Angie Perone, Joint PhD Program in Social Work and Sociology, has successfully defended her dissertation entitled "Safety, Autonomy, Discrimination, and Religious Exemptions: Three Papers on How Long-Term Care Facility Staff Navigate Conflicting Rights." Her committee consisted of Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, Sandra Levitsky (co-chairs), Ruth Dunkle and Elizabeth Armstrong. Dr. Perone has accepted a position as an assistant professor at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare beginning in 2022.
ENGAGE Program Manager Fatima Salman, MSW ‘15, was elected president of NASW-Michigan. “I am honored and excited for my new role in this, a time when social workers are needed more than ever,” says Salman. “The effects of the pandemic have magnified the mental health crisis in our nation, the need to destigmatize mental health treatment, and the essential nature of social work practitioners in helping communities heal, deal with loss and be committed to equity and inclusion in all spheres of life. This is THE moment that all of us social workers must step up and deploy micro and macro social workers committed to anti-racist practice and ethics to address our crisis and lead Michigan in mental health recovery.” She will begin her term on July 1.
Professor Trina Shanks discusses with CNN the lasting impact of racial violence from the end of the Civil War through the early 20th century. The Tulsa race massacre, which took place 100 years ago this week, was one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history, and part of a larger pattern of assault. “If Blacks were successful and actually were visibly prosperous, that made them a target. Some of the violence might have been triggered by this economic envy,” said Shanks. She explains that some White Americans thought, “How can we make sure that we reserve these economic benefits and opportunities for the White population and our children and push Blacks out so there can be more for us.”
Professor Andy Grogan-Kaylor has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Doctoral Student Organization Faculty Award. Since 2019, doctoral students have collectively selected one professor to honor with the recognition. "Andy has taught and mentored many doctoral students. His approach to teaching methods courses is engaging for students across a range of methodological backgrounds. His courses help us see how methods can be leveraged as a tool to advance social justice. In addition to supporting students through teaching, Andy provides a great deal of support outside the classroom. Throughout my years in the program, I have consistently noticed that doctoral students go to Andy with complex methodological questions. We always come away better equipped to move forward with our research."
Assistant Professor Katie Schultz’ research project, Tribal Reservations Adolescent Connections Study, has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This mixed methods study will explore peer and family relationships of American Indian (AI) youth, and how they factor in substance use, exposure to violence and suicide among youth living on a Northern Plains reservation. "This is my first foray into prevention research,” said Schultz, “so I’m excited about developing a line of research to prevent substance use and associated outcomes among AI youth and using the data to design a culturally grounded intervention.”
Katie Schulz’ research project, Tribal Reservations Adolescent Connections Study, has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This study will explore peer and family relationships of American Indian youth, and how they factor in substance use, exposure to violence and suicide among youth living on a Northern Plains reservation.
I hope everyone is feeling excited for the beginning of a new semester, or for the beginning of a summer break!
[TW: transphobia, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments]
This email comes with great sadness because as of last week, 2021 officially became the worst year in recent history for anti-LGBTQ bills that have been passed into law according to the Human Rights Campaign. As the Queer Advocacy Coalition, we wanted to send out some information about some of the bills being considered that could be signed into law at any moment, and offer advocacy opportunities and resources for you all to voice opposition to this harmful legislation. (Linked here is an email template that can easily be edited for multiple communications.)
Arkansas has two bills sitting on the desk of Governor Hutchinson right now. Senate Bill (SB) 389 will undermine access to sex education, and Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 14 would allow discrimination under the guise of religious refusal. Contact Governor Hutchinson by email at email@example.com or by phone at (501) 682-2345 to voice opposition to these bills.
Florida has three bills waiting for Governor DeSantis to sign into law at any time. SB 1028 is an education bill that includes an anti-trans sports ban. House Bill (HB) 545 is an anti-LGBTQ sexual educaiton bill, and HB 241 is along the exact same lines. Contact Governor DeSantis by email at GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com or by phone at (850) 488-7146.
Tennessee has three bills awaiting a signature from Governor Lee. HB 1233 is an anti-trans bathroom bill for schools, HB 1182 is an anti-trans bathroom bill targeting businesses, and HB1027 will regulate medical care for trans youth. Contact Governor Lee by phone at (615) 741-2001.
To follow more imminent bills standing in state legislatures in states, visit and follow Human Rights Campaign for weekly updates. An additional resource to stay up to date on the anti-transgender legislation in other states can be found at the following link: Legislative Tracker: Anti-Transgender Legislation.
Finally, if you or a loved one are in need of resources, several are included below:
Read the ENGAGE team’s case study on Charles E. Williams II, PhD student and pastor at the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church. During the early days of the pandemic, Williams and his congregation spearheaded efforts to coordinate food delivery and other assistance to vulnerable Detroit area residents. At the height of the response effort, 30 Black churches were mobilized to deliver 700,000 meals across the city of Detroit — allowing vulnerable residents to stay at home and help curb the spread of COVID-19. Williams’ work exemplifies the power of connecting communities to resources, and how Michigan Social Work supports movements for social change, especially during times of crises.
Field Faculty and Lecturer Leigh Robertson has been named the 2021 SSW Distinguished Lecturer for her dedication and skill in field education.
Since joining the School in 2004, she has provided exceptional instruction and mentorship to over 1,500 social work students. She has worked closely with field instructors, who routinely testify to the importance of Robertson’s mentorship and support of their efforts in working with our students. In attending to the needs and growth of both students and field instructors, she has ensured that MSW students receive the kind of learning and growth through their field experiences which fulfill a vital and significant aspect of the School’s curriculum.
Robertson has also played an instrumental role in attending to the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion concerns and has provided important support to LBGTQIA+ students. She took the lead in creating “Out in Field'' trainings for field instructors and agencies, which not only support LGBT+ students’ ability to fully benefit from their field placements, but also advance the work of inclusion and diversity across our community.
Professors Mary Ruffolo and Mieko Yoshihama have been named 2021 SSW Distinguished Faculty for their dedication to scholarship and teaching, for their excellent service to both the School and to students.
Mary Ruffolo, the Rosemary A. Sarri Collegiate Professor of Social Work, has been at the School since 1998. She has brought her visionary and creative thinking to a number of leadership roles at the School, including director of Continuing Education, director of the Office of Global Activities, and has twice served as associate dean for educational programs.
Ruffolo is an expert in social work practice in mental health with children and youth. Her most recent publications on mental health and well-being include an examination of loneliness in an era of COVID-19. Her core scholarship illuminates the path to improvements in the areas of interprofessional training, curriculum innovation, and workforce development. She has also published extensively in the areas of innovations in MSW education and training.
Ruffolo has also been awarded several grants that focus on training MSWs students to work in medically underserved communities, in particular in Detroit. In doing so, she demonstrates commitment to the mission of not only the University of Michigan but also the profession of social work.
One colleague wrote, “From the development of undergraduate introductions to social justice programs, to utilizing technology as a method to improve education and the access to knowledge, Dr. Ruffolo has been an integral part of the advancement of the profession.”
Professor Mieko Yoshihama is recognized for her work on domestic violence and prevention both in the United States as well as internationally. Her diverse, rigorous and creative methodological approaches to research often are participatory, with connections to social action and activism. She has published extensively and one of her articles was cited for being the Best Violence Research Article in the highly selective journal Psychology of Violence.
Since joining the School in 1996, Yoshihama has had a significant role leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the School and in the larger university. She has been recognized for her service, receiving the Sarah Goddard Power Award and the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award. Within the School, she is a beloved teacher and mentor and has taken a leadership role in global pathway development, and in developing knowledge to inform implementation of Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice in curriculum and teaching.
As a colleague wrote of Yoshihama, “What does not come across in her CV is her extraordinary ability to exemplify social work values in the work she does, and her ability to bring together people with widely divergent backgrounds and life experiences to work on common goals.”
In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in India has exploded, overwhelming the nation’s public health, medical and infrastructure capacities, and creating a health care catastrophe.
The U-M Community has close ties to India that go back over a century, resulting in cherished long term research and educational partnerships. We currently have about 1,000 students from and 6,000 alumni in India, many of whom are personally affected by this unfolding crisis.
How you can help:
We know many of you with family or friends in India are suffering. Please do not hesitate to reach out to access university support resources if you need help during such a difficult time. Our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available to all students.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
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