Tag: Social Work

P-G offers terrific recap of Camp Lloyd 2015

Press-Gazette Media reporter Todd McMahon captured the 10th annual edition of Camp Lloyd, June 22-26, in an excellent feature story. McMahon quotes some of the young participants at the special camp for children ages 7-14 coping with the loss of a loved one. He also talked to Prof. Illene Cupit of Human Development, the camp founder, lead grief counselor Gail Trimberger of the Social Work faculty, and several UW-Green Bay students trained as camp counselors. One mother interviewed for the story said her two sons, rocked by the sudden passing of their father, were filled with enjoyment and encouragement as first-time Camp Lloyd participants. She called the camp “just a great place for them to share their feelings and not feel like they are very much different than other kids.” Read more.
 

Regents OK tenure for 10 UW-Green Bay professors


The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved promotions and tenure for UW-Green Bay faculty members during the board’s meeting June 4 and 5 at UW-Milwaukee. Those promoted from assistant professor to the rank of associate professor with tenure are:
Tohoro Francis Akakpo, Social Work
Hernan Fernandez-Meardi, Humanistic Studies
T. Heather Herdman, Nursing
Minkyu Lee, Art and Design
Deirdre Radosevich, Human Development
Courtney Sherman, Music
Alison Stehlik, Art and Design
Mussie Teclezion, Business Administration
Gail Trimberger, Social Work
Le Zhu, Human Biology

Registration closes this week for “Critical Cultural Competency”

Registration closes this Friday for the Social Work-sponsored workshop, “Critical Cultural Competency.” It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 15, in the Phoenix Room. This workshop, developed and facilitated by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, is “designed to help participants create the spaces to be self-reflective about our cultural shaping as individuals and institutions, understand the power dynamics in society that impact us, develop the skills to interrupt old patterns and inequitable practices that limit access and exclude some people from our institutions, build trust and clear communication and begin to understand how to make decisions based on multiple perspectives where all people can be heard and represented.” Read more.
 

Reminder: Social Work hosts ‘Critical Cultural Competency’ workshop


The Social Work Professional Program is sponsoring a workshop titled “Critical Cultural Competency” on Monday, June 15, in the Phoenix Room. This workshop, developed and facilitated by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training is “designed to help participants create the spaces to be self-reflective about our cultural shaping as individuals and institutions, understand the power dynamics in society that impact us, develop the skills to interrupt old patterns and inequitable practices that limit access and exclude some people from our institutions, build trust and clear communication and begin to understand how to make decisions based on multiple perspectives where all people can be heard and represented.” The workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants are asked to commit to the full training. Lunch will be included as part of the program. Registration is free and is open to UW Green Bay faculty and staff, and community affiliates of Social Work. No students please. Attendance at this workshop may be used to meet a portion of the professional development requirements of the UW Green Bay Inclusive Excellence Certificate Program (in the topic of race, ethnicity, and/or national origin). If you have questions regarding how this activity will count toward your certificate, please email. Registration is limited to the first 70 respondents. If you are interested in attending, please complete the brief registration form. The workshop organizer, Jolanda Sallmann, will send you an email notification either confirming your seat for the workshop or indicating you have been placed on a waiting list. Please direct any questions to Jolanda Sallmann.

Social Work sponsors ‘Critical Cultural Competency’ workshop June 15

The Social Work Professional Program is sponsoring a workshop titled “Critical Cultural Competency” on Monday, June 15, in the Phoenix Room. This workshop, developed and facilitated by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training (http://crossroadsantiracism.org/) is “designed to help participants create the spaces to be self-reflective about our cultural shaping as individuals and institutions, understand the power dynamics in society that impact us, develop the skills to interrupt old patterns and inequitable practices that limit access and exclude some people from our institutions, build trust and clear communication and begin to understand how to make decisions based on multiple perspectives where all people can be heard and represented.” The workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants are asked to commit to the full training. Lunch will be included as part of the program. Registration is free and is open to UW-Green Bay faculty and staff, and community affiliates of Social Work. (No students, please.) Registration is limited to the first 70 respondents. If you are interested in attending, please complete the short registration form. The workshop organizer, Jolanda Sallmann, will send you an email notification either confirming your seat for the workshop or indicating you have been placed on a waiting list. Please direct any questions to sallmanj@uwgb.edu.
 

Celebrating the ‘new’ UW-Green Bay MSW

UW-Green Bay, operating for the first time as its own freestanding program, celebrated the “new” Master of Social Work Program on April 29 with a welcome/orientation session in the University Union for students of the program.

The students were greeted by Dean Sue Mattison of the College of Professional Studies and welcomed by members of the Social Work faculty. It is expected UW-Green Bay will enroll approximately 85 students in various cohorts in the 2015-16 academic year.

The program and degree aren’t entirely new, of course. For a dozen years previous, UW-Green Bay partnered on a collaborative MSW with UW-Oshkosh offering courses and serving students at both locations, with each institution authorized to grant the collaborative degree. New this year, and thanks to the success of the joint venture, the UW System has authorized each school to operate independently.

The fall 2015 enrollment here will include both first-semester enrollees in the new UW-Green Bay master’s and continuing students who started in the collaborative program.

Associate Professor Doreen Higgins, MSW chair and coordinator, acknowledged the “extraordinary efforts” of the faculty in the Social Work Professional Programs, the institutional support from university leadership, and the work of Dean Mattison in developing the new freestanding program. Higgins said the strong turnout for Wednesday’s reception reflects “MSW students who are excited to begin their graduate school journey.”

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UW-Green Bay establishes chapter of social work honor society Phi Alpha

The UW-Green Bay Social Work program and its students recently agreed to join Phi Alpha Honor Society, the only honor society exclusive to social work students. The chapter name is Phi Delta. They will be holding their first induction ceremony Thursday, May 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Rose Hall 315, inducting 24 BSW students, 14 MSW students, and three faculty members. Organizers extend thanks to Tiffany Bowring, Phi Delta President Kaitlyn Bouvette, Phi Delta Vice President Michelle Charles, Secretary Gail Trimberger, Interim Chair and Phi Delta Advisor. For more information about the honor society, visit the website at: www.phialpha.org.
 

Faculty note: Akakpo publication

Tohoro (Francis) Akakpo, assistant professor of Social Work, is one of three co-authors of a paper featured this month in the international Journal of Sexual Aggression, published by Routledge in the United Kingdom. The article is titled “Comparison of non-sexual crimes committed by juvenile sexual offenders and delinquent youth in residential treatment in the USA.” The research involved data collected five years apart on 600 adolescents, exploring differences and similarities in criminal behavior between incarcerated adolescents who committed both sexual and non-sexual crimes with adolescents who committed only non-sexual crimes. The study indicated an apparent correlation between delinquency/property damage and sexual crimes, and relatively little overlap between theft/drug offenses and sexual crimes. Akakpo’s co-authors were George S. Leibowitz of the University of Vermont and David L. Burton of Smith College. The paper was initially presented at the 26th National Adolescent Perpetration Network Conference in 2011 in San Antonio.

UW-Green Bay English alumna writes in favor of funding education


Angela Bub of Benicia, Calif., a May 2012 UW-Green Bay graduate in English now pursuing a master’s in social work at the University of Southern California, is the author of a guest column on the Feb. 4 opinion page of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. She writes, “Humanities is not a field of education; humanities is a way of life. My interdisciplinary education through a public institution (UW-Green Bay) has shaped my life and the lives of many others.” Bub continues: “There is a professor who taught me throughout my four years at UWGB. She inspired me to look within myself and explore further opportunities. It is an insult to suggest professors should work harder, should do more, or should take pay cuts. I graduated in 2012 and continue to receive guidance, knowledge and good conversation from said professor. It is unjust to cut the budget of the UW System. Think twice about these decisions: They will not only impact those who are in school now, but future generations.”

To honor and to serve: Alumnus endows scholarship in name of Social Work’s Baer

baer-worth-top-storyWhen Doug Wirth began attending UW-Green Bay as a transfer student, he was struggling.

Struggling with his father’s recent suicide. Struggling with his sexuality. And like so many college students, struggling to find his place in the world.

It was the mid-1980s, and the Fond du Lac native had just transferred to UW-Green Bay. He’d been a business/finance major at UW Oshkosh, but he craved a course of study that better aligned with his emerging sense of self. He found the Social Work program at UW-Green Bay — and with it, Professor Betty Baer.

“Betty took me under her wing at a really tough time in my life, where it could’ve ended up very differently,” said Wirth ‘89. “I was definitely struggling to find my way and make sense of the personal family tragedy I had experienced. The Social Work program gifted me with the opportunity to find myself, to discover a deeper calling, to reconnect with the things that mattered most to my heart and soul.

“Betty’s care and concern helped set me on a course to both heal personally and find a way to give back to the Green Bay community, to life, and now, on a national stage.”

That national stage is New York’s 6,000-member AmidaCare, an innovative health plan that serves individuals living with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, serious mental illness, addictions and homelessness. As its president and CEO, Wirth is continually using his Social Work degree and experience to give back.

And although it’s been years since he called Green Bay home, Wirth is now giving back in a whole new way, providing a matching gift to endow a scholarship in Baer’s name. Wirth wants to ensure that Baer’s mantra of “think globally, act locally” reaches UW-Green Bay students for generations to come.

Baer passed away Sept. 10 at the age of 87. She knew Wirth was starting a scholarship to honor her, and she fondly recalled her relationship with him during a summer interview with UW-Green Bay News. The fondness, it was clear, cut both ways.

“Betty was a dynamic, passionate, courageous woman and a force of nature,” Wirth said, “who would ask the kind of questions that led you to find your internal compass and then get busy in the world. She was, for me, a very awe-inspiring mentor that grounded me in social work’s role as a social change agent (not social control).”

Making a career of care

Wirth developed his foundation in social work at a time when Green Bay was a very different place. He did his student work in what was then a gritty, run-down Broadway district, working with marginalized populations including the homeless and those living with HIV/AIDS. His undergraduate field placement at the United Amerindian Center — the precursor to today’s New Community Shelter — had Wirth running a five-tier homeless shelter program. Upon graduation, he was the vice chair of the Brown County Coalition on the Homeless.

“It was hard work,” Baer said, recalling the time during the UW-Green Bay News interview at her home. “If I could take you back to Broadway downtown, and what it was — it was really quite a crummy neighborhood. And that’s where Doug was willing to practice.”

While still a student, Wirth volunteered with the HIV/AIDS program on Broadway, serving as a pre- and post-HIV counselor and as a buddy who visited people in the hospital — primarily, he said, gay men who were dying of AIDS.

“I think it’s the combination of my own personal survival at a time when so many men were dying… and the desire to find purpose and meaning in my own life that called me into working with people living with HIV,” Wirth said, “and to really honor the teachings that I learned in my own family and Native People… to walk the path of giving and taking care of our neighbors, brothers and sisters.

“UWGB’s Social Work program is grounded in a social justice framework that asks us to become agents of change,” Wirth continued. “And that extends beyond race, culture, gender, sexuality or economic status. I’m nurtured everyday by my UWGB experience and training to help create a world that values all and considers the impact of our decisions on the 7th Generation. We need more caring professionals who are invested in building the capacity of human beings — and not just some people or some of the time.”

Wirth’s passion for helping others would continue when he moved east, first joining the American Psychological Association’s HOPE Program as a senior faculty member, teaching, developing and evaluating programs around HIV, addiction, homelessness, spirituality and homophobia. It would endure when he moved to New York City to become the director of government relations and public policy for a coalition of behavioral health agencies, and it would be furthered when then-Mayor David Dinkins appointed him as a health policy adviser for the city’s Title I Ryan White Planning Council.

Wirth continued in his advisory role under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, leaving the coalition of behavioral health agencies to become the executive director of the People with AIDS Coalition of New York. He merged that group with another HIV/AIDS organization, working himself out of a job to save money on administrative costs and thereby maximizing funds for direct services. As a consultant, Wirth worked with New York State to develop and advance a unique model of care — the Special Needs Plan (or “SNP”) — that advocates a broad, holistic continuum of care for those living with chronic conditions including (but not limited to) HIV. In 2006, he joined AmidaCare (then VidaCare), which is now the largest Medicaid Special Needs Plan in New York City.

“The professional education I received at UWGB, as well as my entry-level field work at the United Amerindian Center, really prepared me to excel in New York, to lead what is now the largest Medicaid health plan in the country focused on advancing wellness and life success for folks challenged by multiple chronic illnesses,” Wirth said. “We serve folks across all the five boroughs of New York City. Our annual operating budget is close to $400 million.

“The model of care outcomes include 94 percent of our members getting regular outpatient care at a medical home; hospitalizations are down by over 70 percent and emergency rooms visits declined by over 60 percent since 2008; and Medicaid cost savings of 35 percent over fee-for-service. In other words, regular/preventative care that produces wellness is great for the client/patient and really good for the taxpayer, too.”

AmidaCare takes a multifaceted and proactive approach to patient care, supporting access and engagement to care and medications as long as they are needed. When patients drop out, AmidaCare teams conduct street-based outreach, finding the individuals in the community and working to reconnect them with housing, care and services before they get sick and end up in the hospital. The program’s holistic nature goes beyond medical care and information to include promotion of healthier ways of living. AmidaCare’s “Live your Life” programs allow people with similar chronic health conditions to come together for yoga, African dance, nutritional cooking programs, “art expression” and more.

“We offer these programs and services to members because we’re investing in them,” Wirth said. “Neighbors matter in our little big city and their lives have meaning and purpose. Our mission is to help people be well so they can get about the business of living — finding that life purpose and ways of contributing to their family, to their neighborhood, to their church, mosque or synagogue, to their community — and ultimately, to the great City of New York.”

Fond memories, lasting impact

Wirth’s work in New York exemplifies what Baer termed a focus on macro practice — social work that emphasizes the good of the community, not just the individual. She said she hoped the students who receive the scholarship in her name would have that drive, as well, working for the betterment of the many, versus the few.

“I would tell them to look at what Doug has done,” Baer said. “He’s an ideal kind of social worker in that he cares deeply about people and he cares about making a difference in this world. He thinks about the larger environment in which people live and he wants to make a difference.”

Baer fondly remembered the years when Wirth was her student, including not just his drive and work ethic but the fun moments, too. She laughingly recalled a time when Wirth brought lunch for her and an administrative assistant — rather than a simple spread, he wheeled in an entire table, set specially for the occasion.

Still, Baer never expected that her former student would honor her in such a way.

“I was overwhelmed — really,” she said. “I was very fond of him as a student and he’s just a great guy. And of course I was thrilled and pleased.”

Baer and Wirth stayed in touch through the years, last meeting in person in New York in 2008. They had hoped to reunite again. Instead, sadly, Wirth traveled back to the Green Bay area for her funeral in September. He hopes her legacy lives on.

“It is a deep prayer of mine that people will come through the UW-Green Bay Social Work program and upon graduation work in the community in ways that contribute to wellness and healing around things like racism, sexism, sexuality, addiction, poverty and classism,” Wirth said. “If whatever I’m able to give to the scholarship in Dr. Baer’s name contributes to new people entering the profession, young people who will keep the profession’s true spirit fire alive, and supporting the Green Bay community that I still deeply love, it will be an honor to have been part of it. Please join me in this effort and honor a pioneer and the legacy of Dr. Baer.”

To contribute to the Dr. Betty Baer Endowed Scholarship, visit The UW-Green Bay Foundation website.