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From dynamic presentations, to networking with colleagues, to the illustrious Buckeye Social, to a dazzling new booth filled with info and goodies–the College of Social Work made quite the impression at this year’s Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) conference. With hundreds of incredible world-changers gathered in one place, it was a conference to remember for CSW staff, faculty, students and alums! The conference was held November 10-13, in Anaheim, CA.

Congrats to LiFEsports!

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) recently announced that Columbus Recreation and Parks Department received its Award of Excellence for its partnership with The Ohio State University to offer the LiFEsports summer camp in the “Sports” category, which recognizes the outstanding youth or adult sports programs or events that improve the community.

Recognized as a national model for other university programs serving at-risk youth, LiFEsports+ Summer Camp serves youth ages 5-14 for eight weeks in the summer. The camp utilizes sports to teach four main social skills: self-control, effort, teamwork and social responsibility (S.E.T.S.).

OPRA’s annual awards program recognizes organizations throughout Ohio that embody the vision, dedication and demonstration of excellence in parks and recreation.

Read more

Plenty of Buckeye fans celebrated this year’s Ohio State Homecoming game against Rutgers on October 1. From balloons to face painting and cheers, CSW Buckeyes rocked the 2022 tailgate. A good time was had by all!

2021 Hall of Fame Recipient Dr. Patricia Lyons shares her social work journey, as well as advice for overcoming burnout, remaining inclusive and giving a voice to those who are silenced.

Pat Lyons“I always joke that I have a degree in everything.”

To know Dr. Patricia Lyons is to know that is practically true. Having received her MSW from The Ohio State University in 1988, Dr. Lyons has committed herself to a lifelong journey of learning, leadership, advocacy and mentorship.

Currently the market health equity director at AmeriHealth Caritas of Ohio and owner of Lyons Counseling and Consultation Services, Dr. Lyons’s career in social work is not only impressive but also paints an inspiring picture of what is possible in the social work profession.

After earning her MSW, Dr. Lyons began working for Disability Rights Ohio (formerly Ohio Legal Rights Services), where she traveled throughout the state to investigate abuse and neglect in state psychiatric hospitals. In this role, she became empowered to focus her career on highlighting the voices and experiences of those who are often overlooked and/or marginalized.

“There is no such thing as the ‘voiceless’,” she emphasized.

From there, she moved onto Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she continued her work around child abuse and neglect, with a particular focus on shaken baby syndrome and the importance of involving communities in prevention initiatives. This work led her to accept a role as the health equity program manager for the Columbus Department of Public Health, where she dove into racism as a public health issue and developed a platform for improving Black infant and maternal health.

It was this work that inspired Dr. Lyons to earn her Ph.D. in public health from Walden University (2016). It was also around this time that she transitioned into a role at the Veterans Association, advocating for veterans who didn’t fit the stereotype typically portrayed in the media, such as Black women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“How are we allowing the space for people to exist the way that we are existing?” she said, reflecting on the experience. “How are we making the space safe for how one will identify?”

It’s this mindset that forms the foundation for Dr. Lyon’s passion in her field, and the connection between all her work, including her involvement at the College of Social Work.

In addition to being a regular donor, Dr. Lyons is a former Board President (CSW Alumni Society), and continues to serve on the board with a special focus on the Alumni Scholarship Recipients (encouraging applications and honoring students).

“My favorite part of the board’s work is to know that we are making a difference in the fundraising and guardianship of the scholarship donations to ensure that the recipient can continue their education uninterrupted,” she shared.

In 2021, Dr. Lyons was recognized at the College of Social Work’s Hall of Fame Ceremony as a recipient of the Distinguished Career Award.

Equally important to Dr. Lyons is mentorship and giving back, especially for students of color. As the Immediate Past President of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), Columbus Chapter, she is passionate about strengthening the supportive connections between NABSW, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the university. She also loves to make herself available to students for support and encourages her colleagues to do the same.

“I will often ask my colleagues, ‘Why aren’t you throwing the lifelines back?’,” she shared. “Sometimes we have to find a friend and phone a friend.”

She continued, “If you are in a particular space, make sure that you bring somebody else along; not somebody just like you but somebody who doesn’t have the same opportunity.”

Having experienced the hardships and obstacles associated with the profession, Dr. Lyons has plenty of words of encouragement for current students and alumni facing the same issues.

“When you are struggling, lean into that discomfort and name it,” she advises. “Yes, we get tired, but we have to go get some rest and then come back.”

From students, to professionals, to community advocates and beyond, Dr. Lyons hopes her story will inspire others to continue to speak up and fight for equity for all human beings.

“You always have a voice. There is no place where you don’t have a voice, unless you choose not to use it.”

CSW Alumnus and President of the CSW Alumni Society shares how the benefits of membership to students, recent alumni and more.

Tasha ChildsAs a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Carolina and president of the College of Social Work Alumni Society, Tasha Childs, MSW, LSW, LMSW has a lot on her plate this academic year, but based on her enthusiasm – this will be a year full of tremendous opportunity for students and alumni alike.

A first-generation college student, Childs entered Ohio State as a double major in biology and chemistry. After a couple years of coursework and community volunteering, she took a social work class on positive youth development that changed her life forever. Realizing that she wanted to help children with holistic well-being, she changed her major to education in her junior year and began volunteering with the College’s own LiFEsports and CAYCI initiatives.

Childs graduated from Ohio State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in (2017). She went on to obtain her MSW from the College of Social Work in (2019). A Ph.D. candidate at The University of South Carolina, her research focuses on eliminating racial inequity in schools, as well as the role school social workers can play in serving as racial equity agents to mitigate racial bias.

Though her path to social work was non-traditional, Childs took every opportunity to immerse herself in the learning experience – from engaging in service learning and volunteering, to connecting with faculty (and even Dean Tom Gregoire) for academic and career advice.

Her commitment (and previous experience as MSW Student Representative and Secretary) make her a natural fit for president of the CSW Alumni Society. With a new academic year on the horizon, Childs sat down to share down her goals for the society and what she hopes members will get out of the experience.

Being a new alumnus can be an intimidating and lonely experience at times, how do you see the Alumni Society offering support?

The Alumni Society can be a great way to keep engaged with the College as a community, even in the transition to the workforce. That feeling of being supported by faculty, staff, and other students during your time in the program can translate directly to continuing to foster that sense of community as an alumnus! Our alumni society works to provide opportunities for all alumni. Recent alumni might find our networking events useful for exploring job opportunities or want to be more engaged with providing opportunities for current students. We also encourage alumni to reach out and let us help create or support an event you feel would help reach you and your recent graduate colleagues!

How does the CSW Alumni Society balance the experience of all members – given the differences in age, industry and experience level?

We really focus on leveraging each other’s experience. It’s almost like a cycle – as you become further embedded in the society you too can give insight to current students and the next class of recent alumni.

Also, when you are a recent alumnus, I think it’s a great time to become involved with the alumni society and help us understand the current experience of students. Those recent alumni provide such insight into areas of opportunity and improvement for the alumni society and the larger college experience.

How has the focus of the Alumni Society evolved and/or how is it evolving in this upcoming academic year?

In the past two years, our focus has been on increasing communication with alumni broadly, recent alumni and also on sustainability.

[The College of Social Work] also has a really large online student platform – we want them to feel like they are part of the larger community as well. We don’t want them to feel left out of the alumni network.

Finally, we have really worked to leverage our existing events and supplement with new interest – the most recent one being a non-traditional social work panel. We continue to balance the requests of the larger society with a commitment to providing opportunities for all our alumni, regardless of membership status in the alumni society itself.

Do you have to be a member to participate in meetings or events?

Not at all! Meetings are bi-monthly and are virtual or hybrid. They are open and we love for any CSW alumni to come to those meetings. You can email me and we will get you added to the invitation.

Is there any opportunity for students to become involved prior to graduation?

Yes. Part of the alumni society role is nurturing that transition from student to new alumni. We encourage recent alumni to become an Alumni Society member from the start, so that we can stay in touch with you as you navigate your role as a social worker!

Those who are recent alumni or in their last year as students are oftentimes focused on their job and where they are going [after graduation]. Networking events can really help with this process.

How can people get in contact with you or learn more information?

To learn more about the CSW Alumni Society please email me or any member of the Executive Committee at cswalumni@osu.edu. Also, more information is available at csw.osu.edu/alumni-giving/alumni-society about how to become a member, members of our Alumni Society Board, and alumni giving opportunities.

Learn how the scholarship supports CSW students, future research and those most in need in our community.

Yitong Xin

The College of Social Work Alumni Scholarship Fund was established in 1985 by the College Alumni Association, and aims to help eligible students continue their education and experience in the field of social work. Two recipients took time to express their gratitude, as well as the impact they hope to have, thanks in part to the additional support.

CSW Alumni Scholarship Recipient: Yitong Xin

PhD Candidate Yitong Xin shares how the scholarship will assist her in uncovering harm-reductive treatments for trauma and substance misuse.

Currently in the PhD program at the College of Social Work, Yitong Xin obtained her MSW from The Ohio State University in 2017. Inspired by a personal observation on how stigma played a role in people’s help-seeking behaviors for mental health treatment, Xin chose to specialize in mental health and substance misuse, with the consideration of cultural perspective.

Following graduation, Xin began working in community-based practice as a licensed social worker, where she soon realized that many therapeutic modalities appeared to be insufficient for certain populations, especially when attempting to treat adults with complex trauma histories. Wanting to dive deeper into this phenomenon and uncover treatment that would be effective and harm-reducing for the population, she made the decision to pursue her PhD. Her current research centers on substance misuse, harm-reduction, trauma and the role of resilience in improving outcomes.

Her passion for sharing her research and improving treatment outcomes plays a tremendous role in her gratitude for having been chosen as an alumni scholarship recipient. With the additional support, Xin can travel to international conferences and present on the findings from her research, with hopes that it will impact both the academy and future treatment alternatives.

“I just want to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the donor and scholarship committee for choosing me as a recipient,” Xin reflected. “It has definitely encouraged me to continue learning and exploring effective treatment interventions for mental disorders and substance misuse with a harm reduction approach.”

She continued, “It’s also an acknowledgment of the hard work that I’ve put towards getting my PhD and community service.”

Xin is equally grateful for the faculty and staff at the college.

“I joined the college in 2015. I always feel that bonding with the CSW community and support from the college and faculty,” she shared. “It has never stopped.”

Upon completion of her degree, Xin aims to find a faculty position and continue to support students through mentorship and education.

“I want to prepare our future social workers with the knowledge, values, skills and critical thinking – like what I received at Ohio State.” she said. “I think it’s really important to equip our students with key tools, cultural humility, and a global perspective, and I want to be able to provide them with opportunities for leadership and professional development.”

Finally, due in part to the support she has received at CSW, Xin hopes to one day follow in the footsteps of the donors who have helped to make her work possible. Her goal is to have own scholarship fund someday.

“My wish is that we will have many more competent social work leaders, and I want to be the one to assist them in pursuing their dreams, achieving their goals, and creating a more transformative society.”

MSW student Alison Evans shares the impact of her experience at CSW and her plans to support survivors of human trafficking.

Alison Evans

Currently in the MSW (ASAP) program, Alison Evans began her social work journey at Columbus State Community College (CSCC), where she obtained her Associates Degree and a Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA) certification.

After a couple of years at CSCC, Evans transferred to The Ohio State University and entered the social work program, with hopes of helping survivors of human trafficking. She immediately felt a connection to both the program and the college.

“One of the things I’ve appreciated most is how real the teachers are,” she reflected. “I also appreciate the amount of respect that they give students. They seem to really care.”

During her final year in the BSSW program, Evans interned at Amethyst, an alvis recovery program aimed at supporting women and their families.

“I really enjoyed my time at Amethyst,” Evans shared. “It was a perfect internship for me and really solidified my passion for wanting to work in this field.” “I learned so much from both the staff and clients at Amethyst and was struck by the strength and power of each client.

She continued, “My time here was an example to me of the hope that can be held for each client in their ability to heal, grow, and find freedom in this life”.

Evans expressed that she felt “empowered” by the staff to seek out experiences that were beyond her comfort zone.

She will complete her MSW program in May (2023), with plans to remain in Columbus and gain experience in the fields of mental health, trauma and substance abuse. She hopes to eventually obtain her chemical dependency counselor’s license as well.

Evans attributes her ability to continue her education to the generosity of the Alumni Society scholarship.

“[Because of the scholarship], I have the opportunity to gain more education so that I can be the best social worker that I can be for my future clients,” she said. “I want to extend a huge thank you to the donors for their generosity and for their willingness to give back to the future generations of social workers.”

The Ohio State University College of Social Work (CSW) is pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Happel, MSW, LSW, as assistant director of the Age-Friendly Innovation Center (AFIC).

Prior to their new role, Happel served as founding director for Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center’s Village in the Ville. Happel also is the founding director of The Greater Columbus Network of Villages, supporting the growth of the village movement in central Ohio.  They have also been a CSW community lecturer since 2019. Their experience ranges from grants manager and senior supportive services outreach to prevention education coordinator for the Ohio Coalition of Adult Protective Services and behavioral intervention specialist for St. Vincent’s Family Services. Happel received their MSW from the college in 2014.

Happel has worked with AFIC for many years as a partner on initiatives such as Lyfting the Villages, launching multiple neighborhood circulators, and our COVID-19 response initiatives. Their work has been grounded in supporting older adults aging in community and building communities where we each feel seen, heard, and valued.  Happel also coined the phrase, “Aging: So cool everyone is doing it!” that has been used in various positive aging campaigns locally.

As AFIC’s assistant director, Happel will be responsible for implementing the program’s community assessment, planning and strategic plan as well as community outreach and serving on local, regional, state, and national advocacy and advisory boards and committees.   Co-designing pilot programs alongside older adults to address community challenges through proactive outreach or response will be a key focus for Happel. They will also support the coordination and implementation of various on-going community efforts, such as the Services Roundtable of Franklin County and Age-Friendly Technical Assistance Program (TAP), a first-of-its-kind initiative to increase the number of and support to Ohio Communities working toward age-friendly goals.

AFIC is the first university-based center in the nation to embrace the full spectrum of needs, opportunities and complex issues related to age-friendly communities—bringing to bear the resources, partnerships, and brainpower of a top-tier research university with the expertise of older residents to transform our communities and make them more livable for all. Its mission is to innovate with older adults through research, education, and engagement to ensure inclusion and build resiliency to make communities more age friendly–all achieved through collaborating with Ohio State interdisciplinary faculty, students, and community partners.

Building off more than six years of work, the AFIC continues to prioritize the contributions of older residents to improve social, built and health environments that support livability for people of all ages and abilities. The community impacts of this work reverberate beyond older adults, increasing quality of life for individuals of all age groups and abilities within and outside central Ohio, and its results are shared with partners across the United States and around the globe.

AFIC is recognized as a national leader in the age-friendly network, having secured over $2 million from public and private funders, AFIC has published nine manuscripts and numerous reports in partnership with students, interdisciplinary faculty and community members.  AFIC has reached over 16,000 individuals through community-based participatory research, presentations, surveys, focus groups or walk audits. Through the Scholars Program, course collaborations and internships, AFIC has engaged 120 students representing 17 disciplines.

Last year, Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, associate professor and AFIC director of research, received Ohio State’s Community Engagement Scholar award and the initiative was also honored with the university’s Outreach and Engagement award in 2020. The CSWE Commission for Diversity and Social Economic Justice honored Age-Friendly with the Community Partnership Action Award in 2019. 

Before receiving center designation in 2021, AFIC operated as Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County under the college for three years and joined the World Health Organization and AARP International Network of Age-Friendly Communities in 2016. Age-Friendly Columbus previously operated under the guidance of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).

The AFIC is located at Rev1 Labs, 1275 Kinnear Road. Happel joins new AFIC Director Marisa Sheldon, who was recently appointed, succeeding Katie White who led the initiative and succeeding center since 2016.

For more information about AFIC, click here

CSW students gathered at Stillman Hall and via Zoom for orientation this year on Monday, August 22, kicking off the 2022-23 academic school year. Some were new to Columbus. Others were new to Ohio State. And many were new to the College of Social Work.
The orientation brought students, faculty and staff together both in person and virtually to share and receive information, meet, make connections and get off to a strong start to the school year.
Best of luck to our CSW students as they start their journey into the field of social work!

The Ohio State University College of Social Work is pleased to announce the appointment of Eunha Suh as Technical Assistance Program (TAP) coordinator for the Age-Friendly Innovation Center (AFIC).

Prior to her new role, Suh has served diverse populations of older adults in both California and Utah. Including working for UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in Aging, the Asian Pacific Counseling & Treatment Centers, and as a mental health therapist and educator on the Vital Aging Project. Most recently, Suh has been a CSW field co-instructor and liaison supporting undergraduate and graduate social work students. She received her MSW from UCLA in 2013.

As coordinator, Suh will be responsible for implementing TAP across diverse populations and geographic locations in the state of Ohio. This will include promoting and developing TAP resources, including the Age-Friendly Communities Certificate, an educational program designed to demonstrate competency in the foundational tenets of creating an age-friendly community. Suh will collaborate with new communities entering or exploring the age-friendly network and providing training on developing age-friendly communities. She will also focus on increasing the equity and inclusion of older adults into local and statewide AFIC, across all outreach, education and research efforts as well as manage and coordinate focus groups in targeted impact communities.
TAP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to increase the number of and support to Ohio Communities working toward age-friendly goals. Through the generous support of the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, this program and unique investment will expand the World Health Organization’s and AARP’s age-friendly framework across the state by engaging older adults as experts in creating innovative, evidence-based solutions to make Ohio a better place to live for people of all ages and abilities. TAP will focus on the HealthPath Foundation’s 36-county service area and extends the work of the Coalition of Age-Friendly Communities of Ohio, a grassroots collaboration of existing age-friendly communities in the state.

AFIC is the first university-based center in the nation to embrace the full spectrum of needs, opportunities and complex issues related to age-friendly communities—bringing to bear the resources, partnerships, and brainpower of a top-tier research university with the expertise of older residents to transform our communities and make them more livable for all. Its mission is to innovate with older adults through research, education, and engagement to ensure inclusion and build resiliency to make communities more age friendly–all achieved through collaborating with Ohio State interdisciplinary faculty, students, and community partners.

Building off more than six years of work, the AFIC continues to prioritize the contributions of older residents to improve social, built and health environments that support livability for people of all ages and abilities. The community impacts of this work reverberate beyond older adults, increasing quality of life for individuals of all age groups and abilities within and outside central Ohio, and its results are shared with partners across the United States and around the globe.

AFIC is recognized as a national leader in the age-friendly network, having secured over $2 million from public and private funders, AFIC has published nine manuscripts and numerous reports in partnership with students, interdisciplinary faculty and community members. AFIC has reached over 16,000 individuals through community-based participatory research, presentations, surveys, focus groups or walk audits. Through the Scholars Program, course collaborations and internships, AFIC has engaged 120 students representing 17 disciplines.
Last year, Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, associate professor and AFIC director of research, received Ohio State’s Community Engagement Scholar award and the initiative was also honored with the university’s Outreach and Engagement award in 2020. The CSWE Commission for Diversity and Social Economic Justice honored Age-Friendly with the Community Partnership Action Award in 2019.

Before receiving center designation in 2021, AFIC operated as Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County under the college for three years and joined the World Health Organization and AARP International Network of Age-Friendly Communities in 2016. Age-Friendly Columbus previously operated under the guidance of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).

The AFIC is located at Rev1 Labs, 1275 Kinnear Road. Suh joins new AFIC Director Marisa Sheldon, who was recently appointed, succeeding Katie White who led the initiative and succeeding center since 2016.

For more information about AFIC, click here.

Congratulations to Dr. Patrice Palmer who was named the 2022 National Social Worker of the Year–the top honor bestowed by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

NASW awarded Palmer for her work to help break the cycle of mass incarceration.

Palmer graduated from the College of Social Work with her BSSW and MSW in ‘09 and ’10, respectively. Her degrees then became a catalyst toward changing a past riddled with undiagnosed mental health, domestic violence and criminal activity. Instead of using her troubled history as a crutch, she began drawing upon her lived experience with addiction, life challenges and the criminal justice system.

Today, Palmer is CEO of Chosen4Change, a non-profit organization which she co-founder in 2010. Chosen4Change, focuses on assisting people navigate the multiple barriers of the criminal justice system prior to custody, during incarceration and as they reenter back into society. She works directly with individuals, families, community partners and elected officials by educating them on the challenges/barriers to incarceration and or reentry.

Palmer is also a national trainer for Peace Love Art workshops, which creates safe spaces to have meaningful conversation about mental wellness through using the arts as a tool for conversation.

The Social Worker of the Year Award honors a member of NASW who typifies the best of the profession’s values and successes. In honoring the Social Worker of the Year, NASW shines a spotlight on stellar achievements in the practice of social work.

Watch for the college’s upcoming fall issue of The Stillman alumni magazine for a feature on Palmer.

For the NASW press release and announcement, click here.

David Jenkins photoThe College of Social work is pleased to welcome Dean David A. Jenkins, PhD, LCSW, as the newly appointed dean of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027.

Jenkins joins the college from the University of Louisville, where he served as professor and dean of the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science since 2016. As dean there, he focused on creating a culture that supports faculty research, resulting in a portfolio of $31 million in external funding. He developed online programs, including a new Doctor of Social Work degree, and strengthened efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion within the Kent School and across the broader campus and communities. He also served as director of academic leadership development in the provost’s office and has worked on university-wide budgeting.

Jenkins replaces Dr. Tom Gregoire, who led the college for 14 years over two terms.

 

A group of nearly 50 people
represented the college at this year’s Columbus Pride Parade. CSW Students, friends, faculty, staff and alumni joined Brutus Buckeye, Ohio State participants and more than 750,000 supporters at Pride 2022. Many CSW participants wore Pride T-shirts to further demonstrate their support.

The Ohio State University College of Social Work is pleased to announce the appointment of Marisa Sheldon (MSW, LISW-S) as director of its Age-Friendly Innovation Center (AFIC).

Prior to her new role, Sheldon served as the AFIC’s assistant director of interdisciplinary engagement and as assistant director of Age-Friendly Communities of Columbus & Franklin County, respectively. Over the last decade, she has also served as community lecturer and field placement coordinator for the college as well as helpline and support coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, Central Ohio Chapter. She received her Master of Social Work degree from Ohio State in 2011, preceded by her Bachelor of Science in Social Work in 2010.

Sheldon has been involved with the Age-Friendly initiative since it joined the College of Social Work in 2018 and helped build the foundational work of the center. She brings a strong focus on leading community change to ensure the voices and ideas of older adults are central to the decision-making process. With this same passion, she is committed to inspiring the next generation of those serving in aging, having worked with hundreds of students during her time at the university.

AFIC is the first university-based center in the nation to embrace the full spectrum of needs, opportunities and complex issues related to age-friendly communities—bringing to bear the resources, partnerships, and brainpower of a top-tier research university with the expertise of older residents to transform our communities and make them more livable for all. Its mission is to innovate with older adults through research, education, and engagement to ensure inclusion and build resiliency to make communities more age friendly–all achieved through collaborating with Ohio State interdisciplinary faculty, students, and community partners.

Building off more than six years of work, the AFIC continues to prioritize the contributions of older residents to improve social, built and health environments that support livability for people of all ages and abilities. The community impacts of this work reverberate beyond older adults, increasing quality of life for individuals of all age groups and abilities within and outside central Ohio, and its results are shared with partners across the United States and around the globe.

“Marisa’s commitment to her work with the AFIC and Age-Friendly Columbus has been significant, and we are pleased to have her advance as director,” says College of Social Work Dean Tom Gregoire. “Our college has a strong commitment to research and teaching in aging and recognizes the considerable asset that older adults represent in our society. The AFIC is among the nation’s most innovative programs in building a community where older adults and all can thrive. We are excited about what the AFIC offers and are confident in continued impact under Marisa’s leadership and vision.”

AFIC is recognized as a national leader in the age-friendly network, having secured over $2 million from public and private funders, AFIC has published nine manuscripts and numerous reports in partnership with students, interdisciplinary faculty and community members.  AFIC has reached over 16,000 individuals through community-based participatory research, presentations, surveys, focus groups or walk audits. Through the Scholars Program, course collaborations and internships, AFIC has engaged 120 students representing 17 disciplines.

Last year, Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, associate professor and AFIC director of research, received Ohio State’s Community Engagement Scholar award and the initiative was also honored with the university’s Outreach and Engagement award in 2020. The CSWE Commission for Diversity and Social Economic Justice honored Age-Friendly with the Community Partnership Action Award in 2019.

Before receiving center designation in 2021, AFIC operated as Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County under the college for three years and joined the World Health Organization and AARP International Network of Age-Friendly Communities in 2016. Age-Friendly Columbus previously operated under the guidance of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).

The AFIC is located at Rev1 Labs, 1275 Kinnear Road. Sheldon succeeds Katie White who led the initiative and succeeding center since 2016.

For more information about AFIC, click here.

Contact: Frankie Jones-Harris, communications director, at jones-harris.1@osu.edu or 614-330-2206.

Congratulations, College of Social Work Buckeyes!

Did you know that to date, the college has conferred 6,075 social work degrees?

This year:

  • 244 students earned their BSSW degrees
  • 435 students earned their MSW degrees
  • 7 students earned their PhD degrees
  • 686 students graduated from the College of Social Work

To view the BSSW ceremony, click here. https://vimeo.com/704683334

To view the MSW ceremony, click here.

 

No one wants to miss a loved one’s graduation, but what if you’re on the other side of the country or across the ocean? The College of Social Work solves that problem for those faraway guests wishing to attend its annual ceremony known as the Evening of Recognition.

The college streams the event live so guests from all over the United States can watch their graduating family and friends be recognized, receive honors and walk the stage. Although the ceremony was cancelled during COVID-19, in years past, more than 125 guests from more than 30 states–and as far away as Hawaii–have tuned in, and the event has trended on Twitter. The event has also attracted YouTube viewers from as far away as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Syria and Australia. Onlookers, both via the live feed and in person, are also invited to tweet shout outs and well wishes to the graduates on a 12 x 16-foot screen displayed above the stage in Mershon Auditorium on Ohio State’s campus.

This year, there were two separate ceremonies with one on Friday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. (BSSW students) and the other on Monday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. (MSW and PhD students).

The college, known for being technology-forward, added live streaming and tweeting during the ceremony several years ago. The ceremony, unofficially themed “Look out world, here comes help!” is a perfect blend of celebration, technology and social media at their best.

To view the 2022 BSSW ceremony, click here.

To view the 2022 MSW ceremony, click here.

David Jenkins photoThe College of Social work is pleased to announce that David A. Jenkins, PhD, LCSW, has been appointed dean of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027. Jenkins will replace Dean Tom Gregoire, who has led the college for 14 years over two terms.

Jenkins joins the college from the University of Louisville, where he currently serves as professor and dean of the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science since 2016. As dean, he has focused on creating a culture that supports faculty research, resulting in a portfolio of $31 million in external funding. He has developed online programs, including a new Doctor of Social Work degree, and strengthened efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion within the Kent School and across the broader campus and communities. He currently serves as director of academic leadership development in the provost’s office and has worked on university-wide budgeting.

Read the full release here

Shinka headshotThis month, the College of Social Work is proud to recognize Eva and Andrew Shinka for their incredible generosity and support, as well as their high-level of engagement with CSW students, faculty, and staff.

Over the course of the last twenty-plus years, both Andrew and Eva have achieved a tremendous amount of success in their respective careers. Eva received a Bachelor of Science in Social Work in 1998 and a Master of Social Work in 1999 from Ohio State. In addition to being a professional engineer in the state of Ohio, Andrew served in the United States Navy for twenty-one years and retired with the rank of Commander, with personal decorations including the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (six awards), Army Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various unit and service awards. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Ohio State in 1999.

As a licensed independent social worker, Eva has nearly twenty years of experience, with areas of clinical focus including traumatic brain injury (TBI), anxiety, depression, managing stress and triggers, parenting and more. As a military spouse, Eva is equally passionate about supporting active-duty servicemen, veterans, and military families. She even worked with the military for 12 years before going into private practice.

Early in their marriage, the Shinkas mutually agreed to quit their full-time jobs and pursue college as non-traditional students. Their research for a university that would offer programs suitable for both led them to Ohio State.

“I decided to switch to social work after my first year at Ohio State University,” Eva shared. “I knew that I wanted to do something in the helping profession. I fell into social work when I worked as an activity’s assistant at an assisted living home and have loved it ever since.”

As students, the Shinkas instantly built a connection to Ohio State and the College of Social Work. This connection has formed the foundation for long-term donor support and engagement.

“I am truly grateful for the education Eva received,” Andrew reflected. “In my opinion it is one of the best decisions Eva ever made. She and I feel it’s important to give back to the community that provided so much to us as Buckeyes and for others to benefit from the program as we have.”

In addition to supporting the college through annual giving, Eva serves on the Alumni Society Board, is part of the mentorship program and has facilitated presentations for CSW in various capacities over the years. With all her involvement, she places particular emphasis on the importance of mentorship.

“The mentor relationship is built on trust, confidentiality, and respect,” Eva explained. “Mentors and mentees both bring value to the relationship. It is not only a way to give back, but mentors also get back.”

As proud Buckeyes, the Shinkas look forward to opportunities to return to Ohio State and engage in fellowship. They are also quick to attribute their connection to the leadership of Dean Tom Gregoire – whom they both deeply respect and appreciate.

“Tom Gregoire is a huge reason Eva and I support the College of Social Work,” Andrew explained. “He has always been a mentor for Eva since her student days at CSW. We put our faith in Tom’s leadership and vision and try to help the best we can when we can.”

With such faith and enthusiasm for the College, the Shinkas encourage all alumni to become involved.

“We value the social work program and its successes and have committed to contributing yearly,” Eva shared. “We feel strongly about investing in the College of Social Work and value the opportunities that it provides to students.”

Andrew echoed those statements, “Eva and I are extremely appreciative to The Ohio State University for giving us great educations and a remarkable opportunity to pay it forward. If somebody is thinking about donating: I say do it. Every bit helps and it all adds up.”

Reid photoThe McMurry Scholar Athlete Citizenship Award, housed in the College of Social Work and established by alumnus Preston McMurry, recognizes an exemplary student athlete who personifies a “social champion” – distinguishing him or herself in service to humanity and embodying the motto, “Education for Citizenship.”

This year’s McMurry Scholar Athlete Citizenship Award winner is Ohio State Senior Jackson Reid. A Sports Industry and Communications Major, Reid is also an attackman for the Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse Team – with plans to pursue a career in high school or collegiate lacrosse coaching after graduation (May ’22). Nominated by Head Coach, Nick Myers, Reid was selected based on his exemplary commitment to service work and his reputation for being passionate, dependable and a “natural born leader”. With a winner’s mindset and the heart of a servant – Reid proudly represents what it means to be a Buckeye and a social champion.

Originally from Geulph, Ontario, Jackson Reid has always had a passion for sports. Regarding hockey as his “first love”, Wayne Gretzy was an idol and major motivator for him to succeed in athletics. Most recently, Reid finds himself inspired by LeBron James – not only for his talent, but for his commitment to community service and giving back.

Over the last five years, Reid has remained committed to regularly participating in service-work, making sure to encourage his teammates to come along. His most cherished work includes time playing with patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, as well as reading to Columbus City School students as part of the 2nd & 7 program.

Reid and his teammates have also spent time serving food to local members of the community, an experience he found to be especially humbling and meaningful.

“It was eye-opening to see that there were so many people in tough situations they may not have started out in. For them to be so positive rubbed off on me,” Reid shared. “No matter what you go through – everything won’t be perfect – but being able to be positive and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can go a long way.”

Reid has also spent his summers and spare time coaching hundreds of young Central Ohio players through Resolute Lacrosse and the Urban Lacrosse Academy.  Experiences like this drive his goal to continue coaching after graduation– as he views it as the perfect way to have an impact on young lives. His own coach, Nick Myers, has played a significant role in Reid’s experience and career goals.

“[He taught me that] success comes from others helping you along the way – whether you realize it or not,” Reid noted. “You are not in this alone.”

Though surprised by the nomination from Myers, Reid feels nothing but gratitude for the recognition.

“It’s always an honor when someone else sees something in you that you don’t see in yourself. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be presented with this award,” Reid reflected. “I don’t take it for granted and I’m very grateful to my coach for nominating me and the College of Social Work for selecting me.”

As he prepares to leave Ohio State in May, he leaves behind one piece of his advice for his teammates and fellow Buckeyes:

“Enjoy the moment – whether it’s a good day or a bad day. You only have so many days – the number is limited. Just enjoy where your feet are.”

Fisher photoThe College of Social Work is proud to share stories of students committed to community outreach and social change. This month’s highlight is MSW student Megan Fisher.

Currently in the ASAP MSW program, Fisher (BSSW ’21) began her journey into the social work profession in a non-traditional manner – years earlier when she was working as a hairdresser.

“All of my clients left looking beautiful – but they also left feeling good because of the conversations we had,” Fisher shared, reflecting on what inspired her to pursue a career helping others.

After earning her associate degree in Human Services and Behavioral Health from Sinclair Community College, she applied to the College of Social Work to earn her BSSW. A few short years later, she found herself in SWK5030 working on a project to identify an intervention for those in poverty – an assignment that, with the support of her professor, would ultimately form the foundation for her nonprofit – Voices of Prosperity.

Based in Lima, Ohio, Voices of Prosperity strives to empower children, teens, and adults from all walks of life with access to personal well-being through creativity. With her community full of non-profit organizations, Fisher noticed something missing: a facility focused on the arts.

“I believe the arts have a way of bringing people together,” Fisher said. “It’s very unifying.”

Voices for Prosperity offers mobile workshops, where they bring their materials to the organizations and facilities (including homeless shelters and treatment centers) they are working in. In addition to mobile classes, yoga and arts-based classes are offered at their studio location. With participants ranging from ages five to 70 – the organization has served over 500 individuals in its first year of operation. Fisher has her eyes set on continued growth – including hopes to move into a larger studio space in downtown Lima, a location that would offer greater accessibility to those in need.

“We are all about meeting people where they are,” Fisher explains. “It has been so humbling watching folks just allow themselves to be creative.”

Most recently, Voices of Prosperity hosted their first art show with client work. The art from this exhibit was turned into “Expression Recovery” a video that strives to lift the stigma associated with those in recovery.

With plans to graduate this May (2022) with her MSW, Fisher is grateful for her experience at the College of Social Work.

“The social work program gave me a path to be the best version of me,” Fisher said. “There are teachers that are supportive – and challenging- but beyond that the College goes above and beyond to help students overcome every barrier to make that happen.”

For those looking to support Voices of Prosperity, in-kind donations (art supplies – paint, brushes, canvas, etc.) can be mailed to 512 E. Main St. Cridersville, OH 45806. To make a monetary donation, please visit www.voicesofprosperity.org.

Woman working on laptopCSW Office of Continuing Education Receives ACE Approval from ASWB!

The College of Social Work, office of Continuing Education is proud to announce the approval of ASWB to provide professional development opportunities for social workers across the country. The demand for social workers continues to increase and the CE office is committed to offer training that will help them stay prepared to address the demands of the profession. One-to-six-hour webinars as well as self -paced courses are available. Want a deeper dive? Register for one of our Certificate Courses. Visit our website for more information.

https://csw.osu.edu/continuing-education/

The Ohio State University College of Social Work’s graduate program is celebrating another milestone as it climbs in the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

In the 2023 rankings, the college advanced two spots to 11th out of 303 programs nationally, ranking in the top 4% of all programs. It also ranked 7th among all public programs in the United States and 2nd among the 10 programs in the Big Ten.

In the 2020 rankings, the college ranked 6th and 13th respectively. In 2016, the college marked its first appearance in the top 10 among publics and in the top 20 overall, ranking 9th and 17th, respectively. Rankings are determined from an annual survey of all graduate programs.

“Our continued climb in the rankings is a direct result of the hard work of our faculty, staff and students,” said College of Social Work Dean Tom Gregoire. “Our success reflects their impact as innovative scholars and creative instructors in the field and the classroom. We are a community of difference makers, and I’m happy that our impact is recognized in this way.”

The college has consistently moved up in the rankings under Gregoire’s direction which began in 2008. He has made it a priority to showcase faculty, staff, students and alumni for their contributions to the understanding of society’s most vexing social problems. His leadership has focused on technology, online education, social justice, increasing research funding and most importantly, scholarships to students.

David Jenkins photoThe College of Social work is pleased to announce that David A. Jenkins, PhD, LCSW, has been appointed dean of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027. Jenkins will replace Dean Tom Gregoire, who has led the college for 14 years over two terms.

Jenkins joins the college from the University of Louisville, where he currently serves as professor and dean of the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science since 2016. As dean, he has focused on creating a culture that supports faculty research, resulting in a portfolio of $31 million in external funding. He has developed online programs, including a new Doctor of Social Work degree, and strengthened efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion within the Kent School and across the broader campus and communities. He currently serves as director of academic leadership development in the provost’s office and has worked on university-wide budgeting.

His scholarship focuses on health disparities faced by marginalized individuals and families, seeking to better understand lived experiences of those underrepresented in academic and professional literature. Most frequently, his research examines the lives and issues facing sexual minorities as individuals, couples and families.

Jenkins earned his BS in business administration and MSW from Louisiana State University in addition to a PhD in social work from Florida State University. He also is certified as a licensed clinical social worker. Before arriving at the University of Louisville, he served on the social work faculty of Texas Christian University for 25 years, including nine years as department chair.

“I am thrilled to be joining the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University,” says Jenkins. “The college plays such an important role on the campus, in Columbus, and throughout the state of Ohio. I look forward to building on the great work of Dean Gregoire.”

During a time of growth and stability shepherded by Dean Gregoire, Jenkins comes to Columbus to lead the college’s next chapter. Since becoming dean in 2008, Gregoire has made it a priority to showcase faculty, staff, students and alumni for their contributions to the understanding of society’s most vexing social problems. His leadership has focused on technology, online education, social justice, increasing research funding and most importantly, scholarships to students. Under Gregoire’s direction, between 2012 and 2020, the college has advanced in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate School rankings from 26th nationally and 15th among public universities, to 13th nationally and 6th among publics, respectively.

Jenkins is poised to continue the momentum and move the college forward.

 

For more information, contact Frankie Jones-Harris, communications director, at jones-harris.1@osu.edu or 614-330-2206.

The kids are gone, and you finally have the time and money to travel, relax and enjoy some peace and quiet without the children. But is being an empty nester all it’s cracked up to be?

Research by PhD student Cherrie Park and Dr. Nancy Mendoza shows that older empty nesters are at higher risk for poor mental health such as depression. Some contributing factors include gender, education, income, living arrangements, health, coping styles and social support—just to name a few.

To read more, click here.

Click here to read more about Park and Mendoza.

Did you know that March doubles as Social Work Month and Women’s History Month? Celebrate with us as we note just a few of the many contributions of both social workers and women.

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Congratulations to Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher who has been selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSSW). Anderson-Butcher is the first faculty member in the college’s history to be inducted into this honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners.

Anderson-Butcher joins an esteemed selection of over 140 Fellows dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare through high-impact work that advances social good. AASWSSW Fellows consist of prominent scholars, top researchers and practitioners with unparalleled insight and professional experience who make exceptional contributions to the field and beyond. This coveted achievement acknowledges Anderson-Butcher’s considerable contributions to the profession as a scholar.

Anderson-Butcher serves as a professor at Ohio State’s College of Social Work as well as executive director for teaching/learning and research for its LiFEsports initiative.

For more information about Anderson-Butcher, click here.

To see the AASWSSW announcement, click here.

Congratulations to Drs. Elinam Dellor, Susan Yoon, Alicia Bunger and Bridget Freisthler whose research on child welfare trauma was featured in Social Work Today magazine and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. While many parents and caregivers involved in the child welfare system suffered trauma as children, the study suggests that those with substance misuse issues as adults may have had particularly difficult childhoods. Marla Himmeger of Public Children Services Association of Ohio also served as a co-author.
Key findings of the study include:

• Parents with substance use concerns in our sample had an average score on the Adverse Childhood Experiences scale as 4.2. Much research shows that adults with scores 4 + are at risk for a variety of health and mental health problems over the life course (cardiovascular disease, suicide).
• The trauma level of children (6-18) is 27% higher than a sample of children involved in the juvenile justice system.
• Families surveyed in Eli’s study are involved in Ohio START and EPIC, two interventions designed to move parents with substance use into recovery and reduce child abuse and neglect

Lead author Dellor, who serves as a senior researcher at the college, investigates substance use as both a consequence of early life trauma and as a mechanism that carries the adverse physical health effects of early life trauma forward. She is an expert on the biological processes that link early childhood trauma to physical health in later life and has extensive experience working with child welfare involved families, youth living in group and independent living programs, as well as youth aging out of the foster care system.

To read the Social Work Today article, click here.
To read the published article in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, click here.
For more about Dellor, click here.

Did you know that...

This year, the College of Social Work is celebrating the many products invented or redesigned by Black people. From the dust pan, hair brush and ice cream scooper, to the mailbox, traffic light, and curtain rod, the significant inventions of Black people have impacted the world. Take a look to see what you know and can learn.

View the slideshow

View the slideshow!

Special thanks to Kelley Breidigan, full-time CSW senior lecturer, who spoke with Angela An, WBNS-TV10 anchor and reporter, for several interviews about dealing with the stresses that come with the holidays, January’s Blue Monday and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

To kick off 2022, the station talked with Breidigan about how along with a new year also comes anxiety around what it may hold, especially as people continue to deal with the uncertainty of COVID19. Will things finally get back to normal in 2022? When can people stop wearing masks and social distancing? Are more COVID19 variants and boosters on the horizon? Now add the usual heavy weight of expectations for a new start and unrealistic resolutions, and people are dealing with even more stress. Whatever the new year ushers in, stress will certainly be on the list.

Breidigan’s interview focused on the new year’s opportunity for growth and personal change in a pandemic world by beginning 2022 coping with stress and anxiety. She specifically discussed a new trend that social workers say seems to already be catching on in 2022: finding the joy of missing out (JOMO) as opposed to the popular fear of missing out (FOMO). Listen to the interview or read the story here.

The third Monday in January is called Blue Monday, also known as the saddest day of the year, and although it’s just one day, many experience Seasonal Affective Disorder all winter. Breidigan spoke about SAD depression, its signs and symptoms and treatments. Listen here or read here.

In November, Breidigan addressed Thanksgiving and how with the price of food and practically everything else increasing, celebrating the holidays can bring financial pressures and the heavy weight of expectations. Dealing with new family dynamics, a change in traditions, broken family ties and now COVID19 and heightened political tensions can also be stressors. Breidigan offered coping tips and strategies. Listen here or read here.

Breidigan has served at the college for 10 years and continues to be an expert source on handling varying types of stresses.