Highlights and Happenings – Winter 2018

March 2018

Laura at Table

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

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

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

Here’s to a busy and impactful 2018 ahead.


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor



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

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

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

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

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

Year in Review 2016-17

Year in Review 2016-17 Email Header

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

School of Social Work at MLK Tribute ’18

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

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

This event was sponsored by PSU Global Diversity and Inclusion.

Watch the video on Facebook!

Equity issues retreatequity retreat.png

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

Specifically, the team discussed:

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

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

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

Flourishing partnership with Seoul Metropolitan Government

seoul exchange.png

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

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

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



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

All events are free and open to the community.

Politics & Social Work: Macro Practice in Action

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

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

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

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

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

Student Spotlight

Ph.D student wins City of Portland award

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

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

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

Faculty News, Publications and Presentations


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

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

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

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

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

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s