As a social worker and researcher, Dr. John Gallagher became interested in this topic because he believes the criminal justice system, particularly drug courts, can make a significant contribution to combating the opioid epidemic in our country and help promote recovery for individuals who have an opioid use disorders. Additionally, the drug court model utilizes a non-adversarial, strengths-based approach in helping individuals who have substance use disorders, an approach that is clearly consist with social work values and ethics.John Gallagher, Ph.D., LSW, LCAC
Attitudes and decision-making process related to advance care planning (ACP) among Korean American older adultsThis pilot project is developed to explores attitudes and decision-making process related to advance care planning (ACP) among Korean American older adults. ACP refers to a health care decision-making process that involves learning about, discussing and planning for end-of-life- care in the event that one is incapable of making a reasoned decision. Engagement in ACP is crucial because of its positive relationship with quality end-of-life care. With an increasing number of ethnic minority older adults in the U.S., there is a growing concern regarding ethnic/racial disparities in engagement in ACP. Culture could provide a unique context to form attitudes toward and prepare for end-of-life and thus, it is important to build culturally competent knowledge to effectively promote ACP for ethnic minority groups. Korean Americans, one of the fastest growing ethnic minority populations, consistently report low levels of engagement in and lack of knowledge of ACP. However, prior research has provided very limited evidence regarding ACP among this population. The aim of the study is to explore how Korean Americans view and engage in ACP. Non-experimental qualitative design will be employed. Focus group interviews will be conducted with Korean American older adults living in community using a semi-structured interview guide. The proposed pilot study would generate preliminary evidence to develop culturally tailored intervention programs to promote ACP among KAs.
Throughout my previous research projects about caregiving, I have learned that all older adults and their family caregivers would eventually deal with end-of-life. Literature has consistently reported the positive influence of engagement in advance care planning on end-of-life care. However, despite its inevitability, there is a tendency to avoid discussions about end-of-life in general and culture plays an important role in accepting and preparing for end-of-life. So I am interested in identifying factors affecting engagement in advance care planning and promoting it in particular for ethnic minority groups who often report low engagement in and lack of awareness about advance care planning.Michin Hong, Ph.D.
The 8% SolutionThe 8% Solution is an intervention approach developed and implemented in Orange County, California. Researchers found that 8% of juvenile court cases consumed more than 50% of judicial resources. Recognizing the importance of the “8% problem,” the court, along with a team of community professionals, implemented the 8% Solution. The 8% Solution targeted first time offenders at risk for chronic recidivism. Marion County Family Court officials have anecdotally identified a number of similar problems. However, the juvenile court system has no formal mechanism to identify youth at greatest risk for continuing court involvement. Using data available from the court, the proposed study will replicate the initial phase of the 8% Solution by identifying and characterizing factors that increase risk of continued court involvement for first time youthful offenders. The long term objective of this work are to: a) assist the court in developing a mechanism for identifying at-risk youth, b) provide preliminary data to inform development of a major grant application, and c) provide data to inform implementation of the 8% Solution intervention phase.
Dr. Jaggers is very interested in community-based research. After developing relationships with stakeholders in the Indianapolis juvenile justice system, he was asked to conduct this study. Leveraging his expertise, he is working to ensure the juvenile justice system in Indianapolis is utilizing the best possible approach to treating and adjudicating youthful offenders.Jeremiah Jaggers, Ph.D.
Exploring violence against street children in Bangladesh: A cross-sectional studyStreet children are a group of extremely vulnerable and underprivileged children who are mostly visible in the street and public places of urban areas in developing countries and are engaged in informal economic activities in order to make a living for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, violence against street children is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh. Their homeless status, livelihood efforts under a precarious informal economy, and overnight stay in public places increase the odds of abuse. Only a few qualitative studies have explored some aspects of children’s abuse experiences. There is little systematic knowledge that helps us to understand the prevalence and magnitude of this victimization and to inform practice and policy efforts to protect these children. Against this background, my present study, intends to accomplish two primary objectives: a) develop a validated scale of abuse focusing on street children in developing countries; and, b) measure various abuse experiences of street children in Bangladesh to inform research and policy. This study has been built on my three previous research projects on street children in Bangladesh. Data from my last qualitative project on street children’s social networks provided evidence that street children, in general, encounter multiple types of abuses. I plan to pilot it in Bangladesh and replicate in other South Asian countries through collaboration with local researchers.
I had an interesting encounter with street children almost a decade ago. I was buying some apples form a street vendor in Bangladesh and observed that a child, approximately 8 years old, was standing beside me. I think I was able to read him that he wants an apple. Usually, I used to ignore these calls however, somehow I was different on that day. I bought some apples and gave him one. He was hesitant to take it but when I offered him again, he took it and ran away. I was surprised that he ran away and didn't understand why he did so. Anyway, I met him another day and we started to talking. I asked him why he ran the other day. He told me that he thought that I was 'kidding'. He didn't trust me that a "gentleman" like me would give him an apple. That was very eye opening for me. We talked and he taught me a lot about his life. This is when I decided that I need to do something about these children. I started to explore their life and I am so into it. There are so many children I came across through my studies and each has so many stories to tell.Hasan Reza, Ph.D.
Search for Meaning
PTSD is a critical mental health problem among military veterans. Although there are effective and available PTSD-specific treatments, many are reluctant to engage in, or drop out of, treatment. As a result, there is a need for additional treatment options and in particular, options that do not emphasize detailed verbal processing of the trauma. Spirituality has been shown to be a helpful resource for dealing with a variety of trauma related events and there is evidence that spiritual beliefs can be an important factor in how veterans/military personnel cope following trauma. However, it is common for veterans to experience spiritual/religious struggles following trauma such as a weakening of beliefs, loss of meaning, increased feelings of guilt, difficulty forgiving, and moral and ethical challenges (i.e., moral injury). There have been few clinical interventions tested to address the spiritual/existential wounds from combat trauma that have been documented in the literature. To address this gap, an intervention titled “Search for Meaning” (SFM) was created through the collaborative efforts of a VA chaplain and mental health practitioners.
We intend to collect pilot data that could provide preliminary indication about the effectiveness of the SFM program, as well as develop a facilitator manual for the SFM program.
My interest in holistic practice approaches began years ago when I worked as a therapist in community mental health. I noticed that as the therapeutic relationship developed many clients would begin talking about their spiritual lives, often mentioning the role it played in their recovery process. This led me to focus my doctoral dissertation on the role of spirituality in the recovery process of people diagnosed with serious mental illnesses. In recent years, I have become increasingly interested in the intersection among spirituality and trauma and this is the focus of my current research.Vincent Starnino, Ph.D., LCSW
IUSSW/Indianapolis Public Library Partnership: Study of an MSW Student Field Unit to Address Patrons’ Psychosocial Needs
Public libraries across the country are beginning to recognize the need for social work partnerships to better meet the psychosocial needs of patrons experiencing poverty, homelessness, or other psychosocial problems such as mental illness or substance use disorders. The Indianapolis Public Library (IPL) is experiencing an increase in needs of patrons that are beyond the scope of traditional information needs addressed by the library system. A recent staff survey conducted by the IUSSW indicated that library staff are being inundated with patron needs beyond their training and job descriptions. Central Library’s needs are particularly acute; staff reported that patrons are experiencing mental health and substance abuse crises on library property and are also regularly asking library personnel for help accessing community resources for psychosocial needs. Notably, three-quarters of Central Library staff want a social service professional on staff to help handle the problems their patrons face on a daily basis. In response to these results, the IUSSW is partnering with IPL to develop an MSW student field unit located at Central Library to provide case management, crisis intervention, and staff education and trainings. This project will allow the IUSSW to contract with a qualified social worker to provide practicum supervision of the MSW student unit while collecting data about the types of needs presented to the students, the number of hours of direct and indirect assistance provided, and the number of needs that arise during off hours that cannot be addressed with the student model. This research is anticipated to inform the future provision of social work services in public libraries and also provide data to support Central in their quest to seek external funding for hiring their own full-time social worker.
One of the participants in our recent public library staff survey said “Library work is social work” when describing their changing purpose in today’s society and the role of the staff in meeting patrons’ needs. This quote stood out to me since it captures the role in which many library staff are now finding themselves. Public libraries are often becoming community centers and are frequently dealing with individuals who are under-resourced and may be in need of shelter, social support, and/or connections with local service providers. I’m pleased to be a part of research that has timely and practical implications for the local community and can directly inform interventions and future social work/library partnerships.Beth Wahler, Ph.D.
MSW Program Director / Associate Professor
Attracting/hiring/retaining women in the building trades through the inclusion of mentoring curricula in union apprenticeship programsThis proposal explores creating or enhancing an existing mentoring component in union apprenticeship programs for the purpose of attracting/hiring/retaining women in the building trades and would act a springboard for a national study of women in apprenticeships. The inclusion of a mentoring component in joint apprenticeship programs would not only help provide the needed support women find nonexistent in the male-dominated building trades where they are often the target of bullying, intimidation, and sexual harassment in uncomfortable and unsafe workplaces but contribute to “best practices” (Moir, 2011) to retain women in trades. Providing mutual support in a one-on-one mentoring relationship for women facing these workplace challenges has been shown to reduce the number of women leaving the construction industry (Mccormack, 1998) and foster career-related and psychosocial benefits such as “organizational rewards in the form of promotions, increased financial security, and increased job satisfaction and commitment” (Hegstad, 1999, p. 387).
My interest in this research stems from my thirty-year relationship with apprenticeship and training programs in the building trades as a female member and office holder of my local union in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Mentoring is one avenue for strengthening increased support for women entering and remaining in construction as the field emerges as a leading provider of future jobs.Marquita Walker, Ph.D.