Conference Presentations

Presentations at 2016 Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference, October 6-7, 2016, Phenix City, AL


  • The Eagles Nest: Students Helping Students Rachel Lahasky, LCSW, BSW Faculty Advisor, The University of Southern Mississippi Brian Street, MSW Student; Olivia Ismail, MSW Student; Jennifer Martin, MSW Student; Cara Scott, BSW Student: The University of Southern Mississippi This presentation will focus on student leadership and how student leadership ties in to increased retention, boosted morale, positive outcomes in student’s field placements, and an overall improvement of producing strong, confident social workers.


  • An Evaluation of the Chronic Condition Support Program: A Bio-psycho-social Approach to Chronic Disease Management Michelle Brazeal, MSW, LCSW, Program Director, Mississippi Integrated Health and Disaster Program, The University of Southern Mississippi Joohee Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi Tim Rehner, PhD, Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi Bret Blackmon, PhD, Assistant Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi. The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the Chronic Condition Support Program offered by the Mississippi Integrated Health and Disaster Program. This is a social worker led chronic disease management program and based on the bio-psycho-social approach to health care. Findings highlight the importance of the bio-psycho-social assessment and integrated interventions that treat the ‘whole person’.


  • Movement in the Classroom: Helping Collegiate Instructors Appeal to Generations Y and Z Sherry Gilkey, MSW, Staff & PhD Student, The University of Southern Mississippi Megan Pritchard, MSW Graduate Student, The University of Southern Mississippi With Generations Y and Z entering into the collegiate world, it is important to examine how the classroom environment effects the students' ability to focus and succeed academically.  Through increased bouts of movement in the classroom, the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive executive functioning are positively influenced.


  • Examining Psychological and Community Resilience on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: Implications for Social Work Education Mississippi Joohee Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi Tim Rehner, PhD, Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi Bret Blackmon, PhD, Assistant Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi. The current study examines the relationship between psychological resilience and perceived community resilience among Mississippi Gulf Coast residents who experienced Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The presenters will identify strategies for enhancing community resilience and discuss how schools of social work can be incorporated into community plans.


  • Social Dancing Michael Forster, Dean and Professor, The University of Southern Mississippi Social dance (“partner” dancing) offers social workers a valuable tool for work with clients as well as for self-knowledge and self-care.  The session will address both dimensions of client and self-work through a combination of presentation and experiential activity.



Presentations at 2016 NASW-MS Annual Conference, March 23- 25, 2016, Golden Nugget Biloxi


The University of Southern Mississippi was well represented at the conference with 12 faculty and 4 students making presentations.  See below for details.



  • Forensic Interviewing 101– Tamara E. Hurst, PHD, LCSW, USM School of Social Work.  15 min. Ethics, 15 min. CD CE Credit.  The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of forensic interview best practices.    Descriptions of our state’s systems of child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams will be provided.  


  • What Do Guns Have to Do with It?  An Examination and Discussion on the Epidemic of Gun Violence in the U.S.  What Will Be the Social Work Response? – Lucille “Missy” Rowley, PhD, LCSW, ACSW, & Alan Bougere, PhD, LCSW, USM School of SW.  20 min. Ethics CE Credit.  Social Work with clients, students & communities is impacted by gun violence with increasingly tragic & lethal outcomes.  Increasing are mass shootings & domestic violence incidences.  Research, trends & policy will be discussed with focus on the effects on practice.


  • Bridging the Gap:  Advocating Communication between Two Systems of Care – Lindsey Risher Vining, LMSW, Team Leader, USM MS Integrated Health and Disaster program (MIHDP), Lauren Zakaras, LMSW, DBH, Coordinator of Clinical programs & Training, MIHDP, Michelle Brazeal, LCSW, Program Dir., MIHDP, Tim Rehner, PhD, Dir., USM School of SW.  The new program addresses the need for increased collaboration between multiple service providers.  Community mental health employees need a framework to help bridge services provided by multiple healthcare agencies.  This presentation will provide a model that can be used to build interagency communication.


  • Trauma Informed Practice for Social Workers:  An Overview of Traumatic Stress and Innovative Approaches to Its Treatment – Matthew Vasquez, PhD, LMSW, USM SW School, Emily Goff, MSW Student, USM, Mary Takewell, MSW Student, USM.  The goal of this workshop is to provide a  comprehensive  overview on the neurobiological,  cognitive, emotional,  and behavioral functioning  of those  exposed  to traumatic  incidents  (e.g.,  abuse, disaster,  war).  Multiple incidents of traumatic exposure will be discussed.  Evidenced-based and new interventions will be reviewed.


  • Myths and Misperceptions of Sex-Related Education in MS Schools:  Implications for Social Work – Jerome Kolbo, PhD, USM SW School, Nichole Werle, LMSW, USM SW School, Olivia Ismail, MSW Student.  Understand the current and actual implementation of sex-related education in Mississippi's public schools, recognize the varied opinions and suggestions from sex-related education instructors for future improvements in sex-related education, and understand the important role of social workers in relation to future legislation and implementation of sex-related education.


  • Social Dance for Social Work:  A Tool for Practice and Self-Care – Michael Forster, PhD, LCSW, Dean, College of Health, USM.   Explore the value of social dance in social work practice:  1) as a tool of clinical work, and especially group work; and 2) as a means of advancing worker self-knowledge and self-care.  Time will be devoted to essential conceptual content for effective practice – including theoretical grounding, potential benefits and risks, utilization contra-indications, and resource finding.  Participants will have a direct experience of social dance, via instruction in basic steps associated with at least three major dance styles (e.g. waltz, rumba, swing).


  • Improving Children’s Academic Behaviors & Cognitive Functioning through Physical Activity Sherry Gilkey, MSW, PhD Student in Research, Evaluation, Statistics, & Assessment in Ed, USM, Jerome Kolbo, PhD, USM School of SW, Daniel Bond, PhD., Systems Analyst, USM.    Obtain information re:   the impact of physical activity on academic behaviors  in regard to academic achievement, draw connections of the effects of different types of physical  activity programs & executive functioning  in the  brain, and identify the effects classroom-based  physical  activity programs has on at-risk children with learning disabilities and behavioral challenges.