Please introduce yourself

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Nancy Smyth

Oct 22, 2010, 3:13:36 PM10/22/10
to NADD Trauma & Disaster Forum
Welcome to the Social Work Education Trauma & Disaster Forum. The
purpose of this forum is to share ideas and resources among those
faculty members who are teaching courses related to trauma and/or
disaster topics in social work. We have the capability to share
syllabi and even to collaborate on documents through Google Docs We
also have the ability to create our own web pages/sites (for those who
are up to the task). While Google will be changing how we can do these
things we can still use the current system of group pages. When I have
a chance I will transfer us over to Google Sites. But at the most
essential level, this is a listserv (or you can read on the web, like
a bulletin board), so you don't have to be facile with the other
technology tasks I've mentioned in order to participate.

Since we are now 25 strong and hopefully those who attended CSWE's APM
have reoriented themselves, so I thought it would be a good time to
invite each of you to introduce yourself. Please tell us about
yourself and what your interest and teaching is on this topic, and
also, if you are up to it, say a few words about why you decided to
join this group


Nancy J. Smyth, PhD, LCSW
Dean and Professor
University at Buffalo
School of Social Work

Susan Ann Cole

Nov 12, 2010, 10:04:23 PM11/12/10
Hi, All,
Please tell us about yourself:
Hi, I'm Susan Cole. I did direct practice in social work for about 25 years in Ann Arbor, MI; the Marshall Islands; and Hawaii. I then studied at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western University. After completing my program there in 2001, I started teaching and continuing research on infants, foster caregivers and attachment at the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I was promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure several years ago. I am interested in the causes and effects of trauma -- individual traumatic events and immediate short term crisis and teaching strategies to assist social work students in assisting clients and themselves in these situations.
I decided to join this group because I am currently on a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship at National Taiwan University in Taipei Taiwan (I could not attend the CSWE this year.). I have developed and am teaching a course in which I incorporate culturally specific factors for working with children and families experiencing trauma in Taiwan and mainland China. I enjoy developing and learning new teaching strategies in my classes that help students to develop skills and self-care for working in these difficult situations. I am happy to be linked to a group of people involved in this work.
I am hoping we can share successes and challenges.
I am using this email while in Taiwan. My email at SSW/UIUC is

James Dimitri Topitzes

Nov 14, 2010, 9:44:10 AM11/14/10
to NADD Trauma & Disaster Forum
Hi Everyone,

I too am looking forward to sharing resources, stories, etc. related
to teaching courses (and conducting direct practice) in the area of
trauma. I am an assistant professor of social work at Univ of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee and developing an MSW course on trauma-informed
practice. I have worked as an LCSW for a number of years with youth
experiencing some form of maltreatment, and continue to try to improve
my teaching and practice in this evolving area of care.

Again, I look forward to our discussions.

Dimitri Topitzes, PhD, LCSW

Charles Figley, Ph.D.

Nov 14, 2010, 10:05:53 AM11/14/10
Hello Everyone:

Glad that Nancy helped set up this network among social work educators interested in understanding and helping the traumatized. I started work in this area in part due to my opposition to Viet Nam war. As I met other veterans of the war I realized I was focusing on the wrong thing; the focus needed to be on helping those whose war experience was more than a political statement, but an indication of their humanity; in the process of trying to understand and help them, I established the Consortium on Veteran Studies which later became the Society and not the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In the process we helped invent PTSD, the VA's readjustment counseling programs, leading to inpatient treatment units for combat vets in 1980s.
But in the last 15 years I have been interested in the secondary effects of trauma on families and practitioners, including social work, and help invent the concept of compassion fatigue as an indicator of work-related stress among compassionate practitioners and caregivers. In the last ten years I have become more interested in the role of self regulation (biopsychosocial markers in the paradigm of psychoneuroimmunology) and the pathways of resilience, growth, and thriving linked to the Human Development Index. 
I am currently conducting three studies: Leadership leading to disaster resilience, combat medic mettle, and Paris Perspectives (qualitative assessment of the BP oil spill on two of the most vulnerable parishes in costal Louisiana). My Journal, Traumatology, is in its 16th year and editor-elect Brian Bride (Georgia) will become the new editor in less than a year. I am finishing up two books. One is with Oxford University Press (First do no SELF-harm: Physician Stress Resilience) and Sage Publications (two volume Encyclopedia of Trauma).
I look forward to our exchanges.
Charles Figley
Professor, Tulane University School of Social Work
Prof. Charles R. Figley, Ph.D., the Paul Henry Kurzweg, MD Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health at Tulane University and Director of the CCC PhD Program and Graduate School of Social Work Professor. Editor of Traumatology:  Phone: 504-862-3473 Email:

Blakey, Joan

Nov 16, 2010, 11:53:30 AM11/16/10
My name is Joan Blakey. I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Arlington. I became interested in trauma while completing my dissertation. For my dissertation, I interviewed 26 African American women who had current involvement with the child protection system because of substance abuse. I also interviewed the mothers' child protection caseworkers, substance abuse treatment counselors and parenting professionals. I found that all 26 women in my study had experienced at least one traumatic event. Almost 60% of the women experienced 5 - 10 traumatic events. I discovered that neither the child protection system nor substance abuse treatment was dealing with the women's histories of trauma. Women's ability to make sense of the trauma was the determining factor in whether women retained or regained custody of their children.
Looking ahead to the future, I have many interests related to trauma. I will continue to focus on women who are simultaneously involved with substance abuse treatment and child protection. I am also interested in historical or cultural trauma. I want to know more about the effects of trauma and how it shows up for women who come into contact with service systems. I also am interested in understanding if the effects of trauma are different depending on the type of trauma or whether the effects vary because of the women's experiences. My goal is to learn as much as I can about trauma and the ways it manifests in African American women's lives.
Eventually, I would like to develop a course for Master's student on trauma and how to incorporate trauma into their practice. I also am interested in developing a course around substance abuse as there is often a connection between the two fields of study. I look forward to getting to know other people who are studying aspects of trauma. Hopefully, we can collaborate on some projects in the future and support one another as we study an important problem.
Joan Blakey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
UT Arlington, School of Social Work
"There is  more gold in the minds of individuals than has ever been taken from the earth" - Napoleon Hill

From: [] On Behalf Of Charles Figley, Ph.D. []
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 9:05 AM
Subject: Re: nadd-trauma-disaster Please introduce yourself

Dr Joanne Cacciatore

Nov 19, 2010, 2:45:15 PM11/19/10
Hi Everyone,
I'm Joanne Cacciatore from Arizona State University. I've also founded the international organization, the MISS Foundation, helping parents whose babies and children have died (or are dying).

My research is on parental and traumatic grief, psychosocial intervention, mindfulness based bereavement care, perinatal death (epidemiology, advocacy, risk, & psychiatric sequelae), and more.

I look forward to working with each of you both directly and indirectly.

Live to the point of tears.  - Albert Camus

Joanne Cacciatore, PhD

When a Child Dies
Asst Professor
Director, Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement
Arizona State University
School of Social Work
411 North Central Ave 822K
Phoenix, Az 85003

Dr. C's Blog::::Becoming:::::

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