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Curtis Center News

  1.  
    Former Curtis Center Post-Doc Earns NIH Career Development Award

    Cristina Bares, Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University was recently awarded a  Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for research on "Genetic Contributions to Smoking and Internalizing Problems in Adolescence".  The five year award includes training and research on quantitative genetics, genetic epidemiology, and molecular genetics to uncover the genetic-mediated risk factors that lead to problems of anxiety and depression and substance use in adolescence while controlling for an important environmental risk factor to substance use in this age group - peers.  The award extends Dr. Bares’ work on the longitudinal development of cigarette use in adolescents by examining how the shared heritability of these behaviors change over a vulnerable development period, by incorporating molecular genetic techniques to assess which genes are responsible for the onset and establishment of problems in adolescence, and when they become important, and by examining how genes interact when adolescents’ peers act as an environmental risk factor. National and international secondary sources of phenotypic and genotypic data will be used during the award as well as a primary data source which will involve ecological momentary assessment of adolescent twins. 
    Prior to joining the faculty at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work, Cristina received her doctorate from the Joint Program in Social work and Social Science (affiliated with Developmental Psychology) at University of Michigan where she focused on cognitive development and its implication for social work practice. She subsequently completed work on adolescent substance use and it was there that she began integrating mental health and substance use as a postdoctoral research fellow at the UM SSW Curtis Center.  Professor Jorge Delva served as Cristina's postdoctoral research fellow mentor.  As she transitioned to her faculty position, Dr. Bares became a fellow in the NIDA-funded Early Stage Career Mentoring Program for NIDA Research organized by the National Hispanic Science Network and co-directed by Drs. James Anthony (Michigan State University), Felipe Gonzalez-Castro (University of Texas at El paso, and Hilda Pantin (University of Miami).  As part of the career development award, Dr. Bares will work closely with Drs. Kenneth Kendler, Hermine Maes, Todd Webb (VCU) and Robert Miranda (Brown University).

    • August 29, 2014
  2. Joseph A. Himle
     
    Joseph Himle Receives National Institute of Mental Health-RO1 Grant

    Associate Professor Joseph Himle and co-investigators Deb Bybee (MSU professor), Amy Kilbourne (U-M Psychiatry) and Amiram Vinokur (U-M Institute for Social Research) received a National Institute of Mental Health-RO1 grant for "Multi-site systems intervention for unemployed persons with social anxiety".  

    The team will conduct a multi-site trial of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for enhancing employment success among unemployed persons whose job attainment efforts have been undermined by social anxiety disorder. The project has two sites - one in Detroit partnering with Jewish Vocational Services and one in Los Angeles. The community partners include Jewish Vocational Service in Detroit led by Ed Steinberger, Zipora Golenberg and Wayne Laviolette.  The second site at UCLA is led by Michelle Craske.

    Several members of the Curtis Center Treatment Innovation and Dissemination Lab including Sarah Vlnka, project coordinator, Lisa O'Donnell, SSW Joint program student, Addie Weaver, Curtis Center research investigator, Debra Levine, U-M clinical psychology recent graduate, Brandy Sinco, Curtis Center data analyst and Peter Felsman, SSW Joint program student supported the grant application.  

    • August 13, 2014
  3. Sue Ann Savas
     
    Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group Presents at State-Wide Friend of the Court Association Conference

    Members of the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group presented results from the Re-tooling Michigan's Child Support Enforcement Program at the state-wide Michigan Friend of the Court Association (FOCA) conference on July 23, 2014.  Presenters included Sue Ann Savas, Clinical Assistant Faculty; Laura Sundstrom, Evaluation Associate; and Elizabeth Grim, MSW/MPH Candidate, Evaluation Field Student.  

    The FOCA conference was held at the Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, MI from July 22-25, 2014.

    • July 26, 2014
  4.  
    First Annual Program Evaluation Symposium Highlights Emerging Trends in Evaluation

    The Curtis Research and Training Center at the School of Social Work hosted the first annual Program Evaluation Symposium on Friday, February 14, 2014.  This day-long event was organized by the Program Evaluation Group and culminated with a keynote address by the President of the American Evaluation Symposium (AEA), Dr. Beverly Parsons.

    Dr. Parson's keynote, "Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future," highlighted the need for systems thinking, buidling new relationships, and an emphasis on sustainable, equitable living in evaluation. After the keynote address, attendees were invited to participate in small group discussions based on the topic of the keynote. Dr. Parsons will use feedback from the event to inform the direction of the AEA Annual Conference.

  5.  
    Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group Announces First Place-Based Evaluation Fellowship

    The Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group (CC-PEG) received a grant from the New York Community Trust to improve the macro social work profesion.  The awarded Place-Based Evaluation (PBE) Fellowship project was developed to better understand the needs and challenges related to building internal evaluation capacity within non-profit organizations.  The project will place three (3) PBE Fellows into community-based non-profit organizations in southeast Michigan for 20 hours per week for a period of eight (8) months.

    The aims of the PBE Fellowship are to: (1) provide recent MSW graduates with the skills and experience necessary to work as professional evaluators in the field of social work; (2) provide communtiy-based non-profit organizations with quality evaluation services at a reduced cost; and (3) build and test the internal capacity for evaluation at each organization.

    CC-PEG is happy to announce the selection of the PBE Fellows and non-profit organizations they will be placed in:

    • Phylicia Allen, MSW, will be placed at Detroit Parent Network
    • Ashley Eason, MSW, will be placed at Detroit Police Athletic League
    • Lauren Emerson, MSW, will be placed at SOS Community Services in Ypsilanti

    For more information on the PBE Fellowship project, contact programevalgroup@umich.edu

    • February 5, 2014
  6. Abigail B. Williams-Butler
     
    Abigail Williams Awarded Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Endowed Scholarship

    Abigail Williams, PhD student, was awarded the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Endowed Scholarship.  The scholarship supports doctoral students whose research focuses on minority populations with low income and education, with a preference for research on issues faced by African American males. 

    • November 20, 2013
  7. Sue Ann Savas
     
    Sue Ann Savas Presents at APPAM National Conference

    Assistant Clinical Professor Sue Ann Savas presented on a panel titled "Innovative Approaches to Child Support Enforcement: Evidence from Field Research" at the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) 35th Annual Fall Research Conference on November 9, 2013.  Sue Ann Savas and Jeremy Gaertner, MSW presented on the Re-tooling Michigan's Child Support Enforcement Program project in conjuction with representatives from Washington and Iowa who received the same grant from the Office of Child Support Enforcement (DHHS).

    The APPAM Fall Research Conference was held in Washington, DC from November 7-9, 2013.

    • November 11, 2013
  8. Sue Ann Savas
     
    Sue Ann Savas conducted evaluation training for the Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth

    Clinical Assistant Professor Sue Ann Savas conducted a training for 30 community members representing approximately 10 organizations on utilizing logic models for program development through the Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth on October 30, 2013.  Participants learned about the benefits of using logicl models in design, evaluation, and grant getting and how to develop a program logic model for a new or existing program.

    • October 31, 2013
  9.  
    Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group Presents at American Evaluation Association Conference

    The Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group presented twice at the American Evaluation Association national conference in Washington, DC on October 16-19.

    Staff member Laura Sundstrom and MSW/MPH student Nick Yankey presented on a panel titled "Creating Infrastructure for Experiential Learning and Practical Skill Development for Novice Evaluators" on the implementation of and experience with the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group.

    Staff members Jeremy Gaertner and Desiree Liwosz presented a poster titled "Re-tooling Michigan's Child Support Enforcement: Using Predictive Modeling and Supportive Methods in Michigan's Child Support System to Increase the Financial Well-being of Children and Self-Sufficiency of Families" on the progress and preliminary results from the Re-tooling Michigan's Child Support Enforcement Program project through the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group.

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