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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.

Denny 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

Dr. Mason (right) with conference presenter in St. Louis"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 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

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

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.

Abbey Borst in PanamaAbby 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.

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.

WAbbey Borsthile in Panama, Abby worked to understand how basic resources, water and food, affected the 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

Dr. John Orme Selected as Fellow to American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

Photo of Dr. John Orme at SSWRDr. John Orme was recently selected to become a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Dr. 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.

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.

TIPS_laterKate Chaffin, the Director of the UT College of Social Work's Online and Nashville MSSW programs, 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 Dr. Sherry Cummings, Associate Dean, Kim Mallory, Coordinator of Field Education for the TIPS students, and Dr. 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:

Susan Cooper and Frieda HerronIn 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.

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

Dr. Matthew Theriot named Associate Provost

Matthew TheriotAssociate 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

Dr. David Dupper interview on school bullying

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 DupperSocial 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

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

Dr. 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 MasonTwo 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 RoggeThrough 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. Michael Zakour

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.

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

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.

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

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