Category: SSW In the News
On September 10, 2014, Boston University School of Social Work Associate Professor Hyeouk Chris Hahm, PhD, appeared on VATV: Vietnamese American Initiative for Development. Hahm discussed her new study titled Asian Women’s Action for Resilience and Empowerment (AWARE), which is part of the Asian-American Women’s Health Initiative Project. VATV is a bilingual television program connecting Vietnamese America Communities and the larger Boston community to create better understanding and friendships between the two.
As Hahm explained in her appearance, Asian-American women are highly achieved and highly successful. However, they are suffering from higher risks of depression and suicide. “We have a problem and we need to deal with the problem. We need to provide appropriate services specifically for Asian American Women.” Hahm told VATV host Mary Truong. “Unfortunately, there are no specific modules or sessions for them.”
The AWARE study is comprised of ten group therapy sessions as well as daily messages of encouragement. Hahm and her team face many challenges, including the stigma and shame surrounding mental health in Asian American populations. However, Hahm uses her patients’ positive experiences as motivation to continue. She recalls the emotional reaction she had to the following response created by an AWARE participant:
“Through AWARE, my eyes and heart are open. Through AWARE I can understand my parents better. Through AWARE I hope to become a happy person. Because of AWARE I know that I am not useless. Because of AWARE I know that I deserve love.”
In order to test the efficacy, feasibility, and safety, Hahm is going to test AWARE intervention using Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT) with bigger sample size in 2015. Hahm hopes this study will positively impact mental health, substance abuse and sexual health problems faced by Asian American women. Her goal is to one day make it available nationally.
Hahm’s full VATV appearance may be viewed below. More information about Hahm’s AWARE program can be found online.
BUSSW Clinical Associate Professor Mark Gianino, PhD has been appointed to the Board of Registration of Social Workers, effective August 2014. The Board of Registration of Social Workers protects the public by regulating the practice of social work in Massachusetts. Responsibilities include conducting examinations, licensing qualified individuals, determining eligibility for admission to social work examinations, and hearing complaints and taking required action.
“I can’t think of a better qualified or a more committed social worker than Dr. Mark Gianino to fill this role on the Social Work Board of Registration,” Dean Gail Steketee said. “Mark is a strong team player who models professional ethics in so many contexts. He will be a real asset to the Board.”
Boston University School of Social Work Dean and Professor Gail Steketee, PhD, was interviewed for a Harvard Women’s Health Watch article by Stephanie Watson titled “Treatment can Break the Grip of Hoarding Disorder.”
In the article, Steketee discusses the various reasons people hoard, including sentimental attachment. “There is some specific association to an object, or an object is seen to represent a person’s identity in some important way,” Steketee told Watson.
Regardless of the reasoning, experts recommend cognitive behavioral therapy to help the person understand the reason for their hoarding. Steketee suggests finding a therapist who is specifically trained in hoarding. Also, books such as “Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding,” which Steketee co-authored, can also help hoarders and their families find a solution.
Click here to read the full article.
Reginald Harris (SSW ‘15) was quoted in Bella English’s article “Cambridge Nonprofit Offers Kids Summer Fun” published in the Boston Globe on August 12, 2014. Harris, who is in his second year as a clinical social work student and part of the family therapy certificate program, spent his summer counseling students at Daybreak Day Camp in Cambridge.
“My biggest takeaway from the summer is that children who experience social and emotional behavior issues very rarely have the opportunity to experience fun new things and play,” Harris said. “Play is essential to childhood development and is the basis of socialization.”
The 30 campers, who may never have experienced camp without Daybreak, attended three field trips a week and participated in many other activities. “We’re helping them develop the skills to resolve conflicts, to have more resilience,” Harris told English.
Daybreak is a day camp program designed specifically for children with a variety of emotional, social or behavioral issues. Harris found out about Daybreak through his foundation year internship at the Amigos School in Cambridge.
Daybreak has 17 trained counselors, specializing in different practices. Harris used the knowledge he gained at BUSSW throughout the summer. “My group work clinical course was especially useful, seeing as though most of the work I did as a counselor was in small groups,” Harris said. “Thanks Professor Underwood!”
Click here to read English’s full story
Photograph from original story: Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff.
BUSSW Alumna Christina M. Ciociola Named Senior Vice President at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
Effective July 28, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven named Boston University School of Social Work Alumna Christina M. Ciociola Senior Vice President for Grantmaking & Strategy. Ciociola graduated from BUSSW with a speciality in gerontology and received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics. In her new senior programmatic staff position, Ciociola will be responsible for the grantmaking, strategy development and implementation, and community knowledge work of The Foundation.
Ciociola joined The Foundation in 2002. As Director of Knowledge and Evaluation since 2008, she led The Foundation’s efforts to promote local philanthropy through giveGreater.org® and the The Great Give®. In addition, Ciociola maintained The Foundation’s efforts in the workforce arena through the Partnership for Economic Opportunity.
“Christina has long been an outstanding member of the Community Foundation staff and has risen steadily through the organization over many years,” said William W. Ginsberg, president & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. “Christina has led many of The Foundation’s new initiatives in recent years. She has a deep understanding of our community and its opportunities and challenges, and knows our local nonprofit sector intimately. She will bring great commitment, understanding, knowledge and know-how to her new position.”
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven awarded more than $24 million in grants and distributions in 2013 from an endowment of approximately $430 million and comprising hundreds of individually named funds. In addition to its grant-making, The Community Foundation helps build a stronger community by taking measures to improve student achievement, reduce New Haven’s infant mortality rate, promote local philanthropy through GiveGreater and encourage community awareness. For more information about The Community Foundation visit its website, or connect on Facebook or Twitter.
On June 24, 2014, Boston University School of Social Work Dean Emeritus Hubie Jones was honored by the Roxbury Multi-Service Center during its 50th anniversary gala. In commemoration of the occasion, WBUR’s Delores Handy profiled Jones and his continuous work in Boston.
Growing up in the South Bronx in New York City, Jones planned on becoming a teacher. However, that changed when the work of Kenneth Clark, one of Jones’ professors at City College of New York, was quoted in a U.S Supreme Court decision.
“For me this was powerful,” Jones said during his interview with Handy. “I saw an academic, I saw a scholar, using his scholarship to advance public policy and social change.”
In 1955, Jones came to Boston to study at the Boston University School of Social Work. On October 28, 1956, a date he has never forgotten, he attended a speech delivered by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“He walked up to the podium without a note, and out of his mouth came this extraordinary oratory that blew me away,” Jones told Handy. “It was a part of cementing my commitment to work for social justice and social change in America.”
Jones has been an agent for change in Boston for nearly 60 years. He has assisted in the formation and leadership of various organizations, including the Roxbury Multi-Service Center.
“You literally can’t scratch the surface of anything in this community that’s of any value and not find Hubie Jones was at the center of it,” said Michael Brown, co-founder of City Year.
In 1977, Jones became the dean of the Boston University School of Social Work. He inspired and shaped the School’s urban mission during his 16-year tenure. An annual symposium, The Hubie Jones Lecture in Urban Health, was also developed in his honor. The lecture series addresses vexing health issues in the urban context, featuring prominent national and international leaders at the intersection of health and social justice.
“Hubie’s whole career has been as an agent of social change and he may be one of the most prominent instruments of social change in Boston in the last 60 years,” Marjorie Arnos-Barron, communications consultant and political blogger, told Handy.
At 80-years-old, Jones continues to influence and define the social and civic landscape of Boston as a leader, bridge-builder, and advocate.
“I just want this city to be as inclusive and as great as it can be,” Jones said. “If we begin to get education right, if we begin to get the integration of services right, we can do what no other city probably can do. We have a chance to be spectacular. This is what I live for.”
Read Handy’s full story here.
Image: Jesse Costa/WBUR
On June 25, VTDigger featured commentary by Boston University School of Social Work Professor and Department of Social Welfare Policy Chair Mary Elizabeth Collins, Ph. D. In the article, Collins discusses the need for a sustained commitment to children.
“Protecting children and supporting families challenges each of our states’ child welfare systems,” Collins says. “The challenge is also shared internationally with those countries that have developed professional social service systems.”
While modest solutions are available, Collins calls for a reorientation to the work of child protection — “one that aims for a commitment to anti-poverty interventions, opportunities for families to gain an economic foothold, and mending of the social safety net.”
“A more fundamental reorientation to the work might include the adoption of a children’s rights framework to guide our policy response,” Collins says, as nearly all countries of the world are adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Children and youth would have an entitlement to the needed services and supports to obtain safety, permanency and well-being – the three outcomes that are currently the focus of U.S. child welfare policy.”
“The moral commitment needs to be shared amongst the people of each community, state and the nation as a whole,” Collins says about the responsibility of child protection. “There is much in the larger context that must be shared by political leaders, universities, public and private agencies, faith communities, business and the citizenry in order to move toward effective and sustained change.”
Collins’ full commentary is featured on the VTDigger website.
Faculty, staff and students submitted over 500 photos to Boston University Global Programs’ 2014 Photo Contest. A panel of eight judges chose winners based on a criteria of global engagement, composition and diversity. Katharine Hobart (SSW ’87), a regional advisor and faculty member for the School of Social Work’s Online Program, submitted Uganda, and was named runner-up in the contest.
“As a gerontologist, I am fascinated how people are aging so differently around the world,” Hobart explained about her inspiration for the photo. “I never cease to be amazed how the community’s perceptions of elders’ roles influence this process.”
In 2011, Hobart spent a year in Uganda as a Fulbright Scholar where she taught at the first masters of social work program in East Africa and did community-based action research with older rural women. One of her many responsibilities included attending and speaking at numerous formal and informal functions.
“I found I would always look out over the crowd to try to find the older women,” Hobart explained. “I was interested in them and found that they were often interested in me too, I think that this picture captures that a bit.”
“One powerful image conveys more than a thousand words and needs no translation,” Willis Wang, vice president and associate provost for Global Programs told BU Today’s Amy Laskowski. “Our real hope is that the photographs inspire individual faculty, students, researchers, programs, and even entire departments to imagine new ways to support President Brown’s vision of being a truly global university in the 21st century.”
Working closely with BUSSW’s OLP, Hobart is “fascinated by the opportunities that quality online education presents to students around the world.” She also teaches online for Bishop Barham University College’s MSW program in Uganda. In the fall, she will return to teach face-to-face classes. Also, Hobart will work alongside two former students, one who is organizing groundbreaking programs and services for elders in Rwanda and another who is working at Nakivale Refugee Settlement, one of the largest and oldest refugee camps in Africa.
Global Programs encouraged members of the BU community to capture the essence of global engagement through two categories: BU in the World and The World at BU. Hobart’s photo, along with the other winners, can be viewed here. You can also read the full BU Today article here.
Muroff notes that 80 percent of hoarders began by 18 and that the onset of hoarding begins, on average, at age 12 or 13. Florin also references Muroff’s preliminary research study, suggesting youth who struggle to make decisions have a higher risk of becoming hoarders.
Within the article, Muroff also disputes the myth that hoarding and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are connected. “Only 18 percent of hoarders also suffer from OCD,” she says. “Treating hoarding with the same drugs and therapies used to treat OCD doesn’t work that well.”
Other scholars join Muroff and suggest genetics, among other characteristics, are signs that you may become a hoarder. The complete article and further information about hoarding can be found here.
Boston University School of Social Work Dean and Professor Gail Steketee, PhD, was recently interviewed for an article by Miranda Silva in Martha Stewart Living. “For the Love of Lightening Up” discusses the benefits of relinquishing goods while honoring happy memories.
Steketee acknowledges the various reasons people decide to hold on to things. “Sometimes it’s just simply joy or aesthetics – there’s pleasure in seeing an object,” she explains in the article. “But often nostalgia, guilt, and anxiety play a role.”
To combat the clutter buildup, Steketee suggests a thorough examination of the reasons for holding onto an item. If it is a struggle to justify keeping something, or it is kept out of mere obligation, it is time to let it go. Further, she reminds readers of the benefits of finding a good home for their cherished items. “The good feeling that comes from donating helps counter any guilt,” Steketee explains.
The complete article and further information about the emotional and physical ramifications of clutter buildup can be found in the How-To Handbook section of the April 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living.