Outreach Magazine 2019-2020

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IN “I’m better for it now.”



The University of Alabama’s School of Social Work prepares scholar-practioners and researchers committed to ending adverse social conditions and promoting societal well-being through teaching, research and service.






David Miller

David Miller

Joshua Clayton

David Miller

Lesley Reid

OutReach is published by The University of Alabama School of Social Work, Box 870314, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0314 ©2020 The University of Alabama School of Social Work All rights reserved. Information contained in the publication is gathered from sources considered reliable. The School of Social Work cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions in this publication. The University of Alabama is an equal opportunity educational institution/employer.




Dean’s Letter


Suclupe, Fellow Cohort Classmates Ready for ‘Challenge’ in New DSW Program


Carlson’s NIMH Grant Project Aims to Prevent Violence Against Children in Ugandan Schools





New Partnership Yields Nursing Simulation Experience for Field Prep Students


Olive Musoni Completes Milestone Internship with Carter Center


Sciacca Headlines Annual African-American Heritage Month Colloquium


Crunk Reflects on ‘Dream Job’ With Washington, D.C. Internship Program





Faculty and Doctoral Scholarship


In Memoriam: Lynn Tobola


New Faculty & Staff

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK Facebook.com/SocialWorkatUA





S O C I A LWO R K . U A . E D U


Plenty to learn, much to celebrate Dear Alumni and Friends, As I write this, I am finishing my ninth month as Interim Dean in the school. After Dean Vandiver’s retirement, the Provost asked that I step in from outside the School to assist in this administrative role. At the time, I knew too little about the School and the amazing work of its faculty, staff and students. I have learned a lot, and quickly. The most important thing I have learned is that the School of Social Work is an inspiring place, and it is my honor to be part of it, even for a short period of time. In that vein, it is my pleasure to share with you some of the inspirational work that has gone on in the School over the past year. In this issue of our OutReach magazine we highlight just some of that work. You will find in these pages that the impact of the School is felt locally, nationally and globally. At the local level, under the leadership of the School’s Diversity Committee, we hosted a year-long speaker series on voting rights. Speakers have included John Paul Taylor, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Isabel Rubio, of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama. Each event was paired with an opportunity for participants to register to vote and to take action in some way, such as writing to their legislators. Nationally, we highlight the work of two-time alumnus of the School, Dr. Jerry Milner, who received his MSW and DSW from Alabama. Today, he is the head of the Children’s Bureau in Washington, D.C. For over 100 years, the Children’s Bureau has been at the vanguard of protecting children and families. Today, it is integral to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, the promotion of foster and adoptive families, and the support of all types of families to care for children. The global reach of the School is found in the work of Drs. Catherine Carlson and Deborah Nelson-Gardell, both of whom have worked in Africa. Dr. Carlson studies food insecurity, mental distress and suicidal ideation in rural Nigeria and Ghana, and violence against children in Uganda. Dr. Nelson-Gardell received a grant from the Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Social Work Education to expand intercultural awareness between students in the United States and Ghana. Finally, the School has also had a couple of very concrete successes worth bragging about this past year. Our BSW and MSW programs were fully reaffirmed by the Council on Social Work Education. This means that we are accredited until 2027. Additionally, our MSW program was ranked 44th by U.S. News and World Report, continuing this program’s tradition of being in the top 50 nationally. Our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends all deserve sincere thanks for the hard work that went into both reaccreditation and the most recent rankings. Thank you for your support of the School, our faculty, and our students. And thank you for all of the work you do locally, nationally, and globally to spread the vision of the School of Social Work far beyond our campus. Sincerely, Dr. Lesley Reid Interim Dean and Professor




















100% 296,300






Calculated at the median pay rate for state of Alabama social workers, representing service worth in excess of $7.6 million.




University of Alabama nursing students and social work majors participate in a simulated screening in 2017.

UA nursing and social work faculty are able to monitor control room.

NEW PARTNERSHIP YIELDS NURSING SIMULATION EXPERIENCE FOR FIELD PREP STUDENTS Social work educators are looking to offer high quality experiential learning opportunities to improve student abilities to develop problem solving skills, critical thinking, and to build competence in practice.

and establishing clear roles while balancing team dynamics.

Traditional classroom learning methods standardly utilize role plays and case studies. “Although they have a value in introducing students how to apply social work concepts, they are limited in scope,” said Shayla Smith, BSW field coordinator. “Simulations introduce complexities experienced in reallife settings that deepen students’ ability to integrate classroom concepts to real-life settings.”

The Field Office partnered with the Capstone College of Nursing in spring 2019 to create an interprofessional simulation experience. Seven students were randomly selected from SW 444 - the field preparation course - to participate in the nursing simulation experience in order to apply basic interviewing and assessment skills. The goals of the simulation exercises were to demonstrate their ability to engage and establish rapport, acknowledge and respond to information, probing, reflecting, and asking open-ended questions.

Simulation activities can approach concepts such as navigating the unreliability in the human exchange, experiencing emotions evoked in crisis interventions, building self-awareness as students learn to explore the areas of diversity,

The goal of repositioning simulation in the curriculum closer to entering the field is that students will build confidence in their ability to apply generalist skills in reallife settings. Pre-field simulation exercises strengthen the ability


to transition into field practicum by providing a forum to connect classroom concepts to practice scenarios, engage self-reflection, and offer feedback from peers and educators. This program created an intercampus partnership with the nursing school, which offers an existing comprehensive simulation program. The partnership created an opportunity for both social work and nursing students to practice and hone their skills in a learning environment that strongly mimics real interactions with clients and team members, prior to entering their clinical experiences. Collaborative efforts between social work and nursing faculty led to the development of a simulation exercise in which both social work and nursing students have the opportunity to assess, engage, evaluate, and intervene.



and modify the simulation from a

Social work faculty engage with and assess students during the simulation exercise, similar to role plays and standardized clients utilized in classrooms in years past. Now, instead of reading a script from a sheet of paper and adlibbing as warranted, faculty are able to streamline the scenarios while students engage in a more realistic setting. In this simulation, this program utilized two faculty per simulation; Kimberly Gibson, MSW field coordinator, focused on being the patient, while Shayla Smith, BSW field coordinator, focused on the student interaction. Both faculty members then met with the student during the debrief. Students self-reflected on their interaction and their skills of assessment, engagement, evaluation and intervention while faculty also provided feedback. Smith said students described the experience as a rewarding opportunity and that it was effective in contributing to their professional growth and development.

USWO officers picked for state conference Undergraduate Social Work Organization executive committee officers Allison Neyman, president; Molly Collimore, vice president; and Leah Brown, secretary, were selected to attend the Alabama Conference of Social Work’s 103rd Annual Conference in Orange Beach in February, 2019.

Baker selected for NASW role BSW student Amanda Baker was appointed as a BSW student representative on the NASW-Alabama Chapter 2019-2020 Board of Directors.





hortly after earning her undergraduate degree in psychology, Christina Jones accepted a job in a law office. It was initially a temporary job to bridge to her first “career” job, but she quickly transitioned to doing case management for the firm, which specialized in personal injury cases. Her role at the firm illuminated the complex issues clients faced and the “presuppositions” lawyers had in trying to serve their clients. “In that role, I saw the outlines for social work in each of these cases, especially as we served so many indigent clients,” Jones said. “I wanted to do everything for them, but I wasn’t able to.” Jones’ experiences led her to the MSW program at The University of Alabama School of Social Work, and, in the 2019 spring semester, a transformative field placement that would reimmerse her in the field of law and test the boundaries of ethics between law practice and social work. Jones was placed in the UA law clinic, primarily in the Elder Law Clinic, where law school students referred her cases in which clients had needs that social workers would typically handle. The placement was a first for both the UA School of Law and the School of Social Work and presented many logistical and ethical challenges to Jones, her field supervisor, Dr. Leah Cheatham, and her law school task supervisor and Elder Law Clinic director, Allyson Gold. During the first half of the placement, Jones was part of a multi-disciplinary model in which she operated as a social worker independent of the law students at the clinic, which prevented her from knowing details prior to receiving a client. This arrangement was done to shield Jones from potential ethical dilemmas in confidentiality and mandated reporting, Cheatham said. The second half of the placement allowed Jones to work closer with the law school students and have greater access to case details, which allowed for a more enriching interaction and further tested her comfort of her “ethics being pressured.” Jones said being safeguarded against these ethical dilemmas in the first half of the internship was constricting and frustrating. But, when she provided updates about her placement in her field seminar, she found that, unlike her classmates, she felt more comfortable operating under two sets of ethics. “I wanted to view myself within the construct of the law school ethics and social work ethics and see where I felt

comfortable,” Jones said. “To be adaptable, malleable and work in an interdisciplinary setting is not for every person. I found that, when we were functioning with our own separate ethics and I didn’t know details, I felt like I was more implicated because I didn’t have the opportunity to talk and share. I was just ignorant to whatever was going on.”

A ‘SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP’ When Jones interviewed for the field placement, she was told that having a social worker at the clinic embodied the clinic’s message for its students to explore the significance of their clients’ problems and how, “holistically, they arrived at those problems.” For instance, lawyers might not consider how someone fighting a home foreclosure may have variables beyond their control, like the status of family members living in the home. Jones said the law students began to see clients more like people that were hindered by their environment. And, with additional context, law school students were able to better define client issues and how to address them. “They felt like they had the headspace to process and discuss it,” Jones said. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t label it or talk about, not to reject it, but because it didn’t process and was easy to overlook, especially to lawyers, who have very clear definitions for everything they talk about.” Jones further expanded the law students’ knowledge of social work resources and how to connect clients by creating an 80-page resource guide to fit the categories they would need. The law students were “shocked” by the number of services in the seven counties they serve, Jones said. “To be able to provide that to them and to let them know, ‘you can provide these referrals to clients, even if there’s not a social worker involved in your case,’” Jones said, “they felt empowered by this. They were building relationships past the legal ramifications of the case.”

PERCEPTIONS OF SOCIAL WORKERS Social workers continually deal with the perception that they “tear families apart.” Jones helped dispel this stereotype in her most challenging case of a complex family situation that SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK


originally began as a land dispute. Some of the clients shared concerns about neglect of a family member who wasn’t a client. Typically, most lawyers wouldn’t dig deeper into that revelation, Jones said. Jones, though, under social work ethics and being “implicated emotionally,” had to find out more. “They presented the case to me without names, so I wouldn’t be implicated legally,” Jones said. “They shared the conversations with me, and from our different vantage points, our team discussed situations like this in which they would not have to report it.” The team decided to allow Jones to talk to the family, and she discovered “tension and a broken family.” She ultimately recommended the clients speak with family members about the neglect, which was unsuccessful, she said. “We then encouraged them to go to DHR,” Jones said, “so I didn’t feel like I was implicated by not reporting. “This conversation was a good opportunity to show the law students that just because you report something, it doesn’t mean we take anyone and break up families.”

MACRO, MEZZO OR MICRO? If Jones seems destined for a career in law, she agrees ... sort of. Jones aspires to work with children who have been abused or trafficked. She’ll complete a macrolevel internship with Shared Hope International, a human trafficking policy agency in Washington, D.C., before completing her MSW. Working in a legal setting isn’t off the table, whether or not she pursues a juris doctorate. Wherever her postMSW career goes, she said her case work at the law school will be an asset. At the 48th annual Alabama-Mississippi Social Work Conference in early October 2019, she discussed the importance of knowing the “innerworkings” of a case to maintain rapport with clients, which social workers aren’t always privy to. This factor was revealed in her case work, field placement and in her work with the Working on Womanhood intervention program for teens in Tuscaloosa. “I found that working in personal injury law as a case manager – when I didn’t need to know everything – I immediately felt the shift in the relationship,” Jones said.



MSW STUDENT NEWS Cayla Bush receives Albert Schweitzer Fellowship MSW student Cayla Bush was named a Schweitzer Fellow for 2019-20 and has partnered with PRIDE of Tuscaloosa to address substance misuse among adolescent girls. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship immerses a diverse group of graduate students in a mentored experiential learning and leadership development program designed to increase their skills and commitment to more effectively address the health needs of underserved people. While continuing their graduate studies, Schweitzer Fellows are required to design, implement, evaluate and plan for the sustainability of community-based prevention and intervention projects that address the social determinants of health. “Currently, I visit young girls at the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center weekly,” Bush said. “We discuss a variety of topics such as life skills, self-esteem and career readiness. However, our main focus is about substance use. My goals are to create a curriculum guide for substance abuse prevention for adolescent girls in detention centers and to increase

the awareness about substance misuse.” Bush’s faculty mentor for the fellowship is Dr. Karen Johnson, assistant professor of social work at UA. Schweitzer projects typically encompass a wide range of subjects including the physical environment where people live, early childhood literacy, exercise and nutrition, access to health care, and equity for minority populations. Because Fellows are recruited from a wide variety of academic programs, they benefit from extensive interdisciplinary interaction, both with peers and mentors. Following their initial year of service, Fellows become “Fellows for Life” and then join a group of professionals united by a common experience during graduate training and a common commitment to continue serving vulnerable populations through their work and service, thereby perpetuating the legacy and philosophy of famed physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

Two students receive McNair Fellowships MSW students Angela “Angie” Smith and Rebekah Koen received UA Graduate McNair Fellowships in 2019. The University of Alabama awards McNair Graduate Fellowships for entering graduate students who have either completed a McNair Undergraduate Scholars program or meet other eligibility requirements – first-generation student or member of a traditionally underrepresented group in graduate education.

Master’s students receive a minimum of one year of support through a departmental assistantship or equivalent.




PHD STUDENT NEWS Taylor Ellis UA School of Social Work, Outstanding Contributions to Research Award

Two Ph.D. incoming students received UA Graduate Council Fellowships: Haley Beech and Violet Nkwanzi

Incoming Ph.D. student Amber Sutton received a UA National Alumni Association Fellowship

Yuqi Guo received a dissertation grant from the American Cancer Society for her study: A Longitudinal Analysis of Factors Associated with Adherence to Preventive Pap Test Recommendations among MiddleAge Chinese-American Women

Many Ph.D. students presented research at academic conferences. In 2018-2019, with the UA Graduate School, the SSW supported conference travel for 14 Ph.D. students. The SSW supported 8 additional trips.


OLIVE MUSONI COMPLETES MILESTONE INTERNSHIP 61 students participate in D.C. Fly-In’s third year MSW student Olive Musoni was placed with The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia in spring 2019. The Carter Center is an internationally renowned organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Musoni is the first UA student to be placed with The Carter Center and was instrumental in securing her placement. Not only was she selected from among applicants across the country and the world, and from multiple disciplines such as public health, law, and political science, she was the first-ever Carter Center intern to be requested to work for two programs: the Human Rights Program and the Mental Health Program. A highlight of her field placement was traveling to Ghana and Nigeria, where she led focus groups on gender roles and equality to inform the development of a new strategy to promote women’s empowerment. The Center requested that Musoni continue her internship throughout

the summer. Musoni’s field instructor shared that Musoni is dedicated to her passions to serve domestic and international women and to find solutions to the many challenges that they experience in navigating health care and resources. WASHINGTON, D.C. FLY-IN COMPLETES ITS THIRD YEAR Sixty-one students participated in the third-annual Washington, D.C. Fly-In in March 2019. The Fly-In is a unique in-depth policy practice and advocacy experience created by Carroll Phelps, field coordinator for the School’s Washington, D.C. internship programs, and Allison Curington, director of field education, in 2017. This year’s Fly-In included 19 BSW students; 38 MSW students, including 14 serving internships in D.C.; and four students from political science, African-American


CHAMPIONS FOR CHILDREN Field Education Partners with the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group MSW student Olive Musoni poses for a picture with former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

studies, criminal justice, public relations and accounting. Students advocated for four bills while on Capitol Hill, including HR 2938, the “Road to Recovery Act.” The purpose of HR 2938 is to make obtaining substance abuse treatment easier under both Medicaid and CHIP by removing the Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion for community-based residential treatment. This year’s Fly-In also included five students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, creating a true UA System-wide experience. Students represented 16 states. Twenty students from Ohio State participated in the first Fly-In. In 2018, the Fly-In expanded to include UAB and UAH students (political science and public affairs) as well as Ohio State students (20) for a total of 70 students participating. Five Indiana University students will join the 2020 Fly-In. Fly-In participants are selected through a competitive application and interview process in the fall and if selected, may apply through the Associate Dean’s office for a stipend to attend.

Executive Director Freida S. Baker, left, and Rachael Stinson, represented CWG at the recent Social Work Hall of Fame induction ceremony for founder and long-time director Paul Vincent.

Last summer, the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) and The School of Social Work’s Field Education Program celebrated an innovative placement partnership for Montgomery-based students with a passion for child welfare and macro-level social work. A tenacious and visionary advocate for the strengths and needs-based model of individualized child welfare practice, CWG continues to build on the enduring legacy of founder and UA SSW alumnus, Paul Vincent, who created the organization in 1996 to champion child welfare reform throughout Alabama. His and CWG’s research and services, however, have reached far beyond the state’s 67 counties. From its headquarters in Montgomery, CWG has now collaborated with nearly 40 child welfare or behavioral health systems to refine and expand their services, and its positive impact has been prodigious; frontline agencies from Los Angeles to Miami have adopted best practices developed by CWG, improving outcomes for tens of thousands of children across the country.

workers. Placements with CWG provide interns with the opportunity to take part not just in the daily operation of a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization, but to contribute to policy and curriculum development, ongoing dialogue with large child welfare systems, and research on evidence-based practice and services. MSW candidate Rachael Stinson has done just that after CWG welcomed her as an intern in August. Throughout her first semester of placement, Stinson has conducted in-depth research on case planning as an evidence-based process for families involved in any child welfare system. Her current project focuses on CWG’s response to the sweeping Family First legislation and explores the evidence-based premises for case planning upon which CWG’s Child and Family Team Meeting (CFTM) model is built. Harnessing what she’s already learned, Stinson has begun preparing an important case planning narrative for CWG to utilize as service systems determine how to best implement Family First in their communities. The Field Education Program and CWG are excited to grow their partnership in the coming semesters and provide more students with the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the organization’s impactful and evolving service to children and their families.

Now, UA MSW candidates can take part in that transformation, too, as both students and developing social SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK




“This was a wonderful experience, and I am thankful I took part in it. As a distance student I try to take part in activities as I am able. This and the Grand Opening of Little Hall will be two of my favorite UA memories!” - Melissa Evans Graduate Social Work Organization (GSWO), Phi Alpha Honor Society, and Undergraduate Social Work Organization (USWO) students attended the 2019 NASW-Alabama Chapter Advocacy Day held at the Capitol Auditorium in Montgomery on April 11, 2019. The theme was “Elevate Your Mind: Advocacy Matters.” Dawn Ellis-Murray, Executive Director of NASW-AL Chapter, organized the event to highlight the detrimental effects of the current policies on Medicaid expansion. Speaker, Mildred “Mitt” Joyner, introduced the concept of Social Work Reinvestment and its implications for personal and professional development. Following the speaking engagements, students progressed to advocate at the State House. Carol Gundlauch,


Alabama Arise, and Henry Davis, Director of Governmental Affairs for the State of Alabama Medicaid Agency, graciously provided a student informational forum to discuss the breakdown of the legislative process. Talking points included: 1. Talk to representative back home. Get to know him/her and share your ideas. 2. Be consistent with your ask.

Legislative 101 by Gundlach Davis left students with three words to remember: integrity; intellegence; energy. “If we don’t get the first one right (Integrity), forget about the other two as it relates to advocacy.” At the conclusion of the day, students observed the legislative session in progress and were recognized by state representatives for attending the session.

3. Be simple. You don’t have to be an expert. Ask for what you need. 4. It matters to be nice and say, “Thank You!” even if the representative does not support your bill. Don’t burn bridges. 5. Practice a 60-second elevator speech. If you have a full minute, you are lucky. Ask for what you want succinctly. 6. Get other people to advocate with you. Ask for a commitment. Vote Yes or No! Be specific. Again, don’t burn bridges. 7. Refine your message. Know their interest. Tell real stories; it makes a difference. 8. Own your mistake!

“Thank you! What a wonderful day of learning and support. Thank you all for putting this together. I look forward to next year! I am so thankful for the University of Alabama School of Social Work and my cohort.” - December Guzzo



Panelists and speakers at the 2019 Dr. Ethel Hall Colloquium were, from left, Audrey Ellis, coordinator of social services at Tuscaloosa City Schools; Ben Sciacca, director of Desire Street Ministries; and Rev. Tyshawn Gardner (far right), vice president for student affairs at Stillman College. Also pictured is Sherron Wilkes, MSW instructor.

The 30th annual Dr. Ethel Hall Colloquium was held on Feb. 15, 2019, with Ben Sciacca, author, educator and social justice advocate, delivering the keynote address. The theme of this year’s colloquium was “Seeking social justice in education through community collaboration,” and Sciacca, author of “Meals from Mars: A Parable of Prejudice and Providence,” shared his experiences of strengthening communities to improve youth outcomes.

Panelists included Audrey Ellis, coordinator of social services for Tuscaloosa City Schools, and Rev. Tyshawn Gardner, pastor of the Plum Grove Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa and the founder and CEO of the Citizen Impacting Community Association and the West Side Scholars Academy. He currently serves as the vice president for student affairs at Stillman College and is president of the Tuscaloosa Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Sciacca has worked to equip young people to be peacemakers. Sciacca discussed his leadership role with Desire Street Ministries, which originated in New Orleans and partners with community leaders across multiple states, coaching and caring for them as they navigate the waters of ministry in their neighborhoods. Sciacca, who has lived in Tuscaloosa with his wife and four children for the last 17 years, served as a teacher and principal at Restoration Academy, a small urban Christian school in Fairfield.



First graduate of MSW-JD program reflects on winding road of learning, service By David Miller


ilisa Milton had just completed her first summer of service with Americorps and was still searching for direction in her social work career. It was 2012, and Milton, a University of Alabama alumna, was doing service learning with immigrants in a farmworker community in central Florida. Americorps was flexible and allowed her to serve in a variety of ways, including tutoring at a nearby high school. Not until the next summer would Milton connect all of her life experiences, channel them into a new focus and find her way back to UA. Milton attended a conference in 2013 and watched a video speech by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights attorney who specializes in mass incarceration in the United States. Alexander’s message resonated deeply with Milton, who went through foster care before being raised by her grandparents and moving to Birmingham at age 7. “[Alexander’s video] brought a lot of things full circle for me – how I ended up in foster care, the war on drugs, and how mass incarceration affects other things in my family’s life,” Milton said. “I remember seeing that video and thinking, ‘I want to be like her.’ So I started to research that particular sector of law.” When Milton returned for her second year of Americorps, she convinced her supervisor to allow her to work as a domestic violence court advocate. Milton’s undergraduate social work degree from UA bolstered her credentials for the role, and for her law school applications that she would begin submitting.

Milton would eventually choose the School of Law at UA over Howard University and would enroll in the MSWJD program after fulfilling a Fulbright Award and teaching English in Indonesia. “What made it hard for me was I knew Howard had a lot of social justice components, but I knew so much about being here at UA, how much it will cost to live and the community I had created,” Milton said. “And the (UA) law school worked with me in a really intentional way, so that’s when I decided to come back home.” During UA commencement exercises held May 4-5, 2019 Milton became the first student to earn a MSW-JD degree at UA, culminating four years of preparation for the growing need for trauma-informed lawyers. In that span, Milton has also interned and worked with the Adelante Alabama Worker Center and the Equal Justice Initiative. She also joined the law school’s domestic violence clinic. Through these experiences, Milton said it was normal to encounter situations where her trauma-informed background was needed to mitigate situations of sexual assault or abuse victims. As such, she was continually motivated to continue the dual-track degree. “When I worked at the EJI, I thought I’d want to do a bunch of legal stuff,” Milton said. “But I was the one that they wanted to do re-entry and work with those clients. I thought, ‘oh, you needed that?’ ... they realized it was necessary and complementary. And there are so many avenues that I didn’t realize – working with children as a GAL (Guardian ad Litem) or doing mitigation work – require a lot of psychological understanding. But



there are also things centered around policy, which requires you to think about systems and how they work in people’s lives. “Employers, especially in a legal setting, respond well to having [a MSW-JD] degree.” Milton’s passion is restorative justice and reforming the criminal justice system. She hopes one day to create and lead an entity to facilitate that. Her experiences in the MSW-JD program – understanding trauma, how prisons work and program development – have provided a base to work toward her goal. Milton will now begin advocating for children in the Black Belt region of the state, focusing on mental health as it relates to the school-to-prison pipeline. Though Milton was initially nervous about being the pilot student for the MSW-JD program, she’s thankful for the flexibility she was afforded in tailoring her curriculum and in choosing field placements. The interdisciplinary aspect of her degree gave her an invaluable “ground-level” perspective to better connect both realms, she said. “That overlap allows you to see what clients are going through, and lawyers can now feel like they can tap into that and help,” Milton said. “You’ll know how people think, and you’ll move in a different way to connect things better. Trauma-informed lawyering is an emerging concept that lawyers are starting to care about, especially the ones that do direct work. I’m better for it now, and I encourage other students to enter the program.”






UA to Implement Telehealth Network to Combat Opioids in Alabama By David Miller University of Alabama researchers are working to address opioid-related morbidity and mortality in four Alabama counties by developing a community care network to strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery. The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded a UA-led team of researchers and community stakeholders a $200,000 grant to implement an integrative tele-health network. The network will be used by a multidisciplinary team from UA with health and education community partners in Franklin, Marion, Winston and Walker counties.


Opioid abuse and misuse are nationwide crises. The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services estimated in 2017 that 130 people die each day from opioid-related overdoses and that 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids. The opioid crisis is magnified in Alabama, which has the nation’s highest per capita opioid prescription rate and saw 5,128 overdoses from 2006 through 2014. The project, titled, “Development of an Integrated Care TeleECHO Model for Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery in Rural Alabama,” will improve prevention, treatment and recovery of substance use disorder and opioid use disorder by focusing on “whole-person care,” a community health concept that coordinates health, behavioral health and social services for more efficient and effective patient outcomes.


“Unfortunately, while there’s a really high risk of opioid-related mortality or morbidity in these counties, there are almost no facilities or programs specifically for opioid problems,” said Dr. Hee Yun Lee, principal investigator and UA professor of social work (MPI, Dr. Joshua Eyer). “In this grant, we will identify the gaps and urgent needs of services or policies we must establish.” The primary focus of the one-year grant is to assess various levels of care and support and to recommend changes for a three-year, $1 million implementation HRSA grant. Should researchers receive the next phase of funding, they’ll work with community partners to build-out services and direct-care improvements. The “planning grant” sets the table for that stage, and though UA researchers aren’t providing new services over the next year, they’re enhancing existing services through TeleECHO, a relatively new care model that will allow existing providers to consult with experts, share their challenges and solutions, and expand behavioral health services in the four counties. TeleECHO allows clinicians in the communities to use video and teleconferencing technology to connect with other care providers and researchers to discuss patient cases and better determine treatment. The model helps providers maintain a more efficient and effective care network in typically underserved areas. This model helps better leverage existing partnerships in communities, including the Capstone Rural Health Center in Walker County, which will serve as the TeleEcho hub. The Capstone Rural Health Center is partnered with UA’s Capstone College of Nursing on a three-year HRSA grant to implement behavioral health services at its clinic. “Existing services are scarce, but there are people there doing incredibly important work,” said Dr. Joshua Eyer, multi-principal investigator and assistant professor of nursing at UA. “TeleECHO is an affordable way to improve the expertise of the providers that are doing the work.” Researchers point to another care concept – “nonjudgmental” pathways to treatment – that will have tangible effects during the grant period. Eyer described the pathway as “treating the

Dr. Hee Yun Lee is leading an multidisciplinary team of researchers at UA.

whole community,” as opioid misuse and abuse is a symptom of broader healthcare and financial problems that affect many people in those communities. “In developing a culture that’s free of stigma, it will allow community members to freely help each other and come up with ideas for how to work together,” Lee said. Researchers began the study with an analysis of public health data in the four counties and conducted individual interviews, focus groups and surveys in late 2019. They also formed a strategic partnership with Alabama Senator Greg Reed, who has helped organize town hall meetings where researchers can present preliminary findings to community members and “research the problem together,” Lee said. “We’re raising more awareness, as well as prevention and treatment strategies,” she said. “Senator Reed told us that he is committed to fighting the opioid problem.” Researchers have also partnered with the Walker Area Community Foundation, area law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office of North Alabama. Lee said she hopes to partner with school systems in the four counties to do prevention and awareness movements and intervention programs.




Dr. Crunk, with daughter and UA associate professor of social work, Dr. Amy Traylor.

From the School newsletter archives: Dr. Crunk, seen here with Washington, D.C. interns in 1996.

CRUNK REFLECTS ON ‘DREAM JOB’ WASHINGTON, D.C. INTERNSHIP OFFICE NAMED FOR FORMER DIRECTOR By David Miller A little over 30 years ago, University of Alabama School of Social Work dean Jim Ward called Dr. Phil Crunk to offer him a new role with the School. Crunk was no stranger to the School – he’d spent parts of the 1970s and 1980s in various faculty and administrative roles, including associate dean. He’d received a Fulbright award in 1980 and worked extensively abroad, helping establish a graduate social work program and faculty exchange at Shue Yan University in Hong Kong and consulting governments in Taiwan and Japan on social work policy. Then, Ward offered him his choice of assignment for the School: become associate dean once more; control the master’s program; or, continue his Hong Kong program and take over the Washington, D.C. internship program from recently retired Charles Prigmore. “I took a nanosecond to think about it,” said Crunk, who would go on to lead the D.C. program until 2006.


Crunk, professor emeritus for the School of Social Work, immediately helped grow the program in scale and scope. He started with roughly 10 students who aspired to work in policy to nearly 25 per semester, including students in clinical placements. He’d made valuable connections with Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the National Naval Medical Center and members of Congress, among others, to ensure the School’s MSW students received the experience they wanted. On Nov. 7, 2019, Crunk returned to the School to celebrate the program’s 40th anniversary and the naming of the Washington D.C. Internship Office in his honor. Prior to the reveal, he’d visited the program office a pair of times and was able to have lunch with some of his former students, including Coy Stout (MSW, 1994), vice president for domestic commercial access for biotech company Gilead Sciences. Stout said his “life story would undoubtedly be quite different” if not for Crunk’s support of students in the program.

“I had a lot of really good students,” Crunk said. “For me to see people grow, develop and get something out of it, that was a success.” Opportunities for UA students in Washington, D.C. have continued to grow since Crunk handed over director’s duties to Carroll Phelps, who, along with the School’s field office, has added the nation’s only undergraduate social work internship program in D.C. Additionally, in 2017, the School launched an annual “fly-in” program that provides both undergraduates and graduate students opportunities to advocate for policy and learn about the legislative process from various elected officials and advocates on Capitol Hill. The fly-in program has more than 70 participants from UA each year and has grown to include students from Ohio State University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. That growth and reach reflect Crunk’s career at UA, which began in 1970, shortly after he’d completed his doctoral degree at Tulane University.



Dr. Crunk, right, discusses the D.C. program with Carroll Phelps, his successor.

Howard Gundy, the first dean of the UA School of Social Work, hired Crunk as associate dean. In the early 1980s, Crunk received a “very advantageous” Fulbright Scholar Award to help set up a master’s program in social work in Taiwan. He would take brief detours to Japan to counsel government officials on elder care – he’d served on the White House council on aging in the 1970s – and Hong Kong, where his work with Shue Yan University would result in a fully-accredited MSW program and establish a long-running partnership with the UA School of Social Work. After completing his Fulbright, Crunk helped develop UA’s first graduate school evaluation of supports for handicapped students. Crunk and his team developed a thorough assessment and plans for action, which impressed organizers at the federal level and resulted in Crunk joining an eight-member team that traveled to more than 15 cities to share UA’s model.

School of Social Work faculty and staff, from left, Allison Curington, Tameka Ross, Jennifer Thomas, Lindsey Johnson, Lesley Reid, Carrie Turner and Heather Sullivan.

Faculty and staff from the School of Social Work volunteered on the United Way Day of Action in June. Two teams were formed to complete service projects in the community as a way to display care and support for our community. Brookwood Middle School needed assistance with painting their hallways, and Hospice of West Alabama benefited from clean-up projects. The United Way Day of Action is part of a broader national effort hosted by United Way chapters across the country. Groups of volunteers from across Tuscaloosa helped paint, clean up and restore gardens at various United Way agencies across West Alabama. Since the first Day of Action, United Way of West Alabama has doubled its number of volunteers from 280 to 500.

Crunk also is a founding member and past president of the Alabama-Germany Partnership and a 2002 inductee to the Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame. “Working at UA was a dream job,” Crunk said. “When I retired, I told the dean that I liked my job so much that I would have done it for nothing, but I never brought it up because I was afraid he’d take me up on it.”




Suclupe, first cohort begin DSW paths Primarily online program includes organizational leadership track By David Miller As a supervisory social worker for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Will Suclupe has many responsibilities in the state of Alabama. He manages social workers in mental health outpatient and primary care settings and coordinates outreach in rural areas in and around Selma. Suclupe also manages Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership, a program that provides healthcare services to the veteran and military community at The University of Alabama. Suclupe also balances military obligations as a behavioral science officer in the Army National Guard. In Fall 2019, he added “doctoral student” to his growing list of professional endeavors. Suclupe, who earned his MSW from the UA School of Social Work in 2014, is part of the first cohort of the School’s primarily online DSW program. The transition has been a “challenge,” but to advance within the VA system, for which he’s worked since 2014, obtaining his DSW is necessary, he said.


“To get to the next level at the VA, it’s going to be competitive,” Suclupe said. “At the VA, I’ve seen others in different disciplines get their doctorates to catapult them through that ceiling. I needed to set myself apart from my colleagues that will be competing for higher administrative positions with the VA.” The UA School of Social Work launched its primarily online DSW program in Fall 2019, less than a year after the UA Board of Trustees approved the program. The DSW program’s first cohort of 20 students (selected out of 135 applicants) began classes in fall 2019 and are split between two tracks – advanced clinical social work and organizational leadership. The School previously offered a DSW before establishing its PhD program. The previous program served as the School of Social Work’s research doctorate, structured around research methodology and prepared social workers for careers in research and scholarship. Later, the original DSW program was converted to the current PhD program. Conversely, the new DSW program offers MSW-level

practitioners with significant practice experience coursework on theory, advanced practice and evaluation skills to help them advance in their current practice. Dr. Nicole Ruggiano, interim director of the DSW program, said that there isn’t one specific career trajectory for DSW-trained practitioners, and that the DSW program can prepare social workers for advancement in fields across the discipline in clinical, academic, and management settings. For instance, for clinical social workers who want to move and advance in administration, UA’s DSW program offers them more management experience through courses like “human services financing” and “workforce management.” The program can also provide clinicians with new expertise to help solve complex issues and potentially increase an agency’s revenue by creating new services or fundraising approaches. Ruggiano said most DSW programs do not offer an organization leadership or management-type track, which is “a big draw” for students that apply to UA’s DSW program. “The next trajectory would be some type of chief for our discipline within the VA,” said Suclupe, who is enrolled in the organizational leadership track. “More down the road, it could be executive positions. A DSW will teach me the skills to navigate a place like the VA, to understand the research component and data analysis, but also have my foot in agency work.” UA’s DSW program can also help supplement continued education typically accrued over many years to help create a faster trajectory to career goals, Ruggiano said.


Once accepted, students can choose from 25 different course offerings; they have the flexibility to choose electives from either track. UA’s DSW core courses reflect traditional social work topics, like disparities, oppression, disadvantaged groups, policy advocacy and community work. “We made a case that a DSW program is needed in Alabama because of the complex health and social service needs across the state. There is a need for expertise and advanced practice for local populations that have historically experienced discrimination, oppression, and isolation that have resulted in racial, economic, and geographic disparities,” Ruggiano said. “So that had to be at the forefront of what the student will learn in our program.”

THE FIRST COHORT Eight of the 20 students are from Alabama, and most are from the Southeast. Three are from the West Coast, and one is from Canada. Of the group, 30 percent are ethnic or racial minorities. The average age of the first cohort is 39.6. And, similar to other DSW programs, there’s a great deal of postMSW practice experience, with a range of three to 19 years, Ruggiano said. Additionally, the students have many different backgrounds, including MSW-level and adjunct faculty at other schools of social work and those working in mental and medical healthcare. “It’s exciting to me to know that, for our DSW students in Alabama, they’re educating our own social workers and providing services to people in our communities,” Ruggiano said. “As we grow, it’ll help address more dire needs in Alabama.”

The DSW program is a 45-credit program that should take three years to complete. Students attend courses part-time – typically two per semester – during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Tuition is only $18,900 for the entire three years for both in-state and out-of-state students. The program requires attendance of various workshops each summer on UA’s campus and completion of a “capstone project,” which will require a student to identify a problem in the social work field, implement an intervention to address it, evaluate it, and then present their findings and plan for moving forward. Applicants must have three years of post-MSW social work experience and a current social work placement.

Twenty students, some with as many as 19 years of postMSW experience, began their first semester in the DSW program in fall 2019.



“What we want to do is work with school administration to also change the practices and policies of the school so they can also have a role in making school a healthier, safer environment.� Dr. Catherine Carlson

Nurturing & Learning Carlson leads NIMH project in Ugandan schools Researchers, non-profits addressing mental health, violence against students By David Miller


efining mental health can vary depending on geography, culture, socioeconomic status and access to health care, even in the United States, where research, education and awareness campaigns have made growing mental health resources and services a priority. But in low-income countries, mental health services often are only available through private medicine and are typically unaffordable. As a result, the public is often undereducated on what mental health is and what it looks like day to day. This void can create physical and emotional hurdles for children through their adolescent years, when half of all mental health conditions are diagnosed, according to the World Health Organization. The National Institute of Mental Health has increased its interest and funding of global mental health research in recent years, including a Uganda-based project led by University of Alabama School of Social Work researcher, Dr. Catherine Carlson, who is in the second year of a project to integrate mental health education and promotion materials into existing curriculum that addresses school culture and climate to prevent corporal punishment. Carlson is partnered with Raising Voices, a Ugandan non-profit organization that created and has operated a successful school-culture program in more than 1,000 schools in the country, to add mental health teaching and training materials to the “Good School Toolkit.” For instance, Carlson and her collaborators have developed a cartoon booklet that children and teachers in primary schools can read, engage with and use in points of discussion about mental health. “In Uganda, if you say mental health, most people don’t really know what you’re talking about,” Carlson said. “They’ll think about brain disorders or epilepsy, or simply that someone is ‘mad.’ So we’re trying to bring the message that everyone has mental health, and like physical health, we go through different phases. And, sometimes, you need help. We’re trying to destigmatize it and educate people and create a conversation that currently doesn’t exist.” Carlson is one of the first researchers to receive a NIMH Career Development(K01) Award for global mental health. She has more than 10 years of various research and programming experience

in Uganda, working primarily with Raising Voices to address issues of family violence through prevention.

EARLY PHASES Carlson began the four-year project with an exploratory, qualitative research phase to understand how mental health is stigmatized in the country and how to communicate it in a positive, relatable way. This phase also revealed more nuanced characteristics about how teachers perceive and respond to student conduct issues, prompting the need to distinguish misbehaving from signs of deeper, underlying issues. Researchers also discovered that school practices and policies affect children’s mental health; For example: a “traumatizing” experience some children were experiencing during a common policy of school administrators announcing the names of children who had not paid school fees – a requirement for children to attend both public and private schools – during assemblies. “What we want to do is work with school administration to also change the practices and policies of the school so they can also have a role in making school a healthier, safer environment,” she said. The qualitative phase was vital in helping Carlson and her collaborators determine materials for the Good School Toolkit, with an emphasis on reframing language related to mental health, educating teachers on warning signs and providing a blueprint for how to respond. To serve the children that may have needs that extend beyond what teachers and school administrators can address, Carlson said she is partnering with another agency to deliver therapy to kids in schools.

THE NEXT PHASES The strength of Carlson’s ties to Raising Voices and Raising Voices’ relationships with teachers and administrators have laid the groundwork for an 18-month pilot program in eight schools – four control schools and four treatment schools. If successful, they’ll incorporate the new Toolkit materials into the four control schools, and more, potentially. “Raising Voices has been working with schools for a long time and has established relationships with



the Ministry of Education, which, the last I’d heard, is intending to make the existing Toolkit part of required education policy, countrywide,” Carlson said. “[Potentially implementing mental health materials country-wide] will take some important planning around scale up and process of laying out, but it’s an exciting possibility.” Ultimately, the materials that will be added to the Toolkit will be “flexible and dynamic,” important attributes in implementing the program in real-world schools. Carlson said Ugandan teachers can have more than 50 students in a class, so they had to prove the relevancy of the program and collaborate on the materials for teachers to “feel ownership” and buy-in completely. This intentional approach, along with partnering with a well-established local agency like Raising Voices, also helps avoid the negative perception of “western influence,” a hurdle Carlson has faced in previous work with other international non-profits. “That’s part of being relevant and sustainable to schools, where you

provide this toolkit of different materials to the teachers and students that are leading it, and they can pick out what they think would be relevant for their school,” Carlson said. “We don’t have a lot of real manualized interventions where it’s like, ‘we meet for 12 weeks and do this prescribed session.’” Carlson said she travels to Uganda at least twice a year and has Skype calls with teachers and Raising Voices personnel almost each day. The arrangement allows for her to provide research and content expertise, and for the partners onsite to be “experts in context and what works.” Carlson is also aided by Social Work doctoral student Violet Nkwanzi, a native of Uganda, who received a research award from the UA Center for CommunityBased Partnerships to work with Carlson. “To have a Ugandan student, who has the cultural knowledge and linguistic ability, has been a huge advantage for the project,” Carlson said. “And it’s a great learning experience for her in terms of learning about the research.”

Social Work doctoral student Violet Nkwanzi, left, provides cultural knowledge and linguistic ability to the project.

A FAR-REACHING NETWORK UA SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS TO BEGIN ‘CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION’ WITH GHANAIAN STUDENTS By David Miller International social work experiences, whether realtime or virtual, provide foundational pay-offs for one’s social work career, even for those that don’t aspire to work outside the United States. Added perspective is the most significant benefit, and it’s gained and applied in a variety of ways. For instance, differences across cultures can affect how social workers conceptualize or address problems. And for American students, international social work can help them recognize their own assumptions that are only apparent when someone from a different country or culture asks questions of them, says Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, associate professor and coordinator of international initiatives. “There’s no social worker that leaves a social work program that’s ever going to work with anyone who is exactly like them,” Nelson-Gardell says. “International social work is an opportunity to work on cross-cultural communication and appreciation. People around the world have worthwhile things to say. There’s an opportunity to also learn something that can be useful in the U.S.” These learning opportunities, if one does a study-abroad experience, are expensive typically between $5,000 and $10,000 per semester - and greatly limit the potential number of students who can participate, says Nelson-Gardell, who has overseen the School’s collaborative work with universities in Hong Kong and Mainland China. But, in lieu of complete immersion, NelsonGardell is hopeful to replicate an important component of international social work – organic conversation – through an innovative project funded by the Council for Social Work Education Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Social Work Education. “Promoting Global

Citizenship in Ghana and USA through WhatsApp/ Flipgrid” is tentatively scheduled to begin work with students in spring 2020, implementing a threeyear partnership that will see UA MSW and BSW field students communicate regularly with their counterparts at the University of Ghana. The students will use two popular social media apps – WhatsApp and Flipgrid – to overcome resource limitations and “spread some of the goodness of international knowledge,” Nelson-Gardell said. Nelson-Gardell has used several social networks, including WhatsApp, in her own international work. She said the conversations on WhatsApp are more informal and with freer exchanges. The platform also provides a level of immediacy not achievable in more formal formats, like email or online learning systems. The pilot will begin with an online MSW policy class at UA (26 students) and 10 master’s students at the University of Ghana. In summer 2020, up to 20 BSW and master’s level students at UG will be trained to use both WhatsApp and video networking app Flipgrid. Then, by Fall 2020, the program will be implemented with 52 MSW students in two online social welfare policy courses, 25 BSW field students at UA and 20 Ghanaian students. The program will increase UA student participation in both 2021 and 2022, with a projection of more than 150 students. UA adjunct professor, Beth Okantey, who will teach the pilot course, will work with a Ghanaian social work education colleague to coordinate student participation at UG. She’ll have an assignment for the project built into the class she’s teaching for UA. “UA students will be working on assignments using WhatsApp groups with at least one Ghanaian partner student,” Nelson-Gardell said. “The conversations, we hope, will at least contribute at a small level to increase an awareness of how social work is done in other places, and the opinions of others who aren’t U.S. citizens. “Even for those people that don’t want to work internationally, this kind of project has the potential to benefit all social work students because of our need to be able to communicate and engage crossculturally.” SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK



FACULTY SCHOLARSHIP Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles *denotes student co-author

Dr. David L. Albright Albright, D. L., Landor, A. M., McDaniel, J. T., *Godfrey, K., Fletcher, K. L., Thomas, K. H., & *Bertram, J. (2019). Sexual behaviors and health practices in a national sample of student service members/veterans. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(7), 1-10. Albright, D. L., Lee, H., McDaniel, J., Kroner, D., Davis, J., *Godfrey, K., & *Li, Q. (2019). Small area estimation of HPV vaccination coverage among children in Alabama counties. Public Health, 177, 120-127. Albright, D. L., Fletcher, K. L., McDaniel, J. T., Thomas, K. H., *Godfrey, K., Grohowski, M., & Dane, J. (2019). Intimate partner violence among postsecondary students with military experience. Traumatology, 25(1), 58-65. Albright, D. L., Thomas, K. H., McDaniel, J. T., Fletcher, K. L., *Godfrey, K., *Bertram, J. M., & Angel, C. (2019). When women veterans return: The role of education in transition in their civilian lives. Journal of American College Health, 67 (5), 479-485. Albright, D. L., Thyer, B. A, & Waller, R. J. (2019). Utilization of outpatient social work services among veterans with combatrelated polytrauma: A review and case analysis. Military Behavioral Health, 7(1),4-13. McCormick, W. H., Currier, J. M., Isaak, S. L., Sims, B. M., Slagel, B. A., Carroll, T. D., Hamner, K., & Albright, D. L. (2019). Military culture and post-military transition among veterans: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Veterans Studies, 4(2),288-298. McDaniel, J. T., Albright, D. L., Lee, H. Y., Patrick, S., McDermott, R. J., Jenkins, W. D., Diehr, A. J., & Jurkowski, E. (2019).


Rural-urban disparities in colorectal cancer screening among military service members and veterans. Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, 5(1),40-48.McDaniel, J. T., Albright, D. L., Patrick, S., Beck, A., Piontek, A., Kono, S., Thomas, K. H., & Fletcher, K. (2019). Physical activity and mental health among veteran lung and colorectal cancer survivors: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Military Behavioral Health, 7(2),238-244. McDaniel, J., Davis, J., Anton, P. M., *Godfrey, K., Albright, D. L., Thomas, K.H., Fletcher, K., & Nuhu, K. (2019). Physical activity and depression symptoms among veteran cancer survivors with heart disease and diabetes. Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, 5(2),67-74. McDaniel, J. T., Hangadoumbo, F. S., Brewer, K., Moss, A., Yahaya, M., Lockett, B., Alruwaili, M., *Godfrey, K., & Albright, D. L. (2019). Rural-urban disparities in physical activity among service member and veteran cancer survivors. Military Behavioral Health, 7(1),22-30.*Ozturk, B., *Li, Q., & Albright, D. L. Coping strategies among immigrant women who have experienced intimate partner violence in North America: A narrative review. (2019). Aggression and Violent Behavior, 48,17-23. Parrott, S.,Albright, D. L., Dyche, C., & Steele, H. G. (2019). Hero, charity case, victim: How U.S. news media frame military veterans on Twitter. Armed Forces & Society, 45(4),702722. Parrott, S., Albright, D. L., Steele, H. G., & Dyche, C. (2019). The U.S. military veteran in news photographs: Representation and stereotypes. Visual Communication Quarterly, 26(2),79-90.


Pelts, M. D., Albright, D. L., McDaniel, J. T., Laski, S., & *Godfrey, K. (2019). An Exploratory Study: Informing Health and Prevention Services for Transgender and Gender Variant Student Veterans. Traumatology, 25(2),142-151. Thomas, K. H., McDaniel, J. T., Grohowski, M., Whalen, R., Fletcher, K., Albright, D. L., & Haring, E. (2019). Depression prevalence and geographic distribution in United States military women: Results from the 2017 Service Women’s Action Network Needs Assessment. Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, 5(2),6-15.

Leah Cheatham Cheatham, L. P., & Randolph, K. (2019). Education and Employment Transitions among Young Adults with Disabilities: Comparisons by Disability Status, Type and Severity. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education.(Manuscript accepted Aug. 21st, 2019) Shah, A., Jeffries, S., Cheatham, L. P., Creel, M., Nelson-Gardell, D., ... Hasenbein, W. C. (2019). Partnering with parents: Reviewing the evidence for MI in child welfare. Families in Society, 100, 52–67. Babic, M. M., Tkalec, S., & Cheatham, L. P. (2018). Right to education for children with disabilities from the earliest age. Croatian Journal of Education, 20, 233–263. Schelbe, L., Randolph, K. A., Yelick, A., Cheatham, L.P., Groton, D. B. (2018). Systems theory as a framework for examining a college campus-based support program for the former foster youth. Journal of EvidenceInformed Social Work, 15(3), 277–295. Randolph, K.Cheatham, L. P., Keller-Weiss, U., & Williams, J. M. (2018). Exposure to parent and peer alcohol use and the risk of drinking onset and escalation among adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 35(2), 97–106.

Hyunjin Noh Kwak, J., Cho, Y., Lee, Y., Noh, H., & Roh, S. (2019). Differences in Advance Care Planning between American Indian and White Older Adults. Research in Gerontological Nursing.12 (1), 34-43. Oh, H., Noh, H., Sims, O., Guo, Y., & Sawyer, P. (2018).A comparison of urban and nonurban African American older adults on health-related characteristics. Social Work in Health Care, 57 (9), 762-773.

Hee Lee Yun Lee H.Y., Ham, Y.H., & Lee, J.W, (In Press). HPV Literacy as a Crucial Determinant for Completion of HPV Vaccine Series in Young Adult Women. Social Welfare Policy and Practice. An, S.O., Lee, H.Y., Choi, Y.J. & Yoon, Y.J.,D (In Press). Literacy of Breast Cancer and Screening Guideline in an Immigrant Group: Importance of Health Accessibility. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health Lee H.Y., Hwang, J., Ball, J.G., Lee, J., Albright, D.L. (In Press). Is health literacy associated with mental health literacy? Findings from Mental Health Literacy Scale. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care. 2019;1‐8. Guo, Y., Cheng, T. & Lee, H.Y. (In Press). Factors Associated with Adherence to Preventive Breast Cancer Screenings among Middle-aged African American Women. Social Work in Public Health Albright, D. L., Lee, H. Y., McDaniel, J. T., Kroner, D., Davis, J., Godfrey, K., & Li, Q. (In Press). Small area estimation of HPV vaccination coverage among school-aged children in Alabama counties. Public Health Lee, H.Y., Eyer, J., Lee, D., Won, C.R., Hudnell, M., & Cain, D.S. (In Press). The Opioid Crisis in Alabama: Actionable Recommendations for Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK



in Rural Communities. Best Practice in Mental Health. Choi, Y.J., Lee, H.Y., An, S.O., Yoon, Y.J.,D Oh, J.M (In Press). Predictors of Cervical Cancer Screening Awareness and Literacy Among Korean-American Women. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 1-9. Albright, D. L., Lee, H. Y., McDaniel, J. T., Kroner, D., Davis, J., Godfrey, K.,D & Li, Q. (In Press). Small area estimation of HPV vaccination coverage among school-aged children in Alabama counties. Public Health. Lee, M.H., Lee, H.Y., & Merighi, J. (In Press). Factors Associated with Mammogram Use in Korean American Immigrant Women. American Journal of Health Behavior Vickers, M., Green, C. Lee, H.Y., Pierce, J.Y., & Daniel, C.L. (In Press). Factors Associated with HPV Vaccination Uptake and HPV-associated Cancers: A County-Level Analysis in the State of Alabama. Journal of Community Health. Jin, S. W., Lee, H. Y., & Lee, J. (In Press). Enabling factors for adherence to colorectal cancer screening among underserved Korean immigrants. Journal of Psychosoica Oncology McDaniel, J. T., Albright, D., Lee, H. Y., Patrick, S., McDermott, R. J., Jenkins, W. D., Diehr, A. J., & Jurkowski, E. (In Press). Rural-urban disparities in colorectal cancer screening among military service members and veterans. Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health. Jin, S.W., Lee, H.Y., & Lee, J. (In Press). Analyzing Factors of Breast Cancer Screening Adherence among Korean American Women Using Andersen’s Behavioral Model of Healthcare Services Utilization. Ethnicity and Disease Zhou, A.D, Lee, H.Y., & Lee, R. (In Press). Who Has Low Health Literacy and Does It Matter for Depression? Findings from Aggregated and Disaggregated Racial/Ethnic Groups. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology


Rivera, A.M., Zhang, Z. Kim, A. Ahuja, N., Lee, H.Y., & Hahm, H.C. (2019). Mechanisms of action in AWARE: A culturally informed intervention for 1.5-and 2nd-generation Asian American women. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(4), 475 Lee, H.Y., Lee, M.H., Sharratt, M.,M Lee, S., & Blaes, A. (2019), A. Development of a Mobile Health Intervention to Promote Papanicolaou Tests and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in an Underserved Immigrant Population: A Culturally Targeted and Individually Tailored Text Messaging Approach. Journal of Medical Internet Research, Mhealth & Uhealth, e13256 Allen, E., Lee, H.Y., Desai, J., Pratt, R., Vang, H.M, & Lightfoot, E. (2019). HPV Awareness, Knowledge, and Receipt among Somali American adolescents: Findings from focus groups with mothers. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 30(1), 55-63 Elizabeth A. Rogers, E.A., Chanthanouvong, S., Saengsudham, C., Tran, V., Anderson, L., Zhang., & Lee, H.Y. (2019). Factors Associated with Reported Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Lao-American Immigrants in Minnesota. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, p.1-8. Vogel, R., Niendorf, K., Petzel, S., Lee, H., Teoh, D., Blaes, A, Argenta, P., Rivard, C., Winterhoff, B., Lee, H.Y., & Geller, M. (2019). A patient-centered mobile health application to motivate use of genetic counseling among women with ovarian cancer: a pilot randomized controlled trial, Gynecologic Oncology, 153(1), 100-107. Lee, H.Y. Beltran, R.D, Kim, N.G., D & Lee, D.U (2019). Racial Disparities in Cervical Cancer Screening: Implications for Relieving Cervical Cancer Burden in Asian American Pacific Islander Women. Cancer Nursing: An International Journal for Cancer Care.

IN MEMORIAM Daphne Cain *Wilks, S. E., Boyd, P. A., Bates, S. M., Cain, D. S. & Geiger, J. R. (2019). Montessori-based activities among persons with late-stage dementia: Evaluation of mental and behavioral health outcomes. Dementia, 18(4), 1373 –1392.

Avani Shah Morthland, M., Shah, A., Meadows, J., & Scogin, F., (2019). Development of an audio and computer-based intervention for depression in older adults.Aging and Mental Health. Shah, A., Meadows, J., Anderson, K., Scogin, F., Templeton, S., & Simpson, K. (2019). Gerontological social work and cardiac rehabilitation. Social Work in Health Care, 58(7), 633-650. Shah, A., Anderson, K., Li, X. Meadows, J., & Breitsprecher, T. (2018). The role of diagnosis on scope of practice by state. Clinical Social Work Journal, 1-11. Shah, A., Jeffries, S., Cheatham, L., Nelson-Gardell, D., Creel, M., Hasbein, W. Chapman, N. (2018). Motivational interviewing in child welfare: A review. Families in Society, 1-16. Black, S., Kraemer, K., Shah, A., Scogin, F., & Simpson, G. (2018). Diabetes, depression, and cognition: A Recursive Cycle of cognitive dysfunction and glycemic dysregulation. Diabetes Report, 18(118), 1-12. Shah, A., Morthland, M., Scogin, F., Presnell, A., DeCoster, J., & Dinapoli, E. (2018). Audio and computer cognitive-behavioral therapy for depressive symptoms in older adults: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Behavior Therapy, 49, 904-916.

Lynn Tobola, who served as the School’s librarian for 30 years, passed away at age 61 on August 29, 2019, shortly after her retirement from the School. Tobola received both her undergraduate degree in American studies and her master’s in library sciences from The University of Alabama. She began her career at UA in 1984, as a reference librarian before joining the School of Social Work in 1989. Tobola retired from UA on July 1, 2019 and was honored at a reception at Little Hall on August 27.




Amy Traylor Trahan, M.H., Smith, K.S., Traylor, A.C., Washburn, M.E., Moore, N., & Mancillas, A. (2019). 3-Dimensional virtual reality: Applications to the 12 Grand Challenges of Social Work. Journal of Technology in Human Services.

Jackson, M.S., Colvin, A., & Bullock, A. (2019). Development of a precollege program for foster youth: Opportunities and challenges of program implementation. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

Brenda Smith

Jackson, M.S., Colvin, A., & Bullock, A. (2019). Strategies to address mental health challenges of foster youth transitioning to college. Best Practices in Mental Health.

Smith, B.D., Kay, E.S.,* Pressley, T. D.* (2018). Child maltreatment in rural southern counties: Another perspective on race, poverty, and child welfare. Child Abuse & Neglect, 80, 52-61.

Williams, J., Jackson, M.S., Thomas, M., & Pressley, T., Barnett, T. (2019). Black megachurches and the provision of social services: An examination of regional differences in America. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought.

BOOKS Robert McKinney Marson, S. M., & McKinney, R. E. (2019). The Routledge Handbook of Social Work Ethics and Values. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

BOOK CHAPTERS David L. Albright Thomas, K. H., Haring, E., McDaniel, J. T., Fletcher, K., Albright, D. L., & Brandley, E. (2019). Belonging and support: Women Veterans’ perceptions of veteran service organizations. In K. H. Thomas, & Hunter, K. (Eds.). Invisible Veterans: What happens when service women become civilians again? (pp. 57-67). Santa Barbara, CA: ABCCLIO/Praeger Publishing.


Sebrena Jackson


RETIREMENTS Vikki Vandiver 5 Years of Service Dr. Vikki Vandiver, who served as dean of the School since June 2014, retired in February 2019. The UA School of Social Work experienced tremendous growth under Vandiver’s leadership, doubling its fundraising and scholarships and increasing research expenditures and funding by 47 percent. At the time of her retirement, the School

ranked third at UA in the number of university-wide research external awards. Additionally, the School laid the groundwork for the launch of its primarily-online DSW program. Prior to accepting the role of dean at the School, Vandiver served on the faculty at Portland State University from 1992 to 2014.

Lynn Tobola 30 Years of Service Lynn Tobola, who served as the school’s librarian for 30 years, retired in July 2019. Tobola received both her undergraduate degree in American studies and her master’s in library sciences from The University of Alabama. She began her career at

UA in 1984, as a reference librarian before joining the School of Social Work in 1989. Tobola was honored at a reception at Little Hall on August 27.

Mike Parker 20 Years of Service Dr. Michael Parker, who served as professor of social work for the School and the Center for Mental Health and Aging at UA, retired in 2019. During his career, Parker received private and public external research funding as the primary investigator or co-investigator totaling over $4.5 million

and published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and 25 chapters on successful aging, elder care, and faith and healing. Parker also served for 20 years in the Army, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.




ACCOLADES Robert McKinney Became faculty member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine’s Behavioral Science/Family Systems Educator Fellowship. Was PI on Interventions to Minimize Preterm and Low birth weight Infants through Continuous Improvement Techniques (IMPLICIT) program at University Medical Center. Funded by March of Dimes. Over the course of the grant, screened almost 1,500 mothers in four domains (pregnancy planning, prenatal vitamin use, smoking cessation, and mental health issues) during well-baby visits (0 to 24 months) and provided interventions when indicated.

Shayla Smith Completed the Learning in Action Fellowship through the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. The yearlong experience (2018-2019) allowed Smith to foster growth in teaching innovative strategies through experiential learning techniques. With the support of a professional learning community and professional development workshops, Smith was able to learn how to design her courses to include activities that foster a stronger integration of critical thinking and application of social work concepts to real-life experiences in the undergraduate field placements. As the field coordinator, Smith facilitates the process of preparing students to integrate their educational experiences into actual practice through the field course. Through the Learning


in Action Program, she is interested in enhancing a pre-field course that orients students to concepts such as professional comportment, ethics, social media, safety preparation, self-care, and documentation construction.

Brenda Smith Received Faculty Appreciation Award from the School of Social Work Doctoral Student Organization.

Taylor Ellis (PhD student) Invited attendee for the national Inaugural Symposium Reimagining Social Work Research: Innovation and Impact in the Next Generation of Scholars. The symposium hosted by the Denver University Graduate School of Social Work engaged promising and forward-thinking students from doctoral programs in the U.S. and Canada as thought leaders in reimagining how social work research can best address our world’s stickiest social problems. Invited to be a part of the Social Work and the Arts Roundtable initiative out of the University of Southern California. The Social Work and the Arts Roundtable is a collective of social workers and community engaged artists who utilize their art at various levels of social work practice. The initiative began in 2016 and is still active with representation from individuals in schools of social work across the United States.


Sherron Wilkes Sherron Wilkes, instructor, was presented the Undergraduate Social Work Student Organization award for outstanding service to students.

Karen Johnson Johnson was selected to participate as a scholar in the 2019-2020 Health Disparities Research Education Award Certificate Program (HDREP). The HDREP is an interdisciplinary professional development program sponsored by Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Tuskegee University (TU), University of Alabama (UA), Creighton University (CU), University of South Alabama (USA), and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging (CCHA), the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education (COERE), and the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) at UAB. It is funded by grants from NIH. Among other key objectives, the Health Disparities Research Training Award Program trains scholars to provide training in health disparities and innovative approaches to reduce them. Nominated for induction into the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Central Alabama Chapter, Inc. She accepted the nomination and was inducted in August 2019. The vision of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW) is to see black women and girls live in a world where socio-economic inequity does not exist. NCBW accomplishes this vision byadvocating on behalf of black women

and girls to promote leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment.

Sebrena Jackson Jackson was accepted into the 2019-2020 CSWE Program Director’s Academy. The CSWE Program Director Academy is a leadership certificate program for current baccalaureate and master’s program directors who have been in their positions fewer than three years that focuses on topics related to program management competency domains and job functions. The program requires a one-year commitment and includes a Summer Leadership Institute, Leadership Development Institute at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting, online webinar series, and mentorship opportunities.

Daphne Cain Daphne S. Cain, Ph.D., LCSW, was named the editor-in-chief of the journal of Best Practices in Mental Health (BPMH) in August 2018.BPMH is a refereed and indexed publication intended for an interdisciplinary audience of mental health practitioners, administrators, and scholars that publishes original practice focused articles regarding best evidence about what works in clinical, community, and/or organizational settings. Inquiries and manuscripts should be sent to Daphne S. Cain at dscain@ua.edu. For more information: https://thedavidfollmergroup.com/bestpractices-in-mental-health/.



NEWSTAFF David Miller Communications Specialist, October 2019

Accountant, October 2018

Paul Moon

Lindsey Johnson

Infant Mortality Project Coordinator, Vital Team, October 2019

Coordinator of Events & Alumni Relations, August 2018

Chris Blackmon

Laurie Wright

Program Manager for Distance Education Programs, April 2019

Director of Development, January 2019

Tameka Ross Program Assistant for Advancement & Events, April 2019


Angela YoungHobbs



David L. Albright was promoted to full professor. Albright, Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health, also directs the UA Office for Military Families and Veterans and oversees the Vital Team, which oversees the federallyfunded AL-SBIRT integrated health program. David L. Albright was appointed to the 2019 cohort for Leadership Tuscaloosa, an issues-based program designed to inform and increase awareness of topics important to West Alabama. Using field trips and interaction with community decision-makers, the program broadens understanding of issues facing our community. The class is made up of 40 individuals chosen from a cross section of occupations through an interview process conducted by the Leadership Tuscaloosa Alumni Association.

Avani Shah was promoted to associate professor. Her areas of interest and expertise are aging and healthcare, cognitive behavioral therapy, diagnosing mental disorders and mental health.




RESEARCH FUNDING Dr. David L. Albright Role: Primary Investigator Agency: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Name of Project: Project freedom: First responder expansion of education and distribution of overdose medication Period: 10/1/19 – 9/30/23 Funding Amount: $3,200,000

Role: Primary Investigator Agency: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Name of Project: Alabama provider capacity project Period: 10/1/19 - 4/1/21 Funding Amount: $5,000,000

Role: Primary Investigator Agency: Vettes4Vettes and United Way of Central Alabama Name of Project: Jefferson and Shelby counties needs assessment of veterans and their families. Period: 10/1/19 – 9/30/20 Funding Amount: $20,000

Role: Primary Investigator Agency: The Mission Continues Name of Project: The empowered veteran index instrument development Period: 9/25/19 – 5/31/20 Funding Amount: $100,000

Role: Co-Primary Investigator Agency: Human Resources and Services Administration Name of Project: TeleECHO model development for opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery in rural Alabama Period: 06/19 - 05/20 Funding Amount: $200,000


Role: Primary Investigator Agency: Alabama Department of Public Health Name of Project: Reducing infant mortality through improved wellness Period: 10/1/18 – 9/30/20 Funding Amount: $750,000

Role: Primary Investigator Agency: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Name of Project: AL-SBIRT: Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment in Alabama Period: 09/16 - 09/21 Funding Amount: $8,000,000

Lewis Lee Role: Co-Principal Investigator Funding Agency: Alabama Department of Youth Services Name of Project: Alabama Department of Youth Services’ program evaluation and validation project Period: 2019-2021 Funding Amount: $100,000

Daphne Cain Role: Primary Investigator Funding agency: Alabama Department of Human Resources Name of project: University of Alabama Title IV-E Program (to educate prospective child welfare workers and provide continuing educational opportunities for existing child welfare workers) Period: FY 2019 Funding amount: $5,843,545

RESEARCH BY THE NUMBERS Leah Cheatham Role: Co-Principal Investigator Funding Agency: Alabama Department of Corrections Name of Project: University of Alabama: Women’s Risk Needs Assessment Funding Amount: $941,371  Co-PIs: Lesley Reid, Jane Dalquin, Matthew Doliver, Jennifer Kenney & Leah Cheatham


38 #5 124%

Submissions for external funding, FY 2019 In number of universitywide external submissions, FY 2019 Increase in external submissions, FY 2014 - FY 2019

Hyunjin Noh Role: Primary Investigator Funding Agency: CSU Palliative Care Institute Seed Grant (Mary and Gary West Foundation) Name of Project: Palliative Care Knowledge, Attitudes and Needs among Caregivers of Cognitively Impaired Older Adults Period: Oct 2018 – Nov 2019  Funding Amount: $9,962


$14M #3 103%

Total external funding, FY 2019 In number of university-wide external awards, FY 2019 Increase in external research funding, FY 2014 - FY 2019

Brenda Smith Role: Primary Investigator Funding Agency: US HHS/ Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Office of Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE) Name of Project: Feasibility of Linking Administrative Data to Better Understand Child Maltreatment Incidence and Related Risk (CMI Data Linkages) Project Period: 2019 Funding Amount: $114,012.

TOP FUNDING SOURCES • Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services • United States Department of Justice • Health Resources & Services Administration • National Institutes of Health


$18M 70

external funding external submissions SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK 38



By David Miller Jerry Milner’s quest to shift United States child welfare policy to a holistic, data-driven system comes with many challenges. Milner, associate commissioner at the Children’s Bureau since November 2017, says that the “wheels of government” don’t always match the pace of his plans for the Bureau. And, as an appointed official, his time in the role is indefinite, potentially limiting his ability to “do very big things.” There’s also the challenge of changing a historical mindset and practice of child welfare being a reactive system, which has implications beyond improving outcomes; a major shift to a proactive, family-centric system changes how many social workers and administrators do their jobs, Milner said. “I want to move us into a system where we’re strengthening families before something bad happens to them,” Milner said. “That may seem pretty simple, and a lot of people, on the surface, may agree with that. But when you start changing policy, trying to change funding to support that kind of vision, it’s incredibly difficult.

Jerry Milner, who earned MSW and BSW degrees at UA, shares a laugh with a friend during a ceremony to honor him. The ceremony was hosted at Little Hall in spring 2019.


“But that’s the kind of system that will serve us well.” After 45 years working in child welfare, Milner has developed the patience, tact and resilience needed to match his ambitious vision to reform a decadesold system. These traits and expertise started in Alabama, where Milner earned his MSW and DSW degrees at The University of Alabama School of Social Work and served as the state’s child welfare director. Milner said the challenges he faces in Washington, D.C. mirror what he experienced more than two decades ago in Alabama, where he worked to move an engrained system in a very different direction. “The whole foundation for what I’ve been working on here in D.C. is just an outgrowth of the experience we had in Alabama,” Milner said. “We had a rare opportunity there to use something as adverse as a class action lawsuit to totally rethink the way we did our business with children and families.” Under the leadership of Milner and his predecessor, fellow School alumnus Paul Vincent, Alabama redeveloped its child welfare system in the 1990s, with a focus on preserving families and abandoning its “rescue the child” philosophy, which often meant separating children from their families as the primary and initial reaction by social workers and the courts. “Sometimes the courts felt the only way to protect children was to take them away from their parents,” Milner said. “You had service providers whose only livelihoods was providing foster or group care, and trying to move that system to home-based and community-based was very difficult. It’s very hard for people to give up their commitment to a way of doing work that’s very comfortable to them, particularly if their livelihood depends on it.”


“One of the major factors had to do with engaging parents and parent-child interaction while a child is in foster care, and the effect it had on the length of time a child would spend in the foster system,” Milner said. “Those kinds of factors are essential to the vision that we have right here today in the Children’s Bureau. It’s noteworthy to me – that was 35 years ago – the same kinds of issues are there that we’re promoting and dealing with at the Bureau. In many ways, that’s incredibly affirming to me.”

Milner, currently the associate commissioner at the Children’s Bureau, poses for a photo with Dr. Javonda Williams, associate dean for academic programs and student services.

Despite the challenges, child welfare leaders and funders in Alabama were able to influence change in policy, practice and training, as well as fund the reformed child welfare system in Alabama. The experience “shaped my whole view of what we need to do” in child welfare, he said. “The absolute joy in that was seeing it could work, and seeing that we were not compromising child safety by helping children remain in homes with their families,” Milner said. “We had the data to show us children were no less safe when we kept them away from the trauma of separation.”

Milner continues to keep a standard of leading from the field. He’s on the road at least once a week, visiting with families across the country to better understand their needs, experiences and dynamics. “It’s easy in Washington, D.C. to become a bureaucrat,” he said, “to lose touch with the dayto-day reality of the families that our programs are designed to serve. I’m able to deal with that by being on the road, to meet with those families, to hear from them directly and meet with the young people to understand what worked and didn’t work for them. “I’d encourage anyone who comes to Washington and aspires to work here to stay as connected to the people we’re serving and the programs we’re funding as they possibly can.”

The advent of analytics as a primary driver of decision-making in both the public and private sector has created sophisticated methods to determine which metrics are relevant and how to interpret data correctly. Milner said social workers have been historically “notorious” for their hesitancy to use data, opting instead to only rely on field experiences to make decisions. But there’s been a shift in that ethos, and it’s helped grow the broader spectrum of social work into a sophisticated, more successful profession, he said. During Milner’s DSW dissertation, data was one of two hallmarks that would prove “foundational” for the work he’s doing at the federal level. The other was to engage with the people you’re tasked to serve, especially when working in leadership roles. Milner’s dissertation explored the factors that affect the length of time children spend in foster care.

Milner celebrates with his children after earning his DSW at UA.




Dr. John Lochman (center), 2019 Buford Peace Award winner, poses for a photo with past winners, Dr. Jo Pryce (left) and Dr. Lea Yerby.

“WHAT WE DO NOW IS WHAT WE DID THEN” BUFORD PEACE AWARD WINNER REFLECTS ON CAREER IN CHILD BEHAVIOR RESEARCH By David Miller Dr. John Lochman, retired director of the Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems at The University of Alabama, received the 2019 Lahoma Adams Buford Peace Award. The Buford Peace Award recognizes UA faculty members who are both professionally and personally active in causes that promote peace and justice. Lochman, professor and Doddridge Saxon Chair Emeritus in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, is currently interim director of the Alabama Life Research Institute. He is the 16th recipient of the award and was recognized May 6, 2019, at the UA School of Social Work’s Academic Awards Ceremony. Lochman is the co-creator of Coping Power, a school-based preventative intervention


curriculum designed to address aggressive behavior in early adolescents. The program’s primary goal is to help at-risk youth regulate their emotions and impulsive behaviors through recognition of their own triggers, goal-setting and positive reinforcement. Coping Power has been implemented throughout the Tuscaloosa community and across the globe, in countries like Italy, Canada, Sweden and Portugal. Lochman has garnered many awards for his behavior intervention research but said he was both surprised and honored to receive the Buford Peace Award, as the focus of the award isn’t on the quality or extent of his research, but about the positive outcomes achieved in addressing aggressive behavior and interpersonal conflict.

“I am extremely honored to have been nominated, much less receive the award,” Lochman said. “As I think about this award, I think about my collaborators and the range of people that I work with that are equally a part of the interventions for children with problems. [I also think about] the parents who see their children improve over time. We’ve worked hard to think about how to better serve the families and better adapt the interventions, to change them for every child that doesn’t seem to benefit, and to change outcomes for them.” Lochman said the Buford Peace Award has prompted reflection of the community impact of his work, and the many pivots he and his collaborators have made to achieve more positive outcomes. In the late 1970s, shortly after earning his doctorate, Lochman



Lochman speaks about receiving the Buford Peace Award during the School’s annual Academic Awards ceremony.

was part of a federal grant to deliver comprehensive health care to children in low-income areas of Dallas, Texas. He and a colleague responded to a large number of referrals of elementaryaged boys being overly aggressive and creating difficulties for themselves, classmates and teachers. Lochman wanted to respond to the referrals in a broader way, so he co-developed an “anger control” program that would establish many of the components that would become pillars of Coping Power. The positive gains in children regulating emotion, considering consequences and creating alternate goals prompted them to begin working with parents. “Even today, what we do now is what we did then,” Lochman said. Lochman directed UA’s Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems from 2006 to 2018. The Center works with area schools to promote evidencebased programming for violence prevention. He has several active behavioral intervention projects with UA colleagues, including studies that have applied Coping Power curriculum to middle school students and Head Start students, and another that analyzes the behavior outcomes in children that receive interventions in groups, versus those that receive individual interventions.

Dr. Karen Thompson-Jackson (’90 BSW,’ 92 MSW) was inducted to the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame. A lifelong resident of Tuscaloosa County, Karen Thompson-Jackson grew up in Northport and received bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from The University of Alabama. She has served as executive director of Temporary Emergency Services since 1990. Thompson-Jackson has been the driving force behind TES’s quick responses, maximizing what the agency can do during any natural disasters Tuscaloosa may experience. She kept 28 warehouses stocked with goods for the community after the Red Cross and Salvation Army buildings were destroyed by the 2011 tornado. Thompson-Jackson served as the president of the Junior League of Tuscaloosa. She paved the way for better communication with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides various funding for the program. Thompson-Jackson currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Community Services of West Alabama and the Capstone Charter School. She has dedicated time to other service programs in the past, such as the Board of the Mental Health Association and the Board of Five Horizons. Her dedication has been recognized through awards such as the Karen LaMoreaux Lifetime Achievement Award from the West Alabama Girl Scouts and the Tuscaloosa Junior League Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Thompson-Jackson also serves as an adjunct professor at the UA School of Social Work and is the administrative assistant at the Elizabeth Baptist Church, where she has implemented a community garden growing fresh vegetables for the west end of town.



Paul Vincent’s former colleagues at the Alabama Department of Human Resources gather for a photo at the induction ceremony.

Land, Vincent join Social Work Hall of Fame Two University of Alabama alumni, who have combined for more than 70 years advocating for Alabama’s children, joined the Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame in October 2019. Debbi Austin Land, former director of the Clay House, a children’s advocacy center in Bessemer, and Paul Vincent, founder and former director of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group, were honored as the


2019 inductees at the Tuscaloosa River Market on October 4, 2019. The Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame was founded by the School’s Social Work Society to honor the outstanding accomplishments of some of the state’s most distinguished leaders in the field of social work. Each year, the UA School of Social Work hosts a luncheon to celebrate honorees’ achievements and welcome a new class of inductees.


Debbi Austin Land Land spent 21 years in full-time social work practice before retiring in 2015. She is recognized as a leader in advocacy for Alabama’s abused and neglected children, serving as the director of the Bessemer Area Cutoff Children’s Advocacy Center, also known as the Clay House. She also served as clinical director of the Prescott House Child Advocacy Center in Bessemer. Land also served as coordinator of Jefferson County’s child death review team and as a forensic interview training assistant for the National Child Advocacy Center in Huntsville. “I interviewed over 3,000 children during my career, and all were a part of my heart,” Land said.

Land graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1971 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University in 1974. She received her master’s in social work degree from UA in 1993. She credited former School of Social Work faculty, particularly Dr. Gregory Skibinski, for helping steer her career toward child advocacy. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do [in social work] until graduate school – I’d never heard of a child advocacy center,” Land said. “I’m very appreciative of the faculty at UA and the doors they opened for me and other students.” Internships at child advocacy centers in the 1990s were scarce, Land said, so she worked continually to provide student internships at both Prescott House and Clay House.

Paul Vincent Vincent’s career in social work spans more than 50 years. He founded the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group in 1996 and led the organization for 23 years. The CWG’s mission is to improve outcomes for children and their families by designing and implementing successful system change and improving front line practice. Prior to the creation of the CWG, Vincent, a Montgomery native, was the director of the Alabama child welfare system, serving from 1989 to 1996. During that period, Alabama emerged as a national leader in demonstrating improved child and family outcomes. The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators awarded

Vincent the Excellence in Child Welfare Administration Award in 1994. “My time as child welfare director was during a period of class action litigation and was a remarkable opportunity to change a system and learn from a lot of people,” he said. “It was great to see the results produced by the whole DHR and consultant team. That work influenced my work for the next 25 years.” Vincent considers himself “semi retired”; he has served on several federal court advisory and monitoring panels for child welfare cases, including currently in Los Angeles and South Carolina. Vincent earned his bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in 1969 and his MSW degree from UA in 1972.




Greetings, Let me start by saying this: for a school named Little Hall, there is nothing LITTLE about what’s happening here. For those that may not know, the School is named after a man, William “Bill” Gray Little, who came to campus and taught students the game of football. Needless to say, the rest is history, and BIG things have happened in Little Hall for over 50 years. Child welfare, human trafficking, veterans and military, advocacy, policy change and rural disparities are all BIG conversations that are affecting us now, and undoubtedly will affect our future. These are certainly not topics that a public relations and communication major with a corporate background talks about on a regular basis, that is, until I joined The University of Alabama School of Social Work in January 2019. My role is to connect people to our school by telling these BIG stories and sharing the successes of what we have done and what we want to do, all in an effort to garner support for our students and programs. Since January, my greatest joy has been to share stories of our School and hear people say “Wow, I didn’t know that – I would love to know more about how to support this work.” What does support look like? It may be volunteering for a skills lab or being a part of our board. It may be offering financial support to students that are struggling, or opening your home to host alumni events. Ultimately, the growth of our programs can be impacted by anyone who has a passion for what we are doing here. Support comes in many forms, such as your time, your expertise or your financial generosity. All of these things combined is what makes the work happening in Little Hall, not so little. The work being done in the School of Social Work requires people who are passionate, motivated, courageous, caring and relentless in their mission to provide support to the people who need it most. I look forward to connecting you to your passion and providing you a path that can impact our students and help accomplish the BIG work being done in Little Hall, the School of Social Work. Roll Tide! Laurie Wright Associate Director of Development for Social Work and Community Health Sciences





INTERNATIONAL ALUMNI (with Hong Kong having the largest representation)

4,569 ALUMNI LIVING IN ALABAMA (next largest states are Georgia & Mississippi)



Raised toward the School’s 50th Anniversary Scholarship Fund, exceeding the $5,000 goal in just four hours. The monies raised provided books for 10 students.








SOCIAL WORK AND SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENTS (79 students received a scholarship in 2018-19 academic year)


SOCIAL WORK SOCIETY Onya Johnson, President


The Social Work Society is an affiliate organization of UA’s Capstone Foundation. All board members are active supporters of the Social Work Society Annual Fund. The Society’s signature event is the Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame, which honors the accomplishments of the state’s most distinguished leaders in the field of social work.


Pamela Green

Sam Smith

William Suclupe

Melanie Bridgeforth

The purpose of the Board of Friends is to affect a close working relationship between leaders in the community and the faculty, staff and students in the School of Social Work. The Board also works to influence development and advancement activities for the School. The objectives of the Board of Friends are to: •

Assist the School in securing financial resources

Study needs and opportunities for private funding for the School

Assist in the recruitment of outstanding students to the School

Advise the School on long-range planning


Function as an advocacy group for the University and the School




Box 870314 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0314 www.socialwork.ua.edu

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage Paid The University of Alabama