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Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Doctoral Candidate Wins Award for Paper on UK Prison Exchange Course

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 3:16pm

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 16, 2015) — Molly Malany Sayre, a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, has been awarded the 2015 Teaching Social Problems Paper Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP).


Sayre, of Cincinnati, Ohio, received the award for her paper focusing on an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course at UK, which comprises UK students, or "outside" students, and incarcerated individuals in the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington, or "inside" students.


Sayre was a teaching assistant for Professor Michelle Staton-Tindall's Fall 2014 class. Offered by the College of Social Work, the UK course examined the use and abuse of substances and their relationship to crime through the analysis of sociological and clinical social work theories.


In her paper, Sayre explores the implications of the Inside-Out course for outside students’ reification and recognition of people who are incarcerated, and by extension, members of groups that typically receive social work services.


The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was developed in 1997 at Temple University and founded on the premise that incarcerated individuals and college students had a significant amount to learn from each other when studying together as peers in the same environment. The program is currently successfully operating in more than 300 prison institutions and college/university programs worldwide.


Sayre will receive a cash award of $100, a certificate of recognition, a one year membership to SSSP, and will present her paper at the 2015 SSSP Annual Meeting in August.  




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

Eliminating the Stigma: Suicide Attempt Survivor Sharing Her Story at UK

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 9:35am

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2015) — "Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and it's on the rise. And here we are, afraid of it. I'm convinced that the simple act of getting people to talk about it will save lives. It's a serious public health issue, and one we can do something about if we can just set our fears aside," writes Dese'Rae L. Stage on her website,


Stage — photographer, writer, suicide awareness advocate and suicide attempt survivor — will speak about her public awareness project, Live Through This, and her own experience as a suicide attempt survivor at the University of Kentucky Thursday, March 12.


The event is free and open to the public, and will be from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Hardymon Theater at the Davis Marksbury Building, located off Rose Street.


Live Through This, a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, is a public awareness project created by Stage that encourages survivors to own their experiences publicly, aiming to reduce the silence, shame and stigma associated with suicide attempts. 


Sponsored by several UK colleges and departments, including the Department of Family Sciences, School of Human Environmental Sciences, and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, as well as the UK Counseling Center, Department of Psychology and UK College of Social Work, the event aims to encourage open dialogue about suicide. 


"It is incredibly important to hear the voices of people who have attempted suicide and survived in order to better understand how to prevent future suicides," said Julie Cerel, associate professor in the UK College of Social Work, licensed psychologist and board chair of the American Association of Suicidology.


Laura Frey, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Family Sciences, initiated the event in relation to her current research on suicide attempt disclosure on college campuses. Frey was awarded an Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellowship to analyze interviews with suicide attempt survivors about their experiences with suicide disclosure. From her findings, Frey will develop a model that provides information regarding factors that could increase the likelihood for disclosure and the factors that can foster a safe environment to facilitate continued disclosure in the future.


"Suicide stigma prevents us from seeing the human experiences behind each attempt and makes us think that talking about suicide has to be scary," said Frey. "Dese'Rae's work advocating for attempt survivors allows us to learn from real people with real stories, reinforcing the idea that talking about suicide can actually empower and initiate positive change."


Stage and her project Live Through This have been nationally recognized by media and suicide prevention groups, and as of February 2015, she has photographed 115 suicide attempt survivors in 13 U.S. cities.


In addition to her perspective as a suicide attempt survivor, Stage is also trained in suicide prevention. She graduated with a bachelor's in psychology from East Tennessee State University in 2005 and is QPR Gatekeeper trained, which includes how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Stage is also an ASIST-trained caregiver. ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) teaches effective intervention skills while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community.


Mary Chandler Bolin, director of the UK Counseling Center, is also QPR certified, as a senior master trainer, and instructs the training at UK.


"In the U.S., there is still tremendous stigma around mental health concerns broadly and related to suicide specifically — which silences suicide attempters and those with the potential to intervene," Bolin  said.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

College of Social Work Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series to Feature Human Trafficking Expert

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 10:55am

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 24, 2015) — As part of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work's Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series, Noël Bridget Busch-Armendariz, director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at the University of Texas at Austin, will be on campus discussing human trafficking in the United States on Feb. 27.


Busch-Armendariz will deliver her talk on current and key issues related to the trafficking of adults and children in the United States from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 27, in the President's Room at the Singletary Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public.


“Human trafficking is an ongoing and growing international and domestic phenomenon involving the enslavement, fraud and coercion of adults and children alike. It is a demoralizing and devastating violation of human rights for victims and survivors who have endured the abuses and cruelty involved in this ongoing global and domestic market," said Amanda West, assistant professor in the College of Social Work and a licensed clinical social worker. "Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that this area be discussed, and that we educate ourselves and our community on its impact on all levels."


The professor and associate dean of research at the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin has been working within the area of human trafficking for over a decade, and has more than 20 years of experience working to end interpersonal violence. She has authored a number of scholarly publications on the topic, currently writing a textbook on human trafficking, and recently received a $500,000 grant to map the trafficking of domestic minors in the state of Texas.


A licensed social worker and editor-in-chief of Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, Busch-Armendariz is regularly called as an expert witness in criminal, civil and immigration cases. She has also directed research totaling more than $5.3 million dollars in external funding for the National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, Office on Violence Against Women, Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.


“We are fortunate to have the prolific scholar Dr. Busch-Armendariz visit our campus.  I highly encourage the UK and Lexington community to attend and weigh in on this timely topic,” said Ike Adams, College of Social Work dean and Dorothy A. Miller Professor in Social Work Education.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

Badger Awarded Highest Honor From Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

Sun, 02/01/2015 - 5:30pm

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2015) — Karen Badger, University of Kentucky assistant provost and associate dean in undergraduate education and associate professor in the College of Social Work, was recently honored for her service to the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and those impacted by burn injuries at the Phoenix World Burn Congress in Anaheim, California. Badger was awarded the Alan and Delwyn Breslau Award, the highest distinction the Phoenix Society can bestow.


In a letter to Badger, Phoenix Society President Patrick C. Horan said Badger was selected for her "enthusiastic and visionary service to the Phoenix Society and the burn community."


"Your work has helped thousands of burn survivors and the people who love them to begin to live again," wrote Horan. "Your dedication to the work of the Phoenix Society — from being an integral part of the Phoenix SOAR program as it relates to the fire service, to your efforts evaluating the efficiency of the Phoenix Society programs, and the unique perspective you bring as a researcher, mental health provider, and administrator — is appreciated and admired by the entire organization."


The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors offers peer support, education and advocacy to anyone affected by a burn injury, including burn survivors, their loved ones, firefighters, and medical teams across the country. In 2013, the society reached 48,000 people with their efforts.


Badger's work with the society includes collaborating with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Charitable Foundation and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to adapt the Phoenix SOAR® peer support program to better meet the needs of the fire service. She has also developed and led sessions at the Phoenix World Burn Congress and helped expand Phoenix World Burn Congress offerings for the fire service and their families, according to the Phoenix Burn Support Magazine.


After The Station nightclub fire in 2003, Badger worked with the Phoenix Society to construct and carry out a needs assessment. She has also evaluated programs such as Phoenix SOAR, Journey Back and UBelong, and has partnered with the society to present initiatives at national conferences and other forums. Badger has been a frequent contributor to Burn Support News (now Phoenix Burn Support Magazine), and has served as a member of the Aftercare Reintegration Committee, a joint effort of the American Burn Association (ABA) and the Phoenix Society.


"I am both honored and humbled to have received the Breslau Award from the Phoenix Society," Badger said.


"The award is meaningful to me for several reasons. It is given by the Phoenix Society, the principal nonprofit national organization established to address the needs of the burn community, for which I have deep respect and have had the privilege to work with for many years. The award honors its founders, Alan and Delwyn Breslau, who, following his own burn injury in 1963, recognized the need for and had the vision of such an organization, which was established in 1977.


"The award also emphasizes a 'collaborative spirit' and, although it is given to one individual, this focus recognizes that progress and accomplishments rarely come about because of the action of one person, but because of the work of many.  In accepting the award, I recognized I was sharing it with all of those dedicated people involved in all facets of the burn community that I have had the privilege to work with over the years," Badger said.    


At UK, Badger has served as the director of undergraduate studies in the College of Social Work, and has taught undergraduate and graduate social work courses in areas of ethics, civic engagement, practice, and administration and supervision. Her research at the university centers around undergraduate education and evaluation, as well as her current research efforts examining the psychosocial adjustment of burn survivors.


To find out more information about the Phoenix Society, visit




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,