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November 30, 2017

College of Social Work Contributes to Building Strong Brains Evaluation

Tennessee ACEs Initiative logoThe College of Social Work has recently contributed $20,000 to expand an evaluation of Building Strong Brains, Tennessee's ACES Initiative. Building Strong Brains addresses adverse childhood experiences and their impact on children's ability to achieve success in school, live a healthy life, and contribute to their communities.

The evaluation is funded through a grant from the ACE Awareness Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee to the UT Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (UT SWORPS).

In the past year, UT SWORPS conducted a survey to measure public awareness of ACES. Further evaluation will include documentation of early outcomes from 13 local Building Strong Brains projects statewide designed to encourage innovative thinking for addressing ACEs and toxic stress in children.

Additional funding from the UT College of Social work will allow UT SWORPS to expand this evaluation component and inform the Initiative's efforts to secure sustainable funding for innovations with promising outcomes, ensuring that the state maintains a long-term commitment to reduce the impact of ACEs.

Click to learn more about the Tennessee ACEs Initiative


November 9, 2017

Dr. Sherry Cummings and Kate Chaffin Along with 20 Others from UT CSW Presented at the 2017 CSWE Annual Program Meeting

Sherry Cummings and Kate Chaffin presented  Comparison of Online and Traditional MSW Programs' Educational Outcomes: A 5-Year Study

Twenty-two of the College of Social Work faculty and students made presentations at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, Texas during October. These folks participated in 18 separate oral presentations, poster presentations, workshops and panels. The College is extremely proud of our leaders in research and their students.

The presenters included faculty members, Dr. Thereasa Abrams, Kate McClernon Chaffin, Dr. Sunha Choi, Dr. Sherry Cummings, Dr. Camille Hall, Dr. Mary Held, Kim Mallory, Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason, Dr. Robert Mindrup, Dr. Ragan Schriver, Dr. Susan Steckel, Dr. Matthew Theriot, Dr. Phyllis Thompson, and Dr. Stacia West, and students; Kaycee Bills, Aaron Brown, Tennyson Dodd, Aubrey Jones, Jeff McCabe, Dr. Stefanie Pilkay, Jayme Walters, and Sadie Weiss.

Dr. Mary HeldThe topics of presentation at CSWE APM ranged from "Is Social Work Responding to Global Environmental Change?" (Lisa Reyes Mason) to " The Bridge: A Mobile Application for Discharging Burn Patients" (Thereasa Abrams) to "The African American Female Faculty Experience: Diversity in Social Work Education" (Camille Hall) and many more. The Conference took a close look at "Educating for the Social Work Grand Challenges".

In addition to presentations, congratulations go to Dr. Mary Lehman Held (pictured at left), who served as one of the chairs for the Evidence-Based Practice tracks at the 2017 Council for Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting.

Dr. Sherry Cummings, Dr. Ayat Nashwan, and MSSW Student Kara Gagnon Publish Important Study

Dr. Sherry Cummings, Dr. Ayat Nashwan, MSSW student Kara GagnonDr. Sherry Cummings, Associate Dean of the College of Social Work, has co-authored an article with Dr. Ayat Nashwan, alum and Assistant Professor at Yarmouk University, in Amman, Jordan, and Kara Gagnon, MSSW graduate of the College. The article entitled, Older Female Iraqi Refugees: Voices of Struggle and Strength, will be published in the International Social Work Journal.

Sherry Cummings stated, “Ayat is a former PhD student and Kara is a former MSSW student. This article took almost a year to get accepted; but it was all worth it. I'm really very proud of this one!"

Kara Gagnon is currently a treatment case manager at The Next Door in Nashville, working with women who struggle with mental health and addiction. The Next Door is an addiction treatment facility for women. Her goal is to continue working with people that otherwise would have trouble accessing services. She is challenged by this area of service because addiction and mental health are issues that cross all lines of race, religion, and socioeconomic status.

Dr. Ayat Nashwan came to the United States from Jordan to study at the University of Tennessee PhD program.? She returned to Amman, Jordan. where she now teaches and does research at Yarmouk University. She was the first woman in Jordan to earn a PhD in Social Work from an institution in the US. Dr. Nashwan has recently completed a chapter in a book entitled Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families: Culturally Responsive Practice, edited by Alan Detlaff and Rowena Fong. Ayat teamed with Altaf Husain and Stephenie Howard on the chapter entitled Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families. This study looks at demographic patterns in the US, reasons for migration, an overview of Middle Eastern Cultural values including conflicts with US value systems, challenges to cross-system involvement, an overview of federal policies that relate to this population, culturally responsive strategies to address challenges and examples of collaborations.

Dr. Stacia West's Article To Be Published in The Gerontologist Journal

Dr. Stacia West Dr. Stacia West has had an article accepted by The Gerontologist Journal. Dr. West is the second author for the article entitled, "Asset depletion, chronic financial stress, and mortgage trouble among older female homeowners."

Dr. West received her PhD from the University of Kansas after she completed her undergraduate and MSSW work here at UT. Her research interests include, the feminization of poverty, homelessness and housing instability, financial fragility in lower-income households, and social welfare policy.

Nashville Faculty Member Ashley Childers Trains Tennessee Practitioners in ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Dr. Ashley ChildersNashville faculty member Ashley Childers is a trained clinician in Tennessee who participated in the Building Strong Brains: Tennessee's ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Initiative training for trainers this summer. Jennifer Drake-Croft, MSSW alum of the college and Director of Early Childhood Well-Being for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) helped to set up the ACEs learning collaborative. She stated, "This training and knowledge mobilization is a key strategy to give Tennessee's children a strong foundation for lifelong health."

Ashley Childers had the opportunity to participate during the summer and fall in events to train others to understand the research on ACES. These trainings included two presentation to the Vanderbilt Social Work staff in which she partnered with the Sexual Assault Center.

She points out that the future prosperity of any society depends on its ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation. When Tennessee invests wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. Early experiences literally shape how the brain gets built, establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the development and behavior that follows.

A strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes. Adverse Childhood Experiences harm the developing brains and bodies of children compromising the foundation for lifelong health. The ACE research has resulted in child abuse and neglect being acknowledged as a major public health problem and a leading cause of early death. From academic failure to alcoholism, from crime to cancer, presence of ACEs compromise the safety, tax dollars and quality of life for all Tennesseans.

In addition to the ACEs training, Dr. Childers presented an Ethics Training for School Social Work, as part of the Tennessee Association of School Social Workers (TASSW) conference. Last year, Dr. Childers trained this group on the subject of Trauma.

Dr. Ragan Schriver Serves on Review Committee for Shaw Research Center at Notre Dame University

Dr. Ragan Schriver was asked to serve on a review committee for William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families at Notre Dame University. The center advances the well-being of children and families through basic and applied research, the dissemination of research findings and community outreach. Research centers are encouraged to have occasional reviews by outside review teams.

Dr. Ragan SchriverThe Center brings together faculty and students from a number of disciplines including anthropology, biological sciences, economics, psychology, sociology, the Program of Liberal Studies, theology, marketing, management, and several other centers at the University of Notre Dame whose research focuses on children and families. The three major research themes focus on the challenges that children and families confront in today's society: disparities; developmental disabilities and psychopathology; and optimization of development, education, and learning.

Dr. Schriver was teamed with a professor of Developmental Psychology from Arizona State and a professor from Kansas University to meet with all the NDU administration, faculty, staff, students, post-docs, community partners and other collaborators to hear all different perspectives on the work of the center.

He noted, "We were there to examine research procedures, funding models, and governance structures of the center to be reported to the NDU administration. This is part of the ongoing stewardship and continuous improvement process of the University. I was honored to be a part of the review process. It was great to meet so many dedicated folks who want to see improvement in the lives of children and families through the research process. The cool thing is that the research they are doing can be knowledge applied to actual practice."

CSW Professors and Staff Share Their Expertise on Local Television

David Patterson and Lisa Higginbotham on WATE

Dr. David Patterson and Lisa Higginbotham participated in a discussion with Gabriella Pag?n on Knoxville's WATE Midday News show. They were featured to discuss the newly awarded SAMHSA grant for "Tennessee's Homeless Family Services in Supportive Housing", the Knox Homeless Management Information System, as well as the 75th anniversary of the College of Social Work!

Shandra Forrest-Bank on WBIR

Dr. Shandra Forrest-Bank was featured on a WBIR's special feature Parenting 101 with Robin Wilhoit. Dr. Forrest-Bank was asked to provide tips for college students and their families as they try to navigate communication challenges over the holiday break time.

Dr. Forrest-Bank completed her MSSW and PhD work at the University of Denver in Colorado. Her research interests include: transition to adulthood, risk and resilience, positive youth development, violence prevention, and racial microaggression.

See this feature.


October 3, 2017

John Wodarski is Awarded Grant for Joint Project between the College of Social Work and the Helen Ross McNabb Center

The College of Social Work is pleased to share some great news.  Dr. John Wodarski received notification that he has been awarded SAMHSA funding for a five-year grant entitled Tennessee HIV/AIDS Related Substance Use Disorder, and Mental Disorders Services Program. This is a grant totaling $2,491,093 direct and $305,856 indirect.

Photo of Dr. John WodarskiThis program is a joint venture between The University of Tennessee College of Social Work and the Helen Ross McNabb Center, a Regional Behavioral Health System. It addresses the epidemic of minority persons who: a) are HIV positive and have a DSM diagnosis, or b) are HIV positive and have mental health problems that do not reach the criteria for DSM diagnosis; and parents, partners, dependents, and others linked to the client’s Individual Treatment Plan.

The proposed project seeks to expand and enhance the intensive outpatient services of the Regional Behavioral Health System in East Tennessee through culturally competent services and to provide a specialized continuum of care to the target population.

Dr. Wodarski has worked on projects under SAMHSA for a number of years. He stated, "We have helped over three-quarters of a million people with mental health, substance abuse and chronic health issues in East Tennessee." The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

David Patterson and John Wodarski Receive Tennessee’s Homeless Family Services in Supportive Housing Grant

Dr. David Patterson (Co-PI) and Dr. John Wodarski (PI) received notification that they have been awarded SAMHSA funding for a three-year grant entitled Tennessee’s Homeless Family Services in Supportive Housing. This is a grant totaling $1,192,882.

Dr. David PattersonThe purpose of this program is to support the integration of treatment and services for substance use, co-occurring substance use and mental disorders, permanent housing, and other critical services for families who experience homelessness or chronic homelessness. This support includes expanding local implementation of services and developing other community support infrastructures. Participants will be homeless families from Knoxville, Tennessee, Knox County, and the surrounding East Tennessee Counties.

The Behavioral Health Recovery model, an evidence-based practice, addresses the domains of health, home, and community to establish a basis for receipt of services and care, ensuring conditions for enhancement of quality of life. These services include housing, mental health and substance abuse services, education and employment services, and peer support. 

Dr. Patterson is the Director of the KnoxHMIS project, the mission of which is to foster collaborative community partnerships in a focused effort that seeks permanent solutions to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness. In the Director's Commentary for the 2015 Annual Report for that program, Dr. Patterson noted, "KnoxHMIS continues to be the empirical window into homelessness in Knoxville/Knox County, enabling the community to see more clearly the scope and magnitude of this most challenging social problem." The work associated with this new grant will dovetail with that work and will specifically serve 90 homeless families over a three year period.

Shandra Forrest-Bank and Sarah Ferriss Publish Article in Journal of Refugee Studies

Shandra Forrest-Bank and Sarah FerrissDr. Shandra Forrest-Bank, assistant professor at the college, co-authored an article entitled "Perspectives of Somali refugees on pasttraumatic growth after resettlement" with Sarah Ferriss, 2017 graduate of the DSW program. Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), a theory of positive transformation after trauma, offers a framework to consider what contributes to the thriving of some individuals after traumatic experiences.

The results of their study indicate that there is tenacity for life rooted in strong cultural values among Somali refugees; however, significant challenges are brought to the fore-front impacting growth for refugees in resettlement.

Kim Crane Mallory Appointed by Governor to Tennessee Board of Social Work Licensure

The UT College of Social Work is proud of Kim Crane Mallory, Assistant Professor of Practice and Coordinator of Field Education for the Nashville MSSW Program. She has been appointed by Governor Bill Haslam to serve as a member of the Tennessee Board of Social Work Licensure.

Kim Crane MalloryMallory was appointed to this position in June 2017. She expressed her reaction, saying, "I am proud to be a part of the Board of Social Work licensure. In this role, I hope to help shape the future of the field of professional social work in Tennessee and to uphold the high standards our state has for social workers."

The Board of Social Worker Licensure was created in 1984 by an act of the State Legislature. This Board is charged with the responsibilities of governing the practice of social work, safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans, by requiring that all those who practice social work within this state be qualified. The Board interprets the laws, rules, and regulations to determine the appropriate standards of practice in an effort to ensure the highest degree of professional conduct. The Board is authorized to issue licenses qualified candidates who have completed appropriate education and successfully completed required examinations.

University of Tennessee Announces Launch of Join the Journey Campaign

Join the JourneyThe University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has announced the official launch of the its $1.1 billion Join the Journey campaign. We are working to set UT apart and create a student experience that reaches beyond the ordinary. Our goal to become a preeminent public research university is an ambitious challenge, but we are eager to fulfill our destiny to compete with the best. Our Vol Vision strategic plan is the roadmap for our journey.

Learn how to join the College of Social Work on its journey at:


August 16, 2017

David Dupper Begins Term as Interim Dean

Following the retirement of former dean Dr. Karen Sowers, Dr. David Dupper was appointed Interim Dean of the College effective August 16.

Photo of Dr. David DupperIn his new role, Dr. Dupper will provide strategic leadership for the college's faculty, staff, and students in the coming months while a national search is conducted to hire the College's new dean.

Dr. Dupper came to UT as an associate professor in 1998 and was promoted to full professor in 2010. He has previously served the College as the Associate Dean of the Knoxville campus of the College from 2001-2004 and as the Director of the BSSW Program from 2013-2016.

Dr Dupper's research interests include relationship-based school discipline and comprehensive approaches to addressing school bullying as well as incorporating mindfulness practices within social work education and practice.


May 25, 2017

Elsie Pettit of the College of Social Work Library Retires after 20 Years

Elsie Pettit has served the UT College of Social Work and the UT Library Systems for 20 years. She has worked at the Nashville Campus in the Social Work Library there.

Kate McCernon-Chaffin, Director of the Nashville Campus will miss her presence and all she does for the students. “Elsie has been a source of knowledge and resources for both faculty and students. She led a charge to make sure that students with disabilities received the added services that they needed to be successful in the program as it relates to technology.  She has worked tirelessly to help students with writing skills and has been essential in working with them to find the resources they need to do well in their courses.  She has always been proactive in assisting faculty with adding media and books to the library that will  supplement classes. She will be missed beyond measure!"

Photo of Elsie PettitElsie first studied English Literature as an undergrad student, but went on to get a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences. She came to the College of Social Work serendipitously when she heard that our college was looking for a librarian 20 years ago. She learned while on the job what was important to the faculty of social work and how to best assist social work students in their research.

"Over the years," says Elsie, "I have always enjoyed connecting students with information that they have been unable to find. However, my greatest joy has been having a lot of direct contact with disabled students. It is gratifying to assist them. Before the days of JAWS screen reader, I took time to read articles to students who were blind."

"I will miss the people here at the college and wish them well in the future. I also will miss collaborating with the wonderful library team on the Knoxville campus." When David P. Atkins, from the Knoxville library announced to the library staff that Elsie was planning to retire, he said. "After 20 years of exceptional service, Elsie Pettit will retire from UT Libraries. For these past two decades, Elsie has served as our university’s one-woman show, managing all operations for our College of Social Work (CSW) Library in Nashville. With a great heart and generous spirit, Elsie served Nashville with reference assistance, orientation and instruction, as well as collections support. She also created a safe and welcoming library space for the College of Social Work’s Nashville’s students, faculty, and staff. Always a strong advocate for her students and faculty, Elsie will be dearly missed."

Elsie plans to move from Nashville to Salt Lake City, Utah, to live close to her daughter and son-in-law. She looks forward to hiking in the Wasatch Mountains that surround the city.

May 21, 2017

Nicole Chandler Receives the Lucille Evans Dean Award

The Lucille Evans Dean Award is given annually by the UT College of Social Work, Nashville Campus, in recognition of outstanding social work contributions and service to the community by an alum of the college. Lucille Evans Dean was the first African-American student to graduate from the Nashville School of Social Work, which became the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. She entered the school in 1954 and after she graduated said, "We were well prepared to face the world." Lucille Evans Dean was an exemplary social worker who made an impact on her community.

This year's award was presented to Casaundra Nicole Chandler. Susan Bryant, Director of Recruitment at the College of Social Work, stated, "Nicole is a model social worker who has had a long career of creating safe and healthy environments for children and youth."

Nicole Chandler Receives Lucille Evans Dean AwardC. Nicole Chandler (pictured with Kate Chaffin, Director of the Nashville and Online MSSW Programs and Ragan Schriver, Director of the Knoxville MSSW Program) is the Executive Director of the Change Center Knoxville, a collaborative, citywide initiative. The Change Center provides state-of ?the?art-facilities, recreation, mentorship, and leadership development to increase opportunities for youth to succeed through workforce development and access to educational opportunities from within the inner city.

Chandler, an LMSW and certified Crisis Management Specialist, has a Masters in Social Work from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is also a graduate of the UT Knoxville Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness program (CSEE). A longtime advocate for youth, her professional career includes over 15 years on the staff of other local non-profits: Youth Villages, Wesley House Community Center, and Project GRAD Knoxville.

March 22, 2017

CSW Field Instructor Rachel Ross is TN Social Worker of the Year

Rachel Ross and Kim DentonRachel Ross, LCSW, has been named by NASW-TN as Social Worker of the Year. Ross is a social work professional who is engaged in integrated health care and social work education. Her commitment to education and teaching is highlighted by her development of a social work internship at Vine School Health Clinic in which she works with several bachelor and master students from the UT College of Social Work each academic year.

Along with being a field instructor, she teaches a field course for the College of Social Work. Her leadership exemplifies the best of social work values and the mission of the college. Kim Denton, Assistant Professor of Practice and Coordinator of the CSW Field Education, BSSW Program, nominated Rachel Ross for this award.

March 22, 2017

College of Social Work Student Jessica Tarantino Honored as Social Work Student of the Year

Jessica Tarantino UT College of Social Work Student, Jessica Tarantino, was named 2017 BSW Student of the Year by the NASW-TN Chapter at the organization's Social Work Day on the Hill Honors luncheon. Jessica is an honor's student at the college and is actively involved in advocacy events on campus and in the Knoxville community. She is a leader of the Bachelors Social Work Organization at the college and serves as the Peer Mentoring Coordinator for new transfer students.

Dr. Robert Mindrup, Interim Director of the College's BSSW Program stated, "She is one of the most hardworking, highly intelligent, and dedicated students you will encounter. At the undergraduate level it is quite rare to find a student, like Jessica, who demonstrates a tremendous level of ethical maturity coupled with a profound compassion for social justice. Jessica is greatly respected and highly regarded by her peers and the social work faculty."

Sarah Curtis, BSSW Academic Advisor, added her comments about Jessica. "It was clear from the moment Jessica started at UT that she had a passion for social work that you just cannot teach... I can say with confidence that she will be an outstanding asset to our profession and a shining example of our values and ethics."

Jessica Tarantino was surprised and pleased to receive this award. "When I heard that I had won this award, I initially questioned how and why this had happened," she stated. "I had no idea I was even nominated, so it came as quite a surprise. It wasn't until I went to Social Work Day on the Hill that I realized those who were involved in nominating me. I was very touched by the thoughtful and kind words written by Dr. Mindrup, Sarah Curtis, and Dr. Rogge on my behalf. When reflecting on receiving this award, I realized that it would not have been possible without the leadership opportunities provided by the UT Knoxville College of Social Work, the faculty and staff who have been extremely supportive from the day I transferred to UT, the classmates who have volunteered their time for community service activities I have organized, and the active involvement of the mentors and mentees in the Peer Mentoring Program. I felt overcome with gratitude and feel honored to have received this award."

March 21, 2017

Linda O'Neal Receives Senator Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk

Linda O'Neal, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, received the College of Social Work's 2017 Senator Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk on March 21st at the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare's (TCSW) annual Luncheon in Franklin, TN. The award was presented by Associate Dean Dr. Sherry Cummings.

The award is intended to recognize individuals or organizations with an exemplary record of service to children and families. Dr. Cummings, upon presenting the award, explained, "Today, we honor the memory of Senator Henry, who died on March 5th. Senator Henry was known as the patron saint of children and social workers for his long and dedicated service to the children and families of Tennessee. During his years in the state legislature, Senator Henry sponsored numerous bills that affect the safety and well-being of the state's most vulnerable citizens."

Linda O'Neal and Sherry CummingsThis year's award, given to Linda O'Neal, recognizes her long and distinguished career focused on improving the lives of our state's most vulnerable citizens. She began as a counselor and field supervisor in the Tennessee Department of Human Services and went on to found the Institute for Children's Resources, a non-profit youth advocacy agency. She has worked as an attorney and legislative advocate for the Tennessee Association of Legal Services and has taught at MTSU.

Linda is Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. She joined the commission in 1988. Under her leadership, it has focused on improving the state's long term prosperity, encouraging healthy economic and child development, and helping children be safe, healthy, educated, nurtured and engaged in activities that promote success in school and life.

March 30. 2017

Jim Henry Receives Award for a Lifetime Dedication to Public Service

Jim HenryAt the NASW-TN Social Work Day on the Hill celebration, the chapter announced a special new award: the Lifetime Dedication to Public Service award. The recipient of this new aware was Jim Henry, Deputy and Chief of Staff to the Governor.

Upon presenting the award, Dr. Sherry Cummings (Associate Dean for Academics in the College) noted that "It's difficult to imagine anyone more deserving of this recognition than Mr. Henry. Throughout his long and distinguished career in state and local government and the private sector, he has worked tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of our state's most vulnerable citizens."

Jim Henry's record of service includes his longtime membership on the UT College of Social Work's Board of Visitors. In addition, he served in the state of Tennessee legislature from 1980-1990 and joined Governor Haslam's administration in 2011.

February 23, 2017

Longtime College of Social Work supporter, Susan Cooper, makes major gift to create the Social Justice Innovation Initiative.

The Social Justice Innovation Initiative offers a unique framework for understanding many of society's most pressing issues around education, healthcare, and social justice. The mission is ambitious but clear: work to shape and elevate the conversation surrounding these issues through rigorous research, public outreach, expert testimony, and innovative education.

By building a coalition of partners and fellows across academic disciplines and with other universities, policy makers, and legislators, the Initiative will strive to address some of society's most pressing problems. The Social Justice Innovation Initiative will disseminate the latest knowledge and skills to social service practitioners, thus improving the quality of services to provider organizations and clients in Tennessee and across the nation.

The Social Justice Innovation Initiative will also collaborate with researchers, policy makers, legislators, and practitioners to influence and transform policy for lasting social change, and will invite legislators, policy practitioners, and researchers to become Fellows of the Social Justice Innovation Initiative. The Initiative will host/sponsor a conference or symposium annually to highlight at least one of the Grand Challenges for Social Work.

Susan CooperAs the oldest of four children, Nashville native Susan Cooper learned that there were many ways to see the world. Despite living side by side, the six members of her household each developed a unique way to approach life’s issues. Over time she came to understand the ways that complex social problems may affect individuals and families. Susan says she sees two logical paths toward finding solutions. "The first path is to invest in continuing education for Social Work professionals who have day-to-day influence with individuals as they cope with the complexities of their lives. The second approach is to create a forum for discussing he policies, programs, and research that shape our society."

In order to contribute to the overall goal of achieving social justice, Susan is pleased to support the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. Her contribution will enable the College to fund the development and delivery of post-master’s certificate programs and to provide a public platform for thought-leaders seeking to advance the agenda set out in the Grand Challenges for Social Work. (See more information about the Grand Challenges at: )

Susan Cooper graduated from Carson Newman with a degree in Mathematics. Her business career included operations, policy development, and human resource management at BellSouth Corporation, (now AT&T). Susan is now a nature photographer who lives at the boundary of the Great Smoky Moutains National Park. She is generous with her time and resources as a weekly trail volunteer in the park and by serving as president of the Townsend Artisan Guild. She supports learning and development through giving to the Thornton Center at UT, the Tremont Institute and the Student Conservation Association.

In 2015 Susan Cooper and Freida Herron provided the funding for an endowed professorship in mental health practice and research. Dr. David A. Patterson, director of the college's DSW program, was chosen as the first recipient of this professorship.

January 26, 2017

Nashville Assistant Professor Thereasa Abrams Develops Phone App for Burn Survivors in Multi-Disciplinary Effort

Thereasa Abrams, PhD, has joined the UT College of Social Work, Nashville Campus this year as an Assistant Professor. In addition to her teaching work here at UT, Abrams is continuing her research on the needs of individuals who have experienced medical trauma especially those who have sustained traumatic burn injuries.

Dr. Theresa Abrams"I am very excited about the team of visionaries here at UT who want to create a product that works well and looks very professional," says Abrams about the individuals who are committed to completing this project.

As a survivor of traumatic burn injury herself, Teri Abrams knows the challenges that patients face. Generally, burn centers are regional, so when people leave the hospital for home, they are nervous. The UT team envisions an app that lives on the phones of patients so that they can access support at any moment.

Read more about this project.

January 9, 2017

Nashville Asst. Professor April Mallory writes about The Criminalization of Addiction in Pregnancy

April Mallory, Assistant Professor of Practice at the Nashville Campus of the UT College of Social Work, is the author of an article that has been published in the Winter 2017 issue of The New Social Worker.

April MalloryThe article entitled "The Criminalization of Addiction in Pregnancy: Is This What Justice Looks Like?" considers the harsh reality for many pregnant women with addiction to prescription drugs. It looks at Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, treatment options, policy considerations, and recommendations for improving individual and community practice.

April Mallory, MSW, LCSW, is a social worker with many years of experience working within the psychiatric and criminal justice systems. She evaluates impaired physicians as part of the team at Vanderbilt's Comprehensive Assessment Program and is an assistant professor of practice at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.


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