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    COVID-19 Information SSW Students, Faculty and Staff

    The School is committed to the safety of our community; the uninterrupted education of our students, including those who will graduate at the end of this term; and to the continuity of services. 

    • The School of Social Work Building is closed to the public. See detailed information below.

    • Governor Whitmer signs the "Stay Home Stay Safe" order and it will last for at least three weeks.

    • All final exams will take place remotely in alternative formats.

    • Students who can do so are encouraged to move home as soon as possible.

    • All U-M commencement ceremonies are canceled. We will look at ways to celebrate 2020 graduates in the future.

    View the full SSW COVID-19 information page.

    • March 27, 2020
  2. H. Luke  Shaefer
    H. Luke Shaefer Appointed as the Ford School’s Inaugural Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy

    Today the Regents of the University of Michigan approved H. Luke Shaefer’s appointment as the inaugural Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, for a five-year term, through February 2025.

    In 2018, with a generous gift to the Ford School, U-M alumnus Harold L. Kohn and Carol K. Kohn and the Kohn Charitable Trust established the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professorship in Social Justice and Social Policy. The gift supports a faculty member whose scholarly work and research focus on social justice and gives a voice to those who are disadvantaged in society.

     Shaefer has established himself as a major scholar of contemporary American social welfare policy. He is co-author with Kathryn Edin of the acclaimed book, $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Shaefer is the inaugural director of U-M’s Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, cross-campus presidential initiative to inform, identify and test innovative strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty.

    “I am deeply honored to be named the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy,” says Shaefer. “Above all else in my work, I seek to use evidence and analysis to drive real, positive change for families who are vulnerable. The Kohn family’s generous gift, in memory of Hermann and Amalie, inspires me to continue on in this to the fullest extent I know how.

    Shaefer holds a joint appointment with the School of Social Work and the Ford School. Michigan Social Work Dean Lynn Videka, states, ”Luke Shaefer is an exemplary interdisciplinary scholar and leader in the proudest Michigan tradition. The Hermann and Amelie Kohn Professorship in Social Justice and Social Policy supports the important social justice work that Shaefer’s research informs, and it supports collaboration between Social Work and the Ford School.” 

    As our country confronts the economic fallout from the coronavirus, Shaefer has been actively engaged as a public voice in the New York Times, and other outlets, on the consequences facing low-income families, and in developing policies to help families weather the crisis here in Michigan.

    • March 26, 2020
  3. Terri L. Friedline
    Terri Friedline’s Research Informs the Automatic BOOST to Communities Act

    Associate Professor Terri Friedline’s research, “Mapping Financial Opportunity” can be used to inform the Automatic BOOST to Communities Act drafted by Rashida Tlaib, U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district. In response to the coronavirus crisis, the proposed legislation would immediately provide a U.S. debit card preloaded with $2,000 to every person in America, which could be transitioned into a universal federal or postal banking account. Each card would be recharged with $1,000 monthly until one year after the end of the coronavirus crisis. Friedline's research focuses on universal bank account access and she maps post office locations to inform the potential for postal banking.

    • March 23, 2020
    Inaugural Curtis Center Signature Program Awardees Announced

    In February, the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training announced the three inaugural awardees of the Curtis Center Signature Programs Initiative (SPI). SPI is a launch program for Michigan Social Work faculty to develop new or further existing health equity research programs.

    African American Chronic Care Equity through Self-management Program

    Led by Assistant Professor Jamie Mitchell and Assistant Professor Jaclynn Hawkins, this program will address the development of behavioral and health services interventions that improve African American’s self-management of chronic diseases. The program will culminate in a symposium focusing on academic-community partnerships to reduce chronic disease self-management disparities.

    Developing Collaborative Research to Address Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women in Michigan

    Led by Assistant Professor Katie Schultz, this program will establish a research partnership between Michigan Social Work faculty and a statewide tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition. The program will identify research priorities and support the development of new community-led research to reduce violence and promote health equity in Michigan’s tribal communities.

    A Psycho-Oncology Fellowship to Support Pre-Doctoral Health Disparity Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Sex and Gender Needs During Cancer

    Led by Assistant Professor Anao Zhang, this program will create a fellowship at the emergent Michigan Medicine Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Research Group (MAYA). This fellowship will address the unique developmental issues that result in significantly worse health outcomes among adolescents and young adults than their pediatric or adult counterparts, both during treatment and throughout survivorship. The detrimental effects of cancer and treatment among this age group on infertility and sexual dysfunction significantly impact their psychosocial well-being.

    The Signature Program Initiative award includes $10,000 in program funds and research consultation from the Curtis Center. In addition to the three programs above, YBMen Project is also a Curtis Center Signature Program but does not receive financial support from the Curtis Center.

    • March 23, 2020
  5. H. Luke  Shaefer
    Luke Shaefer Discusses How Low-Income Families have Fewer Options During COVID-19

    Professor Luke Shaefer is quoted in a New York Times article detailing how low-income families often bear the brunt of the pain in natural disasters and large-scale emergencies. “They tend to be the first hit when things go wrong and then also to take the longest time to recover.”


    • March 20, 2020
    Briana Tetsch 2020 University of Michigan NASW Student of the Year

    Congratulations to Briana Tetsch, the 2020 University of Michigan NASW Student of the Year. Student Social Workers of the Year are selected based on the following criteria:

    • Demonstrated leadership qualities
    • Contribution to the positive image of a social work program
    • Commitment to political and community activities
    • Success in academic performance
    • Degree to which the student represents the professional ethics of social work as defined in the NASW Code of Ethics
    • March 18, 2020
  7. Lisa M. Wexler
    Lisa Wexler Discusses Suicide Prevention in Remote Alaskan Communities

    Alaska Public Media interviewed Professor Lisa Wexler about her work with a new suicide prevention model titled Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide. The program is a community health intervention designed, supported and implemented by remote communities in Northwest Alaska to decrease suicide. “The whole process is all about self-determination and about people deciding for themselves what they want to do and how they want to do it,” Wexler said.

  8. Todd I. Herrenkohl
    New Video Highlights Todd Herrenkohl’s Research on Stress and Adversity Faced by Children

    When children experience stress and adversity in their homes and communities, schools become a critically important setting in which to intervene and foster their resilience. Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children and Families Todd Herrenkohl has collaborated on a video to help school professionals understand and better educate vulnerable and traumatized students.

    Ahead Magazine Focusing on Social Work Research

    Ahead (Issue 4) - In-depth views of social work research at the University of Michigan. This issue includes:

    • New Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training
    • Program Evaluation Group
    • Remember Deborah Bybee
    • February 20, 2020
  10. H. Luke  Shaefer
    Luke Shaefer's New Research Reveals Stark Disparities in Rural Communities

    Where are the nation’s most disadvantaged communities? With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Professor Luke Shaefer, a team of researchers from U-M Poverty Solutions and Princeton University explored this question and developed an Index of Deep Disadvantage to identify and better understand America’s most disadvantaged communities. By identifying communities of deep disadvantage can help direct resources where they’re most needed.

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