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News Items – September 30, 2021

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Victor Armstrong is a member:
Victor Armstrong to lead North Carolina health equity efforts
The Charlotte Observer
Victor Armstrong is the first chief health equity officer at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The department announced on Monday that Armstrong was appointed the position after creating an Office of Health Equity to “advance health equity and reduce disparities for marginalized populations.” Former state Sen. Angela Bryant will work alongside Armstrong as assistant secretary of equity and inclusion of NCDHHS on health equity.

NASW Foundation Partners with University of Texas-Austin on COVID-19 Vaccination Grant
Social Work Helper
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation and the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute (HBRT) at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work have been awarded a $3.3 million, one-year grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to engage the nation’s more than 700,000 social workers in boosting COVID-19 vaccine confidence, uptake and access, particularly among populations with low vaccination rates and higher vulnerability to severe forms of infection.

Will Francis, executive director of NASW-TX, is a guest:
[Audio] After A Decade Of Legal Scrutiny, Texas’ Foster Care System Is Still Failing To Keep Kids Safe
Texas Public Radio
The State of Texas continues to grapple with the failings of its embattled foster care system despite a federal lawsuit over issues that continue to plague it 10 years later. A new report from court-appointed watchdogs details how children in foster care are subjected to unlicensed and dangerous placements, exposed to sexual abuse or engaged in self harm, and administered incorrect or improper amounts of medication. Why hasn’t Texas made more progress toward addressing or fixing problems with its foster-care system, even after a decade of legal scrutiny?

Psychotherapy after the pandemic will likely be a hybrid — part office, part telemedicine
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“There is a huge, unresolved gender pay gap,” said Sarah Butts, director of public policy for the National Association of Social Workers. “Historically‚ social workers, like teachers and nurses, tended to be women and were undervalued.” Moreover, Medicare’s reimbursement rate is 100% of the cost of the visit for psychiatrists and psychologists and only 75% for social workers even when they and psychologists often provide similar services.

Dhru Mukherjee is a member:
UNT professors train the next batch of bilingual trauma counselors
Denton Record-Chronicle (TX)
Four University of North Texas professors hope to use federal dollars to provide counseling for bilingual Americans who have experienced trauma. The project is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, and it is part of UNT’s Center for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Health and Society, which focuses on redressing inequity and health quality in Texas. The faces behind the project are principal investigators Dhru Mukherjee, Angie Cartwright, Peggy Cabellos and Chandra Carey. They hope to train 160 students through the program.

Jennifer FitzPatrick is a member:
How to Communicate with Frontline Staff at Your Loved One’s Long-Term Care Facility
“The nursing assistants and the activity professionals are the most important people for families to have a great relationship with” in long-term care facilities, says Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, a licensed clinical social worker in Chester, Maryland, and a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. “The direct-care staff truly understand your loved one’s moods, idiosyncrasies, likes and dislikes and what is going to make them feel better when they are having a bad day.”

Denise Thorn is a member:
How the mind reacts to the pandemic
Lewiston Sun Journal (ME)
Denise Thorn, a licensed clinical social worker from The Bethel Health Center, explains how the pandemic and its traumatic experience can affect the mind and body in both the short and long-term. Thorn argues it was a traumatic experience for everyone. “When anybody goes through any kind of trauma, and you can consider this as a trauma [the pandemic] because the carpet was ripped out from underneath us,” Thorn begins. “There are so many unknowns. You know back in the beginning we were like ‘what is going on?’”

Sharon O’Connor is a member:
All About Autistic Burnout
Everyone experiences autistic burnout differently, but one sign certainly stands out above the others: sheer exhaustion. “Autistic burnout can feel like all the energy is just gone,” says Sharon O’Connor, a licensed clinical social worker and autistic psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety and neurodiversity in New York City. “When we’re in a burnout, even normal everyday tasks can feel difficult or insurmountable,” she says.

Nicole Sbordone is a member:
15 Signs Your Friend Is Trying To Break Up With You
“While some breakups happen drastically, others happen slowly over time,” Nicole Sbordone, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker, tells Bustle. One clear sign of a slow fizzle? When a friend stops coming to you for advice. You’ll start to realize that they’re turning to someone else, leaning on someone else, and no longer seeking out your opinion. If you’re no longer the person they turn to for help, something might be up.

Foster Kids Need Families To Live With And State Social Workers To Check On Them. West Virginia Doesn’t Have Enough Of Either.
West Virginian Public Broadcasting
But Sam Hickman, who retired last month as director of the West Virginia chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, says these private agencies aren’t a sufficient substitute for state worker visits because they play different roles. “The state has this awesome responsibility for the well-being of the child because they’re in the state’s custody,” he said.

Steven Haden is a member:
Bisexual Visibility Day: What it means to be bi+ and how you can support and celebrate the community
If you identify as bisexual or under the bi+ umbrella, it’s important to seek out community and to celebrate who you are — this is the remedy to the all-too-common feelings of isolation, loneliness, and confusion, our experts explain. Help and hope for the bi+ community may be harder to find, but there is a community out there that loves you and wants you to thrive, points out Steven Haden, CEO of LGBTQ+ mental health resource Envision:You.

Jaime Bardacke is a member:
‘He held me hostage with no gun but with his words': The phone scam gaslighting therapists
The San Francisco Chronicle
It started with a voice mail on Jaime Bardacke’s cell phone that sounded work-related. It came on Father’s Day, and the licensed clinical social worker was driving back to her San Francisco apartment after visiting family, eager to eat dinner and watch the NBA playoffs. That message kicked off a harrowing 6½-hour odyssey during which she was fleeced of thousands of dollars as she drove around San Francisco and the Peninsula on the phone with a swindler — who was in her head both literally through her earbuds and metaphorically through manipulation tactics. It was like being kidnapped.

Kristine Reynolds is a member:
Fourth COVID wave taking a toll on health care workers
Mental health professionals say the stress and grief associated with the pandemic is a type of prolonged trauma. “So often, especially in health care professions, there’s a need to feel like you have it together and you can do all the things. While they can do all the things and they’re rocking it and are awesome, it’s okay not to be okay,” said Kristine Reynolds, a licensed clinical social worker.

Veronica Everett is a member:
‘It feels empowering to have this many people:’ Hundreds of students gather for second night of Theta Chi protests
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian
A member of the UMass faculty also came out to join the protest. Veronica Everett, an adjunct sociology professor at the University, addressed the crowd with a megaphone. A trained clinical social worker, she has seen first hand the harm of sexual assault on campus, citing the fact that many female students from UMass come to her office in Amherst for therapy.

Rose Turner is a member:
[Video] What the Gabby Petito story means for survivors of domestic violence
FOX23 News (OK)
“If this is the message you are hearing day in and out. ‘You are dumb. You do not know what you’re doing. You could not make it on your own. You should be grateful I am here for you.’ A person starts to believe those things,” explained Rose Turner, a clinical social worker and the vice president of clinical programs and services at Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS). Stories like Petito and Gomez’s are all too common in the U.S.

Courtney Tracy is a member:
[Video] A Therapist Explains Why You Might Want to Unfollow ‘Fitspo’ Accounts
NBC Chicago
Many people try to use social media as a source of “fitspiration,” but obsessing over how others look can make us feel bad about ourselves, and hurt our mental health. Clinical social worker and therapist Dr. Courtney Tracy talks about how we can use social media carefully, and explains researchers’ growing concerns about social media causing suicidal thoughts in teens.

Thomas Nolan is a member:
Therapist offers advice to men about changes in societal expectations in new book
In this guide, “Men On The Cusp: Stepping Up, Reaching Out, Moving Forward” (published by Archway Publishing), Thomas Nolan LCSW, helps men who might be struggling to find their place or seeking a clearer direction to find answers and create a fuller, happier life. In Nolan’s experience, most men see the problem as being outside of themselves — and they struggle to define the deeper meaning of what it means to be a father, son, brother, and partner.

Jennifer Urban is a member:
[Audio] When it’s not just the ‘baby blues’
“Depending on where you look, you’ll see statistics that range somewhere between 1 in 5, 1 in 7, 1 in 8 women experience a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD), and 1 in 10 fathers,” according to Jennifer Urban, a licensed clinical social worker whose private practice specializes in what’s more commonly called postpartum depression. “So that statistic is pretty high.”

Alessandra Ellis-Lodmell is a member:
Online Master of Social Work Alumna Moving Up in Counseling Career
Saint Leo University
Alessandra Ellis-Lodmell can’t say enough positive things about her experience in Saint Leo University’s Master of Social Work degree program. Not only did she learn so much that she continues to apply to her work, but she also made some everlasting friendships.

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