an organization in the UW School of Social Work—and the New York-based Jed Foundation, which focuses on protecting emotional health and preventing suicide among college students. The effort kicked off May 10 at a Forefront conference in Bellevue, where 12 schools invited to participate met to learn about the program.

“We are working proactively in a very large-scale way to address suicide prevention,” said Jennifer Stuber, Forefront’s co-founder and faculty director.

“By involving colleges and universities around the state, we think we can have a powerful impact in helping to reduce suicides. These campuses can be leaders for the rest of the state.”


Four School of Social Work students join inaugural Husky 100 group

May 4, 2016

School of Social Work BASW students Ashley Alday, Kainen Bell and David Inglish, and MSW/MPH graduate student Tiffany Woelfel, were selected to be part of the first cohort in an inaugural program called the Husky 100. This new student recognition program acknowledges 100 undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines from the Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses who exemplify leadership, passion, creativity and commitment.

Awardees will be recognized at an event May 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the HUB Ballroom. As a Husky 100, they will receive several benefits, including networking opportunities, invitations to exclusive events, customized career counseling and interaction with UW alumni. A complete look at the 2016 Husky 100 can be viewed here.

As a social work major and first-generation college student, Ashley Alday (BASW '16) acknowledged the importance of the service opportunities available to UW students. “When I first stepped onto campus, I was a lone freshman trying to figure out where I belonged,” she said. “My development as a leader started when I became involved with different communities, on and off campus.” Ashley will continue her social work education this summer as an MSW Advanced Standing Program student.

Kainen Bell (BASW '16) is a board member of the Associated Students of UW, student ambassador for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, and a mentor for Young Executives of Color. As a social welfare and business administration major in his senior year, Bell has completed internships at Boeing and KPMG and also studied abroad in Brazil and Germany. “My experiences studying abroad made me realize I’m capable of doing what I set my mind to and inspired me to apply for a Fulbright grant. “  

David Inglish (BASW '16), a former foster child, is turning his personal experiences into a professional career focused on mentoring and empowering other foster youth. Inglish believes his UW education helped him become more engaged. “I am so grateful to be in this environment where I have made strong friends and connections,” he said, “and to have an opportunity to be constantly challenged to do and be more.”

The fourth Husky 100 representing the School of Social Work is Tiffany Woelfel (MSW '15, MPH '16) who is working on a dual master’s degree in social work and public health. Woelfel has 14 years’ experience in health research with an emphasis on addiction, trauma and social media ethics. “Becoming a Husky 100 will connect me with other recipients to start a lifelong community,” she said. “The UW has shaped my life in so many ways. I’m wrapping up my fourth degree here. It’s my home and always will be.”

Applications for the Husky 100 were judged by a committee of students and faculty in five categories, including having a discovery mindset, committed to be part of an inclusive community and capacity for leadership.

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Husky 100 (University of Washington)

Gillian Marshall explores impact of recession-related stress on health

April 20, 2016

The Great Recession devastated millions of Americans financially—but what impacts did that economic stress have on their physical and mental well-being? Gillian Marshall, an assistant professor of social work at the UW Tacoma, wants to answer that question.

Marshall was awarded a five-year, $654,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the link between financial hardship and health. She is the first faculty member at UW Tacoma to receive an NIH Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award. Marshall recently sat down for an interview with UW Today to answer a few questions about her project.


Research study targets marijuana and tobacco users who want to quit

April 15, 2016

The Innovative Programs Research Group, an organization in the UW School of Social Work, is recruiting people 18 and older for a free marijuana and tobacco treatment trial. The study is aimed at adults who are regularly using both substances, want to quit marijuana and are willing to consider kicking the tobacco habit as well.

This group tends to struggle when it comes to quitting marijuana. Rates of tobacco use are high among regular cannabis users — between 40 and 90 percent, depending on the study and the population — and people who seek treatment for marijuana use who are also smokers tend to have poorer outcomes and higher relapse rates, principal investigator Denise Walker said


Social work student James Her given UW Bonderman travel fellowship

April 14, 2016

James Her (MSW ’16) is one of 15 UW students awarded a 2016 Bonderman travel fellowship, worth $20,000. The goal of this sought-after fellowship is to expose students to the intrinsic, often life-changing, benefits of international travel. The grant allows UW students to embark for regions around the world on solo journeys that last for at least eight months.

Says Her, who plans to start his global trek in late August. “I am looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort zone and living in the present moment while exploring Costa Rica, Peru, Morocco, Tonga, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and China.” His goal is to immerse himself in non-Western countries so that he can experience firsthand how people live without the latest technologies and other luxuries so often take for granted in the U.S.

Her credits his social work education with becoming a stronger, more resilient person and addressing his own deeply personal issues. “The most surprising thing I learned about myself while at the UW is how badly I needed to address and begin processing the internalized oppression that I have been struggling with for a long time. The social work program gave me the opportunity to reflect a lot on myself and my experiences, and to recognize how I can have a positive impact on society.” Once Her completes his worldwide travels, he hopes to serve marginalized groups and minority communities. [Photo credit: IWRI]

About The Bonderman Travel Fellowships: David Bonderman, who earned his undergraduate degree in Russian in 1963 from the University of Washington, created the fellowship program. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he received a Sheldon Fellowship that allowed him to travel internationally, an experience that had a profound impact on his life. The Bonderman Travel Fellowships support UW students in having a similarly transformative experience. The UW Graduate School and the University Honors Program administer the program.


Jennifer Stuber writes about working with NRA in Washington Post editorial

April 8, 2016

It wasn’t the hardest phone call I’ve ever made, but it was certainly awkward. I was cold-calling the National Rifle Association. Because the NRA is well-known for offering gun safety training, I wanted to know whether the organization had ideas on how to reduce the number of firearm suicides. Half of all suicides in the United States are by firearm, and roughly two-thirds of all firearm deaths are suicides. Given the NRA’s opposition to virtually all gun regulation, I knew this was a touchy area.

A far harder call was the one I received from a Seattle police officer a few years earlier. The officer told me that my husband had ended his struggle with anxiety and depression with a single bullet. Suddenly, I was a 38-year-old widow and a single parent of two young children. I was left wondering how this had happened and whether it could have been prevented. I was deeply angry at myself, at my husband, at a treatment system that failed him and at a society that made it easy to buy a pistol. I wasn’t the best person to try to start a conversation with the NRA. No wonder it took me a few years to make the call.


Research study finds overweight teen girls more likely to be depressed as adults

April 5, 2016

Women who were overweight as adolescents are more likely than others to have symptoms of depression at age 65, especially if they were raised in low-income families, according to a new study.

The same wasn't true for men, however.

“The most surprising result may be the difference in the relationship between adolescent overweight and later life depressive symptoms by gender,” said lead author Melissa L. Martinson of the University of Washington in Seattle.

The researchers used data from 10,000 people who graduated from high school in Wisconsin in 1957. Study participants answered 20-question surveys the year they graduated and again in 1964, 1975, 1993 and 2004, when they were about 65 years old.


MSW student Lauren Bonazzo Camarda on the debilitating cost of long-term care

April 4, 2016

At 28 years old, the cost of long-term health care was something that had never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that I began to understand the importance and high price of long-term care.

Facing a frightening diagnosis, my mother strove to hold on to the things in her life she could still control. Staying in her home and remaining as independent as possible were very important to her. At the time of her diagnosis, I was living across the country, but I was able to take time away from work to move back to Connecticut and help her accomplish that goal.

When her illness progressed to the point where she could not care for herself, she was able to afford a live-in nurse who attended to her medical and personal long-term-care needs. If she had been faced with this diagnosis later in life, she would not have been able to afford that luxury.

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Forefront forges surprising partnership to pass suicide prevention law

April 1, 2016

fter her husband ended his life with a bullet in 2011, Jennifer Stuber went to the two Washington stores where he had bought guns to talk with the owners about suicide prevention.

That bold move by Stuber, an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, eventually led to the passage of a bill signed into state law March 31 by Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill brings together two unlikely partners — the firearms industry and suicide prevention advocates — with pharmacists in an effort to curb suicide deaths.

The legislation was drafted in consultation with the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, a Washington gun rights group. Alan Gottlieb, the foundation’s executive director, said gun owners and retailers, some of whom have lost loved ones to suicide, have long been concerned about the issue but unsure how to address it.

“None of us know what to look for in warning signs that someone might be in the process of a suicide attempt,” he said. “This legislation is going to be good for our people, because this is information that they need.”

Stuber said the legislation succeeded largely because it involved the firearms industry from the start.


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