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News Items – February 3, 2016

James Lubben is a member:
Fighting a silent killer
Boston College News
A group of Boston College School of Social Work faculty, program administrators and students are co-leading a national initiative to eradicate social isolation, which they describe as “a silent killer – as dangerous to health as smoking.” To combat social isolation, the initiative calls for public education, interdisciplinary collaboration between health and human services professionals, and promoting “effective ways to deepen social connections and community for people of all ages.” The initiative is one of 12 that make up the Grand Challenges for Social Work, a wide-ranging agenda organized by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW) that seeks to enlist social work researchers and practitioners in addressing major societal issues. Other Grand Challenges initiatives include ending homelessness, stopping family violence, harnessing technology for social good and reducing extreme economic inequality. Louise McMahon Ahearn Professor James Lubben, who is also director of BC’s Institute on Aging, is a co-creator of the social isolation initiative and also has helped AASWSW in putting together the Grand Challenges program.

Mayor Peduto shares ‘State of Pittsburgh’ at Pitt School of Social Work
Pittsburgh City Paper
Yesterday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto gave a “State of the City” presentation to a packed room on the 20th floor of the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, plus two overflow rooms. The event was part of the Pitt School of Social Work’s Center on Race and Social problems speaker series.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016: The Polish social worker who saved 2,500 Jewish children from Warsaw ghetto
International Business Times
By 1942, 500,000 Polish Jews had been herded behind the walls of the Warsaw ghetto. Thousands were living in an area roughly measuring one square kilometre, where they awaited transportation to Nazi extermination camps. Starvation and diseases such as typhus were rife. Irena Sendler, born Irena Krzyzanowska in 1910, was a Polish Catholic social worker who had ties to Zegota, an underground group that assisted Jewish people. She used her papers as a social worker and papers from a worker for the Contagious Disease Department – who was a member of Zegota – to enter the ghetto legally.

Sam Hickman is executive director of NASW-WV:
Child programs fight governor’s cuts
WVpublic.org
The budget cut is mostly affecting state agencies like Chittenden-Laird’s, but there are other groups who aren’t facing cuts – like Sam Hickman’s. Hickman is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. While his association doesn’t receive state funding, Hickman says the budget cuts will still affect his group. “The budget cut will have a trickledown effect,” Hickman noted, “for example, we provide continuing education for profession social workers, but a lot of state employees won’t be able to take advantage of that this year, because state agencies have been cut. Their travel, their ability to allow their employees to travel has been really severely limited.”

Why suburbs could use more police social workers
Daily Herald (Chicago, IL)
Suburban police officers dealing with an increase in mental health and substance abuse calls are not equipped to handle such crises, experts say. That’s why social workers at police departments are essential to helping bridge the gap between law enforcement and the myriad human problems they encounter. Yet, few suburban police departments have them, and the shortage is especially pronounced in the Fox Valley area. From more than 85 towns examined, only 33 suburban police departments have a social worker on staff, according to the Association of Police Social Workers. The number of such workers ranges from one to five.

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