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UNC SCHOOL of SOCIAL WORK    February 2021
Carl and Susan Baumann commit $1.6 million for new student scholarship

The contribution is one of the largest scholarship gifts the School has ever received and will support social work students pursuing careers in community, management, and policy practice.


What's new
Retired professor Hortense McClinton honored with 2021 Faculty Service Award 
Established in 1990, the award honors faculty who have performed outstanding service for UNC or the alumni association.

Riley to receive NASW-NC President's Award in March
The award recognizes the MSW student's leadership within her school and community, her commitment to serving on social justice campaigns, and her dedication to advancing public policy.

Sonyia Richardson, MSW '01, named NC-NASW Social Worker of the Year 
The annual award is given to a social work professional who has demonstrated commendable social work practice and involvement with NASW and other professional, civic, and community organizations.

Goings, co-authors publish new book on African American families
The book captures the historical and contemporary experiences of African American people in the United States and how those experiences continue to shape contemporary African American families.

Tina Souders appointed director of digital learning and instruction
Souders will oversee the School’s remote learning efforts, including instructional design trainings for faculty and coordinating the potential opportunity for more permanent courses within the digital space.

Paul Lanier named JIF associate director for child and family well-being
Lanier will help develop and lead a vision for promoting the well-being of North Carolina children and families through evidence-based practice and policy.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. speaks on 'Racism, Selfishness and the Crisis of American Democracy'
The chair of African American Studies at Princeton University recently participated in the School's Centennial Speaker Series.

Faculty and student recognition and news
Associate professor Paul Lanier’s article, "Racism is an adverse childhood experience (ACE)," was recently selected as a resource for the 21-Day Equity Challenge, which is hosted by the Black History Committee of the Johnston County (N.C.) Heritage Commission. Lanier also recently co-presented, "A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of COVID-19 on Family Well-Being and Service Engagement in PAT," for the National Home Visiting Virtual Summit.

Sarah Verbiest was recently promoted to clinical professor. Verbiest has been with the School since 2014 and also currently serves as the director of the Jordan Institute for Families.

Sharon Holmes Thomas is celebrating a professional milestone. Thomas, the School’s assistant dean of recruitment, admissions and financial aid, was recently inducted into Carolina’s 20-Year Society for her two decades of service to the University. In addition to a plaque of recognition, Thomas will be among nearly 500 other UNC-Chapel Hill colleagues to be featured on a new UNC service recognition website this spring honoring the employees’ work and commitment to the campus and broader community.

Melissa Jenkins, a third-year doctoral student, has been selected as an Interfaith Innovation Fellow for a 10-month program funded by Interfaith Youth Core. This fellowship recognizes emerging leaders and offers them the opportunity to learn from experts in the field of innovation, who assist fellows with creative ideas for social change centered on interfaith cooperation. Melissa is leading a team with SSW Ph.D. graduate Erum Agha, doctoral student Andy Al Wazni, and MSW student Azleena Azhar. They plan to develop a toolkit for local refugee resettlement agencies and practitioners that will explore the importance of faith and spirituality when providing mental health services.

Associate professor Amy Blank Wilson recently collaborated with faculty from the University of Chicago to edit a special issue of the journal, Criminal Justice and Behavior, which focuses on smart decarceration. The articles in this special issue present research on early models of what decarceration-focused research and practices can look like in this current moment of criminal justice reform. Matthew Epperson of UChicago, Wilson and Gina Fedock of UChicago also co-authored the article, “The promise of research to advance smart decarceration,” which introduces the special issue.

Professor Rebecca Macy co-edited the forthcoming publication, The Routledge International Handbook of Domestic Violence and Abuse. Post-doctoral scholar Kim Jeongsuk and Macy also co-authored the chapter “Domestic violence survivors’ emotional and mental health” for the handbook. In addition, faculty associate Chris Wretman and assistant professor Cindy Fraga Rizo co-authored the chapter “Quantitative methods for researching domestic violence and abuse” with colleagues at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Brianna Lombardi, Ph.D. ’18 and associate professor Lisa de Saxe Zerden are two of three authors for “Introduction to the special issue: Social work practice in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic - Challenges and innovations,” which was published in a special issue of Social Work in Health Care, which Zerden also co-edited. Zerden also co-authored the article, "Social work's commitment and leadership to address social determinants of health and integrate social care into health care," for the Journal of Health and Human Services Administration.

Lisa de Saxe Zerden also co-presented the workshop, “What Students and Practitioners Need to Know About Interprofessional Education & Practice,” as part of an Interprofessional Education Distinguished Speaker Series, hosted by Azusa Pacific University’s School of Nursing and Department of Social Work.

Travis Albritton, clinical associate professor and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion; Charity Watkins, Ph.D. ’19; Allison De Marco, adjunct faculty and advanced research scientist; JP Przewoznik, clinical assistant professor; and Andrew Heil, MSW ’15, recently had their co-authored article, “Social work education in the shadow of confederate statues and the specter of White supremacy," accepted for publication in a special issue of the journal, Advances in Social Work. The theme for this special issue focuses on dismantling racism in social work education.

Clinical associate professor Tonya Van Deinse, clinical assistant professor Andrea Murray-Lichtman, professor Gary Cuddeback, research associate Juliet Wu, and Dana Rice from the Gillings School of Global Public Health are collaborating with the Governor’s Crime Commission to conduct a comprehensive, statewide needs assessment of the services available to victims of crime. The research team aims to identify victims’ needs, available resources, and critical gaps in services and will primarily focus on underserved populations, including teens, LGBTQ individuals, veterans, non-English speaking individuals, undocumented individuals, refugees, older adults, and victims with disabilities.

Professor Sheryl Zimmerman was the featured speaker for the Brown School of Public Health's 34th Annual Katz Lecture. Zimmerman presented on the topic, "Changing practices in long term care one stage at a time ...and one setting at a time."

Associate professor Betsy Bledsoe and students from the School of Social Work recently joined partners in Robeson County for a community forum to discuss the health and well-being of mothers of young children in the county. The forum is part of the MI-PHOTOS Project, which aims to document the health care experiences of mothers during pregnancy and postpartum through pictures, discussions and storytelling, with a goal of helping the community better understand health barriers and infant mortality.

Clinical associate professor Deborah Barrett recently presented the webinar, "The Dialectic of Pain: Synthesizing Acceptance and Change," for the Facial Pain Association. Barrett authored a piece with the same name for a book the association published. 

Doctoral student LB Klein recently presented at the web conference, "Adapting Sexual Violence Prevention Curriculum During Covid-19," which was sponsored by Prevent Connect. This web conference is part of a series with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center “Sexual Violence Prevention During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Adapting in an Ever-Changing Landscape."
Why giving matters

Seth Edwards, MSW student

"I chose social work because it so wonderfully encompasses my passion for fighting injustice and working with individuals. After graduation, I will pursue my LCSW and LCAS and provide therapy to individuals with a range of mental health and substance use challenges. After gaining experience, I hope to take on leadership roles in the field and return for my Ph.D.“
In the news
Travis Albritton, associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, was quoted in the article, "Standing against racism," featured in The Well on the UNC employee news website. The article discusses anti-racism activities at schools and departments across campus.

Professor and Chair of the UNC Faculty Council Mimi Chapman was interviewed last month on WCHL’s 97.9 The Hill.

Sarah Verbiest, clinical professor and director of the Jordan Institute for Families, was profiled for WCHL's Focus Carolina feature.

Professor Sheryl Zimmerman was quoted in the North Carolina Health News articles, "For some long-term care residents, vaccine comes too late" and "Once used to fight outbreaks, 'strike teams' fill gaps in nursing home vaccinations." She was also quoted in the broadcast story, "Green House nursing homes kept Covid cases low via small sizes, private rooms, universal workers," which aired on WXII news in Rochester, N.Y.

Clinical associate professor Laurie Selz-Campbell was featured in a "Carolina People" profile in The Well, UNC's hub for employees.

Recent alumni updates
April Parker, MSW ‘11, social worker and program coordinator with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Central Regional Hospital, is the recipient of the 2021 John R. Larkins Award. The award recognizes commitment to justice and equality in the workplace and in the community and was announced during the state’s annual North Carolina State Employees' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance Program.

Suzanne Gray, MSW '77, was tapped for a second time to serve as interim director of Greene County Department of Social Services.

Charity Watkins, Ph.D ’19, was recently highlighted on the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity’s website and in social media for her current research work on academic achievement and educational equity for Black children from low-resourced African American families. Watkins is a member of the university’s Diversity Scholars Network, a scholarly community committed to advancing understandings of historical and contemporary social issues related to identity, difference, culture, representation, power, oppression, and inequality as they occur and affect individuals, groups, communities, and institutions. Watkins is a tenure track assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at North Carolina Central University, where she is also beginning her study of cardiovascular conditions in Black women following childbirth and their effects on parenting during early childhood. Watkins was also invited to speak at next month's Anti-Racism Virtual Summit, which is hosted by Social Work Helper.

Joseph Frey, Ph.D. ‘20, recently accepted a tenure track position at the University of North Texas in the College of Health and Public Service, a new and growing social work program with a new joint MSW with Texas Woman’s University.

Courtney Hereford, MSW/MPH '16 was named as executive director of the Center for Rural and Community Health at the West Virginia School for Osteopathic Medicine. She has been a researcher at the center since 2017.

Tamika Williams, MSW ’97, recently joined the Board of Trustees for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity. Williams is the associate director, child and family well-being at The Duke Endowment.

Jessica Lambert Ward, MSW ’12, recently joined the UNC Diversity & Inclusion Office as the director of the Carolina Collaborative for Resilience.

LaVoya Woods-Dionne, MSW ’19, was featured in a campus profile article published in the Carolina Alumni Review.

Scott Kixmiller, MSW ’10, is a licensed clinical social worker, licensed clinical addictions specialist, and certified clinical supervisor at Saved Health in High Point, N.C. For the last seven years, Kixmiller has been involved in a hepatitis C patient engagement group (HCV-PEG) with the UNC Department of Hepatology. He recently co-authored an article with colleagues on "Experiences of an HCV patient engagement group: A seven-year journey" in the journal, Research Involvement and Engagement.

Artie McKesson Logan, MSW '74, was featured in the article, "Social worker, psychotherapist helps underserved populations," in the Morganton News Herald. Logan is the first and only female African American elected to the Burke County Board of Education. She has also served on nearly a dozen community boards, helping to address concerns including alcoholism, safe schools, economic development and more.

Alice Albert Nelson, MSW '59, of Roanoke, Va., died on Jan. 21. Nelson served as a case worker with the Children's Home Society, as an associate professor at Hollins College and as a foundation director before her retirement.

Want to connect with other alumni practicing in the field of addictions? Join the UNC School of Social Work Addictions Professional Alumni Facebook Group!

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