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Tele-Social Work Grant Funds Development of Student Training

The University of Tennessee College of Social Work (UTCSW) is partnering with Centerstone Research Institute to develop a new training for students and social work practitioners on best practices in using technology in social work practice.

UT College of Social Work Henson Hall

Funded by a $90,000 two-year grant from the Fred M. Roddy Foundation, this education project is a partnership between the UTCSW and Centerstone Research Institute’s Center of Simulation in Behavioral Health (SIM Center). The SIM Center will work with the College faculty to develop online modules that improve student competence and enhance the capacity of health and human service agencies in East Tennessee.

Centerstone Research Institute is well situated to develop new online training modules, as Centerstone trained the many behavioral health practitioners in its own system on tele-practice when the pandemic required the shift to online service delivery.

The college will pilot this new “tele-social work” training program with a small number of faculty, students, and practicing social workers in the next two years, providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to use technology in behavioral health interventions and care management.

Dean Lori Messinger, lead investigator on the project, explained, “We have long recognized the need to infuse more content on the use of technology in social work into our curriculum. This training is even more important now, because COVID-19 forced many mental health and human service agencies to close their physical doors to clients and student interns alike. We see technology as a way both to support Tennessee agencies in their continued service to the people of our state and expand training for our students.”

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the UT College of Social Work,” says Dr. Bre Banks, Director of Clinical Education at Centerstone Research Institute.

Centerstone is a not-for-profit health system providing mental health and substance use disorder treatments. Services are available nationally through the operation of outpatient clinics, residential programs, the use of telehealth and an inpatient hospital. Centerstone’s Research Institute provides guidance through research and technology, leveraging the best practices for use in all our communities.

The Fred M. Roddy Foundation supports the fields of medicine, healthcare and education. Fred M. Roddy was a graduate of the University of Tennessee. The recent grant continues a 44-year-old partnership with UT which includes the Fred M. Roddy Endowed Scholarships and the Fred M. Roddy Endowed Professorship in Biomedical Engineering.