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  1. Daphne C. Watkins
     
    Daphne Watkins Awarded the Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship

    Professor Daphne Watkins has been named a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor.

    Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and jointly administered by the U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), the Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship is an honor designation for senior faculty who have the highest levels of achievement in demonstrating a commitment to the university’s ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion through their scholarship, teaching or service and engagement. The initial appointment is for five years and also includes special faculty fellow status at NCID.

    Watkins’ research uses an equity approach to improving mental health, expanding definitions of masculinity, and increasing social support among Black men. She is also a global thought leader in mixed method research, and uses technology and social networks to improve the health of underrepresented communities. She is the founding director of the award-winning YBMen Project, which uses popular culture and social media to provide health education and social support for young Black men. 

    Watkins has a demonstrated record of leadership. She is a mentor to students and faculty across a variety of disciplines, and directs the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training.  She has served as president of the American Men's Studies Association (2013-2017), director of the Joint PhD Program at Michigan Social Work (2017-2018), and is the founding director of the Gender and Health Research Lab (GendHR Lab) and the Certificate Program in Mixed Methods Research. In 2018, she was recognized as an outstanding alumna at Texas A&M University and received the Thought Leadership Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

    “It is an honor to be recognized by the University of Michigan in this way. The NCID is a powerhouse in their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and I look forward to actualizing their mission, and that of the School of Social Work, through this amazing opportunity.”

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  3.  
    Detroit Clinical and HRSA Scholars Provide Telehealth Support

    Via the Virtual Therapy Collaboration for Wayne County, the School of Social Work’s Detroit Clinical Scholars and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Scholars have been providing low-cost/no-cost mental health support to callers, age 14 and up, who are suffering from COVID-related distress. Clinical Assistant Professor Daicia Price serves as the collaboration’s clinical consultant, leading training and support. This collaborative, called ReachUs Detroit, offers up to twelve sessions of virtual therapy via telehealth and chat functions, at any time, twenty-four-seven. 

     “Many young people are distressed right now,” Price explains, “and COVID has disrupted so many field placements for our students. So, it was mutually beneficial for our students to get telehealth training opportunities while, at the same time, ReachUs Detroit increases access to mental health services for community members.”

     Price herself has had the opportunity to take calls as a clinician on the line, and she reports that it has been fulfilling. It is also innovative. Other, similar helplines refer callers to therapy elsewhere. “But this one,” Price says, “is designed so you get a therapist right on the line, right away. You aren’t referred out somewhere.”

     The marketing has also been innovative. “The faces of our program are Black men,” Price says, “including police officers. These are folks who might not normally express the need for this kind of help. Making them the face of the campaign has been pretty neat!”

     

    • July 9, 2020
  4.  
    Michigan Social Work Response to the New Guidance For International Students

    In response to the new guidance issued Monday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, we are working closely with the U-M International Center to discuss the implications for our students.  Based on initial review, these regulations for international students do not conflict with the School’s plans for fall term classes. SSW International students will enroll in hybrid model courses, consisting of a mixture of in-person and remote classes. 

    Michigan Social Work international students demonstrate dedication, commitment and have made sacrifices to pursue their academic goals.  Their experiences and perspectives enrich us all — as academics, as social workers and as global citizens. We stand in support of our international students and will do everything possible to help each of them continue their studies with minimal disruption.

  5. Matthew J. SmithJamie Mitchell
     
    New — Level Up Lab Harnesses Technology for Social Good

    The School of Social Work announces the Level Up: Employment Skills Simulation Lab, which develops solutions designed to bridge the equity gap in employment opportunities for underserved groups. Associate Professor Matt Smith is the principal investigator. Assistant Professor Jamie Mitchell and JD Smith from Northwestern University are co-investigators.

    Learn more about the lab’s mission, research and impact.

  6. Anao Zhang
     
    Hopefulness, Mental Health and Wellness Counseling are Vital for Young Asian American Cancer Survivors

    Assistant Professor Anao Zhang talks with the CDC about hopefulness, mental health and wellness counseling for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors.

  7. Daicia R. Price
     
    Daicia Price Leads Trauma-Informed Police Trainings

    “I have lots of challenges around my experience with law enforcement,” says Clinical Assistant Professor Daicia Price. “I have been incarcerated myself, and my son has been incarcerated for crimes he did not commit. With all that is going on now, I was trying to figure out how to make a difference.” Price decided to become trained in connecting law enforcement and mental health.

     With the challenges that communities of color, in particular, have faced regarding policing and use of force, there have in fact been several calls to increase mental health training of law enforcement. Price has partnered with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network to provide Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for interested law enforcement agencies. Just this week as a CIT trainer, she has trained officers from Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Wayne County Jail, Detroit Police Department, Canton Police Department and Northville Police Department in ways to intervene using trauma-informed policing.

     “We use role plays and scenarios to teach police officers different ways of engaging with people,” says Price. “We connect them with other social service providers and clinicians — connections they never had before. We listen to their challenges. For example, police are frustrated when people ask them to address situations for which they are unprepared, such as mental health. To hear their desire to help but not knowing what to do is powerful for me. The general public has no idea there are officers trained in critical interventions and to connect with social services to access care. This is so critical right now.”

    • June 25, 2020
  8.  
    Pandemic and Protests - the Michigan Social Work Community in Action

    Between the pandemic and the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s brutal death, social workers have been called to action.  We checked in with a number of students, alumni and community members to hear how they are putting their training into action these last several months.  Read the stories of social work in action.

  9.  
    Student Union Encourages Social Workers to Act Now in Support of Recent Supreme Court Rulings

    Dear SSW community,

    "At the Michigan SSW Social Work We Believe... Black Lives Matter, Womxn's Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Love is Love, Environmental Justice is Social Justice, Community is Everything."

    - ABSW Inclusion Sign in McGregor Commons

    Student Union would like to share and highlight the good news of the Supreme Court rulings that have a substantial impact on traditionally marginalized folx and communities, many of whom hold intersectional identities making this week's decisions much more meaningful.

    LGBTQ Rights

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," but it did not specifically name sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes. On Monday, June 15, 2020, The Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    There were 3 cases before the court by employees - Gerald Bostock, Donald Zarda, and the third case was brought by Aimee Stephens. Donald and Aimee have passed away before the decision was made. Aimee Stephens had worked for six years as a male funeral director in Livonia, Michigan, but was fired two weeks after she told her boss that she was transgender and would be coming to work as a woman.

    Nearly half the states in the country have no legal protection for LGBTQ employees. Now, the federal law will protect employees in those states from firing and other adverse employment decisions made on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

    DACA

    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that grants temporary protection from deportation and legal work authorization to eligible immigrant youth/young adults who came to the United States when they were children. The program expires after two years and is subject to renewal. It was established in 2012 under the Obama administration. In 2010, over 840,000 calls, emails, and in-person support and over 81,000 petitions were delivered to the Senate. It is the representation of unity and activism led by the youth for one of the biggest wins for immigrant rights in recent history. As of December 2019, there were 650,000 active DACA recipients.

    The lawsuit(s) filed to the Supreme Court

    • In September 2017, The Trump administration announced that it was terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
    • Several lawsuits were filed against the Trump administration for terminating DACA unlawfully.
    • In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear three of the cases challenging the DACA termination: Regents of the University of California, Batalla Vidal, and NAACP
    • Yesterday, June 18, 2020, in a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration's attempt to end the DACA program. Specifically, it claimed that the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and infringed the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

    For our undocumented and DACAmented community, we can't understand the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that has plagued you during this unprecedented time. Home is Here and YOU are Here to Stay.

    "Today's decision allows Dreamers to breathe a temporary sigh of relief," said Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr of Cornell Law School. "The administration may try to terminate the DACA program with a better justification, but that will take months or years. In the meantime, Congress should enact permanent relief for Dreamers to end this drama once and for all." Although this victory is historic and celebrated - there is work still needed to be done. The fight for justice is not over. In addition, having to cope with the 2017 Trump administration's decision to rescind, DACA recipients have had to experience extreme emotional trauma and labor. For the last few years, DREAMers have had to fight for their livelihood while trying to continue with school, work, and during a global pandemic. They have had to share and justify why they deserve to be here.

    We want to point out that DACA does NOT provide a path to citizenship. The Trump administration's attempted rescission of DACA has put pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation. This led to the American Dream & Promise Act of 2019. H.R. 6 which would provide a pathway for legal status to DREAMers and beneficiaries of two humanitarian programs: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) H.R. 6. (Passed House on June 4, 2019)

    As emerging social workers, in a variety of fields, it is our responsibility to fight alongside the communities we work with and against the injustices that threaten our core ethics of humanity.

    Action Steps for Allies/Social Work Community

    • Donate to orgs aiding and supporting LGBTQIA+ folx
    • Pronouns
    • Acknowledge the intersectionality of Black trans lives - protect folx while they are still here with us!
    • Donate to orgs aiding and supporting undocumented immigrants
      • Local to Michigan
        • SCOPE GoFund Me: The Student Community of Progressive Empowerment (SCOPE) at the University of Michigan is looking for your support in order to provide emergency financial resources to undocumented and DACA students at the University of Michigan who have been adversely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
        • Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)
        • Cosecha
        • Michigan Immigrants Rights Center (MIRC)
    • Check out the University of Michigan Undocumented Students website for information and resources for current and prospective undocumented and DACAmented students.
    • Shifting the language used by labeling people as illegal. Instead, use the term undocumented. An 'undocumented immigrant' refers to anyone residing in any given country without the country's required documentation.

    As Student Union, we celebrate alongside the communities who find comfort with the Supreme Court decisions and understand the fight continues for justice. We are here to support you.

    - Student Union

    • June 19, 2020
  10. Change Kwesele
     
    Words Matter: Insights on Conversations About Race

    PhD student Change Kwesele recently published ‘It’s Not a Quick Fix.’ Notes for the ‘good’ white people: Insights on conversations about race at work” on Medium.  Kwesele breaks down why the choice of words matters.  “White people must be mindful of how certain ‘polite’ words and conversations have been used to harm Black people.”

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