Grant Will Train Social Work Grad Students to Meet Demand for Behavioral Health in Primary Care

News - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 2:05pm

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Social Work in collaboration with the UK Department of Family and Community Medicine has been awarded a $1.4 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant that will be used to train graduate social work students to meet the rising demand for social workers trained in primary behavioral health with children, adolescents and transitional aged individuals (ages 18-25).


The federal grant will provide $10,000 stipends that will allow the College of Social Work and the Department of Family and Community Medicine to create an integrated behavioral health track. This track will train 92 clinical social work students in a fully integrated model of primary behavioral health care over a three year period. Second year graduate social work students will practice intensive case management, behavioral health interventions and secondary prevention screening for children/teens/and transitional age young adults at risk for mental illness, family violence, trauma, substance misuse, and risky sexual behavior. Students will serve at-risk and underserved populations including rural, impoverished, refugee, immigrant and inner city clients, including families.


Compared nationally, Kentucky has higher poverty rates, child and adolescent risk of illegal substance use, youth suicides, and child obesity. Kentucky's high school youth experience higher rates of violence, and have had higher rates of child abuse fatalities in recent years. Kentucky was also an early state to experience targeted gun violence in schools.


“This is really a great opportunity to increase interdepartmental collaboration here at UK for preparing social work graduate students to meet the critical shortages of behavioral health care professionals across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I cannot imagine a more community engaged project.” said Carlton D. Craig, associate professor in the College of Social Work and the project's principal investigator.


 The collaborative team working on the project also includes William Elder, professor in the College of Medicine, David Royse, professor in the College of Social Work and Pamela Weeks, associate clinical professor in the College of Social Work.




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

From South Africa to Appalachia, The Power of Resilience and Community

News - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 7:58pm


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2014) — Jasmine Newman admits that it was a TV show that sparked her interest in cultural anthropology. Growing up in Pikeville, Kentucky, Newman loved watching Bones, a TV series about solving crimes using forensic anthropology. In one episode, the main character mentioned cultural anthropology, a term that Newman didn't know.


"I started researching, and just fell in love with the idea of studying people, studying culture, and using that knowledge to help people relate to each other," she says.


Her passion is evident: Not only is Newman graduating early with a bachelor's degree in cultural and applied anthropology, she's spent the past two summers interning with community empowerment organizations in South Africa and Appalachia. Both of Newman's internships were facilitated through UK.


"UK has a real drive and reason to work in communities at the local and global scale," she says.


Across continents, she's witnessed resilience in the face of hardship and the transformative power of community. In 2013 in South Africa, Newman worked with Black Sash, originally an anti-apartheid organization that now focuses on "know your rights" education. Working with the three national directors of the organization in a tiny, shared office, Newman helped with a little bit of everything -- from social networking to donor compliance -- and gained a broad view of non-profit management. 


More recently and much closer to home, Newman worked with the UK Appalachian Center to arrange an internship with the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) in Berea. NOSW works to improve the financial, educational, and personal circumstances of low-income, middle-aged women in the Appalachian region. Twice a year, the school hosts a three-week residential program for 14 women, offering extensive career exploration and leadership development. Each participant completes an internship on Berea College’s campus or in the community, identifies job skills, builds a resume, and practices job interview and technology skills.


"It was one of the most powerful things I'd ever seen because just two weeks before, many women wouldn’t look you in the eye, and by the end they were giving speeches to 100 people," she says. "I think it's what happens in a lot of situations -- women have had their own hope and self-confidence taken away from them by events or abusers or society. At NOSW, we not only give them support and let them know we believe in them, but then in the classes they get to see for themselves that they really can do it. They see reasons to feel confidence in the themselves."


George Ann Lakes is a testament to the impact that the NOSW can have in the lives of the women it serves, and the generations that follow them.  She graduated from NOSF in 1992 after her husband passed away and she wanted to earn her GED. Within a few years, Lakes had earned her bachelors degree and, at age 61, her masters degrees from the UK College of Social Work. Today, at age 71, she works part-time at NOSW.


"The NOSW gave me the knowledge and skills of how to approach going back to school," she says. "Education is so important and so many Appalachian women are never privy to opportunities for higher education, so I was so thankful even at age 50 to say that I was a first generation college graduate. My mother only had a sixth grade education, and when she passed away at age 92 I think she still felt like second class citizen because she wasn't educated."


Lakes describes UK as incredibly supportive during her time as a nontraditional student, and she has since ensured that each of her own five children pursued higher educational or vocational training. She's remained connected to UK, too: Her youngest daughter is currently a student in the UK College of Social Work, and Lakes works with UK students like Newman who volunteer or intern at the NOSW.


"I'm very proud to be a UK alum and I think it's great for UK students to see what it's like in a small nonprofit and to see what an impact we have on women in Appalachia," says Lakes. "And it helps us to have a better connection with UK. If we all work together, we'll make it a better world."


For Newman, a native Appalachian who always envisioned herself working internationally, interning with the NOSW in Berea and Black Sash in South Africa gave her more than credit hours and job experience. It gave her a new perspective on her own roots, and broadened her ideas about how she can help make the world a better place.


"Doing these things in your own community gives you a greater appreciation of where you came from, what you're made of, and what the people in your community are made of," she says.  "But it took me working at the global scale to realize that there was stuff back home that needed to be done, too, and that with my background I could make a difference at home just as much as I could globally. Wherever I can go to help is where I need to be. Wherever I have the opportunity to help is the best place for me at that moment, whether it's here or somewhere else. "



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,

College of Social Work to Host Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series on Nov. 14

News - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:16pm

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2014) — As part of the annual Dean's Distinguished Lecture series, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work will feature Sean Joe, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis from 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in the President's Room at the UK Singletary Center for the Arts


Joe will present "American Suicide: Examining Race and Masculinity." The event is free and open to the public.


Joe joined the Brown School in Fall 2014 as the Benjamin Youngdahl Professor of Social Development. His research focuses on black adolescents, mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in black suicidal behavior, salivary biomarkers for suicidal behavior, and development of father-focused, family-based interventions to prevent urban African-American adolescent males from engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviors, such as suicidal behavior.


Ike Adams, dean of the College of Social Work invites and encourages participation from both the UK and wider-Lexington  communities. 


“Dr. Joe epitomizes what was envisioned as the college created the lecture series, to convene and further engage our students, faculty and larger community through thought-provoking, timely topics driven by evidence-based research.” 




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 

College of Social Work Hosts 12th Anniversary Rosenstein Lecture

News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:39am

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Social Work, along with Dean Ike Adams, will celebrate the 12th anniversary of the  Irma Sarett Rosenstein Lecture on Early Childhood Interventions from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public. 


This year's lecture will feature Don Cipriani, director of the Just and Fair Schools Fund, a national donor collaborative fund supporting grassroots organizing initiatives that work to eliminate harsh school discipline policies and practices and uphold the right to education for all youth.  A reception will immediately follow the lecture.


Irma Sarett Rosenstein grew up in New York City and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s in social work. Rosenstein has always cared deeply about the welfare of children, the most vulnerable population. As a social worker at the UK Chandler Hospital, Rosenstein also taught in the College of Social Work and worked closely with the first dean of the college, Ernest Witte.  She recognized early on in her career that early intervention was the key to both treatment and prevention for kids in need.  Rosenstein brought an ethos of openness and of clarity to community problems.  She did not shirk from addressing racism and bigotry. She took on the big issues of her day, and still now her passion for social justice is evident.


Rosenstein was the driving force behind the Kentucky Conference on Christians and Jews, now named the Kentucky Conference on Communities and Justice (KCCJ), an organization dedicated to building community and ending bigotry.  She hosted one of social work’s most prominent leaders, Whitney Young, at a KCCJ dinner when no public places outside of UK were desegregated.


"Rosenstein came to Lexington more than 50 years ago and we know that she changed this community for the better," said James P. “Ike” Adams Jr., dean of the UK College of Social Work and Dorothy A. Miller Professor in Social Work Education. "The entire community is indebted to her and grateful for her courage.  The College of Social Work counts Mrs. Rosenstein as one of our Hall of Fame members and as a friend and colleague.  Irma remains one of the college’s staunch supporters, and we feel blessed to have someone with her integrity and compassion involved in our work.  Specifically, we are honored that Irma and Irv have gifted us with an endowment for this prestigious lecture series.  This lecture series is something the college is proud to offer each year to our students, faculty and to the wider community as a very special learning opportunity."


"We are delighted to have created this lecture series for UK and the community. Compassion for child welfare and social justice, which was instilled in me at an early age, continues to be a driving force in today's world even with all of the progress that has been achieved," Rosenstein said.


Thanks to a generous gift from Irma Sarett Rosenstein and her family in 2002, the College of Social Work has been providing research-based and practice-driven lectures by distinguished national speakers in child welfare.


To RSVP for the lecture, contact Heather Bosworth at or 859-257-6654.


To register for continuing education units, contact Christine Gevedon at


MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

UK's Shepherd Interns Discuss Time Living Below Poverty Line

News - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:16am



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2014) – Two University of Kentucky students took on an unusual challenge this summer. They agreed to work for eight weeks at a specific agency or site that serves low-income individuals or families and also to live on a stipend of $815 for the entire eight-week period to gain an insight into the challenges facing people who live below the poverty line. 


The students participated as UK’s first Shepherd interns through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP). Martin Jones, son of Chris and Candy Jones, of Corbin, Kentucky, and Jamie Love, daughter of Shaun and Margaret Love, of Lexington, spent the period working on efforts to alleviate poverty. They will present on their summer experience beginning 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the William T. Young Library Gallery. Harlan Beckley, the executive director of SHECP, will also be there to speak more generally about the consortium. The event is free and open to the public.


Established in 2011, the SHECP unites nearly two dozen institutions to collaborate for an important venture in undergraduate and professional education. A sustained study of poverty including firsthand experience has been conspicuously absent from undergraduate interdisciplinary studies and has not been prominent in professional education. SHECP leads an effort to change this situation so that poverty studies will take their place alongside other interdisciplinary programs in higher education. The SHECP model, a combination of curriculum and co-curricular activities, differs from some interdisciplinary programs in that it is explicitly designed to enrich all undergraduate majors and professional studies and not to become an independent major or professional trajectory.


Shepherd designates a couple who are the founding benefactors of a prototype for these programs that was developed at Washington and Lee University. UK became a member of the consortium in 2014 through the generosity of the UK Honors Program, which agreed to cover the consortium fee and through the generosity of the College of Arts and Sciences and Gatton College of Business and Economics which supported the costs of the interns.


Jim Ziliak, the director of UK Center for Poverty Research; Shannon Bell, assistant professor in sociology and former Shepherd intern; and Diane Loeffler, lecturer in the College of Social Work, are serving as the faculty board of directors to select the interns for the program and Pat Whitlow, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, serves as the intern coordinator.


Martin Jones is a junior majoring in economics and planning to attend law school upon graduation. Jones interned with the Legal Aid of West Virginia Charleston office. “Interning at Legal Aid of West Virginia was a life changing experience for me. It was humbling to see clients struggling with civil legal issues that they could not afford to have representation for in court. Many of our clients would have lost their cases were it not for the assistance of Legal Aid. Being able to help our clients and see how our representation changed their lives for the better was an experience I’ll never forget.”


Martin’s interest in poverty began his freshmen year from his instructor Katherine Rogers-Carpenter, a lecturer in the Division of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies. “I had Dr. Carpenter my freshmen year for WRD 111. In the class, I was given the opportunity to research and present on poverty in Southeastern Kentucky. Being from this region, I was greatly affected by the research I conducted. Upon completion of my project, Dr. Carpenter encouraged me to continue my interest in poverty and implement it in my future career. If it were not for Dr. Carpenter, I would have never found my passion for poverty studies.”


Jamie Love, a junior international studies major, worked in Richmond, Virginia, with the Peter Paul Development Center, the oldest continually operating community center in Richmond’s East End neighborhood. “The Shepherd Consortium allowed me to see firsthand the levels of poverty plaguing the U.S. It was troubling to see the enormity of the issue, but it was encouraging to team up with people that were passionate about addressing it. What I learned from this experience will carry over into my studies as well as my future career.”


Love was encouraged to apply for the Shepherd by her instructor Sasikumar Balasundarum, a postdoctoral researcher at the UK Appalachian Center. “During the two semesters I had him as a professor, he regularly reached out to me and aided me in my development as a student and person. Sasi, as his students lovingly call him, often encouraged me to look at the big picture and think long term. In Sasi's classes we focused primarily on poverty and development abroad, but he encouraged me to apply to the Shepherd program in order to see how these same issues plague the United States."


Both Jones and Love participated in an orientation program for interns at Washington and Lee prior to beginning their internships and both shared their summer housing with Shepherd interns from other institutions in the consortium, also a valuable part of the learning experience. At the conclusion of the internships, all interns returned to Lexington, Virginia, home of Washington and Lee and the Virginia Military Institute, and participated in a two-day closing conference where panels of interns presented on their summer experience.


All members of the UK campus community are invited to come to this public presentation to learn more about the Shepherd Internship Program. 


Students interested in applying for the Shepherd Internship Program should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, the office assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;