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News from Around the College - Archived Items

Note: Faculty member's names are linked to their profile pages, where you can view contact information, e-mail address, research area of interest, courses taught, and more.

August 16, 2017

David Dupper Begins Term as Interim Dean

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

Elsie 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 Elsiewas 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.

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

The 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.

December 19, 2016

Center for Behavioral Health Research Welcomes Bush Endowed Professor, Michael Mason

The University of Tennessee College of Social Work, home of the Center for Behavioral Health Research (CBHR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Mason, PhD as the Betsey R. Bush Endowed Professor for Children and Families at Risk.

Dr. Michael MasonAn outstanding scientist and researcher, Dr. Mason comes to the college from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Mason was an associate professor of Psychiatry, and director of the Commonwealth Institute on Child and Family Studies, in the School of Medicine, at VCU. Upon arriving in Knoxville, Dr. Mason stated, "I am thrilled and excited to be here and look forward to integrating my research with the local community contacts whom I've already met as well as continuing national level research."

Dr. Mason's work focusing on adolescent substance abuse, peer and environmental influences, and evidence-based brief interventions, has been recognized and supported by several funding sources including the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dr. Mason completed his undergraduate degree at Pepperdine University, his masters San Diego State University, and his doctorate from Oregon State University. He completed a National Institute on Mental Health postdoctoral research fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, school of Public Health, department of Mental Hygiene.

Dr. Mason's work seeks to understand and test the idea that substance use is a developmentally contingent social practice that is constituted within the routine social-environment of individuals' lives. His work is funded by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, SAMHSA, and state foundations. Dr. Mason has developed of a brief substance use intervention entitled, Peer Network Counseling, that has been tested with five clinical trials with over 400 adolescents and young adults.

He is actively testing the efficacy of automated text-messaging substance use interventions to address cannabis and tobacco use.


December 19, 2016

Center for Behavioral Health Research Begins Children's Bureau Contract

The Children's Bureau, an Office of the Administration for Children & Families at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has granted a multi-university award to support workforce interventions to reduce turnover in child welfare organizations. The University of Tennessee College of Social Work's Center for Behavioral Health Research (CBHR) will be working with the University of Nebraska, the University of Louisville, and the University of Colorado to discover practices that will reduce staff turnover in child welfare organizations.

The $15 million, 5-year project will study staff retention strategies in agencies of different sizes, in different locations across the U.S, and that work with clients of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Denzel Dukes and Tony Hemmelgarn

Denny Dukes (l.) and Tony Hemmelgarn (r.)

Dr. Tony Hemmelgarn of the CBHR and researchers from the other participating universities have secured this funding to help address the growing retention problems being experienced by child welfare agencies nationwide. Trained as an industrial and organizational psychologist, Hemmelgarn will serve as the primary consultant from the CBHR on this project. Tony has worked at the CBHR for over 20 years and is a primary co-developer of ARC, an organizational change strategy developed at the CBHR. Dr. Hemmelgarn is also the lead trainer and organizational consultant at the CBHR.

Denny Dukes, Associate Director of the CBHR, explained that all of the agencies that will participate in this project will be using our nationally-normed Organizational Social Context Measure as an important indicator of the success of their organizational changes. Tony, working with Dr. Philip Green, will be involved in all aspects of the project and will be lending his expertise in organizational cultures and climates to inform the improvement strategies used in all of the agency sites chosen for this project.

Dr. Hemmelgarn explained that one of the selected agency sites will specifically focus on using the ARC strategy. Hemmelgarn stated that ARC is currently the only organizational change strategy in the United States that has been tested in child welfare and mental health agencies across multiple Randomized Controlled Trials. This makes ARC an organization-level evidence-based practice. ARC has been shown to improve organizational climate and culture, increase job satisfaction and commitment of staff, reduce turnover, and improve clients' outcomes. "We are pleased," says Hemmelgarn, "to see what we have learned and the many tools and techniques that we have developed used in this important project. We believe this will be a powerful step forward in helping child welfare organizations provide high quality care to clients as well as more positive work environments for their dedicated staff who every day face the challenging work of improving children's lives."

For more information: (opens in a new window).

November 18, 2016

Lisa Reyes Mason, co-organized symposium on People and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation, Social Justice

"Climate change affects all of us, and especially our most vulnerable groups. We need a deeper understanding of not just who is affected, but why, and what social policies can help people cope, adapt, and thrive under changing conditions," explains Lisa Reyes Mason, Assistant Professor at the UT College of Social Work. In order to encourage this kind of understanding, Dr. Mason co-organized a symposium entitled People and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation, Social Justice. The symposium took place at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis on Friday, November 18.

Dr. Mason (right) with conference presenter in St. LouisDr. Mason stated, "This event brings experts from around the world and over 150 attendees to tackle these pressing questions. Together, we can find and act on a way forward to address the human impacts of climate change."

Experts on flooding, drought, heat, water, and land change convened in St. Louis. They represent research from the United States, Latin America, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world and have gained their expertise in diverse disciplines in order to look at the human impacts of climate change and the policy solutions needed to help people cope and adapt.



October 27, 2016

Scholar from Arctic University of Norway, Jeanette Skoglund, Studies U.S. Foster & Kinship Care

The UT College of Social Work is happy to be hosting Jeanette Skoglund, visiting scholar from the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) in Tromsø, Norway, as she studies the system of foster care practiced in the United States.

Jenette SkoglundJeanette is originally from southern Norway, a country of approximately five million people. She moved to Tromsø, an island city of about 70,000, in order to complete her doctorate in mental health. She chose to come to Knoxville, Tennessee, rather than a larger U.S. city, hoping to gain a more intimate experience of life in the United States. So far she has enjoyed the reception she has received here. "Becky Jackson, Director of International Studies, has helped me contact people who work in the foster care system. Dr. John Orme and Dr. Terri Combs-Orme and others have welcomed me warmly and with southern hospitality."

Tromso, NorwayJeanette completed her master's degree in sociology, studying and writing on the subject of same-sex parenting. She is now particularly interested in kinship care within foster care systems. UiT encourages advanced students to develop a global perspective, even requiring that her doctoral dissertation be written in English. Dr. Orme, one of her CSW mentors commented, "Jeanette is a delightful colleague and it's been such a pleasure talking with her about the relative social policies and political situations in the US and Norway as well as discussing foster care research, her area of specialization! It's such a pleasure having her with us this semester!"

Our visiting scholar's personal interests include rock climbing. She explained that there are several levels of climbing including alpine, sport and boulder climbing. Currently she is involved in sport and boulder climbing.

On October 28, Jeanette made a presentation to the CSW faculty in Knoxville and Nashville, discussing the differences between Social Work Practice in Norway and the United States. She also shared some facts about the country of Norway and its people.

September 20, 2016

Peace Corps Volunteers Come to UT College of Social Work for MSSW Studies

Karen M. Sowers, Dean of the UT College of Social Work

The UT College of Social Work is one of a select group of partner schools in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, a graduate fellowship program that offers financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All Coverdell students complete internships in underserved American communities, allowing them to bring home, and expand upon, the skills they learned as Peace Corps Volunteers.The College of Social Work welcomed the first of the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows, Abby Borst, in the fall semester of 2015. This semester we are pleased to welcome Sadie Weiss to the Knoxville Campus MSSW program and Jami Hargrove to the Nashville Campus MSSW program.

Sadie Weiss

Sadie WeissSadie Weiss comes from a Peace Corps family. Both of her parents had served in the Peace Corps, so stories about serving abroad had been a part of her growing up. When a senior in college, she applied to become a Peace Corps volunteer. She had had a strong interest in service and felt this was a good way to express that. As well she was curious about the world and wanted to experience life in another culture.

At the time of her service, the corps asked applicants to rank regions by preference. Her first choice was sub-Saharan Africa. She was chosen to serve in Cape Verde which is a West African island nation off the coast of Senegal. Part way through her term of service that location closed as a Corps region so she was transferred to Mozambique. In both places Sadie taught English to middle school and high school girls.In addition, she worked in youth development. One of the things she did was a 4-day leadership camp for girls. Other activities that she was involved with were a girls’ soccer team, life skills classes, and HIV Aids education.

Sadie loves working with children and during her time with the Peace Corps she built strong relationships with her students. She wants to continue that kind of experience in her career in social work as a school social worker. She feels like social work is a good fit for her personality. Her goal is to work to protect and encourage vulnerable populations. She hopes to impact the broad range of people who are part of schools: children, parents, teachers and the community as a whole. For the present Sadie is in the clinical track at UT CSW. Eventually she may pursue a more macro-oriented career as she is interested in impacting policy as it relates to her focus on underprivileged children and helping them gain access to the resources that they need to achieve a successful life.

Jami Hargrove

Jami HargroveHaving graduated from the University of Georgia with a Fine Arts degree in Photography, Jami says she applied to the Peace Corps somewhat impulsively. She knew she wanted to travel and that she desired to volunteer to work with an agency serving a population with HIV or AIDS.

"I served in Swaziland (the country with the highest rate of HIV in the world) as an Community Health HIV/AIDS Educator," states Hargrove about her placement with the Corps. "Ironically enough, my experiences opened my eyes to the HIV epidemic that's sweeping the American South (we have the highest rates of any other region in the country), and I realized that there is such a huge need for people doing HIV work here. As a Southerner, I feel a moral obligation to do something about it. The South is my home, how can I expect others to do something if I don't myself?"

Jami felt that it was important for her to go to school in the South since that is where she hopes to continue her work. "I honestly initially began looking into UT's Online MSSW program and spoke with Professors Sarah Keiser and Becky Jackson a few times. I was able to get a sense of how awesome the UT faculty is. They were both so amazingly helpful and made the idea of grad school seem a little less intimidating, so I eventually decided I wanted to be a full-time on-campus student. I am absolutely enjoying UT. I was nervous after being out of school for 5 years, but all of my professors have made me feel like I am right at home here. Everyone is so approachable!" 

Jami's vision for helping others includes a desire to be a part of getting a conversation about HIV and AIDS started in situations where it might otherwise be a taboo topic. She believes that there is a lot of work to be done, a lot of things to figure out, and she hopes to be part of that process.

Learn more about the Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship at (opens in a new window)

January 8, 2016

Abby Borst is First Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow at the College

Abbey Borst

Abby Borst is the first student at the UT College of Social Work to pursue her graduate degree through the Peace Corps' Coverdell Fellowship. She sees her social work education as a way to combine her passion for working with diverse groups of people and her interest in sustainability, policy, and health.

The Paul Coverdell Fellows Program is a graduate fellowship program that offers financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All Fellows complete internships in underserved American communities, allowing them to bring home, and expand upon, the skills they learned as Volunteers.

Abby served with the Peace Corps in Panama from April of 2011 to July of 2013. She decided to join the Peace Corps after completing her undergraduate interdisciplinary studies that introduced her to sustainable development, pre-architecture, and environmental conservation. She had known others volunteered for the corps and had hoped to do so herself ever since she was in high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

While in Panama, Abby worked to understand how basic resources, water and food, affected theAbbey Borst in Panama people. The people of the community had a national park in their back yard. It was extremely rural, without paved road, consistent electricity, or internet service. She became involved in a research project that was studying and tracking trends and patterns of the behavior of wild animals, particularly jaguars. As the work progressed, people of the community began to lead tours related to the research. Over time those tours led to the formation of an effort to develop tourism, which began to provide support for the community.

"The personal benefits for me," states Abby, "are too many to count. I even brought back a dog from Panama! His name is Maeby." After returning home to the states, Abby began to search for a school of social work that participated in the Coverdell Fellowship program. That led her to the University of Tennessee College of Social Work where she is successfully pursuing her MSSW degree.

For further information about the Peace Corps fellowship, visit our website at:


November 1, 2015

College of Social Work Announces Sixth Faculty Member to Join One of Several Prestigious Scientific Academies

John Orme

Dr. John Orme was recently selected to become a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Orme joins a growing number of faculty scholars who are fellows in esteemed academies. There will be an induction ceremony for new fellows at the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) Conference in January 2016."John Orme is a leader in our college and a scholar whose ideas are impacting the social work field," explains Dean of the college, Karen Sowers.

In addition to Dr. John Orme, the following faculty members have been honored previously by academies:



October 29, 2015

TIPS - One Year Later


The TRAINING INTEGRATED PROFESSIONALS TO SERVE (TIPS) program is producing professional social workers trained specifically to serve children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth in integrated healthcare settings. The goal is to increase the likelihood that at-risk individuals in Tennessee:

  • Receive behavioral health assessment,
  • Receive individualized treatment for behavioral health conditions,
  • Master skills to manage behavioral health conditions and enjoy satisfying lives.

One year after the program began, two individuals have completed all of the requirements of the program and twenty-two are actively involved in the process of completion. The two graduates are Indienne Coombs and Jenna Pemberton.

Kate Chaffin, the director of the UT College of Social Work Master's program in Nashville, TN, is pleased at the success of this initiative. "We are a leader in this kind of training in a state that is particularly in need of social work professionals who understand integrated health care services. We received a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration that allows the college to provide a stipend of $10,000 to each participating student during their concentration year."

Other leaders in the College of Social Work TIPS program are Sherry Cummings, Associate Dean, Kim Mallory, Coordinator of Field Education for the TIPS students, and Mary Held, Assistant Professor. Many other professors and staff are involved in making the TIPS program a success.

Currently, a shortage of agencies that focus on integrated health exists statewide. Few professionals in Tennessee have expertise in the role of integrated and interprofessional models and how social work relates to this area. The TIPS Learning Community is an innovative approach, combining an eight-module online training program; discussion boards for students, faculty, and field supervisors; and student activities, which go alongside the MSSW coursework and field placements. All aspects of TIPS and the Learning Community are designed to build skills and knowledge of integrated health care and the needs of the at-risk target population.

One of the particularly successful aspects of the college's program is that people from all over the state are participating in the integrated health project. Relationships between the college and community healthcare providers across the state (hospitals, clinics, behavioral health service organizations) are being strengthened as our students engage in their field placements.

This initiative is a natural outgrowth of the affordable health care programs. In Tennessee our students are helping to bring the integrated health care model forward. Tennessee's large population of at-risk youth is the largest group of beneficiaries of this work. Chaffin is pleased to point out that under the TIPS grant, the UT College of Social Work has met all of its targeted goals so far. "Beyond that, however," she points out, "our students, acting as part of interprofessional teams where each member understands the roles of everyone in the group, see patients reaching their goals more quickly, and with better long-term outcomes."


September 8, 2015

College Receives 5 Endowed Professorships in 4 Years

The University of Tennessee College of Social Work is extremely grateful for the generosity of its supporters. Over the past 4 years, the college has been able to name 5 endowed professorships:

Endowed Professors

In 2015 Susan Cooper and Freida Herron provided the funding for an endowed professorship in mental health practice and research. Dr. David A. Patterson was chosen as the first recipient of this professorship. Dean Karen M. Sowers remarked, "As a scholar and clinical expert in behavioral health David Patterson was an outstanding choice for the inaugural Cooper-Herron Endowed Professor in Mental Health Practice and Research."

Susan Cooper is a native of Nashville and graduated from Carson Newman with a degree in Mathematics. Freida Herron is from Texas and holds an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts, an MBA from Georgia State University and MSSW and DSW degrees from UT College of Social Work.

Having seen the work of the College from the perspective of a student, later as an adjunct professor, and as a member of the Board of Visitors, Freida Herron thought that perhaps she could do more. Freida and Susan decided that establishing an endowed professorship would be one way to have a deep impact on the university and the community.

If you have a vision for setting up an endowed professorship, contact Stephanie Piper, Development Director by email at or by calling at (865) 974-5363


September 8, 2015

Matthew Theriot

Associate Professor of Social Work Matthew Theriot, who successfully led the effort to develop UT’s new Experience Learning initiative, has been named associate provost for teaching and learning innovation. He will oversee implementation of Experience Learning and oversee the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center.

The new post is a three-year appointment involving 50 percent of his time.

Theriot chaired the interdisciplinary team that spent nearly two years designing the new Quality Enhancement Plan, a required component of UT's reaccreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The QEP now known as Experience Learning seeks to increase experiential learning opportunities for all students. The ten-year initiative begins this fall.

"Matthew did a superb job of leading a large team of faculty, staff, and students to develop Experience Learning", Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Susan D. Martin said. "The plan drew many compliments from SACSCOC evaluators, and Matthew's leadership received high praise from the team members he led."

"He is a natural fit for this new role and will be an asset to our team as we work to reach our goals for improving teaching and learning on our campus."

Theriot said leading the Experience Learning team has provided a great foundation for this new challenge.

"The QEP development process was arduous, but it was extremely rewarding to work with such a broad-based group from the campus and watch our ideas take shape," he said. "I'm excited to take on this new role and to help launch Experience Learning."

Theriot also will oversee efforts of the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center, created in 2008 to help faculty and instructors improve their teaching skills.

Theriot received his doctorate in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his master's and bachelor's degrees in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.

He joined UT's faculty in 2003 and served as director of the College of Social Work's undergraduate program from 2006 to 2013. Since 2013 he's been director of the college's PhD program.

From article by Amy Blakely in Tennessee Today


August 11, 2015

It's back-to-school time for many kids across the country but for students who are subject to bullying, school can be a daunting place to spend eight hours a day. Dr. David Dupper offered insight in an interview with Tennessee Today.

Dr. David Dupper

Social work Professor David Dupper has conducted extensive research on the topic and recently released the book School Bullying: New Perspectives on a Growing Problem.

"Bullies tend to pick on kids who are considered different, either by their weight, the way they dress, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation," said Dupper. "Most bullying occurs out of the view of adults in bathrooms, hallways or between classes about 90 percent of the time, which is why it's critical to empower bystanders on what to do." But Dupper says the problem is that bystanders are initially scared and will not do anything for fear of being the next victim. Oftentimes they join in on the bullying out of this fear because they haven't been empowered with the tools to stop it. "Students must know that if they intervene, an adult will have their back," said Dupper. "Many times kids think adults won't do anything, but we have to change that mindset. The main message is to let kids know they will be protected if they come forward. Research shows that when you do this, you'll see a significant reduction in bullying."


June 25, 2015

Shandra Forrest-Bank published on Risk, Resilience, and Positive Youth Development as well as Confronting Racial Microaggression.

Shandra Forrest-Bank completed her master's degree in Social Work at the University of Denver and then worked in the field of substance abuse for 13 years as a counselor, clinical supervisor, and associate director before returning to academia and completing her PhD. Her observations, while managing adolescent programs after having worked with adults with severe addictions, had raised a number of questions in her mind:

  • How are these vulnerable and disadvantaged youth going to fare as they transition into adulthood?
  • What are the characteristics of the person whose addiction remits versus the person who progresses into even more severe addiction and antisocial behavior?
  • What are crucial elements in successfully intervening in and resolving addiction?
  • What role does structural oppression such as racism and poverty play in the etiology and progression of substance abuse and criminal behavior?

Shandra Forrest-Bank, Assistant ProfessorSince coming to the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, where she is an Assistant Professor, she has had the opportunity to build a program of research in these areas, while also teaching. She teaches Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice with Adult Individuals as well as Clinical Research and Applied Statistics and Translational Research.

Forrest-Bank's main substantive area of investigation is the transition to adulthood for vulnerable and disadvantaged youth. She explains that "youth who experience negative trajectories in their adolescence are likely to have difficulty meeting even their most basic needs and finding any sort of stability and well-being as young adults." Dr. Forrest-Bank is attempting to identify a model or framework for positive intervention that may assist young people who are struggling in that critical stage of transition from youth to adulthood. Some of this scholarship involves a focus on prevention with children who are at risk of developing negative behavioral outcomes. Her main focus, however, lies in understanding how poverty and racism are factors impacting young adult trajectories. "We all know," states Dr. Forrest-Bank, "that poverty and minority racial status are critical factors over the developmental life course, but we don't understand how racism and discrimination contribute to disparities in negative health and behavioral outcomes in the lives of youth as they mature."

One of the specific risk factors that Dr. Forrest-Bank is examining is racial discrimination, and in particular racial microaggression. She points to Columbia University Professor Derald Wing Sue's definition. "Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons solely upon their marginalized group membership."

"Looking at how discrimination/microaggression affects well-being may allow us to help people become more resilient and overcome negative factors interfering with a positive transition to adulthood," says Forrest-Bank. "I hope that eventually these understandings could be integrated into health and behavioral health treatment services."

The research that she has been completing in the area of transition to adulthood, risk and resilience, positive youth development, violence prevention, and racial microaggression, have been published in a number of journals. ( List of Publications )

Most recently accepted for publication by Children and Youth Services Review is an article entitled, Finding Their Way: Perceptions of Risk, Resilience, and Positive Youth Development among Adolescents and Young Adults from Public Housing Neighborhoods. Upcoming is an article to be published by Critical Social Work entitled Understanding and Confronting Racial Microaggression: An Imperative for Social Work.

Dr. Forrest-Bank lives in Knoxville with her husband, Dan, and their children, Solana (18), Riley (16), and Cadence (13). The move from Denver posed a challenging transition for the whole family, but they are all happy to call Knoxville home and feel lucky to live in another beautiful part of the country. "Plus, it is so rewarding to be part of the community of scholarship and support at the University of Tennessee."


March 28, 2015

MSSW Students Participate in Knoxville Leadership Conference

Shannon Rosedale, Jenn Christian, and Dr. Lisa

Two College of Social Work MSSW students, Shannon Rosedale and Jenn Christian, participated in the Knoxville Neighborhoods Conference as an outgrowth of community engagement components of the qualitative research on microenvironments work with Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason.

Jenn Christian, Graduate Research Assistant and MSSW Candidate, at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the Knoxville Neighborhoods Conference on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at the Knoxville Convention Center. The opportunity developed from a combination of the community engagement components of the qualitative research on microenvironments she had worked on as a member of Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason's research team and a community development project she undertook through Dr. Mary Rogge's Social and Economic Development class.

At the Conference, Jenn Christian sat on the "Addressing Quality of Life Issues in Public Housing" panel alongside the Montgomery Village Resident Association President, Ronnie Thompson. They presented a door-to-door neighborhood survey that they had conducted in Montgomery Village during November and December of 2014, with the goal of showing Conference participants how they could take up similar surveys in their own neighborhoods. The panel moderator was Phyllis Patrick, President of the Lonsdale Homes Resident Association, with whom Christian had also worked on a door-to-door survey during the fall semester.

The City put on a great event, in part through the efforts of another MSSW student, Shannon Rosedale. "My involvement stemmed from working with the Office of Neighborhoods and their Building Stronger Neighborhood Organizations (BSNO) classes last semester," explained Rosedale. "Planning wise, I was involved in the coordination of contacts/speakers and outreach/advertisement with the youth services in Knoxville. The day of the conference I served as the host/moderator volunteer coordinator which mainly included making sure everyone and thing was set up, in the right place and crisis management."

This years conference had over 700 individuals pre-register, 200 more than the previous conference. It was a great turn out and success to bridge the different communities in Knoxville together. In addition it became a wonderful field learning experience for these two College of Social Work students. For more information about the MSSW program, click here.


March 17, 2015

College Leaders Reach Out to the Community with Disaster Preparedness Event

MSSW student, Kendra Taylor with Dr. Mary Rogge

Through the efforts of Associate Professor, Mary Rogge, and MSSW Student Kendra Taylor, the UT College of Social Work teamed up with the American Red Cross, the Knox County Public Health Department and the City of Knoxville Office of Neighborhoods to provide a Disaster Mental Health and DisABILITY Symposium to inform mental health, social service, and public health professionals of ways they can help their neighbors when disaster strikes.

In spite of severe weather conditions, 160 community members and students gathered on February 27 to hear speakers on topics related to disaster and emergency management especially as it relates to traumatic stress, mental health, disability, and social networks.

The event took place February 27.

Dr. Michael J. Zakour, Associate Professor and Director of the NOVA Institute at the West Virginia University School of Social Work, was the keynote speaker. Zakour's expertise includes research and intervention on disaster and emergency management related to traumatic stress, mental health, disability, and social networks.

Dianne Britton, LCSW, and MSSW grad from the UT College of Social Work, presented Out of the Office, Into the Dianne Britton, American Red CrossFray: Prepare Yourself to Provide Mental Health Support during Disaster. Additionally, a panel of representatives from local and regional organizations, including the American Red Cross, Knox County Public Health Department, the City of Knoxville Office of Neighborhoods, and the DisABILITY Resource Center presented.

Mary Rogge and Rebecca Bolen represented the College of Social Work and the MSSW Trauma Certificate program at the event. Rogge and MSSW student Kendra Taylor served on the committee that planned the event.

Kendra Taylor is an intern at the ARC and has worked on several important projects with that organization this year. See more on Facebook.

Shout-out to the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church for hosting the event.


January 30, 2015

Two UT Professors Named Fellows of Society for Social Work and Research

Two professors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who have advanced social good and welfare through their work have been honored by the Society for Social Work and Research.

Bill Nugent and John Orme, both faculty members in the UT College of Social Work, are 2015 fellows of the national organization.Bill Nugent and John Orme

Fellows are members who have served with distinction and embody the mission of the organization'to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society.

The society's fellowship was established to recognize members for their accomplishments, leadership and scholarship. Fellows will serve as role models and mentors for individuals pursuing careers in social work research.

"The college is extremely fortunate to have two such capable scholars and researchers who are being honored for their leadership in the profession," said Karen M. Sowers, dean of the College of Social Work.

Nugent has been a professor and past director of the doctoral program in the UT College of Social Work for many years. His research focus includes suicide risk assessment methods.

Being named a fellow of the organization is an honor, Nugent said.

"The Society for Social Work and Research is the profession's premier research organization," he said. "To be selected as a fellow is a high recognition of a member's work and efforts to conduct and disseminate research addressing significant issues of importance to social work practice and policy. The list of this year's fellows reads like a Who's Who of social work researchers and scholars. It is an honor to be listed among these researchers and scholars."

Orme has been a professor in the UT College of Social since 1993. His expertise lies in the area of foster care, especially foster families. His research focuses on the development and testing of measures for social work practice and research, applied statistical issues, and outcomes in evidence-based practice.

"It has been such a pleasure to be involved with the Society of Social Work and Research since its inception in 1995 and to see the organization grow from a small group of researchers to its current membership of almost 2,000," he said. "It's such a nice honor to join the ranks of my wonderful colleagues, whom I've known, respected, learned from and thoroughly enjoyed over the years."

To learn more about the national Society of Social Work and Research and to see the list of fellows, visit

Tennessee Today article


December 17, 2014

Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge Semi-Final Results.

The Howard Baker Public Policy competition takes real community problems and engages students, from across disciplines, to work together and with the community to solve these issues by creating state or local policy or a policy-related initiative.

Eighty UT undergraduate and graduate students signed up in September and were assigned to 15 interdisciplinary teams to address local or state-wide problems. The students were assigned to teams based on their interests, with an eye to creating inter-disciplinary teams with freshman to graduate students engaged. Twelve teams made it through to compete on November 19. A panel of judges selected the top five to further explore and flesh out their policy solutions and present them in February 2015 for cash prizes to assist with and/or implement their solutions.

This challenge exhibited the abilities of the promising, clever, bright young minds we have at the University of Tennessee as well as the commitment and leadership of UT faculty and staff. Congratulations are in order for all these great students and encouragement as they move forward.

Three of the five successful teams were composed wholly or partially of students from the College of Social Work. Together with their most-appreciated mentor, Stan Bowie, the teams addressed some of the most pressing public policy issues of our day. The following teams are now finalists.

Connect Forward (Linking TN Families First clients to jobs) ; Joey Carr, Ian Barry, Cheryl Flowers ; Graduate students ; Social Work. This team proposes an innovative TANF website to improve job placements among Families First recipients.

Connect Forward Team

Gardens on the Go: Food Deserts ; Rachel Owens, Grad. Social Work, Ashlee Hall, Grad. Student, Social Work; Virginia Williams, Freshman, Nursing; Sophie Wilk , Freshman, Nursing. This team proposed a unique municipal policy that would allow mobile delivery of fresh produce and food service to urban "food deserts" in Knox County.

Gardens on the Go Team

Pay Now/Pay Later (Mental health screening for youth in juvenile justice system) ; Joy DuVoisin, Hannah Jones, Anna Lahrs, and Laurel Strozier, Grad. Students, Social Work. Team Pay Now Pay Later proposes that we invest in a statewide comprehensive mental health care assessment and referral system NOW, rather than pay in lost youth, victims of crimes, and state resources wasted in the prison system LATER. They suggest an evidence-based strategy and policy to address mental health needs among incarcerated youth in the Knox County juvenile justice system.

The group sponsoring the “Pay Now/Pay Later” policy proposal met with Tennessee State Senator Robert Overbey on December 15 to inform him about the proposal, and enlist his support. He was very impressed with the proposal, as well as the students from the College of Social Work. According to Senator Overbey, “It is a wonderful topic, and one that challenges those of us working on juvenile justice policy for the State of Tennessee.” Speaking about efforts to de-institutionalize the mental health system, he added, “we did not de-institutionalize the people in need, we are ‘re-institutionalizing’ them and sending them back to prison.” He agreed to write a support letter for the proposal, and forward the proposal details to Department of Children’s Services Commissioner James Henry for his involvement and input.

Pay Now Pay Later Team

Judges for the challenge included: David Dewhirst, Dewhirst Properties; Pam Fansler, East Region President, First Tennessee Bank; Doug Lawyer, VP Economic Development, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce; Bill Lyons, City of Knoxville Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Policy Advisor; and Meghan Morgan, attorney, Baker Donelson.

Additional students from the College of Social Work who competed in the semi-finals were: Brittney Davis, Kahadijah Jackson, Heather Poster, and Meghann McShane.

Dr. Stan Bowie acted as Social Work faculty advisor to the students. Bowie is very enthusiastic about the participation of social work students and the value of this program. He says, The College of Social Work made a huge splash at the Semi-Final Competition of the inaugural UTK Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge held last week at the Baker Center. The teams represented by the CSW won three of the five finalist spots and will continue on to the finals competition to be held next semester. The winner of the Finals will receive a $3,000 prize and two $1,000 prizes will be awarded to the 2nd and 3rd place finishers. The winner will also move on to compete in a national competition to be held at the University of Pennsylvania with a prize of $10,000. The funds are to be used to advance their policy proposals.

The Howard Baker Public Policy Competition Finals are scheduled for Sunday, February 22, 2015 in the Toyota Auditorium at the Howard Baker Center. For additional information, contact Nissa Dahlin-Brown,


October 23, 2014

Catholic Charities USA'S Annual Gathering is the pre-eminent gathering for Catholic Charities professionals, volunteers, and partners to advance their work, strategize about poverty reduction, and celebrate their shared identity. The conference offers innovative program ideas, templates for future work, and new skills to reduce poverty.

Father Ragan SchriverFather Ragan Schriver is an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Tennessee's College of Social Work, a former member of Catholic Charities USA's Board of Trustees, and former executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee.

Schriver presented a conference keynote address on Tuesday, October 7. His presentation was the closing event and offered ideas related to the conference theme, Setting the Pace, Changing the Course. Schriver stated, "I believe that the work of CC-USA agencies and all our social welfare agencies have a common goal of service and removing blocks that keep people from realizing their goals. This is such hard stuff that it is always good to stop and gather together with others in the same work to get fired up to go back home and continue the work!"

Assistant Professor at the College of Social Work addresses Catholic Charities ConferenceThe event was a gathering of social workers, agency administrators and volunteers, including board members of Catholic Social Service agencies all across the country and from a couple of territories. There were workshops on fundraising, mission, strategic planning, integrated health care and poverty reduction strategies. When asked about his role at the conference, Schriver explained, "We all have a common goal of making the world a better place for those who are marginalized by poverty, mental illness or some other struggle. I also gave a workshop on best practices in case management with veterans and military families."

"It was really a very cool honor to get to speak to my colleagues about the special role that each person can play in reducing the impact of poverty on our country. It feels really weird to get up and talk to people who are so experienced and knowledgeable in social work but I was able to draw on some of my experiences at our local Catholic Charities and from the knowledge I have gained here at the College of Social Work to share some ideas with those attending."


October 8, 2014

UTK College of Social Work, Nashville, developed a team of walkers to participate in the Nashville Cares Aids Walk. The team of approximately 50 people exceeded their fundraising goals, raising $7,026 to be donated to Nashville Cares, whose mission is to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee. The organization works to achieve this through education, advocacy and support for those at risk for or living with HIV.

MSSW student Erica Lewis was the top earner of the CSW walkers. The team placed third overall in the event for their fundraising efforts in the fight against AIDS and received an award for their role in serving the community.


September 22, 2014

Charles Glisson, who established the Children’s Mental Health Services Research Center in the College of Social Work, has received the 2013 Ruth Knee-Milton Wittman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health and Mental Health Practice. Charles Glisson and Betsy Vourlekis Dr. Charles Glisson is Chancellor’s Professor, University Distinguished Professor, and his work on developing and testing strategies for assessing and improving mental health, child welfare and other youth and family serving organizations has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 25 years.

The NASW Ruth Knee-Milton Wittman Award, presented to Glisson by Betsy Vourlekis, recognizes exemplary contributions to health and mental health practice including direct or clinical social work, social work education, social work research, and administration related to the field. “This award is one of the most prestigious national awards in our field,” said Karen Sowers, dean of the College of Social Work. “Dr. Glisson’s research has been groundbreaking and has had a powerful impact on our communities. His work has enhanced the lives of children and families at risk and provided invaluable information for mental health and child welfare organizations in improving their effectiveness with clients. Dr. Glisson is so very deserving of this award.”

  (Read More.)


August 8, 2014

Lauren MeekerLauren Meeker (Tennessee Chapter of NASW) is a student at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work specializing in Management Leadership and Community Practice, with a Certificate in Gerontology. She is currently serving as the MSW Student Member of the NASW Board of Directors.

As the current President of the student organization, MSSWO, Ms. Meeker has united the student body for both self-care events and service projects, as well as increased membership for the academic year.

Ms. Meeker's long-term professional goal is to write policy and implement programs that will enhance quality of life for America's senior population and individuals with developmental disabilities. This interest is being fostered through her current internship at Centerstone, where she works with a team to implement an integrated care program for older adults with mental illness.


July 16, 2014

Sherry CummingsDr. Sherry Cummings, Professor and Associate Dean in the College of Social Work, will receive the Leadership Award from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work at the Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC this November. 

The Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work provides leadership in the areas of gerontological social work education, research, and policy and fosters cooperation, collegiality, and an exchange of ideas among social work educators, researchers, and students committed to gerontology.

The AGESW Leadership Award is given to a faculty member who has made significant contributions in aging research, teaching, and scholarship.

Cummings has helped to develop the UT CSW certificate program in Gerontology.


July 8, 2014

Ashley BlameyAshley Blamey, is a member of the first cohort of the DSW program at the College of Social Work. In June she completed the defense of her Capstone II project. Dr. David Patterson, Director of the DSW program, is pleased to recognize her as the first of the program graduates to complete all degree requirements.

In addition to this academic accomplishment, The Higher Education Case Managers Association (HECMA) has honored Ashley Blamey, director of the Center for Health Education and Wellness, with its top award. Blamey received the HECMA Leadership Award for her professional accomplishments and contributions to the field of higher education case management.

Dr. Karen M. Sowers, Dean of the College, stated, "It is exciting to see the quality of students that the Doctorate of Social Work in Clinical Practice and Leadership has attracted.  These graduate students have already shown tremendous leadership in the field of social work. The clinical DSW program builds on that foundation, enriching their knowledge and skills, allowing them to engage in clinical research, and providing a strong network of interaction with other practitioners. Congratulations to Ashley Blamey and the 18 other graduates of the inaugural class of the DSW program."

A second DSW student, Lisa Dupree, successfully defended her Capstone II paper in July. Lisa is a clinical social worker working with sexually abused children at the Our Kids Center at the Nashville General Hospital.  The title of her  Capstone research paper is, "Children’s Understanding of Genital Anatomy: What does the word “inside” really mean?”  This study involved a secondary data analysis of 674 records of children who presented to a sexual abuse clinic in Nashville, Tennessee.


June 23, 2014

JoAnna CheathamJoAnna Cheatham, associate director of the Office of Research and Public Service in the College of Social Work, participated in the White House Summit on Working Families, a one-day, invitation-only meeting on Monday, June 23, in Washington D.C.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and a number of other luminaries attended the summit. To watch some of the events of the day, visit

Upon being selected for this honor, Cheatham stated, “I’m very, very excited about participating in the event, and I’m looking forward to sharing the work the College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service has done to support Tennessee’s working families over the past twenty-plus years.”


June 19, 2014

Paul M. Campbell retires after 35 years of continuous servicePaul M. Campbell, the longest-serving member of the College of Social Work faculty, and director of the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service retires after 35 continuous years of service.

Paul was honored by the College of Social Work, his work associates, family, and many friends at a reception that took place at the University Visitor's Center on June 19, 2014. David Patterson, a long-time friend and colleague of Paul Campbell addressed the crowd at the reception. Speaking for all of the guests, he described Campbell, saying, "Paul is a consummate educator. He is a professor unbounded by both classroom and narrow discipline. He is his own continuing education program, offering to those of us who have had the great good fortune to spend time with him, a vast smorgasbord of little-known, but remarkably interesting facts, vast histories, and perhaps the occasional tidbit that expands the bounds of veracity. He is a true Renaissance man. . . and a profoundly decent human being "

See an article describing Paul's lifetime of achievement at:


April 17, 2014

William P. Sinclair receives Commitment to Service AwardWilliam P. Sinclair, received the 2014 Commitment to Service Award that is given annually to a field instructor who has made significant, long-term contributions to the UT College of Social Work and its students. The award was presented at the annual Field Instructors Appreciation Event, on April 24, 2014, by Kim Crane Mallory, Coordinator of Field Education, Nashville MSSW Program.

Sinclair is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Nashville. For many years, Sinclair has mentored students from the Nashville Campus of the College of Social Work as they completed field instruction requirements at the agency. Sinclair has also served as an adjunct instructor for the college and as a member of the CSW Nashville Campus Advisory Board. A video honoring Sinclair was created for the event. Click here to view the video.


March 26, 2014

Terri Combs-Orme receives Lifetime Achievement AwardTerri Combs-Orme, Urban Child Institute Endowed Professor, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Work (NASW) of Tennessee. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an NASW member in celebration of a lifetime of accomplish- ments. This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the best social work values and accomplishments throughout their lifetime.

In nominating Combs-Orme for the NASW award, Dean Karen Sowers stated, We nominate Terri Combs-Orme for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers, Tennessee Chapter because of her lifetime of work in teaching and research. Her research has notably affected the body of literature in the field of neuroscience as it relates to social work practice. Her work has helped provide definitions for best, outcome-informed, evidence-based practice in the field.


March 26, 2014

Phi Alpha Honor Society, NashvilleUT College of Social Work Phi Alpha Honor Society Nashville Campus group received the Master's Student Organization of the Year award from the Tennessee Chapter of the NASW honoring the group's involvements and accomplishments. Four officers of Phi Alpha were present to receive the award.

Phi Alpha Honor Society Nashville Officers receiving the award on March 27, at the Social Work Day on the Hill luncheon were (l. to r.): Sarah Hackett, Susan Brantley, Alyssa Fernandez, and Laura Morgan.


March 17, 2014

Jim and Pat HenryJim Henry, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, and his wife, Pat, travel the state championing the cause of children and families at risk. They meet with Children's Services employees and service providers, sharing their experiences as parents of a child with disabilities.

The UT College of Social Work will honor the Henrys for their work and advocacy March 25 with the 2014 Senator Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk. The award will be presented during the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare's annual luncheon in Nashville. (Read More.)


March, 2014

Anna Claire Daniels in UgandaA social work senior who will graduate in May, Anna Claire Daniels was one of nine UT students who went to northern Uganda for five weeks last summer. GSSAP is a study and service-learning program that allows students to earn academic credit while studying post-conflict peacebuilding in the town of Gulu, in northern Uganda.

She has been working with PACTA, the Program for Awareness, Counseling, and Treatment of Alcoholism, and its efforts to help recovering addicts incarcerated in Gulu Prison. PACTA uses a program based on a twelve-step model to work with addicts and offer support for the addict’s family members. It also takes an alcohol and drug prevention program into local schools.

“After going to a couple of meetings and observing the program, the problem was very apparent to me,” Daniels said. “All of their materials were in English, and many of them don’t read English. It’s hard to participate if you can’t even read the materials.”

Daniels contacted the world headquarters of the twelve-step program and got permission to translate its 164-page workbook into Luo. (Read more.)


February 17, 2014

Elizabeth Strand from the College of Social Work was featured in the February 17, 2014, issue of Tennessee Today, as a Faculty member of the University who are making an impact on student lives, on our community, and on the world.

Dr. Strand began researching the link between human and animal violence in 2002 while working on a doctorate at UT, thanks to the influence of her mentors who also were interested in the same topic.

Elizabeth StrandAs she read through the literature, she recognized that social work addressed just about every field except veterinary medicine. As a result, she created UT’s Veterinary Social Work initiative, now regarded as one of the leading programs of its type in the country. Strand, who has a joint appointment in the College of Social Work and College of Veterinary Medicine, researches human-animal relationships within the family system, and human stress in veterinary and other animal-related environments.

“I love bringing the two professions together,” said Strand, a Knoxville native. “I love the new creative ideas that come from that. I love healing people through the power of animals. I love working with veterinarians who are just fabulous human beings.”


February 14, 2014

Maria Elena Ramos and Maria Zuniga from Universidad AutonomaMaria Elena Ramos and Maria Zuniga de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico, visited the Knoxville to explore a variety of partnerships with the College of Social Work, including student and faculty exchange, collaborations with our faculty for research, shared online courses, and a relationship with our PhD program.

They met with faculty, administrators, and staff of the Center for International Education. They made presentations to BSSW, MSSW, and PhD students. They are both faculty members in the UANL social work program. Pictured here are Maria Zuniga and Marra Elena Ramos with Matthew Theriot (front seated), Rebecca Jackson and (then) Dean Karen Sowers.


January 17, 2014

Sunha ChoiSunha Choi, assistant professor in the College of Social Work, was honored as Quest Scholar of the Week for the week of January 17, 2014.

Dr. Choi, was recently selected as the recipient of the Senior Scholar Award for Research Related to Disadvantaged Older Adults from the Gerontologial Society of America (GSA). The award was based on her paper, “How does satisfaction with medical care differ by citizenship status and where they live: A county-level multilevel analysis.” The work on this paper was supported by a Silberman grant which she had previously received.

The Senior Scholar acknowledges outstanding applied research that advances knowledge and understanding of the capabilities, contributions, challenges and concerns of disadvantaged older adults, especially those who are low-income and minority group members.


Winter 2013–2014

Terri Combs-OrmeJohn Orme12/15/2013—Congratulations to John Orme and Terri Combs-Orme, who had the following articles accepted for publication:

Combs-Orme, T.C., & Orme, J.G. (in press). Foster parenting together: Assessing foster parent applicant couples. Children and Youth Services Review.

Orme, J. G., & Combs-Orme, T. C. (in press). Foster parenting together: Foster parent couples. Children and Youth Services Review.


Sunha ChoiCongratulations to Sunha Choi who has had the following manuscript accepted for publication:

Choi, S. (in press). How does satisfaction with medical care differ by citizenship and nativity status?: A county-level multilevel analysis. The Gerontologist.


The Children's Mental Health Services Research Center's recent study shows improved outcomes for youth when ARC program interventions are used in community-based mental health programs. CMHSRC is part of the UT College of Social Work.

Tony Hemmelgarn

Tony Hemmelgarn, an industrial and organizational psychologist, has worked at the center since its inception and is a primary developer of ARC. He is the center's lead trainer and organizational consultant for organizations implementing ARC.

Glisson, C., Hemmelgarn, A., Green, P., Williams, N. (2013). Randomized Trial of the Availability, Responsiveness and Continuity (ARC) Organizational Intervention for Improving Youth Outcomes in Community Mental Health Programs. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(5), 493-500.

Read more at or listen to a podcast interview with the director of the center, Dr. Charles Glisson at:


Shandra Forrest-Bank
12/10/13—Congratulations to Shandra Forrest-Bank whose manuscript entitled "Risk, Protection, and Resilience among Youth Residing in Public Housing Neighborhoods", has been accepted for publication in Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal.





Gabe Cline

11/8/2013—The Light the Way Award, 2013, is presented by the UT College of Social Work to the community agency or organization that best exemplifies the values and advances the mission of social work.
This year, the Award went to the Volunteer Ministry Center.
The Volunteer Ministry Center was established in 1987 and offers specialized services to the homeless and those in crisis. VMC's programs support its two-fold mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness.

The College of Social Work has a long and fruitful partnership with the Volunteer Ministry Center. Many of our students have served in field placements there, and many of our graduates have been or are currently on the staff at VMC.

VMC Resource Center Director Gabe Cline accepted the award on behalf of the agency. Gabe is also an alumna of the College of Social Work.


Betsey Bush11/8/2013—Congratulations to Betsey R. Bush who received the Heart of Social Work award at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work Homecoming Gala. The award is given to an individual outside of the social work profession, who is a friend of the college and who has made a significant contribution to the field of social work. Bush is recognized for her long and varied service to the community and the programs of the college.



Dr. Patterson photo

11/13/2013— Dr. David Patterson has been named to the new Endowed Professorship in Mental Health Research and Practice. This professorship was endowed by two donors who wish to remain anonymous at this time.

Dr. Combs-Orme photo11/6/2013—Congratulations to Dr. Terri Combs-Orme, whose proposal "A Smart Start for Knox County's Babies" has been selected by a panel of peer reviewers to receive a 2013-14 Outreach and Engagement Incentive Grant.

Dr. Strand photo

11/6/2013—Dr. Elizabeth Strand, Associate Professor in the Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine, has been elected to Distinguished Fellowship in the National Academies of Practice and the Social Work Academy as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow.

A Distinguished Scholar Fellow is a very high honor that acknowledges outstanding achievements. NAP Fellows are considered the most accomplished in their field and must go through a rigorous selection process. Dr. Strand will be inducted on April 5, 2014 at the National Academies of Practice Induction and Awards Banquet.

Dr. Choi photo

11/4/2013—Congratulations to Dr. Sunha Choi who was selected as a recipient of the Senior Service America Senior Scholar Award for Research Related to Disadvantaged Older Adults from the Gerontologial Society of America (GSA). The award was selected based on her paper, "How does satisfaction with medical care differ by citizenship status and where they live?: A county-level multilevel analysis." The work on this paper was supported by the Silberman grant which she had received.

Senior Service America, Inc. offers two awards for Research Related to Disadvantaged Older Adults: The Senior Scholar Award and The Junior Scholar Award. These awards acknowledge outstanding applied research that advances knowledge and understanding of the capabilities, contributions, challenges and concerns of disadvantaged older adults, especially those who are low-income and minority group members. The award winner at the Senior Scholar level receives a $1,000 cash prize and the award winner at the Junior Scholar level receives a $500 cash prize. The winners will be presented with their awards at their respective GSA Section Business Meeting Luncheon. You can read more about the award here.


Christy Hickman photo

09/3/2013—Dr. Karen Sowers, Dean of the College, announced today that Christy Hickman is joining the faculty as a Assistant Professor of Practice and Coordinator of Field Education, for the Knoxville M.S.S.W. Program

Dr. Wodarski photo

08/20/2013—Congratulations to Dr. John Wodarski, who received a $279,837 grant award for the Expanded Care Coordination through the Use of Health Information Technology through the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

07/12/2013 - Congratulations to Annie Farris, a graduate student in the College's M.S.S.W. program (Nashville campus) who was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Social Workers - Tennessee Chapter as the M.S.S.W. Student Representative.

07/12/2013 - Congratulations to College alumnus Lizzie Harrigan, who was elected Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Social Workers - Tennessee Chapter.


Kate Chaffin photo

07/11/2013—Congratulations to Kate Chaffin, Director of the Online M.S.S.W. Program, who has been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Social Workers - Tennessee Chapter as a Director-at-Large.

05/03/2013—The online Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is one of the nation's top accredited online programs when it comes to value and affordability, according to newly released rankings from the GetEducated consumer organization. Read more here.

04/16/2013—First Lady Crissy Haslam received the University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Social Work’s Senator Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk today at the Nashville Vanderbilt Marriott. As part of the award presentation, the “teach, touch, play” video Mrs. Haslam made for LeBonheur was aired. The video may be viewed here.

Dr. Cummings photo

04/12/2013—Dr. Sherry Cummings was featured today in "Tennessee Today" as part of the University's Big Orange, Big Ideas campaign. Dr. Cummings idea is how to help first-generation students be more successful at UT: Let first-generation faculty and staff members mentor them. Cummings, associate dean and chair of the Gerontology Certificate Program in the College of Social Work, said the idea grew out of her involvement with Higher Education Resource Services. Read the complete story here.

Dr. Patterson photo

04/09/2013—At the annual Chancellor's Award Banquet last night, Dr. David Patterson was awarded the Excellence in Academic Outreach award.

Dr. Patterson has spent much of the past eight years studying and trying to ease the problem of homelessness in our community. His work has helped improve conditions for people who are homeless and agencies that help them. Patterson, a social work professor, has been at UT since 1993. He teaches primarily in the Master of Science in Social Work program.

Since 2004, Patterson has directed KnoxHMIS, a web-based data system administered by UT’s Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. It logs information about the homeless and their needs. The project has required Patterson to work closely with a long list of agencies, including the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United Way, Knox County, the City of Knoxville, the East Tennessee Foundation, and the Knoxville Homeless Coalition. Last year, Patterson and KnoxHMIS released major reports giving community leaders ideas about how to provide more efficient and cost-effective services for homeless people.

Patterson and KnoxHMIS were honored as an “Exemplary Project” in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award competition. Contest officials praised Patterson’s work as “a wonderful example of the spirit of the higher education engagement movement and an outstanding reflection of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.”

Ayat Nashwan photo

02/08/2013—Congratulations to College Ph.D. student, Ayat Nashwan, who was featured in an online article on Huffington Post. The article may be view here.

Dr. Wodarski photo

01/30/2013—Congratulations to Dr. John Wodarski, whose program, "Teams–Games–Tournaments (TGT) Alcohol Prevention", has been identified for inclusion in

Crime Solutions is an effort undertaken by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to identify effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field. Via a contract with Development Services Group, Inc., OJP recruited expert reviewers to assess the evaluation literature on TGT and TGT was accepted into (accessed at This evidence-based repository serves as a valuable clearinghouse of information about what works and what is promising in justice programs and practices.


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