Highlights and Happenings – Spring 2018

June 2018

Laura at Table

I am pleased to announce that for the 2017-2018 academic year, the School of Social Work will be graduating over 400 students across all of our programs. Our Masters of Social Work program continues its tradition of being one of the largest masters programs at Portland State University, graduating more than 200 students, and making up 14% of all masters degrees awarded for the year. Additionally, 192 students in our undergraduate programs will be graduating, as well as four PhD students.

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Among these undergraduate students is Shayla Adkins, who has been chosen to speak at Portland State University’s Professional Schools and Colleges Commencement Ceremony at the Moda Center on June 17th. If you are unable to make the ceremony, be sure to watch it live at pdx.edu.

We are so proud of our students and recognize the hard work that went into them achieving their degrees. Thank you for being a part of another successful school year and being a part of our community at the School of Social Work.




Laura Nissen

Dean and Professor


What’s Inside?

  • Highlights
  • Happenings
  • Student Spotlight
  • SSW Welcomes New Faculty and Staff
  • Faculty News and Publications
  • 5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals


PSU SSW Spring Highlights

People of Color Professionals Navigating Predominantly White Spaces

On May 30th, Director of Student Affairs, Cimone Schwoeffermann (left), and our 


Student Inclusion Coordinator, Marina Barcelo (center), led a panel discussion titled “People of Color Professionals Navigating Predominantly White Spaces,” at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education in New Orleans. NCORE is the leading national forum on issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education.

The panel was organized by Isaac E. Dixon, PhD, Associate Vice President, Human Resources Portland State University and Debra “Debi” Jenkins (right), AAS, BA, MA, MS, PhD, Behavioral Sciences Chair, Clark College.

The session examined the experiences, stories, and strategies regarding working in systemically dominant environments as higher education professionals. The purpose of the session was to provide insight, clarification, and tools to navigate white space on developmental, professional, and organizational levels without having to lose one’s authentic self.


Politics & Social Work: Macro Practice in Action


Thank you to State Representative Diego Hernandez for visiting the School of Social Work and presenting “Politics & Social Work: Macro Practice in Action” as part of our Culture & Conversation series. Students, faculty, staff, and community members enjoyed learning more about his educational journey and path to the Oregon State Legislature. We are proud to have Diego as part of our alumni network!



Social Work Comedy Night at Curious Comedy Theater

The School of Social Work in partnership with the Portland State Alumni Association held a Social Work Comedy Night at Curious Comedy Theater in support of student scholarships and building community among alumni of all of our programs.34642252_10155944981890141_4595931442730500096_o-1.jpg

The School raised over $600 from the night’s ticket proceeds and silent auction. This money will go directly to the School of Social Work Scholarship fund for current and future students. Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for this night of laughs and thank you especially to Curious Comedy Theater and its performers for hosting such a fun event!

If you missed the event but still want to donate to the School of Social Work please visit the following link: https://www.pdx.edu/ssw/give


SMG Closing Ceremony

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The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) official delegates celebrated with the SSW a closing ceremony, acknowledging the ongoing partnership between our two institutions. The Short-Term Development Program was instituted earlier in November of 2017 and was meant to encourage educational cooperation and high quality training through expanded field sites between SMG and the School of Social Work. This year marks the third year of this exchange. We continue to value the presence of our visiting scholars from this program.


President’s Diversity Awards


Marina Barcelo (Student Support & Inclusion Specialist), Rae Stevenson (PSU Student and CYFS minor), Laura Nissen (Dean and Professor at the School of Social Work and Gita Mehrorta (Professor at the School of Social Work) at the Presiden’ts Diversity Awards Ceremony

Congratulations are in order for the three esteemed members of our SSW community who are receiving the 2018 President’s Diversity Awards! These awards went to Dr Ghita Mehrorta – Distinguished Faculty Category, Marina Barcelo – Distinguished Staff Category, and Keela Johnson – Distinguished Graduate Student Category. We couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments nor grateful for their contributions!





Celebrating Dr. Pam Miller: Thursday, June 14 from 4-6 pm in ASRC 620/630 – Join us in celebrating Dr. Pam Miller’s career accomplishments as she retires from the PSU School of Social Work. Pam Miller has been at the PSU School of Social Work from December 1992 – June 2018.  Pam will be giving a farewell colloquium focused on her career-long commitment to end of life care, health policy, and international social work. Reception to follow. -> Please RSVP online



Student Spotlight

Rae Stevenson, a CYFS minor who is also a McNair scholar, is the selected student Rae RS Photospeaker for the PSU Multicultural Graduation!

Rae Stevenson is a senior at PSU and an educator in Portland, Oregon. Rae has had the privilege of working with learners from a variety of age groups and backgrounds, supporting education nonprofits from Portland, Oregon to Jacmel, Haiti.

Through her work with children and young adults, Rae has developed a passion for building dynamic, inclusive learning communities where every student’s story is valued and integrated. She brings this passion to academia as a Social Science major, where her interdisciplinary course of study has centered feminist, critical and cultural pedagogy, and the voices of underrepresented groups.

Through the McNair scholars program, Rae is currently working on research exploring how students of color describe their experiences of racial identity development in predominantly white school systems in Portland, Oregon. Rae aspires to a career in educational leadership, where she can work with others to address issues of inequity in education.


Alexis Lawrence, a graduate student in the School of Social work and graduating this IMG_6622year with her Master of Social Work Degree, spoke Saturday, June 9th, 2018 at Portland State University’s Black Graduation Ceremony.

Alexis is a Portland native, and attended the University of Oregon with a major in Family and Human Services. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and enjoys giving back to her community. Alexis interned with the Sexual Assault Resource Center as a Sexual Assault Advocate and Prevention Educator last year. This year she interned at the Randall Children’s Hospital in the Labor and Delivery Center as a social work case manager. After graduation, she will continue to pursue licensure in the Medical Social Work field with a focus on Mental Health and Addictions services.

The first Black Graduation that happened at Portland State University was in 2016. Ebony Oldham came from the University of Oregon and wanted to bring something similar to PSU. She was apart of the Black Cultural Affairs Board at PSU, and noticed that everyone was having their own graduation, except those who identified as Black/African/African American. On social media, Black students have been criticized and penalized for celebrating their excellence as they crossed the stage. Black grad was created to honor black students, without policing them for their actions. Its a ceremony put on by the students, for students, to celebrate Black Excellence and Black Achievements, because graduating is a huge milestone.

SSW Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

Eddie May, MSW, LCSW, has been hired into the new Assistant Professor of Practice unnamedposition in the Master of Social Work Program in the School of Social Work at Portland State University.  Eddie will continue as the Assistant Director of Field Education and MSW Distance Option Coordinator through the end of summer and begin his new role beginning September 16, 2018 with some period of transition during Fall 2018.

Eddie brings extensive clinical, supervisory, ​management​, and teaching​ experience ​to his new role within the MSW faculty​. ​Eddie specializes in ​​clinical interventions ​with those who have experienced trauma​​ and centers ​intersectional identity and ​anti-oppressive practice​s in his work with individuals, couples, and families.​ His teaching focuses on the cultivation of relationships within learning spaces to allow self-analysis and contextual meaning-making to occur deeply, frequently, and fluidly. He​ ​seeks​ ​to​ ​help others challenge, strengthen, and more deeply understand their personal and professional meaning and the meaning of those around them. In the classroom, private practice, and in training/consulting​ ​roles, Eddie​ ​believes focus on implicit/explicit bias and socialization​​ informed by existentialist​ ​and narrative​ ​frameworks can support the process of unpacking each knapsack carried in our day today.

Eddie has spent the last three years as the Assistant Director of Field Education and Distance Option Coordinator ​at the School of Social Work​ where he enhanced student and field instructor education statewide​. He holds a deep commitment to our school’s future​, to the breadth and depth of the education we provide, and to the students​ and field partners​ in our Ashland, Bend, Eugene, Salem, Portland​ and Online ​communities.​ ​He is humbled and excited to begin this new role ​teaching and contributing to the explicit curriculum​​​ and looks forward to supporting the development of direct practice skills in the advanced clinical concentration, integrating and elevating the practices and voices of targeted communities, ​and continuing to support the ​critical work of Field Education​.


Brea Watts, MFA, joined the SSW as our new Marketing and Communications Managerbrea.jpg in May. Brea is a marketing and communications professional, storyteller, social justice advocate and entrepreneur. Her strengths are in developing strategic communication plans and writing engaging content across a variety of platforms. Brea is a first-generation college graduate from East Oakland, California who’s committed to using her voice and experience in marketing communications to work with people from marginalized communities.

Outside of working with the SSW, Brea loves music, dancing, baking and writing poetry. Before relocating to Portland she ran a small baking business, and recently completed a book that creatively explores how race, class, and gender impacts the lives of Black women. Brea lives by the motto that “self-care is an act of political warfare,” and is excited to join the School of Social Work to align her personal interests and professional background to advocate for social change


Lakindra Mitchell Dove, Ph.D, has been hired as a fixed term Instructor for the Bachelorunnamed-1 of Social Work and Master of Social Work Programs in the School of Social Work at Portland State University.  She will begin her new role beginning September 16, 2018.

Dr. Lakindra Mitchell Dove earned her Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research from Portland State University in 2015. She also earned her Master of Social Work from PSU in 2004. Since 2015, she has served as an adjunct instructor in Child, Youth, and Family Studies and the Bachelor of Social Work program. She is also a field liaison and faculty advisor in the Master of Social Work program.

Lakindra has extensive direct service experience, working primarily with children and families. She has spent the last decade working as a medical social worker, specializing in child abuse and neglect. She also has experience in community-based mental health, child welfare, health care, and research and evaluation.

Lakindra is a native Oregonian who is passionate about giving back to the African American community in Portland. This community played an instrumental role in her life as a child. She has a long work history in the areas of racial equity and social justice. She co-facilitated a national training addressing educational equity for children of color and her dissertation focused on the cultural needs of African American youth in foster care. She is an active member of her community, serving in various roles such as mentor, board member, committee member, and the co-facilitator of a support group for professional black women.

She enjoys spending time with her family and close friends. In her spare time, she likes to read, watch documentaries, dance, travel (domestic and international), and spend time alone.


Crystallee Crain, Ph.D., has joined the School of Social Work at Portland State Universityimage1 as an assistant professor of practice in the Child, Youth and Family Studies program. Crystallee has a well-established career in justice-seeking service with a passion for equity and access for low-income communities and communities of color. Crystallee’s professional experience includes leadership development and capacity building for organizations that work to bring access to marginalized groups. Crystallee earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. She holds a Master of Arts in Social Sciences (concentration in Sociology) from Eastern Michigan University and a Bachelors in Political Science from Northern Michigan University. In 2013 she received Advanced Post-doctoral training in Health and Human Rights in the School of Public Health at Harvard University.

In January 2011 she received the Inaugural Norman Lear Leadership Award from People for the American Way Foundation (presented by Young People For).  Her organizing work was highlighted in TIME magazine Person of the Year in 2011 in The PROTESTOR issue in December. She was published in Women in Today’s World, a multimedia encyclopedia on Women’s issues in the 21st Century. Recently she published an op-ed in the Portland Tribune titled: Workplace has a vital part in #MeToo Movement. Crystallee has a history of LGBTQ organizing, violence prevention, and policy advocacy on issues of child welfare and protecting children from abuse. She has served on the Board of Directors of COLAGE (Children of Lesbian’s and Gays Everywhere), OneLife Institute, and the American Red Cross. Nationally she has been engaged with groups like the National Black Justice Coalition that works to eradicate homophobia and racism.

Prior to moving to Portland, Crystallee served as a member of the Alameda County Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Commission.  She currently serves on the Multnomah County Community Budget Advisory Council for Human Services. Dr Crain is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Child, Youth & Family Studies program in the School of Social Work at Portland State University.


Josh Goodson began his position as the Office Coordinator at the School of Social Workimage.png in January 2018. Josh transferred from Clackamas Community College with an Associates of Arts and is currently working on completing his B.S. in Psychology at Portland State University.  

Josh’s academic goal is to obtain a master’s degree in Educational Counseling.  He enjoys working with students and would like to ultimately become a School Counselor in the public school system and higher education. He is passionate about the impact that each school system has on developing young adults and is eager to be a part of their development process.

Prior to the SSW Office Coordinator position, Josh was working in the Center for Improvement of Child & Family Services (CCF) as an Office Assistant.  In addition, Josh has ten years supervisory experience as a manager at Game Stop.

When he is not working, Josh likes to walk and play with his mini Australian shepherd, Patch. He enjoys hiking, playing soccer, writing, and reading. During the summer, he especially enjoys camping and swimming.


Amie Thurber, Ph.D., will begin her position as a professor at Portland State’s School of1sT-JzIxTcGSlQvFF6MZxTCbh5eZ18ePJ8vgpA9DjI6RpChmfpH8dN4mDCR5Gbaxjf2D2tZOwA-8d8TavjTRMJ8KBBE=s2048Social Work in Fall 2018. Amie Thurber’s research, practice and teaching interests involve transforming social inequality in neighborhoods and developing best practices for community-engaged teaching and research.

Amie completed her Ph.D. in Community Research and Action at Vanderbilt University.  Her current work involves the development and study of the Neighborhood Story Project, an action research project designed to amplify resident-led resistance to gentrification.

Other recent work includes a study of white activists organizing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter; a report on Equitable Development for the city of Nashville; and a number of projects with Cayce United, a resident-led tenant organizing effort in Nashville’s largest remaining housing project that’s now slated for redevelopment.

Amie is also the lead editor of A People’s Guide to Nashville, forthcoming through the University of California Press. This alternative guide to the city was collaboratively written by more than 120 Nashvillians and documents sites of social justice struggle in Nashville.

Amie received her MSW from the University of Montana, and spent 15 years directing a non-profit training organization addressing racial and social disparities throughout Montana. She has 14 years teaching experience in departments of social work, psychology, and human and organizational development.

Born and raised in Portland, Amie is excited to return to the northwest and join the PSU community.


Faculty News, Publications and Presentations


Marina Barcelo was recently named the new vice president of the board of directors of the ACLU of Oregon.  She was also just voted in as the newest member of Oregon Community Foundation’s Latino Partnership Program Advisory Council.

2017-2019        Bryson, S., Principal Investigator, Portland, Oregon, Testing an Asset Building Framework in Child Welfare Practice Faculty Enhancement Grant, $15,000
2016-2018        Bryson, S., Principal Investigator, Vancouver, British Columbia, How Do Mothers and Caseworkers Develop Care Capital: Testing an Asset Building Framework in Child Welfare Practice, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada, $68,691. Co-Investigator Natalie Clark.


-Autism in Adulthood Editor-in-Chief: Christina Nicolaidis, MD, MPH

ISSN: 2573-9581 | Online ISSN: 2573-959X | Published Quarterly | Current Volume: 0 (Associate Editor Dora Raymaker)

-Lisa Hawash, featured on program of Digital learning Idea Lab at the PSU Office of Academic Innovation 5/8/2018

Just published or in press

  • Englander, H., Collins, D, Peterson-Perry, S., Rabinowitz, M., Phoutrides, E., Korthuis, T., Nicolaidis, C. “We’ve learned it’s a medical illness, not a moral choice:” a qualitative study on the effects of a multi-component addiction intervention on hospital providers’ experience. Journal of Hospital Medicine. Online first April, 2018, DOI 10.12788/jhm.2993.


  • Englander, H., Wilson, T., Collins, D., Phoutrides, E., Weimer, M., Korthuis, P.T., Calcagni, J., Nicolaidis, C. Lessons learned from the implementation of a medically enhanced residential treatment (MERT) model integrating intravenous antibiotics and residential addiction treatment. Substance Abuse. Online ahead of print, March 2018. DOI: 10.1080/08897077.2018.1452326.


  • Keller, T.E., Overton, B., Pryce, J.M., Barry, J., Sutherland, A., & DuBois, D.L. (2018). “I really wanted her to have a Big Sister”: Caregiver perspectives on mentoring for early adolescent girls. Children & Youth Services Review, 88, 308-315.



  • Christina Nicolaidis presented the following: Nicolaidis, C. and Raymaker, D. (May 2018) “Neurodiversity: Rethinking Autism.” Speaker. Oregon Pediatric Specialist Special Interest Group. Portland, OR, May 2018.
  • Christina Nicolaidis presented the following: Nicolaidis, C. (May 2018)  “The AASPIRE Healthcare Toolkit.” Invited speaker, International Society for Autism Research Community Conference, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

Social worker: Don’t neglect role of food in mental wellness
Healthy eating has a powerful effect on mood and other aspects of teens’ mental health, clinical social worker Heather Monroe writes. Citing data, she extols the psychological benefits of gardening and cooking as well as the health benefits of fresh fruits and
>Learn more

Mapping Segregation in Portland
Portland State University and the city of Portland are collaborating this spring to research the history of racist housing policies in Portland, and they’re looking for help from the public.  Greta Smith, a graduate student in PSU’s public history program, has collected about 30 restrictive covenants from housing deeds around Portland and created an interactive map of the addresses where covenants were used.
-> Learn more

Meghan’s mom is a social worker
Despite all the royal craziness over the past few months, [Doria] Ragland reportedly still works at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Culver City, California. The organization’s mission statement reads, “Didi Hirsch transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse services in communities where stigma or poverty limit access.”
-> Learn more

One year later: Monroe, Snohomish County’s new approach to homelessness
A Community Outreach Team that pairs a social worker with a law enforcement officer is helping connect homeless people with services in Snohomish County, Wash. People who might have been arrested in the past are now steered to drug treatment and other programs.
-> Learn more

Abuse victims find respite in Children’s Advocacy Centers
Since their debut three decades ago, Children’s Advocacy Centers have provided a therapeutic, comforting alternative for young abuse victims who would otherwise have had to tell their stories multiple times to investigators. The CACs spare children from further traumatization as well as curbing false accusations, experts note.
-> Learn more




Highlights and Happenings – Winter 2018

March 2018

Laura at Table

It’s been a busy winter term in the School of Social Work!

As we move into 2018 and take stock of all that transpired last year, it is clear that our work has never mattered more nor is it more urgent. Our professions and those we work with are responding to threats, setbacks and barriers that emerge as we go about our business of building healthy communities, families and individuals, as well as movements that affect change. To those of you in social work and human services professions, thank you for your dedication and courage as you support our community through the most complicated social justice ecosystem in recent history.

I hope you’ll enjoy this issue of Highlights & Happenings which includes recent news about our U.S. News & World Report rankings, details about our upcoming Culture & Conversation series and amazing accomplishments by our faculty and students. We’ve been busy and look forward to an even busier spring!

Here’s to a busy and impactful 2018 ahead.


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor



School of Social Work ranked in top 20% of programs nationally

The School of Social Work at Portland State University has been ranked among the top school of sw top 2020% of all social work programs nationally, according to the US News and World Report 2018 rankings for social work programs in the US.

According to the new list, out of over 250 surveyed MSW programs nationally, the School of Social Work is ranked #38 and is ranked #2 among programs in the Pacific Northwest. Only the University of Washington’s #5 program is ranked higher in the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized once again as a leading social work school in the US,” said Laura Nissen, dean of the School of Social Work. “Our School’s unique blend of high-quality academics, cutting-edge research and community grounded training programs improves the lives of individuals and communities in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest every day.”

-> Check out all the US News and World Report program rankings online.

Year in Review 2016-17

Year in Review 2016-17 Email Header

The School of Social Work produced a recap of a few of the many projects, successes and other achievements of its faculty, staff, researchers and workforce developers from 2016-17 year and first term of 2017-18.

Visit our Year in Review 2016-17 to learn more about the important work that the School of Social Work has been engaged in this past year.  Congratulations to all for another exciting and productive year!

Friends and Family Night at McMenamins nets over $1,000

Family NightWe’re thrilled to report that our second annual Friends & Family Night at McMenamins Market Street Pub benefiting the School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund raised $1,280 for students in need.

Thanks to those of you who supported this important cause by dining with us in February. Our student emergency need is great and this donation will help immensely.

Social work students present poster at the Latino Social Work Organization Conference

img_2509.jpgThis year, the School of Social Work sent a total of 19 students across the BSW, MSW Portland, MSW Distance option and Online Option programs to the Latino Social Work Organization Conference held in Seattle in March.

Bachelor’s of Social Work students Maria Ochoa, Jamie Arreguin-Perez and Rosa Garcia-Moreno presented their poster, “Community Care as Resistance: Creando una comunidad Latina at PSU School of Social Work.”

School of Social Work at MLK Tribute ’18

Members of the School of Social Work community were part of the program atwalida.png MLK Tribute ’18: Walidah Imarisha, Living the Legacy: Afrofuturism & Possibilities for Oregon featuring Walidah Imarisha in January.

The event was co-emceed by Roberta Hunte, assistant professor in Child, Youth and Family Studies, and the singing of the Black National Anthem was led by SSW student Alexis Lawrence.

This event was sponsored by PSU Global Diversity and Inclusion.

Watch the video on Facebook!

Equity issues retreatequity retreat.png

School of Social Work faculty and staff held an equity issues retreat last December in response to the “Expectations for Portland State University’s School of Social Work” developed and presented by the School of Social Work Students of Color Caucus (SOCC) last May.

Specifically, the team discussed:

  • Creating more spaces and affinity groups to support and learn from one another in pursuits to revise curriculum, course content and pedagogy
  • Identifying areas of improvement for implicit curriculum, including built environment and student supports outside of the classroom
  • Connecting with current efforts and resources within the Office of Academic Innovation and the Office of Global Diversity & Inclusion
  • Increasing mentoring and guidance for faculty, especially new and adjunct faculty

-> Learn more about how the School of Social Work is responding to the School of Social Work Students of Color Caucus (SOCC) expectations.

-> Learn more about how the School addresses equity and inclusion in its activities.

Flourishing partnership with Seoul Metropolitan Government

seoul exchange.png

Pictured (left to right): Suhong Min (Visiting Scholar at SSW from SMG), Insik Hwang (Visiting Scholar at SSW from SMG),  International Affairs, PSU), Seonae Kwon (Manager for the Oversees Training, SMG), Jiae Park (Assistant Manager for the Oversees Training, SMG), Incheol Kim (Director General of Administrative Services, SMG), Laura Nissen (Dean of SSW), Joyce Hamilla (Director of Office of International Partnerships, David Brown (Assistant Dean of Finance & Administration, SSW), Junghee Lee (Associate Professor of SSW), Byungchun Choi (Visiting Scholar at the Center for Public Service, PSU)

On November 8, the School of Social Work welcomed an official delegation from Seoul Metropolitan Government in South Korea to the SSW to reaffirm an ongoing partnership to increase scholarship and international development between us. Junghee Lee, Joyce Hamilla from International Studies and Dean Laura Nissen hosted the delegation in a welcoming and signing ceremony as they visited various officials on campus and enjoyed some exploration in Portland.  We continue to value the presence of our visiting scholars from this program.

In addition, this past summer, Dr. Lee led a faculty-led program to Seoul entitled 2017 Collaborative International Field Experience between Seoul Welfare Foundation and School of Social Work at Portland State University.  You can read about the experience in her overview and syllabus here and her remarks from her public address during the visit here.



The School of Social Work at Portland State University is proud to present Culture & Conversation, a month-long series of events designed to spark campus and community dialogue around identity, equity, and community. Now entering its seventh year and scheduled throughout the month of April, the series welcomes thinkers, activists, and community leaders in lively discussions around topics impacting communities in Oregon.

All events are free and open to the community.

Politics & Social Work: Macro Practice in Action

with Representative Diego Hernandez
Thursday, April 5, 2018, 4-5:30pm
ASRC Building, Rooms 620 & 630
-> Get free tickets

A Place to Call Home: Exploring Housing in Oregon
with Cristina Palacios
Friday, April 13, 2018, 5:30-7pm
ASRC Building, Room 620
-> Get free tickets

What Does it Mean to Be Good? Exploring Morality in the Midst of Structural Oppression
with Brittany Wake
Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 4-5:30pm
ASRC Building, Room 660
-> Get free tickets

El Cuento: The Story
with Michele Martinez Thompson, Martha Calderon, and Gerardo Jimenez
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10-3pm
Salem Campus, 626 High St. NE
-> Get free tickets

Las Cafeteras Workshop & Concert
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Smith Memorial Student Union
More information coming soon!  Check Facebook for updates.

Student Spotlight

Ph.D student wins City of Portland award

Ph.D student Lisha Shrestha has been named a 2017 Spirit of Portland Award recipient. Lisha was awarded PSU’s President’s Diversity Award in 2015. She is also a recipient of 2017 Spirit of Portland, Community Leader of the Year Award.

“Over the past 6 years, I have been actively involved with the refugee community in Portlandlisha Metro area through my work at Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, New Portlanders Program at the City of Portland and Elders in Action, said Shrestha. “My role as a community builder was to integrate refugee into the robust mainstream culture without losing their socio-culture identity. I initiated first refugee run farmers market in 2014 and helped 50 refugee families get a space to grow vegetables. I modified curriculum used for relationship enhancement for refugee communities. The modified culturally specific curriculum improved the participation and involvement of the refugee communities. I also initiated ASL class for hard of hearing refugee community members. It started with a volunteer-based initiative but later was funded by Northwest Health Foundation. Two of the students are also graduate of Disability Leadership Academy, City of Portland, 2017. I also engaged and advocated for refugee elders for their transportation and housing needs by partnering with local advocacy-based organizations and utilizing community resources.”

Congratulations, Lisha!  We’re proud to have you a part of our School of Social Work community!

Faculty News, Publications and Presentations


Lisa Hawash was recently elected as Chair Elect of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (www.acosa.org). ACOSA is a national member-based organization focused on macro social work practice both in academia and in community organizations. It’s my go-to professional organization. Lisa has been the Convener of Governance for the past 1 1/2 years and co-led and facilitated the development of ACOSA’s multi-year strategic plan. In December 2018, she was elected as Chair Elect, a three-year term.


Anderson-Nathe, B. (In press). Queering gender and sexuality in child and youth care. In K. Gharabaghi & G. Charles (Eds.), Child and youth care across sectors.

Anderson-Nathe, B. & Gharabaghi, K. (2017). Trending rightward: Nationalism, xenophobia, and the 2016 politics of fear. Child & Youth Services, 38(1), 1-3.

Blakeslee, J., Kothari, B. H., McBeath, B., Sorenson, P., & Bank, L. (2017).  Network indicators of the social ecology of adolescents in relative and non-relative foster households. Children and Youth Services Review, 73, 173-181.

Brennan, E. M., Jones, K. R., & Bender, R. (2017). Gentrification and displacement: An environmental justice challenge for social work in urban environments. In M. Rinkel & M. Powers (Eds.) Social work promoting community and environmental sustainability: A workbook for global social workers and educators (pp.133-145). Berne, Switzerland: International Federation of Social Workers.   -> View online

Bryson, S., Gauvin, E., Jamieson, A., Rathgeber, M., Faulkner-Gibson, L., Bell, S., et al. (2017). What are effective strategies for implementing trauma-informed care in youth inpatient psychiatric and residential treatment settings? A realist systematic review. Int J Ment Health Syst, doi: 10.1186/s13033-017-0137-3. This publication has been downloaded 5249 times and has scored in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric, which calculates attention an article receives by users of Twitter, Facebook, and Mendeley.

Shobe, H., Conklin, T. (2018) Geographies of Graffiti Abatement: Zero Tolerance in Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Professional Geographer. Manuscript in publication.

DeFilippis, J. & Anderson-Nathe, B. (2017). Embodying margin to center: Intersectional activism among queer liberation organizations. In M. Brettschneider, S. Burgess, & C. Keating (Eds.), LGBTQ politics: A critical reader, (pp. 110-133).

Gharabaghi, K. & Anderson-Nathe, B. (In press). Troubling the emergent pathology of complexity. Child & Youth Services, 38(4).

Gharabaghi, K. & Anderson-Nathe, B. (2017). Strengths-based research in a deficits-oriented context. Child & Youth Services, 38(3), 177-179.

Gharabaghi, K. & Anderson-Nathe, B. (2017). The need for critical scholarship. Child & Youth Services, 38(2), 95-97.

Koroloff, N., Friesen, B., & Buekea, N. (2017). Changing the rules: A guide for youth and young adults with mental health conditions who want to change policy. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> View online

Kothari, B. H., McBeath, B., Sorenson, P., Bank, L., Waid, J., Webb, S. J., & Steele, J. (2017). An intervention to improve sibling relationship quality among youth in foster care: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Child Abuse and Neglect, 63, 19-29.

Kothari, B. H., McGee, M., Harmon-Godlewski, B., McBeath, Lipscomb, S., & Bank, L. (under review). A longitudinal analysis of school discipline events among youth in foster care. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.

McBeath, B., Harmon-Godlewski, B., Waid, J., Kothari, B. H., Webb, S. J., & Colangelo, F., & Bank, L., (in press). A methodology for visualizing and describing foster care placement pathways. Journal of Public Child Welfare.

Nicolaidis, C. & Raymaker, D. (January 2018). “Neurodiversity: Rethinking Autism” a presentation in community and practice settings.

Nicolaidis, C. (February 2018) “Serving Adults on the Autism Spectrum.” Webinar hosted by the CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office (MMCO), in collaboration with The Lewin Group as part of the Disability-Competent Care (DCC) workstream.

Teo, A.R, Marsh, H., Forsberg, C.W., Nicolaidis, C., Chen, J.I., Newsom, J., Saha, S., Dobscha, S.K. (January 2018) Loneliness is closely associated with depression outcomes and suicidal ideation among military veterans in primary care. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2018; 230:42-49. DOI:2018.01.00. -> View online

Abel, G., & Wahab, S. (2017).  “Build a friendship with them”: The discourse of “at-risk” as a barrier to relationship building between young people who trade sex and social workers.   Child and Family Social Work. Early view. DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12357

Smith, D., Hohman, M., Manthey, T., & Wahab, S.  (2017). Student-perceived quality of Motivational Interviewing training: A factor analytic study. Journal of Society for Social Work Research. DOI: 10.1086/690636

Beck, E., Charania, M., Ferdoos, A.,Wahab, S. (2017). Undoing Bias and Islamophobia: Awareness of Orientalism in Social Work. Journal of Progressive Human Services. Online first. DOI: 10.1080/10428232.2017.1310542.

Park, Y., Bhyuan, R., Wahab, S. (2017). Can an academic journal promote radical scholarship?

Wahab, S., Feminisms in dangerous times. Affilia: Women and social work, 32(3), p. 273-275. v DOI: 10.1177/0886109917716230

Park, Y., Wahab, S., Bhyuan, R. (2017). Feminisns in dangerous times. Affilia: Women and social work, 32(1), p. 5-9. DOI: 10.1177/0886109916686271

Waid, J., McBeath, B., Kothari, B. H., & Bank, L. (2018). Foster home integration as a temporal indicator of relational well-being. Children and Youth Services Review, 83, 137-145.

Walker, J. S., Seibel, C. L., & Jackson, S. (2017). Increasing youths’ participation in team-based treatment planning: The Achieve My Plan enhancement for Wraparound. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26 (8), 2090-2100.


Best, J. I. & Blakeslee, J. E. (January 2018). Support network disruption: Narratives of youth in foster care. Paper presented at the 22st annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, DC.

Blakeslee, J. E., Best, J. I., & Tumwebaze, G. (January 2018). Youth-identified strategies to enhance support networks in foster care. Poster presented at the 22st annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, DC.

Blakeslee, J. E. & Best, J. I. (January 2018). Provider-recommended strategies to enhance foster youth support networks. Paper presented at the 22st annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, DC.

Kothari, B. H., Blakeslee, J. E., Waid, J., McBeath, B., & Bank, L. (January 2018). Moving towards a holistic assessment of well-being in child welfare: Testing a multi-dimensional, multi-informant measure. Paper presented at the 22st annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, DC.

Hawash, L., Sanders, B., Soska, T. (2017). Association of Community Organization and Social Administration’s strategic visioning and the grand challenges in social work. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Dallas, TX on October 19, 2017. This presentation focused on the strategic planning process and outcomes for  national organization (ACOSA), as well as ACOSA’s connection to the Special Commission and drive to extend and enhance macro practice educational offerings across the country in schools of social work.

Emily Lott: “Employee Perspectives on Implementing Collaborative & Proactive Solutions in a Juvenile Justice Residential Program”

Drew, A., Spencer, R., McBeath, B., Keller, T.E., & Herrera, C. (2018). Ready, set, go?: Examining organizational readiness for change in an intervention with youth mentoring programs. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, D.C.

Mandating Inclusion:  Trans perspectives on domestic and sexual violence advocacy Sid Jordan ( from UCLA) and gita mehrotra

Uretsky, M.C., Henneberger, A.K., & Woolley, M.E. (January, 2018) Graduates, dropouts, and persisters: A novel approach to understanding the correlates and consequences of non-graduation. Presentation at the Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference. Washington, D.C.

Uretsky, M.C., Hoffman, J. (January, 2018) Group-based foster parent training and support programs: A meta-analytic review of the evidence.Presentation at the Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference. Washington, D.C.

Wahab, S., Mehrotra, G., Kimball, E., Kanuha, K., Bhuyan, R., Kim, M. (2018). Counter hegemonic domestic violence analyses and movements. Presented at Society for Social Work Research Conference in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2018.

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

Hospital-subsidized housing for homeless people brings win-win
Hospitals in several cities are subsidizing supportive housing for homeless people, shown by studies to save money by reducing ER visits while improving clients’ health.
>Learn more

N.Y. adopts mental health curriculum
New York will become the first state to require mental health education across all grades. The curriculum will focus on the signs and symptoms of mental illness as well as aim to reduce the stigma associated with such illnesses. .
-> Learn more

Trump administration freezes database of addiction and mental health programs
Federal health officials have suspended a program that helps thousands of professionals and community groups across the country find effective interventions for preventing and treating mental illness and substance use disorders. Administration officials confirmed that the contract for running the database has been terminated. A new entity will take over the program’s duties. Learn more in this Washington Post article.
-> Learn more

Dallas hospital heads off crises behind frequent visits
A two-year-old outreach program at a Dallas hospital has cut into massive costs by addressing the reasons behind frequent hospital visits. The hospital launched a Center for Clinical Innovation that works with social services providers and uses advanced software to keep track of clients, allowing social workers to better monitor progress and needs. Learn more in this Politico article.
-> Learn more

Heading off hardship: Social worker joins Wash. police
Problems such as addiction and homelessness that lead to conflicts with the law are the focus of a social worker newly added to the police departments of Edmonds and Lynnwood, Wash. “It is my belief that a highly skilled professional, who is capable of meeting and assessing people where they are, will be an excellent addition to our departments’ outreach efforts,” said Lynnwood Police Chief Tom Davis.
-> Learn more

Highlights and Happenings – Fall 2017

We urgently need to bring to our communities, the limitless capacity to love,
serve and create for and with each other.
– Grace Lee Boggs

Laura at TableNow more than ever, social work and human services values and practices that promote equity, peace and well-being for all are needed in our society.

We all have witnessed extraordinary and troubling views of intolerance, hate and violence in our communities this past year.

Despite these challenges, there is time and space for hope. It is institutions like the School of Social Work at Portland State University that will be at the forefront of deeply activating and focusing individuals and communities on building a better world.

As we head into another energized and hopeful academic year, we celebrate the important work that students, faculty, community members and social work and child, youth and family practitioners bring to the most vulnerable among us.

With your help and support, we look forward to continuing the important work the School of Social Work at Portland State University brings to our city, our state and the nation.


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor

What’s Inside?


We Made Our Match!

We Made Our MatchThe School of Social Work at Portland State University is proud to announce that it has successfully met its fundraising goal and match to create a $500,000 endowed Maybelle Clark Macdonald Scholarship Fund for students.

For each of the past five years, the School of Social Work and PSU Foundation have raised $50,000. With the fifth year complete in 2017, the $250,000 raised by the School will be matched by the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Foundation to establish an endowed Maybelle Clark Macdonald Scholarship Fund. This fund will begin awarding scholarships to Master of Social Work (MSW) students in 2019.

Fall Student Welcoming

The School of Social Work welcomed over 300 new students to its programs during a series of welcoming and orientation events this fall.

  • 92 new BSW students
  • 30 new CYFS students
  • 200 new MSW students
  • 7 new Ph.D. students

We welcome these students to our School of Social Work community!

Student Emergency Fund Report Card

Student Emergency Fund Report Card 2016-17

The School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund wrapped up the 2016-17 academic year by raising $4,450 to help students with emergency essentials. Through the collection of gift cards from faculty, staff, students and interested community members at events throughout the year, the program served 30 students in 2016-17 with 70% of recipients first generation college students. These gift cards are used by students in need to purchase groceries, gas and house supplies.

If you would like to donate gift cards to help a student in need, please drop them off with Marina Barcelo in ASRC 620V or mail them to her at Marina Barcelo, Portland State University, Social Work, School of (SSW), PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207. You may also make a cash donation directly via our School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund donation site.

New Hybrid Bachelor’s in Social Work Program


Beginning fall 2018 students can earn their BSW with classes online and in Eugene, Oregon, with a hybrid online and face-to-face Bachelor’s in Social Work degree (BSW) from the School of Social Work.

In this new hybrid program, that admits its first entering class in fall 2018, students will complete 80% of courses online and 20% face-to-face in Eugene, Oregon. This makes our hybrid BSW perfect for community college transfer students, working adults, and for students who live outside the Portland area. Students will complete their first year of courses entirely online. In the second year, students attend some classes online and others face-to-face on the weekends in Eugene, Oregon. They’ll learn from the same faculty and instructors that teach in our on-campus program in Portland and gain rigorous training and practical experience to build social work skills and a solid foundation for social service careers.

-> Learn More about the New Program and Sign Up for Email Updates

Teaching Excellence Symposium

teaching excellence symposium team

The School of Social Work conducted its first ever teaching excellence symposium this fall. The symposium was designed to help faculty explore how various teaching methods intersect with various teaching philosophies, how to maintain a student centered focus as an inclusive pedagogy, and to leave the session with a personal commitment with a plan for teaching excellence.

Pictured is the planning group including (left to right) Monica Garcia, Sarah Bradley, Ted Donlan, Hillary Hyde, Erin Flynn, Keva Miller, Ben Anderson-Nathe, Lorraine Brave, Miranda Cunningham and Gita Mehrotra. Not pictured but also part of the effort was Sam Gioa, Stephanie Bryson, Karen Moorehead and Ridley Williams.

New Diversity and Inclusion Webpage

The School of Social Work recently updated its diversity and inclusion webpage. In addition to outlining schoolwide activities focused on diversity and inclusion, the page highlights the efforts of specific academic and research units within the School.

The School is committed to equity and inclusion in all of its academic, research, training, professional development, and community program offerings to students, faculty, staff, field instructors, campus partners, and community members.

-> Visit the new diversity and inclusion webpage

Social Work Ph.D. Student Successfully Defends Her Dissertation

Leah Brookner

Leah Brookner, a doctoral student in the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research, successfully defended her dissertation on Friday, October 27, 2017. Her dissertation, entitled “ Is Therapy Going To The Dogs? , Evaluating Animal Assisted Therapy for E arly I dentified A t-risk C hildren ,” was reviewed by committee members (as pictured) Vicki Cotrell, Ph.D. , Maria Talbott, Ph.D. (Chair), Eric Mankowski, Ph.D. (OGS Rep) and Michael Taylor, Ph.D. Congratulations, Dr. Brookner!

New Faces in the SSW

Matt ChorpenningMatt Chorpenning, MSW, has joined the School as an instructor. After completing his MSW at PSU, Matt was a research fellow at the Center to Advance Racial Equity and the site supervisor for the SHINE Community School program at Kinnaman Elementary School. He has been a field supervisor at SSW since 2015 and an adjunct since 2016, teaching both on campus and online courses.

Matt’s area of academic focus is on macro-level social work, community organizing, systemic change efforts, and policy, especially poverty policy and racial equity policy in the United States. He has published two reports with the Center to Advance Racial Equity.

Adrienne GrafAdrienne Graf, MSW, has joined the School as field placement development specialist. Adrienne earned her MSW from the School of Social Work at Portland State in 2010. Her most recent position was in Portland State University’s Women’s Resource Center as a sexual and relationship violence prevention coordinator. She comes to the School of Social Work with 9 years of experience supporting students affected by domestic and sexual violence. She has also held adjunct teaching positions in PSU’s Master of Social Work and public administration programs.

Adrienne’s academic interests include harm reduction theory and practice, mitigating trauma exposure from interpersonal violence by working alongside survivors navigating systems engagement, institutional betrayal, and how social work policy and practice intersect with the sex trades.

Adrienne enjoys spending time with her girlfriend Leigh and their 17 year old chihuahua Nibbles, water aerobics, tending to her massive houseplant collection and procuring new plants, planning vacations to warm climates, learning how to cook new dishes and perfect old recipes, stockpiling nail polish, and attending local queer community events. Adrienne may be reached at agraf@pdx.edu and (503) 725-8592.

Hunte DJC photoRoberta Hunte, Ph.D., has been named an assistant professor in Child, Youth, and Family Studies in the School of Social Work at Portland State University.

Dr. Hunte is an educator, facilitator, and cultural worker. Her academic interests include reproductive justice, women of color feminism, cultural work for social change, and Black women in construction. She facilitates trainings on equity, diversity and inclusion. She is a collaborator on the play “My Walk Has Never Been Average” and a short film entitled “Sista in the Brotherhood,” both of which are informed by her research on Black tradeswomen. She also helped create a devised theater piece based on reproductive stories from people of color and transgender people.

Roberta earned her Ph.D. in peace and conflict studies from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada in 2012. She is not new to our PSU community. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Hunte was a full-time assistant professor in Black Studies, Conflict Resolution, and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies. She has also held adjunct appointments at Portland Community College in political science and women’s studies. Dr. Hunte’s position is a shared line between CYFS and University Studies.

Katie KingKatie King has joined the School as the new development officer for the School of Social Work. Susan Brennan, who was the School’s development officer briefly this summer left the PSU Foundation this fall to move back east to be closer to family. Katie has been with Portland State since 2015 where she worked closely with PSU’s athletics department to complete the Viking Pavilion project. Katie is a native of the Pacific Northwest and previously held development positions at the University of Houston and the University of Tennessee. To get in touch with Katie, email her at kingk@psuf.org or call her at (503) 725-2500.

Jessica Rodriguez-JenKinsJessica Rodriguez-JenKins, Ph.D., is a new assistant professor for the BSW and MSW programs. She completed her Ph.D. at University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She engages in practice-informed qualitative and quantitative research centering on how best to support parenting among vulnerable families with young children. Jessica is interested in partnering with community providers to develop sustainable, culturally appropriate, interventions that support multi-level factors that affect parent-child relationships. Her dissertation research examines possible predictors of nurturing parenting among Mexican and Puerto Rican origin mothers with young children vulnerable to the child welfare system.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Jessica brings her extensive practice experience in serving children and families in community mental health and perinatal medical social work to inform her research and teaching. Jessica’s research interests focus on the promotion of family well-being through strengthening parenting practices, supporting parent-child relationships, and understanding cultural and contextual factors that influence parenting beliefs, specifically within marginalized families.


Public Health Portland Style!

Public Health Portland StyleJoin the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health for Public Health Portland Style!
#8 Stop Overdose: Safe consumption spaces.

Several months ago, Public Health Portland Style came together to talk about the opiate crisis in Oregon. We know that here in the Portland Metro Area 1 person dies every other day from a drug overdose. Mental Health America ranked Oregon 51st in the nation for access to mental health and addiction services and our death rates from Hepatitis C are double the national average. Join us in the conversation about initiative strategies to help keep people who use drugs alive. Safer Consumptions Spaces (SCS) are places where people can bring pre-obtained drugs to use with trained staff to help assist in the event of an emergency. They provide clean injection supplies in a clean environment staffed by people who are not only trained to respond to an overdose but offer kindness, respect, referrals and health information to people using in these spaces. SCS are operated in over 70 Cities around the world have prevented countless deaths and HIV/HCV infections however there are currently none operating legally in the United States.

This event brings together Shannon Riley, the Regional Project Manager for the Overdose Emergency Response in Vancouver BC. Shannon’s previous experience in overdose relevant work comes from both nursing at Insite, the 1st SCS in Vancouver, and managing a clinic in a homeless drop-in center in San Francisco. Bridget Bassett, a long time harm reductionist who has worked and volunteered in HIV /STD prevention for over 9 years and is a former heroin user who will talk about her experience using on the streets of Portland and how harm reduction services enabled her path to recovery. And Haven Wheelock, Drug users’ health advocate and the Injection Drug Users’ Health Services Program Coordinator for Outside In. She is advocating for evidence based policies to improve the lives and health of people who use drugs, like safe consumption spaces.

Thursday, Nov 16th
6 to 7:30 pm
Lucky Lab Beer Hall, 1945 NW Quimby Street

This event is free and open to the public. It will also be streamed live on Facebook Live.  All ages are welcome, we encourage you to invite friends, family, students and co-workers to join us!

-> Register or watch via Facebook Live

She Also Served

She Also ServedJoin the School of Social Work this November for She Also Served, a Lunch & Learn series. Led by Elizabeth Estabrooks, Oregon Women Veterans Coordinator, this series is not to miss.

In this three-part series, students will gain a broader idea of what is included (or excluded) when the word “veteran” is used. What are the intesectionalities of being a veteran? How does the word “veteran” exclude women, persons of color, and LGBTQ veterans? What are the facts that you don’t hear about women veterans unless you go looking for them? Each of these three sessions is designed to stand alone, but attending all three provides you with deeper, broader understanding.

One of the three sessions is upcoming:

  • Session 3 covers areas relating to mental and behavioral health (PTSD-MST, Suicide, and Substance Use). — Monday, November 27, 2017, 12-12:50pm, ASRC 660

This free series is open to all students and community members. Please bring your lunch–lunch is not provided. For information on how join via Google Hangout, contact Marina Barcelo at mbarcelo@pdx.edu.

PSU Day of Giving 2017


Tuesday, November 28 is Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving fueled by the power of shared action! The School of Social Work is proud to participate in this special day by joining in the first-ever university-wide PSU Day of Giving dedicated to supporting the schools and programs that make a difference in our community, #PDXGiveChange.

Make a gift to the School of Social Work and your contribution will be used to fund important student scholarships that help support the next generation of social workers and human services professionals.

Remember, gifts of any size can make a big difference. Join with your fellow Vikings and help advance the causes that create positive change in our community. Mark your calendar and support the School of Social Work on November 28!

-> Make a gift

Faculty Spotlight

Klawetter Head ShotSusanne Klawetter, LCSW, Ph.D.(c), has joined the School of Social Work as an assistant professor as part of the MSW faculty. Susanne completed her Ph.D. at the University of Denver, where her dissertation research examined the development of Warm Connections, an integrative behavioral health intervention, in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In addition, she was a co-investigator on a multi-site research project that explores maternal mental health and maternal engagement in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Susanne’s scholarship is focused on promoting human health and wellness, particularly for women and children. Specific research interests include social determinants of maternal and child health, preterm birth, maternal and infant mental health, and early childhood intervention in an effort to advocate for health equity.

Susanne Klawetter is a licensed clinical social worker with over six years post-MSW experience working with families. In addition to clinical practice experience and research training, she is a seasoned educator with over six years of teaching experience in social work and public health programs.

Outside of her work, Susanne enjoys running, being outdoors, listening to live music, and animals. She and her partner, Chad Klawetter, have triplet 10 year olds – Olivia, Sam, and Zoe – and a 1 year old Labrador named Daisy.

Donor Spotlight

Barre StollAt Portland State’s annual 2017 Simon Benson Dinner on November 9, Barre Stoll ’89, MSW ’92 was presented with the Award for Alumni Achievement. Barre earned her bachelor of science in psychology in 1989 and her master’s degree in social work from PSU in 1992, as well as a doctorate in clinical psychology from Pacific University.

A retired licensed clinical psychologist, Barre has worked at Reed College and Stand for Children and is a tireless community volunteer. She is currently a member of the PSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees, where she is chair of the Philanthropy Committee. Barre served on the Leadership Gifts Committee for PSU’s Creating Futures Scholarship Campaign and on the Graduate School of Social Work Advisory Board.

Seeing the obstacles many of her classmates faced in completing their education has driven her involvement with the university over the years. She also served on an Advisory Board for the Dean of Pacific University Graduate School of Psychology as well as several community boards, including St. Mary’s Home for Boys, Parents Anonymous of Oregon and Waverly Children’s Home. For more than two decades, Barre and her husband, Robert, have been generous supporters of PSU and received the President’s Award for Outstanding Philanthropy in 2004.

Thank you for your generosity and service to PSU and the School of Social Work, Barre. We appreciate the many ways you shaped the lives of so many of our students!

Faculty News

PSU receives $1.9M grant to prepare social work students to practice integrated behavioral health

E. Kimball Low Res EditedPortland State University’s School of Social Work recently received a $1.9 million federal grant to prepare social work graduate students to practice effectively in integrated behavioral health settings, particularly to serve people across the lifespan in rural and/or medically underserved communities.

The four-year Health Resources and Services Administration grant for Behavioral Health Workforce for Education and Training will provide education to a new generation of social work professionals with the practice skills to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations throughout Oregon. Of the 136 grants awarded, only 58 were awarded to social work programs and PSU’s is the only one of three awarded in the Northwest.

Led School of Social Work Assistant Professor Ericka Kimball, Ph.D., the Behavioral Health Integration Project (BHIP) will build upon the current Integrated Care Project (ICP) that has educated students in integrated care with a focus on children, youth and families. BHIP will expand the number of social work professionals with education and training in behavioral health integration to work in a variety of health settings across the lifespan. In addition, it will focus on increasing the number of social work professionals with historically marginalized and/or intersectional identities to work in integrated behavioral health care.

29 Master of Social Work students in each project year will be selected to receive a stipend of $10,000 over the nine months of their advanced year of study. In addition, the project will provide professional development funds to field instructors to advance expertise in integrated behavioral health care settings serving rural and/or medically underserved populations.

Sabbatical adventures through podcast

P. Miller Low Res EditedPortland State University School of Social Work faculty member Pam Miller, Ph.D., returned this fall from a year-long sabbatical that took her on some extensive international travel.

To share her experiences with our community, Dr. Miller created a video and audio podcast in which she reflects on her teaching, learning and research experiences while away.

In her video, learn more about Pam’s travels and experiences in France, Japan, and Poland, and hear her reflections on social work education in other parts of the world.

In her podcast, we talk with Pam about why faculty take sabbaticals and learn what observations and lessons she’ll be bringing back to PSU.

-> Watch video

-> Listen to podcast

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

CBS News recently aired an original broadcast online called “Portland | Race Against the Past.”
The original looks at a legacy of “white supremacy in Portland (which) is never far from the surface, and in reality, has never been that well hidden,” according to anthropologists and academics who have studied Portland’s history.
-> Watch video

NASW Revises Code of Ethics
In August 2017, the NASW Delegate Assembly approved the most substantive revision to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996. The 2017 revisions to the Code focus largely on the use of technology and the implications of technology for ethical practice. The new Code goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Copies of the new Code will be available November 1, 2017. You can pre-order a copy by calling NASW Press at 800.227.3590. View Frequently Asked Questions for a listing of the revised sections of the Code.
-> Learn more

Recognizing child welfare’s debt to research
Research has had profound influence on US child welfare policy, dating back to the landmark Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, social work scholar Richard Barth observes. He warns, however, that one-size-fits-all measures backed by insufficient data still plague the foster care system.
-> Learn more

Multi-part team takes on Oregon jail’s revolving door
The Lane County Jail in Eugene, Ore., is working with a host of service providers to address homelessness and mental health conditions that keep inmates coming back after release. “Jail is not what it was — we’re not interested in warehousing people,” said Capt. Dan Buckwald.
-> Learn more

Campus sexual assault: Should restorative justice be an option?
The approach – which includes facilitated discussions – shows potential for bringing closure to survivors and stopping repeat offenses. But critics say it’s not appropriate for such a violent crime.
-> Learn more

Highlights and Happenings – Spring and Summer 2017

Editor’s Note: After a brief hiatus this spring, Highlights & Happenings, the newsletter of the School of Social Work at Portland State University, resumes with its spring/summer 2017 issue.  Moving forward the newsletter will be published once each quarter.  Look for the next issue in November 2017.

Congratulations, Graduates!

Congratulations to the School of Social Work graduates who participated in Portland State University commencement ceremonies at the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter in Portland. This year the School graduated 329 students in its Bachelors in Social Work, Child and Family Studies, and Master in Social Work programs, as well as its Ph.D. Program in Social Work & Social Research.

The School’s MSW program saw a 91% retention rate among students graduating this year, an impressive statistic.

The MSW program continued its tradition of being one of the largest Master’s programs at PSU, graduating 207 students.

The undergraduate Child and Family Studies program graduated 32 students in its brand new minor, broadening the scope and reach of this human services work.

Congratulations to all School of Social Work graduates and the friends and families who supported them throughout their educational journey!

We are proud of the work that our students, faculty, and staff do every day in our programs and in our community. In this edition of Highlights and Happenings, we are excited to recognize their admirable work as we say goodbye to our graduates and look forward to welcoming new students into our programs!


What’s Inside?


School Celebrates Retirement of Three Longtime Social Work Faculty

SSW Retirements 2017-2.jpgAt a recent end of school year potluck lunch and celebration, the School of Social Work bid a fond farewell to three retiring faculty — Pauline Jivanjee, Vicki Cotrell, and Mindy Holliday.

Dr. Vicki Cotrell came to the School of Social Work in 1998. Vicki served in a variety of important faculty leadership positions in the School during her 19 years here, as well as being a well-loved instructor. Vicki’s passion for and focus on aging has been irreplaceable. Her sense of humor, warmth, and collegiality have been her trademarks, as well as the excellence she exhibits in everything she does. Even as she retires, Vicki continues to teach us about the beauty and power of transitions related to growing older! Thank you for your incredible service to the School of Social Work community, Vicki, and best wishes for a happy retirement!

Dr. Pauline Jivanjee came to the School of Social Work in 1990. In addition to being a coveted instructor, Pauline has served in a variety of deeply valued professional leadership roles — including associate dean — during her 27 years at the School. She’s been known as a steady, warm, and professional presence who embodies both the rigor and ethics of social work practice. Pauline has also contributed broadly to literature regarding children’s mental health, particularly as it relates to the inclusion of youth and family voice and equity and systems reform. Her legacy is a strengthened school and field as a result of her efforts. She’s most recently been a leader in successful efforts to recruit and support social work students to enter careers in the integrated health practice. Thank you for your incredible service to the School of Social Work community, Pauline, and best wishes for a happy retirement!

Mindy Holliday, MSW, came to the School of Social Work in 1997. She brought with her a successful social work career in the community prior to her transition into higher education. These connections aided her in being part of founding and leading the original “distance option” MSW program across the state of Oregon. Because of this, Mindy has deep professional connections throughout every corner of the region, having been connected to so many practicing social workers educated outside of the metro area. She’s taught throughout the BSW and MSW programs in a variety of topic areas. Most recently, she’s taught courses that introduced social work as a career option as well as other BSW cornerstone courses.

Thank you and congratulations, Vicki, Pauline, and Mindy, for your incredible service to the School of Social Work community. Best wishes for a happy retirement!

Students of Color Caucus Outlines Expectations for Social Work Education at PSU

In May 2017, the School of Social Work received a document entitled “Expectations for Portland State University’s School of Social Work” that was developed by the School of Social Work Students of Color Caucus (SOCC), a group of 30+ students and staff of the School.

Responses from the dean, the faculty and staff, and faculty and staff of color followed shortly thereafter. At the end of the 2016-17 school year, the dean provided an “Update on Students of Color Caucus Actions in the School of Social Work.”

The BSW and Field Team Welcome Faculty and Staff to New Roles

Mollie Janssen, MSW, LCSW, LICSW, has been named statewide flexible degree/online option coordinator for the Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) Program in the School of Social Work at Portland State University.  She joins at the rank of assistant professor of practice and will begin her new role on September 1, 2017.

Ms. Janssen has extensive experience as a program coordinator, trainer, and consultant.  She is committed to honoring people as the experts in their own lives. She focuses on working with and learning from people who have been historically marginalized. She is experienced in working with programs, professional development, and clinical supervision that is grounded in trauma informed anti-oppressive practices.

Mollie is passionate about travel, art, and new adventures. She enjoys spending time with her two busy boys ages 10 and 5.

We welcome Mollie to her new role in the BSW Program and as a continuing member of our School of Social Work community!

Lisa Cordova MSW, LCSW, has been named field specialist for the School of Social Work field education program.  She’ll start her permanent role on June 1, 2017.

Lisa is no stranger to the SSW.  Her first connection with the School of Social Work at Portland State University was as an MSW field instructor in 2010. She then joined PSU in February of 2013 to produce the 50/50 Photo Story Project, Day of Service and 50th Grand Celebration.

Lisa earned her MSW from the University of Denver in 1996. Before coming to PSU, the majority of Lisa’s social work practice was in community agencies with a focus on violence prevention and early intervention, particularly youth relationship violence, interpersonal violence and child abuse.  Lisa is particularly passionate about the power of youth voice and leadership in impacting social change.  As a licensed clinical social worker, individual counseling and psychoeducational support groups with teens were also core components of her work.

Outside of work, spending time with family and friends is high on her list. Lisa enjoys Pacific NW standbys like camping, hiking, gardening, and coffee. She and her partner have two daughters, a dog, a cat and a mini-flock of chickens.

Social Work Faculty and Students Visit Seoul, South KoreaA team of Master and Doctoral School of Social Work faculty and students recently returned from an international field experience in Seoul, South Korea.  This international exchange trip included lectures, site visits, and cultural experiences exploring how the human services environments in Korea and the US are becoming more complex, international, and interdisciplinary.

Our School participants were joined by colleagues from the Hatfield School of Government in the PSU College of Urban and Public Affairs, the Oregon State Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and the Seoul Welfare Foundation.

Two Social Work Ph.D. Students Successfully Defend Their Dissertations 

Stephanie Sundborg, a doctoral student in the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research, successfully defended her dissertation on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Her dissertation, entitled “Foundational Knowledge And Other Predictors of Commitment To Trauma Informed Care,” was reviewed by committee members (as pictured) Junghee Lee, Stephanie Sundborg, Julie Rosenzweig, Diane Yatchmenoff, and Greg Townley. Congratulations, Dr. Sundborg!

Rebecca Yazzie, also a doctoral student, successfully defended her dissertation on Friday, May 5, 2017.

Her dissertation, entitled “An Analysis of Oregon Youth Authority Populations: Who Receives Treatment and What Factors Influence Allocation of Treatment Resources?,” was reviewed by committee members (as pictured) Keith Kauffman, Michael Taylor, Bill Feyerherm, chair (who joined the defense via Skype), Laura Nissen, and Melissa Thompson. Congratulations, Dr. Yazzie!

Culture and Conversation Series Ends Sixth Year with Dynamic Contributors 

This spring the School successfully produced another year of “Culture and Conversation,” a lecture and dialogue series organized by the School of Social Work to elevate public voices who are concerned with issues of identity, equity, and community. Three major events took place this year.

For the first event titled “Radical Resistance Post Election,” the School partnered with Momentum Alliance, Oregon Queer Youth Summit, and Social Justice Fund for a workshop and panel focused on social movement building skills. After the panel, participants were given the opportunity to develop plans for community action.

“El Cuento/The Story,” the second event in the series, was a workshop facilitated by faculty member Michele Martinez Thompson as well as two Master’s of Social Work alumni, Martha Calderon and Gerardo Jimenez. This event, designed specifically for people of color, provided the opportunity to discuss identity by sharing personal and community experiences and allowed for the exploration of peer mentoring and community networking to take place.

At the final event, “Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement,” Jennifer Patterson, editor of Queering Sexual Violence, and contributor Angie River led a discussion centered around queer, trans and gender non-conforming survivors.  It was followed by a panel of community advocates working on issues of sexual assault in queer communities.

The School of Social Work thanks the organizers, presenters, and attendees for their contributions to another successful year of Culture and Conversation!

Dean Laura Nissen Hosts Social Work Western Consortium at PSU At the end of March 2017, Dean Laura Nissen hosted the first meeting of the Grand Challenges for Social Work Western Consortium on the Portland State University campus. The all-day meeting attracted social work deans from the University of Washington, the University of Southern California, and other schools in the west to strategize on how to use the Grand Challenges for Social Work in their teaching, scholarship, and research.

View Photos From the Meeting

Led by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the Grand Challenges for Social Work is a groundbreaking initiative to champion social progress powered by science. It’s a call to action for all of us to work together to tackle our nation’s toughest social problems.

Get More Information on the Grand Challenges for Social Work

Reclaiming Futures Holds National Conference

Addressing racial and ethnic disparities across juvenile justice systems. The positive role of the arts in developing at risk youth. These were just two of the many themes explored at the recent Reclaiming Futures National Conference.

Reclaiming Futures, an approach and model developed in the Regional Research Institute within the Portland State University School of Social Work, promotes improving juvenile justice through coordinated individual response and community directed engagement. It helps to identify and offer services to young people and their families who are struggling with substance use and/or mental health concerns.

Reclaiming Futures has now been used in 42 communities in 18 states. Each year Reclaiming Futures leadership comes together to share best practices, network with one another, and learn the latest evidence about promising and effective juvenile justice reform strategies.

One session panelist at this year’s conference was Robert Schwebel, Ph.D., whose Seven Challenges program offers an evidence-based approach to provide counseling to young people that incorporates work on alcohol and other drug problems. In his presentation, Dr. Schwebel made the case for why a counseling approach to working with youth based on empowerment can be more effective than one rooted in control.

Learn More about Reclaiming Futures and Its Innovative Approaches for Youth and Families Involved with the Juvenile Justice System


School of Social Work Launches Mentor Program

Would you like to help a student transition into their future career? Would you like to reaffirm your passion for the fields of social work and human services?

The Mentor Program in the Portland State University School of Social Work pairs professionals in the community with current PSU social work and child, youth, and family studies students to enhance students’ skills, develop their job search network, and clarify their career goals.

Learn More about the Program and How You Can Get Involved  

Student Spotlights

Social Work Students Receive PSU Diversity Awards 

Chris Bush (BSW ’17) recently received a Commission on Sexual and Gender Equity award at Portland State University’s 2017 President’s Diversity Awards.

SAGE, the Commission on Sexual and Gender Equity at Portland State University, envisions a campus environment where all sexual and gender identities and expressions are celebrated, supported, and fully and equitably included in all aspects of campus life. Congratulations, Chris!

Dustina Haase-Lanier (MSW ’18) recently received the David & Linda Smeltzer Scholarship at Portland State University’s 2017 President’s Diversity Awards.

The purpose of the David and Linda Smeltzer Scholarship is to attract outstanding students who use wheelchairs for mobility. These are students who contribute to the campus learning environment by sharing their unique strengths and diverse perspectives through their involvement in on-campus activities and participation in community service. Congratulations, Dustina!

The School of Social Work Students of Color Caucus received the Distinguished Team Award at Portland State University’s 2017 President’s Diversity Awards.

This group of School of Social Work students — that hey worked together to create and present a list of expectations for racial equity to Portland State University School of Social Work leadership, faculty and staff — were honored for their advocacy, engagement, support and other accomplishments. Congratulations, Students of Color Caucus members!

Read the Students of Color Caucus List of Expectations for the School of Social Work

Program Spotlight

New Hybrid Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) Program Beginning Fall 2018

Beginning fall 2018 students can earn their BSW with classes online and in Eugene, Oregon, with a hybrid online and face-to-face Bachelor’s in Social Work degree (BSW) from the nationally ranked School of Social Work at Portland State University.

In this new hybrid program, that admits its first entering class in fall 2018, students will complete 80% of your courses online and 20% face-to-face in Eugene, Oregon. This makes our hybrid BSW perfect for community college transfer students, working adults, and for students who live outside the Portland area. Students will complete their first year of courses entirely online. In the second year, students attend some classes online and others face-to-face on the weekends in Eugene, Oregon. They’ll learn from the same faculty and instructors that teach in our on-campus program in Portland and gain rigorous training and practical experience to build social work skills and a solid foundation for social service careers.

Learn More about the New Program and Sign Up for Email Updates

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

Gifts from clients: Always taboo?

Conflicts of interest can arise when clients give gifts to social workers, but accepting them can be ethically justifiable if professionalism isn’t compromised, ethics expert Allan Barsky advises. “If gift-giving is an authentic expression of the client’s gratitude, then the principle of self-determination suggests that social workers should honor the client’s wishes.”

Read More in this Article from The New Social Worker

Loving, 50 Years Later

Last month marked the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court decision that invalidated state laws restricting interracial marriage. Recently, the New York Times asked readers to share their experiences about being in a mixed-race relationship. We received more than 2,000 stories in just a few days.

Read Selected Stories in the New York Times 

When Love Wins: How Human Trafficking Survivor Elisia Lopez (MSW ’15) Reunited with Son Nahko Bear

A human trafficking survivor and her firstborn found each other and made peace with their painful past, inspiring the revolutionary music of Nahko Bear.

Elisia Lopez is an alumna of the MSW program at Portland State University.

Learn more in this story on Crixeo

According to Harvard Psychologists, Parents Who Raise “Good” Kids Do These 5 Things

Read them in this Curious Mind Magazine article

When a seat opened up in the Oregon House of Representatives, Tawna Sanchez’s cell phone started buzzing with texts and calls. The gist: Go for it.

“My first reaction was, are you out of your mind?” Sanchez says. “Then I started seriously thinking about it and said, ‘What the hell.’ I can keep doing what I’m doing now, or I could step it up and do a little more.”

Tawna Sanchez, MSW, now serves Oregon House District 43 representing the North Portland neighborhood where she grew up. It was a historic victory. She becomes just the second Native American to serve in the Oregon Legislature. Tawna earned her Master in Social Work degree from Portland State University in 2012.

Learn more in Making History: A Native Voice At The Capitol

Highlights and Happenings – March 2017

marina-barcelo-square-1Food insecurity and houselessness continue to challenge college and university students across the nation. We’re no different in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. A 2013 survey by our faculty showed that 43% of School of Social Work students experience food insecurity. This means that many of our students struggle with getting access to affordable, nutritious food most days of the week.

I am in constant awe of the resiliency of our School of Social Work students. Students have shared with me that despite the tremendous barriers they face, they remain as determined as ever to complete their education. With the support of the School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund, our students are able to meet some of their basic needs, even if just for the week, allowing them to focus on their success in school.

Over the fall and winter terms, 16 unique students across our programs accessed the School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund. These students have experienced incredible challenges since the start of the school year, including houselessness, food insecurity, unemployment, bankruptcy, car and home theft, mental health struggles, hospitalizations, and loss of child care and scholarship support. We know that students with non-dominant identities experience greater challenges when accessing more traditional funds. 65% of students accessing our fund were students of color, and 69% were first generation students.

Just over the past two months, there has been a noticeable uptick in students experiencing housing insecurity. Many of our students live paycheck to paycheck, often with the fear of possible eviction. Some students have been fortunate enough to find temporary housing on the couches of friends and mentors. While our fund does not solve the housing crisis in Portland, it certainly helps remove some stress for students.

I hope you will join us for our first ever Friends & Family Night at McMenamins Market Street Pub in downtown Portland this Tuesday, March 14th beginning at 5pm to raise funds for our School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund.

-> Learn More

And remember, you can always drop off a gift card with me at any time!

Thank you,

Marina Barcelo, MSW, MA
Student Support & Inclusion Specialist


What’s Inside?


JPG-2017SWM-LogoWebSocial Work Month in March

This Social Work Month we salute the social workers who stand up for millions of people each day.

They stand up by comforting people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, ensuring they get the best care while on the road to recovery. They stand up and support our brave military personnel, veterans and their families. They work in communities and with national, state and local government to provide services and pass legislation to stand with and help the most vulnerable.

Child, family and school social workers stand up by protecting children who have been abused or neglected, helping children find new families through adoption, and ensuring young people reach their full academic and personal potential.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) launched the Social Workers Stand Up! campaign during Social Work Month 2017 in March to educate the public about contributions of social workers and why the professional title of social worker is so important.

The aim of this campaign is to improve the image and respect of the social work profession by educating the public, media and elected officials about social work.

-> Learn More

Tawna Sanchez Let Knowledge Serve

Let Knowledge Serve Oregon

When a seat opened up in the Oregon House of Representatives, Tawna Sanchez’s cell phone started buzzing with texts and calls. The gist: Go for it.

“My first reaction was, are you out of your mind?” Sanchez says. “Then I started seriously thinking about it and said, ‘What the hell.’ I can keep doing what I’m doing now, or I could step it up and do a little more.”

Tawna Sanchez, MSW ’12, now serves Oregon House District 43 representing the North Portland neighborhood where she grew up. It was a historic victory. She becomes just the second Native American to serve in the Oregon Legislature.

-> Learn more in Making History: A Native Voice At The Capitol


School of Social Work Students Featured in Veterans Exhibition

Congratulations to Portland State University School of Social Work Ph.D. student Maria Carolina González-Prats and Bachelor of Social Work student Deborah Lynn Peterson who are featured as part of the I Am Not Invisible exhibition honoring Oregon women military veterans.

I Am Not Invisible is a remarkable exhibition featuring 20 portraits of Oregon women military veterans.

There are more than 28,000 women veterans in Oregon — a number that has risen steadily over the past three decades — representing almost one-tenth of Oregon’s veteran population.

-> View Carolina’s portrait
-> View Deborah’s portrait
-> Learn more

SR Education Group Top Masters Program BadgeMSW Program Ranked #14 in U.S.

The School of Social Work’s MSW program was recently ranked #14 among master’s of social work programs in the US.

These rankings are based on over 57,000 student reviews and ratings of over 1,600 colleges. Last year Portland State University’s MSW ranked #17 on this list.

These rankings are published by SR Education Group, an education research publisher founded in 2004.

-> Learn more

Lynn Thompson, 1968Lynn E. Thompson

The School of Social Work is sad to share that Lynn E. Thompson, retired faculty from the Portland State University School of Social Work, died last month. He was 81 years old.

Lynn earned his BSW and MSW from University of California, Berkeley, where Gordon Hearn, the first dean of the School of Social Work at Portland State University, was his undergraduate advisor.

Lynn taught practice courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels from 1968 through 1987. He became assistant dean under Dean Ricky Ross in 1978 and continued in that position until 1987 when he retired from PSU.

Lynn and his wife Chris recently created a scholarship for MSW students in the School of Social Work, which will now be a living legacy to his dedication and leadership.


Family and Friends Night at McMenamins Benefits Social Work Students

mcfriendsnightsocialJoin us for a festive Friends & Family Night at McMenamins Market Street Pub in downtown Portland. You can eat, drink, and support School of Social Work students in need all at the same time. 50% of the evening’s proceeds will go to the School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
5 p.m. until close

McMenamins Market Street Pub
1526 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

-> Learn more

Public Health Portland StyleTap in to the best of Public Health at the Lucky Lab Beer Hall in NW Quimby

The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health is hosting Public Health Portland Style series with the latest topics on Public Health every third Thursday of the month.

The next event is #3 Your Health: Zipcode or Genetic code?

Thursday, March 16
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Lucky Lab Beer Hall in NW Portland

Featuring experts Larry Wallack, Liana Winett, and Rachael Banks. This event is free and open to the public.

-> Learn more


Student Spotlight

The Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research just wrapped up another successful application season, with 32 qualified candidates applying to Portland State’s social justice focused doctoral program. 10 applicants came from outside the United States, 18 outside the state of Oregon, and 11 applied with an interdisciplinary background, bringing degrees other than a Master of Social Work (MSW) to their application.

Keela Johnson 1-1Students who accept Portland State’s invitation this spring will join a highly qualified group of Ph.D. students. One such student is Keela Johnson. Keela received both her BS in Sociology and Masters in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. Her current research interest focuses on intercultural race dialogues and their effectiveness, emphasizing the trauma of sharing one’s experience of oppression with the dominant culture, affinity group development, and basic education around the social construction and history of American society.

As an advocate for racial and social equity, Keela has worked for over 10 years creating and facilitating workshops, trainings, and dialogues for organizations. She has done an internship with the Independent Police Review of Portland where she implemented a program she designed for disenfranchised communities. Keela also formerly held the position of Dialogue Coordinator and Specialist at Resolutions Northwest of Portland. She is currently an independent contractor and dialogue specialist for organizations in the Portland area.

-> Learn more about doctoral students in the Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research


Faculty News and Publications


l-hawash-low-res-editedPeople living outside in Portland struggle to meet their basic hygiene and health needs because of a shortage of showers, bathrooms and washer and dryers.

These were the results of a survey led by Lisa Hawash, MSW, assistant professor of practice. Lisa led a team of researchers and graduate students in a survey of 550 people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

One possible solution: a community hygiene center that is open all day, every day.

-> Learn more in The Oregonian article
-> Learn more in KOIN 6 article
-> Learn more in Street Roots News article

Beth Green, Ph.D., Callie Lambarth, MSW,
and Diane Reid, MSW, prepared final reports with community stakeholders and Children’s Institute on the North Douglas County Community Needs Health Assessment. As a result of a community-engaged process to collect and analyze data, families with young children, service providers, and other community stakeholders crafted recommendations and identified priorities to promote access to health services and cultivate a culture of wellness in North Douglas County communities.

-> Download the Phase 1 planning report
-> Download the Phase 2 regional health services survey report


Staci MartinStaci Martin, Ed.Dc, has been awarded a scholarship from Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Martin is PSU doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership Curriculum and Instruction and an adjunct instructor in Child and Family Studies in the School of Social Work.

Martin was awarded the $1,300 Louise M. Berman Fellows Award for doctoral students. She was recognized for her research project, Co-Creating Spaces of Critical Hope.

The scholarship is based on academic success, involvement in Kappa Delta Pi, and a written essay. She was selected from pool of applicants from students around the country.

-> Learn More

Dora Raymaker, Ph.D.,
assistant research professor in the Regional Research Institute (RRI), recently received $467,000 from two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants to launch a community based participatory research study to understand the challenges and success factors for autistic people in the workplace. The study focuses on professional employment.

To showcase her work and find prospective study participants, Dora held Portland State University’s first ever Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit Science. Dora answered more than 25 of the over 250 questions and comments logged in her one-hour online session, which was seen and “voted” on by over 2,500 Reddit users. In fact, hours before her session began she was trending on Reddit Science!

Reddit_logo_and_wordmark.svgReddit is an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website used by over 542 million monthly visitors. It became especially popular when President Obama did AMAs during his time in the White House.

-> View Dora’s Reddit archive


Abel, G., & Wahab, S. (In press). Young Street Based Sex Workers’ Interactions with Social Workers. Child and Family Social Work.

Beck, E., Charania, M., Ferdoos, A.,Wahab, S. (In press). Undoing Bias and Islamophobia: Awareness of Orientalism in Social Work. Journal of Progressive Human Services.

Blakeslee, J. E., Kothari, B., McBeath, B., Sorenson, P., & Bank, L. (2017). Network indicators of the social ecology of adolescents in relative and non-relative foster households. Children and Youth Services Review, 73, 173-181.

Burbach, J., Martin, S. B., Arnold-Fowlkes, J., Escobedo, M., Hibbs, A., Julius, C., Musgrove, C., & Sakaith, J. (2016). Who defines me? Spaces and Places of Agency and Hope. In S. Keengwe (Ed), Handbook of Research on Promoting Cross-Cultural Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Curry-Stevens, A. (2016). Precarious changes: A generational exploration of Canadian incomes and wealth. In D. Raphael (Ed.) Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives (3rd Ed., pp.60-89). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Curry-Stevens, A., Kim-Gervey, C. & Chief Education Office Research Team (2016). Chronic absenteeism report. Salem, OR: Chief Education Office, Oregon, and Center to Advance Racial Equity, Portland State University.

Curry-Stevens, A. & Muthanna, J. (2016). In defense of culturally-specific organizations: Understanding the rationale and the evidence. Advances in Applied Sociology, 2(16), 67-80.

Curry-Stevens, A. & Sinkey, A. (Eds., 2016). In need of a long welcome: Supporting the integration of newcomers to Portland. Portland, OR: Center to Advance Racial Equity, Portland State University.

Gonzalez-Prats, M.C. (2016). Accountability, Complacency, or Obfuscation? Analyzing the U.S. Military’s Response to MST. Journal of Public Integrity. (In Publication)
Goodman, E., Bobzien, J., Burgess, M. & Melton, R.P., Lambert, S (2016) Counseling Children and Adolescents with Sensory Processing Disorder: Results of an Exploratory National Study Target publisher: Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling. -> DOI

Hill, C. & Curry-Stevens, A. (2016). Organizational change and racial equity: Implications for capacity building practice for organizations and networks. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 7(1), 21-28. -> DOI

Keller, T. E., Logan, K., Zell, A., Lindwall, J., & Beals, C. (2016). Monitoring and supporting a multi-faceted, multi-institutional student mentoring program. In Dominquez, N. & Gandert, Y. (Eds.) 9th Annual Mentoring Conference Proceedings: Developmental Networks: The Power of Mentoring and Coaching. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico.

Mehrotra, G. R., Kimball, E, & Wahab, S. (2016). The braid that binds us: The impact of neoliberalism, criminalization, and professionalization on domestic violence work. Editorial. Affilia: Women and social work, 31(2), 153-163. -> DOI

Outcalt, S.D., Nicolaidis, C., Bair, M.J., Myers, L.E., Miech, E.J., Mathias, M.S. A Qualitative Examination of Pain Centrality Among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts. Pain Medicine. 2017; 18(2), 211-219. -> DOI  (PMID: 27353828) (Originally published online first June 2016).

Raphael, D. & Curry-Stevens, A. (2016). Surmounting the barriers: Making action on the social determinants of health a public policy priority. In D. Raphael (Ed.) Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives (3rd Edition, pp.561-583). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Raymaker D, McDonald K, Ashkenazy, E., Gerrity, M., Baggs, A.M., Kripke, C., Hourston, S., Nicolaidis, C. Barriers to Healthcare: Instrument Development and Comparison between Adults on the Autism Spectrum and Adults With and Without Other Disabilities. Autism. Published online ahead of print, Sept 22, 2016. -> DOI (PMID: 25979536)

Sowers, J.A., Powers, L., Schmidt, J., Keller, T.E., Turner, A., Salazar, A., & Swank, P. (2016). A randomized trial of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics mentoring program. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. First published on March 10, 2016 -> DOI

Wahab, S. & Abel, G. (2016). The Prostitution Reform Act (2003) and social work in Aotearoa/New Zealand” for review in Affilia: Women in Social Work. -> DOI

Weimer, M.B, Hartung, D.M., Ahmed, S., and Nicolaidis, C. A chronic opioid therapy dose reduction policy in primary care. Substance Abuse. 2016: 37(1) 141-147. (PMID: 26685018)

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources

The School of Social Work’s faculty affairs and equity, inclusion and community partnership council (EPIC) committees recently put together a set of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Resources.

-> Get resources

What’s in a zip code? Your health, as it turns out.

The new founding dean of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Portland State University School of Public Health, Dr. David Bangsberg, M.D., M.P.H., discussed the role public health education plays in addressing social determinants of health at his OHSU Illuminate keynote address.

-> Watch video

Taking the first step: OHSU and PSU stand together against gun violence

Gun violence is a preventable public health issue. From shootings by and against police officers, to mass casualties at schools, churches and community venues, gun violence is rampant around the world.

Students, faculty, and staff at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Portland State University met recently at the Collaborative Life Sciences Building on Portland’s South Waterfront to listen, discuss and understand the impact this issue has on the community.

-> Read article

Utah teen suicide tries drop after new app’s debut

Suicide attempts by Utah teens have declined 20% in the year since The University of Utah introduced a smartphone app for quick connections with counselors during crises, according to preliminary state data. Rainey Boateng, a licensed clinical social worker, says he has been called a lifesaver by some of the thousands of users of Safe UT to whom he has responded.

-> Watch video

Report on the status of Oregon women and girls

The Oregon Women’s Foundation recently released Count Her In, a report on the status of Oregon women and girls. It is full of interesting and important information in a usable format.

-> Download report

Highlights and Happenings – January/February 2017

e-may-low-res-editedDid you know that the School of Social Work at Portland State…

  • Has a statewide charter?
  • Has programs in Ashland, Bend, Eugene, Salem, in addition to a fully online program?
  • Was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1962 to serve the whole state?

Our work and reach extends well beyond the Portland metro area.

Each cohort of students at our distance option sites attends class, engages in group work, completes field education internships, and develops professional practice skills to benefit each community’s particular needs. Students enter their distance option program bringing unique experience centered in their home communities with dedication to continuing this work locally after graduation.

As distance option coordinator for the School of Social Work, I work with an amazing team of site coordinators in each of our other Oregon locations. These individuals grow the distance option programs each day — implementing field instructor orientations and trainings; providing faculty onboarding support; mediating student concerns and needs; and marketing and recruiting to find new students and field faculty. In short, they do everything required for this program to run successfully. They are each passionate professionals who know and truly understand their local social work landscape. With their local knowledge, they help our students connect with organizations and agencies to support needs and provide guidance around the critical social needs in their communities.

Visiting faculty are another critical component of our distance programs. Hopping on planes, jumping on trains, or driving each week to join students in their communities, they teach an entire week’s worth of content in one eight-hour classroom day. Bringing faculty from Portland to our distance sites, as well as utilizing local adjunct faculty, ensures all students receive the same quality social work education across program options.

As we enter 2017, we salute and thank our statewide School of Social Work faculty, staff and students for bringing their passion and work to all corners of our state.

Eddie May, MSW, LCSW
Distance Option Coordinator and Assistant Director of Field Education


What’s Inside?


School of Social Work Welcomes New Staff

barnett_johnJohn Barnett is our new Operations & Administrative Services Manager within the Dean’s office of the School of Social Work following the departure of Diane Coward who is now across the street at the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. John has extensive experience in this area. He worked for the SSW Dean’s office in 2008 to 2013 and has been with the Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services (CCF) since then.

john-waddinghamJohn Waddingham has joined the School of Social Work team as the MSW Student Affairs Assistant. Prior to joining us John worked as the Student Services Administrative Assistant and Financial Aid Representative at East West College of the Healing Hearts.


An Open Letter to the Portland State University School of Social Work Community from Dean Laura Nissen

Laura at Table“It has been a complex, busy, and challenging month.”

“[A]ll schools of social work are taking note of the powerful challenges ahead.”

“Equity; racial, social, political and economic justice; competence; dignity and worth of the person; and integrity — all are core values we will steadfastly uphold moving forward.”

“We affirm our commitment to our community, our students and our goals for peace, equity and justice in our country and our world.”

-> Read Dean Nissen’s full letter

School of Social Work Faculty Hosts SDHI Inauguration Day Commitment to Action Ceremony


Pictured above lower right: Dr. Christina Nicolaidis; MSW student and SDI coordinator Julia Chandler; and Marsha Jordon, African American Health Coalition.

One of our faculty members and Social Determinants of Health scholar, Dr. Christina Nicolaidis, and members of the Social Determinants of Health Initiative sponsored a special event on inauguration day. Approximately 60 health and social services professionals, faculty, staff, students, and community members gathered at Portland State University to commit to action and pledge to stand up for social justice.

This SDHI Inauguration Day Commitment to Action Ceremony was organized by the Social Determinants of Health Initiative, a collaboration among Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), community organizations, governmental agencies, and local health systems.

Those who attended had the opportunity to articulate a commitment, write it on a ribbon, and tie the ribbon to a net as a symbol of our collective work for social justice. The ribbons surrounded a framed Social Justice Pledge. This expression of collective work is displayed in the School of Social Work space in Portland.

Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the collaborative team that produced this powerful event!

-> Learn more about Social Determinants of Health Initiative


Visiting Scholar Program Wins Top Award


An innovative visiting scholar and professional development program of School of Social Work was recently recognized as the top program of its kind by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) in Seoul, South Korea.

As part of this initiative, three visiting scholars from the SMG have been living in Portland the past two years while they study and research at Portland State. In addition, sixteen SMG officers came to the School last summer for a short term training program focused on exploring and observing social work and human service programs, service delivery systems, and policy making.

These collaborative projects of the School of Social Work and Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) are led by Dr. Junghee Lee, associate professor and program director of the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research, with generous support from Dr. Laura Nissen, dean of the School of Social Work, PSU’s Office of International Affairs, and the College of Urban and Public Affairs.


Family and Friends Night at McMenamins Benefits Social Work Students

mcfriendsnightsocialJoin us for a festive Friends & Family Night at McMenamins Market Street Pub in downtown Portland. You can eat, drink, and support School of Social Work students in need all at the same time. 50% of the evening’s proceeds will go to the School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
5 p.m. until close

McMenamins Market Street Pub
1526 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

NASW Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) in Salem

nasw-leadJoin the social work community across the state on Thursday, March 9th and learn to lobby, speak with local state representatives, understand issues from the social work perspective and participate in advocacy for Oregon!

-> Register


  • NASW Legislative Update
  • Lobbying 101
  • The Future of Social Work
  • Keynote Address from Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek with honored guests
    Rep. Diego Hernandez and Rep. Tawna Sanchez
  • Lobbying and Social Worker Panel
  • Lobby meetings with state legislators in teams (there will be a training in the morning session)
  • Panel Q&A with social workers in a range of professions

Limited seating available!

-> More information

Donor Spotlight

School of Social Work Recognizes Generosity of Christine and David Vernier

vernier-scholarship-reception-2-2-17-1Portland State University recently recognized the generosity of Christine and David Vernier, local technology entrepreneurs, at a reception at the Simon Benson House on the PSU campus in Portland.

Thanks to a $3.6 million gift from the Verniers, 18 Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Child and Family Studies (CFS) students received scholarships this year and are being recognized as Vernier Endowed Scholars.

Pictured here, clockwise from the top, are Ka Lee (BSW, expected ’17); Heather Haworth (BSW, expected ’17); Dr. Laura Nissen, dean of the School of Social Work; Christine Vernier; and Anna Keene (BSW, expected ’17). Ka, Heather, and Anna are three of this year’s Vernier Endowed Scholars from the School of Social Work.

The School of Social Work and its Vernier Endowed Scholars recipients sincerely thank Christine and David Vernier for their amazing gift supporting the future of social work and human services!

-> Learn more about the Vernier Endowed Scholars

Faculty News and Publications


l-hawash-low-res-editedLisa Hawash, MSW ’05, assistant professor of practice in the School of Social Work, recently published a study exploring the hygiene needs and challenges of people experiencing poverty and homelessness. The report was developed in partnership with Sisters of the Road.

j-kates-low-res-editedField Education Director Julie Kates, MSW ’95, was recently selected to participate in the Office of Academic Innovation Mini-Grant Learning Cohort in Equity and Social Justice in Community Based Learning. Julie and her colleagues will work to develop and support pedagogy in equity, social justice action-based community-based learning within their departments and the university in general by adapting current courses, developing new courses, reviewing research, and modeling a justice-based educational praxis.

r-orellana-low-res-editedE. Roberto Orellana, Ph.D., MPH, MSW, associate dean for research and sponsored projects and associate professor co-authored a chapter in the 3-volume second edition of Sexual Assault Victimization Across the Life Span. His chapter is entitled “Screening for and Treatment of Sexual Abuse Histories in Boys and Male Adolescents.” Sexual Assault Victimization Across the Life Span is the essential reference for sexual assault responders.

dora-raymaker-on-katu-2Portland State University School of Social Work assistant research professor Dora Raymaker, Ph.D., and her $467,000 grant to study autism in the workplace is featured on a KATU News report.

Janet Walker, Ph.D., associate research professor, director of the Pathways to Positive Futures Rehabilitation Research and Training Center and co-director of the National Wraparound Initiative, and her team recently visited Australia and New Zealand to present on and learn more about youth and young adult mental health innovations.

Tamara Sale and Patrick McGorry.jpg

Pictured above are Tamara Sale, principal investigator of Project EASA Connections and EASA (Early Assessment and Support Alliance) Program Development Coordinator with Patrick McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health and Executive Director of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Australia.

Prof. McGorry is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of early psychosis interventions.

Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia can often lead to a lifetime of disability. Schizophrenia, in particular, usually starts during the transition years to adulthood. Promising new research shows that early interventions for psychosis in young people may help improve lifelong outcomes.

-> Learn more about the Pathways RTC research project “EASA Connections.”


In this photo collage from top, then left to right:

Janet and Celeste Seibel, Manager for Project AMP+, met with staff from Tu Mai Awa, a Wraparound project in Hastings, New Zealand, that focuses on working with children and families in a way that builds on the strengths of indigenous culture and community. Janet and others are sitting by a Korowai, a traditional cloak which was made by families to symbolize how the program was supportive.

Janet and Celeste in Napier, New Zealand, met with Ruth Gammon, a key Wraparound trainer and expert in New Zealand.

Janet presented on cost-effective strategies for supporting high-quality Wraparound to a roundtable of key officials from New Zealand’s ministries of Health, Education and Social Welfare, as well as representatives from non-profits and the police.

Wraparound is an intensive, holistic method of engaging with individuals with complex needs, most typically children, youth, and their families.

Wraparound is innovative in that it is community-based and offers an effective alternative to residential treatment for children and youth with behavioral health challenges.

-> More information on the National Wraparound Initiative (NWI)


Blakeslee, J. E., & Keller, T. E. (2016). Assessing support network stability with transition-age foster youth: Measuring change over time. Research on Social Work Practice, DOI: 10.1177/1049731516678662.

Blakeslee, J. E., Richardson, D., Zell, A., & Keller, T. E. (2016). BUILDing student developmental networks in academic settings. In Dominguez, N. & Alexander, D. (Eds.), 9th Annual Mentoring Conference Proceedings: Developmental Networks: The Power of Mentoring and Coaching. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.

Brennan, E., Jivanjee, P., Elkin, E., Myers, C., Murphy, B., & Carvente, H. (2016, November 1). Promoting Positive Futures: Evidence Based Practices in Juvenile Justice and Behavioral Health [Webinar]. -> Watch

Brennan, E. M., Nygren, P., Stephens, R. L., & Croskey, A. (2016). Predicting positive education outcomes for emerging adults in systems of care. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 43(4) 564-581. -> Read

Crapnell, T., Lau, L. Hanks, C.D., Nicolaidis, C., Kuo A.A. Autism. In Pilapil, LeLaet, Kuo, Peacock, Sharma (Ed). Care of Adults with Chronic Childhood Conditions: A Practical Guide. 2016. Springer. Switzerland. Pp 53-66.

Jivanjee, P., Brennan, E. M., Sellmaier, C., Gonzalez-Prats, M. C., & Members of the Pathways Transition Training Collaborative. (2016). Achieving Cross-System Collaboration to Support Young People in the Transition Years: A Tip Sheet for Service Providers. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> Download

Koroloff, N., Friesen, B., & Buekea, N. (2016). Advice to Young Adults from Young Adults: Helpful hints for Policy Change in the Mental Health System. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> Download

Turner, S. (2016). Take charge for the future: Enhancing self-determination. Presented at Mental Health Practitioners EASA. November, 2016. Portland, OR.

Turner, S. (2016). Take charge for the future: Self-determination and community participation in foster care. Presented at Morrison Child & Family Services. October, 2016. Portland, Oregon.

Velez-Klug, C., Nicolaidis, C., Korthuis, P.T., Englander, H. “It’s Been an Experience, a Life Learning Experience”: A Qualitative Study of Hospitalized Patients with Substance Use Disorders. Journal of General Internal Medicine. Published online first December, 2016. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-016-3919-4.

Walker, J. S., & Flower, K. M. (2016). Provider perspectives on principle-adherent practice in empirically-supported interventions for emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 43(4) 525-541. -> Read

Walker, J. S., Seibel, C. L., Jackson, S., & Ossowski, J. D. (2016). Introduction to the special section: Positive developmental strategies for engaging emerging adults and improving outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 43(4) 521-524. -> Read

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

The Joint Office of Homeless Services is recruiting volunteers to help conduct surveys as part of the 2017 Homeless Street Count during the week of February 22 through February 28, 2017. Volunteers will assist service agencies throughout Multnomah County in conducting a short survey in an effort to obtain an accurate snapshot of the number of people who are experiencing homeless on a given night in our community.

-> Learn how to volunteer

How a simple Google doc called “What to do instead of calling the police” went viral and why it matters

This year, social justice warriors and those who love to hate them have probably come across the humble GoogleDoc What to do instead of calling the police. Compiled and circulated by New York-based education strategist Aaron Rose, What to do instead has been shared thousands of times on social media, and Aaron estimates that between 200 and 300 people are viewing the document at any one time.

-> Read article on Medium
-> Access the Google Doc

One-woman organization run by Portland State University MSW alumna helps homeless where they are.

Sarah Kelley, MSW ’16, receives $120k Meyer Memorial Trust grant to expand her Thrive Central Oregon program in Bend, which helps needy Central Oregon residents connect with social services.

-> Read article in the Bend Bulletin

198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

Practitioners of nonviolent struggle have an entire arsenal of “nonviolent weapons” at their disposal. Included are 198 of them, classified into three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention. A description and historical examples of each can be found in volume two of The Politics of Nonviolent Action, by Gene Sharp.  From the Albert Einstein Institution.

-> Get 198 Methods of NonViolent Action 

Explore how and why non-profit human service organizations are using social media in this paper by Dr. Jimmy Young, assistant professor of social work at California State University San Marcos.

Highlights and Happenings – November/December 2016


As we close out 2016 and approach the next chapter in our country’s political journey in the new year, I wanted to update you on what the School of Social Work has been up to since November’s national election outcome, which has been on the minds of so many of us.

Our School of Social Work community had a variety of responses to the recent election results.  The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of building greater community with each other.  Students, faculty, staff, and many of our community partners have participated in reflection sessions here in the School of Social Work both in person and online where folks listened and shared their reactions to all that is happening on the national political landscape.  We are a community, and now is the time for us to watch out for and be in touch with each other.

wall-of-hope-2016Safety has been our first concern.  Many people in our community — both in our programs and in the community at large — have expressed fear and anxiety as we read that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center,  Oregon has a particularly high rate of “hate crime” activity following the election.  We moved quickly to establish safe spaces in our School. We also join with you to celebrate that PSU has elected to designate itself as a “sanctuary” university.  We posted “We Welcome” posters around public areas of the School of Social Work spaces in Portland to stand in solidarity with our diverse Portland State community and publicly display our support.  We created a “Wall of Hope” in our Portland academic space and encouraged our community to share thoughts and resources.

Nationally, schools of social work are active in considering all the implications for our shared work moving forward.   Senior members of our School of Social Work community have lived through political administrations that were out of sync with —and even hostile to — many aspects of the social work code of ethics.  We need to learn our lessons quickly about how to prepare for social policy work in a very different climate than we expected.

Moving forward, learning to talk and work with one another remains a powerful priority.  This talking and working will take many forms.  It will happen across kitchen tables, in our classrooms, at our field practicum sites, in legislative offices, and in the streets through demonstrations and the exercise of first amendment rights.    In this way we will keep going, keep helping each other, and keep doing what we do so well — invite, protect, and ensure progress.    After assuring safety for our most vulnerable, we push forward.

Though the work we now must do may be different than what we thought it would be just a few months ago, it is urgent and it matters.  I call upon all of you to uphold the values and principles of our profession.   Let’s keep learning, give each other the grace and space to adjust to the results of the election, and work to envision and build the world that is to come.

Thank you for all you do.  Let’s believe in each other and come together for the important work ahead.

On behalf of the entire School of Social Work team, happy holidays!


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor

What’s Inside?


School of Social Work Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

j-hoffman-400 Dr. Jill Hoffman joins the School of Social Work as a tenure-track faculty member this fall. Drawing from prior experience with the early intervention system in Philadelphia, her research interests focus on social-emotional development in vulnerable young children. Throughout the first five years of life, young children may come into contact with educational, social service, and healthcare professionals. Jill’s research specifically examines how professionals across a variety of service sectors support young children’s social-emotional development. Jill’s dissertation investigates the relationship between Head Start center characteristics, teachers’ classroom practices, and low-income children’s social-emotional development.

Jill brings a wide range of expertise to our school and will be working across the BSW and MSW programs initially. Jill earned her BS in Psychology from Penn State University, her MSW from Temple University, and a minor in Statistical Data Analysis from Ohio State University. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Ohio State in August 2016.

m-uretsky-400 Mathew Uretsky is a social work practitioner and researcher with rich experience in and a deep passion for working with schools, families, and community organizations to improve outcomes in underserved communities. After completing his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz in psychology, Mathew completed a dual Masters in Public Health and Social Work at San Diego State University. He then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa developing community-based programs for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Mathew has helped students experiencing homelessness in the Bay Area connect with services and support through his work as the McKinney-Vento liaison for the Oakland Unified School District. As a statistician and doctoral research fellow in the School of Social work at University of Maryland Baltimore, Mathew works with state agencies to improve their capacity to use administrative data for policy and program development.

Mathew’s research interests include the development and evaluation of interventions to support positive youth development. More specifically, his work examines the risk and protective factors that impact the academic and behavioral development of children and youth, with a focus on how the school and family environment influence student outcomes.

Mathew enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two young children. He especially enjoys hiking and just about anything to do with the water. He is looking forward to exploring all the parks in Portland with his family and is always on the lookout for a good playground.


Sara Lavender is our manager for front office operations. Sara is a PSU alumni. She got her undergrad degree in Applied Linguistics and Spanish. She’s a huge nerd for all things language, how it is used in identity formation, and how it intersects with social justice. She’s passionate about higher education administration and is planning to apply for the PACE masters program at PSU. When not working, she’s reading, watching cartoons or sci-fi, or listening to bachata.

Social Work Alumni Elected to Oregon State Legislature

tawna-sanchez-and-diego-hernandezCongratulations to two School of Social Work alumni who were elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in the November elections.

Tawna Sanchez, MSW ’12, will represent House District 43, which includes parts of North and Northeast Portland. She is the second Native American to represent Portland in the state Legislature. She is the director of family services at the Native American Youth and Family Center and has served on the Family Services Review Commission, a governor-appointed body that advises the Department of Human Services.

Diego Hernandez, MSW ’12, was elected to represent House District 47. Hernandez is a Reynolds School District board member and serves on the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

We’re proud of our Portland State University social work alumni who use their education, skills and experiences to change society through legislative leadership and action!

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced grant program awards in excess of $700,000 will be given to Portland State University (PSU) in support of four campus law enforcement and community justice initiatives. psu_campus_fall-walk-of-heroines-with-banners

The awards recognize and support the work of both law enforcement and academic organizations in developing new and innovative ways of administering justice programs on and off campus.

The funded programs vary in size, scope, and subject matter. A $400,000 grant has been awarded by the DOJ Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in support of a research partnership between PSU, the Center for Court Innovation, Multnomah County Family Court, and additional community partners. The goal of the project is to generate culturally responsive practices and policies related to procedural justice for survivors of domestic violence.

Learn more about this grant from the DOJ


Elevating Impact Summit

The School of Social Work is partnering with Portland State University’s Elevating Impact Summit, an all-day event designed to bring social entrepreneurs and change-makers together to share emerging strategies and techniques to promote the social welfare by means of public, private, and academic venture. From ancient mythology to future technology, Summit speakers will explore how we shape emergent industries and technologies with a lens on positive change, and consider how lessons from the past help us navigate an unpredictable future.

Register with our 20% off Community Partner discount code: PARTNER17

The Summit also includes the Elevating Impact Pitch Fest, Impact Awards, interactive activities, a networking lunch, and a wine and beer reception.

February 13, 2017
9:00am – 5:00pm
Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave
Portland, Oregon

Learn more about Elevating Impact Summit 2017

Student Spotlight

MSW Advanced Practice Students Create Solidarity Project to Advocate for the Remission of the Dakota Access Pipeline

postcardsPortland State University Master of Social Work (MSW) students in Dr. Bowen McBeath’s Wednesday afternoon Planning and Leading Communities and Organizations (PLCO) course this term have mobilized and created a postcard campaign in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Led by students in the class who identify with their indigenous roots and in support of those who are protecting the water at Standing Rock, the class developed a plan to raise funds through a GoFundMe page and held a fundraising dance. These efforts are supporting a goal of sending 10,000 signed postcards addressed to President Barack Obama requesting that he revoke the federal permits to build the DAPL on sacred grounds and instead invest in wind energy projects. The class is also repeating the long-standing request that the U.S. government honors its treaties with tribes.

“After the election we were trying to figure out how to be a community and how to be doing action,” said Jessica Williams, MSW ‘17. “This was a really great way for us to build that community and also take part in something that was a direct action around a cause everyone felt very strongly about.” She feels she’s benefited strongly from the project. “It’s been a great learning lesson. I’ve been in social work for a long time and wondering how to get involved in direct action when I’m working full time, going to school, and doing my internship. It’s been one of the best learning experiences so far in my MSW journey.”

Shelia Danzuka, MSW ‘17, who lives on on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation with her family, also reflected on the real-world nature of the project. “This was such a great opportunity at a time when some of us felt like the [political] situation was hopeless,” said Shelia. “This class gave us an opportunity to do something where we could move things forward practically, not just write a paper for a grade. I think all of us will take away meaning from this.”

“Indigenous people around the world and at Standing Rock have been exploited, abused, moved around, pushed around, erased and ignored for over 500 years,” said Rosella Stanley, MSW ‘17. “As social workers, we’re supposed to be identifying the people who need the most amplification and solidarity and strengthen our connection to them. We’re here to lift them up and work for their causes.”

To date, the class has raised over $2,000, printed out 5,000 postcards based upon an original art print generously donated by indigenous two-spirit artist Clay River, and gathered and mailed over 1,000 signed postcards to President Barack Obama.

Students in the School of Social Work’s PLCO advanced practice concentration gain skills to collaborate with natural leaders and support their social justice efforts in diverse community and organizational contexts. At its heart, PLCO emphasizes the importance of engaging in social work practice in culturally humble and inclusive ways. “This effort has been a fantastic way for us to come together to build community intentionally and focus our efforts around the needs of our local and global communities,” said Dr. Bowen McBeath, professor in the School of Social Work. “This is what social work is all about.” #NoDAPL #socialworkinaction

-> Support the NoDAPL Postcards for Protectors project on GoFundMe
-> Learn more about the project on Facebook

Field Spotlight

Brian and May: Independent Living Resources


“Find the humanity in every client you serve.” “Look for evidence of resilience and reflect these qualities back to those you work with.” These are just two pieces of advice that May Altman, LCSW, associate director of Independent Living Resources, shared with her student intern, Brian Nickerson, MSW ’17, this past year.

Brian worked at Independent Living Resources as a peer counselor for people with disabilities. “Some of the folks I worked with didn’t have much experience being seen and heard and deeply considered in an authentic way,” said Brian.

“Bringing this high level of empathy into my sessions seemed to conjure up deep vulnerability, which often accelerated the change process [for my clients].”

-> Learn more about Brian’s MSW Internship

Faculty News and Publications

Addington, D. E., Norman, R., Bond, G. R., Sale, T., Melton, R., Mckenzie, E., & Wang, J. (2016). Development and testing of the First-Episode Psychosis Services Fidelity Scale. Psychiatric Services. DOI:10.1176/appi.ps.201500398.

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., & Hinkle, E. (2016, September 20). AFFIRMative CBT – Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Youth [Webinar]. -> View the Webcast Here

Feight, H., Bell, B., Conway, A., Turner, S., Naigus, N., & Powers, L. (2016). Helping Young Adults from Foster Care Succeed in College. Portland. OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> Download Here

Callie H. Lambarth, evaluation coordinator, and Beth L. Green, evaluation lead for Multnomah Project LAUNCH 2010-2015 are among those who contributed to a new report summarizing the impact of some of this work locally. ->Read the Report Here

Callie H. Lambarth and Lindsey Cochran prepared the Volunteering in Oregon report for the Oregon Community Foundation, designed to identify recommendations and actions for how OCF and its partners can encourage and support volunteer engagement and service in Oregon. ->Download the Report

Seibel, C., Jackson, S., Johnson, M., & Baird, C. (2016). Supervision and support for youth peer providers. Presented at the 2nd National Wraparound Implementation Academy. September 20, 2016. Rockville, Maryland.

Sellmaier, C., Leo, M. C., Brennan, E. M., & Kendall, J. (2016). Finding fit between work and family responsibilities when caring for children with ADHD diagnosis. Journal of Child and Family Studies. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-016-0527-

Turner, S. (2016). Handled with care: Planned relationship endings in the My Life program. Presentation at the Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring. August, 2016. Portland, Oregon.

Walker, J. S., Bruns, E.B., Walker, J. Masselli, B., Bergen, J., Mosby, M., Long, A., & Donnelly, T. (2016). Parent and youth peer support—History and state of the field (Invited plenary). Presented at the 2nd National Wraparound Implementation Academy. September 20, 2016. Rockville, Maryland.

Walker, J., & Masselli, B. (2016) Assessing support for youth/young adult voice at the organizational level. Presented at the 2nd National Wraparound Implementation Academy. September 21, 2016. Rockville, Maryland.

Walker, J., Seibel, C., & Jackson, S. (2016). Research-based strategies for engaging youth and young adults in Wraparound. Presented at the 2nd National Wraparound Implementation Academy. September 19, 2016. Rockville, Maryland.


5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

White House Recognizes Portland-Area Push to Curb Veteran Houselessness

Work by Portland and Multnomah County to ease homelessness among veterans since 2015 has earned federal recognition, Mayor Charlie Hales and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced Saturday morning.

-> Read more in this Oregon Live article.

Portland State University Students Build Sleeping Pods for City Houseless

Portland State University School of Architecture students took on a unique challenge this fall: design and build micro dwelling units, or “sleeping pods,” to keep Portland’s homeless safe and warm this winter.

-> Read more in this PSU News article.

28 Universities — including Portland State University — That Vow to Offer Sanctuary to Their Undocumented Students

-> Read more in this article from Remezcla (Remix)

Becoming Disabled

Roughly one in five Americans lives with a disability. So where is our pride movement?

6 Ways Well-Intentioned People Whitesplain Racism (And Why They Need to Stop)

Usually, signs of whitesplaining include a condescending tone and a paternalistic assumption that a person of color doesn’t know enough to accurately articulate their own experience.

-> Read more in this article from Everyday Feminism