The Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting (APM) was held recently in Dallas, Texas, giving more than 3,000 social work academics, professionals, and students the unique opportunity to network with other schools of social work and learn about student-centered initiatives around the country. Professor Peter Szto, PhD; Practicum Specialist Susan Feyen-Reay; and Master of Social Work (MSW) students, Claire Rynearson and Sarah Preston represented the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Grace Abbott School of Social Work at APM.
Professor Szto’s team presented during education sessions on Rural Issues and shared findings and outcomes related to Project NETWORK, a $1.3 million federal grant to educate students on the use of technology to implement mental health evidence-based therapy practices with transition-age youth in rural areas.
Their findings indicate significant increases in knowledge of evidence-based practices for both the youth and the social work community practicum supervisors. Project NETWORK provides our students with clinical tools that facilitate the implementation of best practices in mental health treatment for youth up to age 26.
Students access web-based tools to implement specific therapy modalities while in their advanced MSW practicum settings. The collaboration with community partners and educators on this important initiative demonstrates the commitment to improving services for Nebraska’s most vulnerable youth and families. Project NETWORK faculty, staff, and student participants presented findings also at the Youth Inclusion Conference in June 2015.
Claire Rynearson and Sarah Preston have been fortunate to work both administratively with the Project NETWORK grant and as student participants. Both agree that Project NETWORK resources enrich both learning and practice with transition-age youth in a community mental health treatment setting.
Susan Feyen-Reay has served as the program coordinator for the past three years and enjoys sharing the positive outcomes and showing academic partners the spirit of University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has observed students increase their knowledge, skills, and abilities while serving their community.
Professor Szto chairs the speaker selection committee as a member of the Global Commission on Social Work Education. He had the distinct privilege of introducing the speaker, Dr. Pawar, from Australia for the Hokenstad Lecture at APM. Professor Szto also participated on a panel discussion on international social work education. The panel was organized around a newly published CSWE book of which he contributed a chapter. Professor Szto spoke about doing research in China, and in particular, his documentary photography travel course. He spoke about teaching students the use of photography as a tool of social research.
In between meetings, the team had Texas-sized meals and a lot of fun in Dallas.
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