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 



Highlights and Happenings – September / October 2016

Laura Nissen on Urban Terrace - 1

Happy New (Academic) Year! We’ve launched yet another exciting school year here in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. At the annual welcoming and orientation events we held here in Portland last month, we ushered a new generation of human services professionals and scholars into our ranks. With so many social needs on the local, regional and national front, bringing competent, dedicated and compassionate social work and human services professionals into the world couldn’t be more important.

As we’ve geared up for the new year, there’s been lots going on and we have a number of ways you can engage with the School as well. This September / October issue of Highlights & Happenings features a few examples of what we’ve been up to and what’s coming up this fall.  We hope you enjoy!


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor

What’s Inside?


welcoming-and-orientations-2016Fall New Student Welcoming

With the start of the new academic year, the School of Social Work welcomed over 400 new students into its Bachelors of Social Work (BSW), Child and Family Studies (CFS), Master in Social Work (MSW), and Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research programs this fall.

To get a glimpse of the fall welcoming and orientation activities produced by each of these programs, visit each program’s Flickr album.

-> View BSW’s Orientation Album
-> View CFS’ Orientation Album
-> View MSW’s Welcoming Album
-> View Ph.D.’s Orientation Album

Campus Pride Names PSU in List of Top LGBTQ-friendly Campuses

Campus Pride named Portland State University among the Top 30 LGBTQ-friendly college campuses in the country on its 2016 “Best of the Best” list.

For eight years, the list has highlighted the most LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities when it comes to policy, program and practice in higher education. Campus Pride chose 30 campuses to highlight this year based on their overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive measures.

“Prospective students and their families today expect colleges to be LGBTQ-friendly,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “They want to know what LGBTQ programs, services and resources are available on the campus — and which are the ‘Best of the Best.’”

-> Read more about this exciting news

School of Social Work Faculty and Staff Make Connections with Social Work at State Hospital

This past summer a group of faculty and staff from the School of Social Work visited the Oregon State Hospital (OHS) in Salem, Oregon.

OHS is the primary state-run psychiatric hospital in the state of Oregon. It is perhaps best known as the filming location for the Academy Award-winning movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest starring Jack Nicholson.

During its visit, the team from the School was given a special tour of the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health by Dennie Brooks, daughter of longtime OHS superintendent Dean Brooks. The team also toured hospital facilities and spoke with social work professionals who work with OHS patients.

Pictured above are the participating School of Social Work faculty and staff along with representatives from the museum and hospital. Ph.D. candidate Beckie Child serves on the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board and helped organize the visit.

The School salutes the important work the Oregon State Hospital provides to individuals and communities throughout our state!

School Makes List of Top Social Work Programs in US

sr-group-top-sw-programThe School of Social Work at Portland State University was recently named as one of the top US graduate programs in social work by SR Education Group.

Based on rankings submitted by alumni and student respondents, the School’s graduate programs were ranked #17 overall nationally and had the highest individual rates between quality of instruction, student diversity and satisfaction with degree.

According to the survey, “students from Portland State University appreciated the flexibility of a quality online education, with one student writing ‘I did not have to move to Portland, and was able to keep my current employment.’ The same student goes on to express her satisfaction with the program, saying, ‘Overall, I am pleased with the academic content and expertise of the professors.’”


drupel-sliders-02Portland State of Mind

The School of Social Work is again pleased to be participating in Portland State of Mind, Portland State University’s festival of music, films and other events designed to fire your imagination and deepen your knowledge.

This year we’re pleased to host a screening of a film about trauma informed care in action, a lecture by a nationally known speaker on child sexual abuse, and a day of service in our community. All events are free and open to the public.  We hope you can join us!

social-media-post-2Film Screening & Panel: Paper Tigers
Monday, October 17, 2016, 7:30pm-9:30pm, Smith Memorial Student Union, Rooms 237, 238, 239

Paper Tigers captures the pain, the danger, the beauty, and the hopes of struggling teens—and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing their lives for the better. Join us in following a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence, and disease that affects families. The film screening will be followed by a panel of experts working in the field of trauma-informed care.

-> Get Free Tickets

Shireman Social 2.pngNew Ways to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Lens
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 2:30pm-4:00pm, Smith Memorial Student Union, Rooms 327, 328, 329

Guest Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau

Wouldn’t it be better to stop child sexual abuse before it starts? Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shares the latest research on child sexual abuse prevention and proposes novel new interventions that prevent abuse from occurring in the first place.

-> Get Free Tickets

dos-socialDay of Service
Saturday, October 22, 2016, 8:30am-2:00pm, Hoffmann Hall

Join us for a day of service highlighting food insecurity with a variety of engaging projects on and off campus. Enjoy morning refreshments, free lunch, and an engaging keynote speaker while we address driving for radical change in systems and service.

-> Register

Student Spotlight


Lindsay Merritt has been a student in the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research program since 2014. Upon finishing high school, Lindsay moved from rural Oregon to Portland and then to the Bay Area where she remained for 5 years. “During this time, I continued working with youth and adults either with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges or severe substance use disorders. Despite having years of experience, I was frequently told I needed a degree.”

Due to the financial burden that many students experience when entering higher education, Lindsay thought that she would never be able to pay for school and therefore not be able to get a degree. However, a friendly introduction to a student from the University of California, Berkeley helped change all of that.

“I met a student from UC Berkeley and learned about the FAFSA [the federal form to apply for financial aid]. I’d determined my stay in the Bay Area was complete and I wanted to return to Oregon to be closer to family and friends, so I filled out the FAFSA and enrolled at Portland Community College.”

When she finished her associate’s degree, Lindsay was accepted into Portland State’s Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) program and went on to complete her MSW in the advanced standing program.

As a part of her Ph.D. focus, Lindsay is exploring the associations between victimization and alcohol/marijuana use among American Indian youth living on or near reservations. She is also a co-investigator on the Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting evaluations (TMIECHV) at PSU’s Regional Research Institute. She and a colleague have partnered with two American Indian communities in support of their efforts to develop and implement culturally relevant and rigorous evaluations to address local home visiting priorities. Their work also contributes to the local maternal child health knowledge base.

“The relationships we have developed over the years with staff, community members, and tribal leaders are profound,” she says. “We will forever be connected by our work together, as we all have a deep commitment to serving the community and strive to bolster the continued well-being of all American Indian.”

Lindsay’s long personal and professional history with community-based treatment settings and the injustice she says she has witnessed therein inspired her. She feels the need to take a more active role in addressing implicit and explicit structural barriers that limit self-determination, autonomy, and interdependence. She is currently participating in the development of a number of publications.

-> Get to know our Ph.D. students

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Curry-Stevens: Portland Newcomers Report Finds Immigrants, Refugees More Educated But Worse Off


The Portland Tribune ran a story that published some the findings of School of Social Work associate professor Ann Curry-Stevens and team’s report about newcomers to Portland and their experiences here.

Three highlights from the report:

  • “[N]ewcomers are much worse off than they were 10 years ago, even though on average they are more likely to have a college degree.”
  • “The results of the three-year study also found the fate of Portland’s newest residents depended a lot on the color of their skin.
  • “[A]nnual incomes of newcomers of color plummeted from $14,481 to just $9,304.”

The 186-page report calls for vast improvements in the way Portland-area government services support immigrants and refugees moving to the area. A launch event for the report was held at Portland State University’s Native American Student and Community Center, and was attended by a broad array of community members, many of whom were immigrants themselves.

The report, “In Need of a Long Welcome: Supporting the Integration of Newcomers to Portland,” follows the Portland City Council’s June 18 establishment of the New Portlanders Policy Commission. The commission is tasked with advising city government on ways to improve the integration of immigrants and refugees into the Portland community.

-> Read the article published by the Portland Tribune
-> Download Dr. Curry-Stevens’ Report

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.

Brannan, A. M., Brennan, E. M., & Rosenzweig, J. M. (2016). Factors contributing to employment outcomes for caregivers of children and youth with mental health disorders. Paper presented at the Symposium on Employment and Exceptional Care: Workplace, Family and Community Supports at the Work and Family Researchers Network Conference, Washington, DC.

Brennan, E. M., Rosenzweig, J. M., & Brannan, A. M. (2016). Parents of Young People with Disabilities and their Work-Life Challenges. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.

Brennan, E. M., Rosenzweig, J. M., Jivanjee, P., & Stewart, L. M. (2016). Challenges and supports for employed parents of children and youth with special needs. In T. D. Allen & L. T. Eby (Eds.), Oxford handbook of work and family (pp. 165-181). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Buekea, N., & Caruso, N. (2016). The EASA Young Adult Leadership Council: Our Experiences and Vision. Focal Point: Youth, Young Adults & Mental Health: Early Psychosis Interventions, 30, 12-13. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.

Koroloff, N., Sonheimer, D., Painter, K., & White, G. (2016). How Can We Learn About the Effectiveness of Transition Programs for Youth and Young Adults?: Findings from the Healthy Transitions Initiative. Webinar presented by the Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures. June 21, 2016. Recording and resources available online.

Melton, R., & Reese, S. L. (2016). Individual Placement and Support Model of Supported Employment: Modifications for First Episode Psychosis Programs. Focal Point: Youth, Young Adults & Mental Health: Early Psychosis Interventions, 30, 25-29. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.

National Wraparound Initiative (2016). Increasing Youth and Young Adult Engagement in Wraparound (webinar slides). Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> Download

Nicolaidis, C., Raymaker, DM, McDonald, K..E., Kapp, S., Weiner, M., Ashkenazy, E., Gerrity, M., Kripke, C., Platt, L., Baggs, A. The Development and Evaluation of an Online Healthcare Toolkit for Autistic Adults and their Providers. Journal of General Internal Medicine. Online first June 6, 2016. (doi:10.1007/s11606-016-3763-6)

Sale, T. (2016). Introduction: Early Psychosis Intervention. Focal Point: Youth, Young Adults & Mental Health: Early Psychosis Interventions, 30, 3-4. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.

Sale, T., Melton, R., Buekea, N., Deal, S., Gottlob, M., Pruitt, A., Blajeski, S., Ossowski, J. D. (2016). Author panel discussion: Focal Point 2016 (Early Psychosis Interventions). Webinar presented by the Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures. April 26, 2016. Recording and resources available online.

Seibel, C., & Jackson, S. (2016). Increasing youth and young adult engagement in treatment planning meetings. Presented at the Child Welfare Partnership/Leveraging Intensive Family Engagement (LIFE) Family Meeting Facilitator Training, Salem, Oregon.

Sellmaier, C., de Losada, J., McCarty, R., & Jivanjee, P. (2016). Preliminary evaluations of an online training for service providers working with young adults with mental health issues. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> Download

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. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. Available online ahead of print.

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

For some Oregon foster children, “home” is caseworker’s office

The loss of hundreds of foster-care beds in recent years has some Oregon social workers sharing their offices with children and youth in need of homes. Difficulties are many, caseworkers say, including the emotional strain of having a child witness unsuccessful calls for placement.

->Listen to this Oregon Public Broadcasting story to learn more.

ABC launches series starring child with special needs

ABC is launching a series called “Speechless,” which features a family raising a child who has special needs and is nonverbal. Executive producer Scott Silveri recently shared that the series should not be viewed as the “disability show” but, rather, a series about a real family.

->Learn more in this LA Times article.

Federal guidelines target needs of homeless students

The Department of Education issued new guidelines about how states and school districts should meet the needs of homeless students. As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the guidelines address how homeless students are identified and how schools and social service providers can collaborate to help them.

-> Read more in this Washington Post article.

Social workers find, help homeless people under Missouri program

“Homeless and living in a well-worn minivan on a shopping center parking lot where he works, Kevin Wolden was dealing with mental health issues stemming from some rough patches in his life.” A new outreach program in St. Charles, Mo., provides homeless people with health checkups and help with housing and other needs. Social workers canvas the community to find homeless people in need of help, both at common sites and hidden locations.

->Learn more in this St. Louis Review article

Report: Veteran Homelessness Has Dropped By Nearly 50% Since 2010

“On a given night in January, there were fewer than 40,000 homeless veterans, according to the country’s annual Point-in-Time count. That marked a 47 percent decrease since the same count was conducted six years prior.”

->Read more in this Huffington Post article.



Highlights and Happenings – August 2016

Laura Nissen on Urban Terrace - 1

With summer in full swing here in Oregon, the School of Social Work is switching gears and preparing for the return of students in the fall. Some of our Master of Social Work degree students — those in our advanced standing program — have already arrived and are getting some of their classes completed this summer. Others on our research and community projects teams continue their work year round.

One of the most exciting parts of our preparations for fall is the welcoming of new faculty and staff to the School. We’re delighted to highlight here two esteemed new professionals joining our team — a new assistant dean of finance and administration and a new program director for our Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. Read this month’s Highlights and Happenings to meet them and get to know them a bit better.

This month’s issue also reports on our Ph.D. program presentations at a conference in Korea, an update on our growing and prospering online MSW program, and a profile on a field instructor and student working with LGBT youth at the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center. We hope you enjoy learning more about the many facets of our important work in the School.

As always, the best way to keep in regular touch with the School of Social Work is to “follow” our Facebook page.


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor

What’s Inside?


Meet New Faculty and Staff

David BrownDavid Brown, Assistant Dean of Finance and Administration

What brought you to Portland State and the School of Social Work? “I was at the University of Washington prior to this in an area called Technology Transfers working to commercialize faculty inventions and get them out to the public. I did that for a long time and wanted a change. I really liked the mission of the School of Social Work…and wanted to be more connected to the academic and research end.”

What have you enjoyed most so far during your time in Portland? I really like the transportation system. It’s so much easier to get around than in Seattle. Also, the ocean is so much closer and I am hoping to take advantage of the Columbia Gorge.

What are your hopes for your work here in the School of Social Work? “I want to create new processes to help program directors make more informed decisions on the budget side of things. My view is that I try to be as transparent as possible so people know what’s going on, feel more in control and more empowered, and are aware of where the numbers come from and how they impact what they do…. I want to provide better information so they can make good decisions with the proper data.”

Bryson photo bookshelves 2016Dr. Stephanie Bryson, Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) Program Director

What is your area of focus here at PSU? “My focus is maintaining the excellent reputation of the BSW program. I hope to do that by honoring the legacy of Charlotte Goodluck and by carrying on the great work that Michael Taylor and the BSW Team have been doing for the past two years. My vision is for us to provide the best possible education and training to our amazing, talented students—eventually statewide—and to really shine a light on our current BSW faculty, many of whom are known nationally and internationally for their scholarship in health care, domestic violence, mental health, child welfare, and social justice/anti-oppressive practice.”

What are your hopes for your work here in the School of Social Work? “My hope is to be a collaborative, fun, productive member of the larger School; to engage our community partners in health, mental health, and child welfare; to promote the work of our amazing faculty; and to give our students the best possible education, training, and mentoring that they can get. I think the key is to see our students in all their complexity and to guide them on their particular path so they can go on to provide direct services at the BSW level, or get their MSW, or go on to get their Ph.D. and teach. And spoiler alert: My not so secret hope is to get all our students excited about research. After doing qualitative and quantitative research for 15 years, I’ve seen its power. Done well, research can leverage policy change, guide practice, and tangibly improve the lives of the children and families we serve. It can also be super fun. I’m not even kidding!”

Dr. Curry-Stevens Participates in City Club Panel on Racial Justice
Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens
, associate professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University, was a panelist at the July 29th City Club of Portland Friday Forum where she participated in a candid conversation entitled “White Roles in Advancing Racial Justice.”

In the midst of the racial and political turmoil that is continuing to bubble to the surface in the US, the common question from white allies and others in the struggle for racial justice is, “what can I do to affect a change in racial equality in my community?”  Ann and panel discussed personal and professional solutions on White people’s role(s) in advancing racial justice.

Other panelists included Serilda Summers-McGee, Director of Human Resources at the Oregon Department of Education, Rekah Strong, Chief of Operations and Equity at United Way of the Columbia Willamette, and Megan Irwin, Early Learning System Director at Oregon Department of Education.

-> Watch the full video of the talk on YouTube


Visiting Scholars from Seoul Conduct Social Work Research at PSU
The School of Social Work recently celebrated the contributions of three visiting scholars from the Seoul Metropolitan Government in Korea who are currently studying and conducting research here at Portland State University.

The School’s visiting scholars program provides opportunities for leaders in the Seoul Metropolitan Government to study and experience social work and human services programs in the United States. The program is led by Dr. Junghee Lee, director of the Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research, and supported by Dr. Laura Nissen, dean, and Dr. Keva Miller, associate dean of academic affairs.

Pictured above are Doctors Lee, Miller, and Nissen with the three visiting scholars. They include Insik Hwang, Director General of Project 7017; Hongyeon Choi, Director General of Welfare Policy Bureau; and Jeongho Kim, Director of Lifelong Learning Division.

We congratulate welcome our three international scholars to the School of Social Work, to PSU, and to the Portland community. We wish you continued success in your research and studies here!

School Broadens Relationship to International Social Work Research in South Korea

This past June, Ph.D. Program Director Dr. Junghee Lee along with Doctoral Students Jesse Homan and Katie Winters visited Cheon-An City and Seoul, South Korea. While visiting South Korea, Jesse and Katie spoke at a Welfare Forum in Cheon-An City. While in Cheon-An they met with city officials and mental health providers to exchange research, practice, and program development strategies.

They then attended the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education, and Social Development in Seoul where Jesse and Junghee participated in a panel presentation with a Korean colleague on preventing youth suicide and presented their paper entitled Teen suicide in the United States and South Korea: A cross national exploration of the role of media. This study was conducted alongside researchers from The Catholic University of Korea.

Katie then gave a presentation about the evidence-based home visiting evaluation projects being conducted at PSU’s Regional Research Institute for Human Services (RRI). The paper was entitled, “Should I stay or should I go?: Why new moms exit home visiting programs early.”

The Welfare Forum, a public event, was organized by the City Council and supported by the Beaverton City Mayor for its cultural sister-city. As Mayor Doyle stated in his letter of support, “On behalf of the Beaverton City Council and City of Beaverton, I support the work these outstanding doctoral [students] led by Dr. Junghee Lee, Ph.D. a Beaverton resident, are conducting in support of troubled youth in both our countries. Bringing greater awareness to this most disturbing trend of youth in both our countries can only help us find ways to support our young people and prevent completed suicides. The statistics are most disturbing and learning as much as we can to be more supportive of our youth would be most helpful.”

About 200 people were gathered in the forum including City government officials, local medical and academic professionals, community leaders, and parents to better prepare and provide preventive efforts at risk youth.

Program Spotlight

MSW Online Program Reaches New Heights in Virtual Social Work Education

The Master of Social Work Program (MSW) at Portland State University is excited to announce that the MSW Online Option — Oregon’s first and only online MSW program — has admitted its third cohort for this coming fall! The program is a three-year, part-time online Master of Social Work degree program that launched in the fall of 2014.  Our inaugural cohort will be graduating this coming spring.

Pie ChartThe original goal of the program focused on providing social work education access to students who resided in communities outside of the Portland metro area who did not want to relocate in order to obtain an MSW.  This specifically applied to those who were residing in small rural communities across Oregon. So far the program is exceeding that goal, with 50% of the students among the first three cohorts living in small communities across the state, 25% living out of state (Louisiana, California, Illinois, Alaska, Washington, and Idaho), and 25% residing in the Portland tri-county area.

The School recently received a campus reTHINK capacity grant which will support the development of additional online elective courses and will add a second online concentration option. In summer 2017, the program will add four new online electives, bringing the total number of online electives to 13.  Over the next few years the School will begin to develop the Health Across the Lifespan (HAL) advanced concentration courses which will be offered for the first time during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The School of Social Work is very excited about these expanded curriculum opportunities and grateful for the support from the University and the Office of Academic Innovation (OAI) to continue to expand curriculum options to our students.

-> Learn more about the MSW Online Option

Faculty Spotlight

R. Orellana High Res EditedSchool of Social Work Associate Professor Dr. Roberto Orellana has had a busy and engaging summer. After receiving news of his selection as our new interim Associate Dean for Research and Sponsored Projects, Dr. Orellana commenced his summer work with a mentoring research meeting in San Francisco during the 24th Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research this past June.

A few days later, he went to New York City where he was one of the few academic researchers from around the globe to participate in the 2016 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS. Dr. Orellana was the only participant from a school of social work.

Orellana Africa 7After a week in Alaska with his family, Dr. Orellana flew to South Africa where he participated in the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban.

There, Dr. Orellana gave a keynote address to a packed room of researchers and activists who were attending the International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV and AIDS. His speech was entitled: Harnessing indigenous knowledge for HIV prevention: Decolonizing combination prevention. His talk was based on his long term work with indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.

He also presented two more scientific papers based on the HIV/drug use epidemiological work he has done in the Guatemala/Mexico border region.

Battling jet lag, Dr. Orellana has returned from a number of busy summer conferences, “ready for new adventures as Associate Dean.” His goal is to be an advocate for faculty and researchers, continue to engage in innovative research that is guided by social justice to promote healthy communities and human dignity.

Also welcoming him back was exciting news that he had received a grant to work on HIV-related prevention research with homeless youth in Portland.

Donor Spotlight

Marta Thrasher - Kenya Luvert - Ken ThrasherStudent scholarships make getting a degree possible for so many of our School of Social Work students. With 59% of our students exiting the School with more than $40,000 in student loans, every contribution to our scholarship fund helps.

Kenya Luvert, a Master of Social Work student in Portland and 2015-16 academic year scholarship recipient, recently met and visited with the contributors to her scholarship, Marta and Ken Thrasher. Marta and Ken are longtime donors to the School and strong supporters of non-profits and community projects throughout Oregon.

Pictured here are Marta, Kenya and Ken at the School of Social Work offices in Portland. Kenya, who did her field internships in the Lane County Family Mediation Program and Bethel School District, will graduate this spring.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship recipients and thank you to those donors who make higher education more accessible for so many of our students!

-> Learn more about giving to the School of Social Work

Field Spotlight

smyrc_spotlightAre you interested in preparing the next generation of social workers in your community? Hosting a social work student for a field internship is your opportunity!

For Katie Borofka and her MSW field instructor, Bethprana Novi, an invaluable learning opportunity came in Katie’s field internship with the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC), a program of New Avenues for Youth.

“There are few places where lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans youth are safe to explore their sexuality and gender identities/roles. SMYRC is one of those safe places,” says Bethprana Novi. Beth provided weekly educational supervision for Katie, supporting the development of her social work practice.

“My weekly time with Beth has proved invaluable, as I am able to debrief about many challenging situations, as well as talk about concepts and theories and how they can actually work in practice,” says Katie.

For instance, she looked at the Identity vs Role Confusion stage of Erikson’s Theory of Social Development and applied that to her work with LGBT youth. Integrating this theory into her practice deepened her understanding of how LGBT youth often deal with rejection, discrimination and oppression from institutions, religions, politicians, family and peers and how that affects identity development.

-> Read More About Katie and Bethprana’s Field Experience at SMYRC
-> Host a Social Work Student

Faculty News and Publications

School of Social Work Professor Tom Keller Leads Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring
IMG_2549Dr. Thomas Keller, School of Social Work professor and Director of PSU’s Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research, recently wrapped up this year’s Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring. This four-day seminar was provided to mentoring professionals as an opportunity to explore and discuss developing mentoring research and its practical implications for mentor program policies and practices. The goals of the institute include enhancing quality, innovation, and leadership in youth mentoring across institutions that do this work.

Research fellows this year included Antoinette Basualdo-Delmonico of Boston University, Michael Karcher of the University of Texas—San Antonio, Elizabeth Raposa of College of William and Mary, and Renee Spencer of Boston University, in addition to a handful of guest speakers.

This summer marks the institute’s 10th year.

-> Read more about this year’s Institute on Youth Mentoring


5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

Not White, Not Rich and Seeking Therapy

Even for those with insurance, getting mental health care means fighting through phone tag, payment confusion, and even outright discrimination.

-> Read more in this article in The Atlantic

5 Questions an Anti-Racist Organization Should Be Able to Answer

“I looked really good in the pictures. In the images on my last company’s website, I was the token face of color, the only employee who was not white.”

-> Read more about queer immigrant writer Anis Gisele’s reflections on race in the workplace in this Everyday Feminism blog post

OSU creates housing for students recovering from addiction

Oregon State University is getting new, on-campus housing with a special goal: keeping students who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction sober. OSU’s Recovery Living Community will open this fall.

-> Watch this KGW video to learn more

The Power of Addiction and The Addiction of Power: Gabor Maté at TEDxRio+20

Canadian physician Gabor Maté is a specialist in terminal illnesses, chemical dependents, and HIV positive patients. From the lack of love to the desire to escape oneself, from susceptibility of the being to interior power — nothing escapes. And he risks a generic and generous prescription: “Find your nature and be nice to yourself.”

-> Watch Dr. Maté in his 2012 TEDxRio+20 speech

Did You Know the Need for Social Workers Is on the Rise?

When you think about jobs that are in high demand, social work may not be the first one that comes to mind. But in this digital age, science and tech aren’t the only fields that are expanding. There’s always been a need for folks with a passion for working with real live people, and as populations grow, change, and age, the need is only increasing.

-> Read more in this Social Justice Solutions blog post