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.


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