A delegation from the USC School of Social Work recently traveled to the island of Cyprus to observe the Third Location Decompression model employed by the Canadian Forces to prepare servicemembers for reintegration into civilian life following deployments to combat zones.
The following video includes photos and observations by the USC delegation, and was produced by the USC School of Social Work and the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) to demonstrate the value of decompression programs for servicemembers returning from deployment.
On January 18, American and Canadian experts and professionals on wounded warrior care gathered at the USC Davidson Conference Center to share innovative and best practices for treating military servicemembers and veterans on both sides of the border. The conference, Wounded Warriors: Healing the Mind, Body and Soul, featured three panels that explored the challenges of the physical, mental and spiritual wounds suffered by servicemembers and veterans, as well as the various efforts and approaches taken by the United States and Canada to heal these wounds.
The event was sponsored by the USC School of Social Work’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR), the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles and the Canadian Forces, and represents a pioneering effort by American and Canadian entities to coordinate international research and education regarding the treatment of military servicemembers and veterans.
For more information on the Wounded Warriors conference, please click here.
On January 15 over 70 attendees from the 15th Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Work and Researchers (SSWR) packed into a Tampa hotel ballroom to attend a panel discussion on the challenges that civilian researchers and academics face when conducting research on military systems, the armed forces, veterans and families impacted by military service. The panel, entitled “So You’re Interested in Doing Research with Service Members, Veterans or Military Families?”, was sponsored by the USC School of Social Work Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR) and featured presentations by military social work experts and researchers.
Dr. Anthony Hassan, Director of CIR, opened the panel with a brief presentation on the increased demand for services to address the psychosocial needs of service members, veterans and their families and the urgent need for scholarly inquiry into military-related issues. He then introduced the panel’s presenters to the standing-room only crowd, which included scholars, educators, community service system leaders, clinicians, government officials, and active and retired service members.
Dr. Joseph A. Pecko, U.S. Army Public Health Command (USAPHC), led with a presentation on behavioral health research conducted within the U.S. Army and addressed how civilian researchers might strengthen their understanding of various military systems to better prepare their research teams for partnerships with the military.
Dr. Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth, Director of the Military Families Research Institute (MFRI) and Professor of Family Studies at Purdue University, delivered astute practical tips for civilian researchers to initiate, and maintain, research collaborations with branches of the armed forces. Her advice covered topics ranging from the unique publication cycle in the military behavioral health literature to using ‘gray literature,’ humility, and healthy skepticism to guide research questions.
Dr. Jan A. Nissly, Research Assistant Professor at CIR and panel organizer, offered guidance on how schools of social work can better prepare the next generation of behavioral health providers to provide the highest level of culturally competent care to service members, veterans, and families impacted by military service. Specifically, Dr. Nissly outlined the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work leadership in this field as well as CIR’s role in the development and evaluation of a military social work curriculum for beginner and advanced practitioners.
LTC Anthony L. Cox, U.S. Army Medical Command, reviewed training and development resources for researchers and clinicians and provided some historical context about the early military research that continues to inform contemporary best practices. LTC Cox also facilitated a Q&A session for the panel, during which several noted scholars on military social work shared their expertise. Notably, many audience members acknowledged the research legacy of Drs. Gary L. Bowen and Dennis K. Orthner, both of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who were also in attendance at the panel. Dr. Orthner spoke about resources and educational opportunities for scholars and practitioners. Dr. Patricia Moseley, from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at TRICARE, was also in attendance and briefly addressed the audience.
Dr. Hassan concluded the symposium by thanking the research and practice community for their strong support at the panel and urging them to continue to support and advance the presence and representation of military social work at future SSWR events.
The panel presentations and handouts are available at the links below:
“Behavioral and Social Health Outcomes Program,” Dr. Joseph Pecko
“Wading into the Fray: Research on Military Families,” Dr. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth
“Educational Intervention with Clinicians Who Work with Service Members, Veterans and Military Families,” Dr. Jan Nissly
“Social Work Research in Military Culture,” LTC Anthony Cox
Potential Sources of Military-Related Social Work Research Funding (handout)
Potential Partners in Conducting Military-Related Social Work Research (handout)
The ongoing war in Afghanistan has increased the need for behavioral healthcare services for not only servicemembers, but also the families impacted by military service. Moreover, the current number of practitioners needed to work with these families is insufficient and lacking in specialized knowledge. In an effort to bridge this gap, the University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR) co-hosted a consortium with the Army Behavioral Health Division’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program to develop competencies specifically for behavioral health educators and trainers who train providers caring for families impacted by military service.
On January 5-6, 2011, a consortium of 32 senior Department of Defense and Military Service behavioral healthcare leaders, distinguished academics, representatives from the Veterans Administration family programs, and other behavioral health care experts convened in Los Angeles to develop these specialized competencies. The consortium participants were tasked with constructing an over-arching philosophy regarding the development of the competencies, as well as the scope of practice and definition of “military family.” The guidebook Advanced Social Work Practice in Military Social Work, published by the Council on Social Work Education in 2010, was the source document used to guide this consortium’s work.
At the end of the two days, the participants’ work and reviews were gathered for submission to a steering group, populated by twelve of the consortium’s participants: Anthony Hassan (chair, USC School of Social Work); Kathryn Basham (School for Social Work, Smith College); James Daley (School of Social Work, Indiana University); Norman Epstein (Department of Family Science, University of Maryland); David Ivey (Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Texas Tech University); Nathan Keller (U.S. Army/Fayetteville State University); Jim Martin (Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research, Bryn Mawr College); Damian McCabe (United States Air Force Academy); Virgil Patterson (Department of Social Work, Brooke Army Medical Center); Wayne Perry (Amridge University/American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Southern Christian University); David Riggs (Center for Deployment Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences); and Kathleen West (Public Health Institute). These members will review the competencies and refine their scope and content. In the spring, the entire task force will reconvene to review the final set of competencies for publication in the summer by the University of Southern California.
The leaders and experts who participated in the consortium included its chairs, Anthony Hassan (CIR, University of Southern California) and Brenda Gearhart (Marriage and Family Therapy Program, U.S. Army), as well as Kathryn Basham (School for Social Work, Smith College); Mike Bishop (Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Capella University); Peter Bradley (School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Northcentral University); Clark Broekema (Navy Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control); James Daley (School of Social Work, Indiana University); Norman Epstein (Department of Family Science, University of Maryland); Shirley Glynn (Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles); Crystal Griffen (Commander, Navy Installations Command Headquarters); Donna Hanlon (Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health Office, Joint Base Lewis McChord); David Ivey (Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Texas Tech University); Nathan Keller (U.S. Army/Fayetteville State University); Daniel Lane (U.S. Air Force/Los Angeles Air Station); Gregory Leskin (National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, University of California, Los Angeles); Jim Martin (Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research); Theresa Marvin (Air Force Family Readiness, Randolph AFB); Damian McCabe (United States Air Force Academy); Susan McCutcheon (Office of Mental Health Services, Department of Veterans Affairs); Sandy McKenna (University of Southern California); Virgil Patterson (Department of Social Work, Brooke Army Medical Center); Wayne Perry (Amridge University/American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Southern Christian University); Val Reyes (Military Social Work and Veteran Services Program, University of Southern California); David Riggs (Center for Deployment Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences); Dean Rueckert (Department of Social Work, Walter Reed Army Medical Center); Carol Sheets (Care Management and Social Work Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs); Douglas Smith (Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Texas Tech University); Roger Smith (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy); Eugenia Weiss (School of Social Work, University of Southern California); Kathleen West (Public Health Institute); Marleen Wong (School of Social Work, University of Southern California); and, Jeff Yarvis (U.S. Army/Behavioral Health, Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital).
On Monday, January 10, a delegation of 23 educators from China visited the USC School of Social Work to learn about its Military Social Work program. While at USC, the delegates also visited the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR) to attend a presentation on the center’s research and work in using advanced technology to enhance the school’s education programs.
The delegation included directors and section chiefs of education bureaus, as well as school principals and teachers from across southwestern China. Their visit was sponsored by Educational Service Exchange with China (ESEC), a nonprofit organization established in 1981 by a group of Chinese-Americans from the greater Los Angeles area to promote educational and exchange opportunities between China and the United States.