SSW Faculty Professional Notes - Fall 2017

November 27, 2017
St. Kate's - St. Thomas School of Social Work faculty 2017-18

George Baboila, co-director of the UST Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services (IPC)George Baboila, co-director of the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services (IPC), and colleagues from St. Thomas, Harvard, and the University of Connecticut, presented “Interdisciplinary Collaboration in University-Based Clinics Representing Asylum-Seekers:  Opportunities and Challenges for the Professional Training of Lawyers, Health Professionals, and Social Workers” at the XXVth  International Congress on Law and Mental Health at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, July 2017.

photo of Laurel BidwellLaurel Bidwell, assistant professor, was selected to participate in the Alia “Ten of Ten for Kids” (#10of10forkids) project, which brought together 100 thought-leaders from throughout the country to spend 3 ½ days in Minneapolis in late-spring, re-imagining a child welfare system utilizing IDEO design innovation. Out of this effort has come 6 initial drafts of guiding principles for child welfare redesign and 30 initial prototypes of ideas to transform child welfare. You can find full details and view the Ten of Ten for Kids results webinar at

School of Social Work faculty member Kingsley U. ChigbuKingsley Chigbu, assistant professor, provided a workshop to behavioral health staff at Fairview Health Services on ways to improve patient care outcomes through teamwork. He is also consulting with Fairview Health Services Clinical Education on ways to empower the institution's mental health staff to enhance their understanding of how to effectively address the needs of individuals with different mental health diagnoses and clinical presentations, including psychoses, personality disorders and aggression/violence. Dr. Chigbu's presented his study, "The Impact of Global Alcohol Policies on Road Fatalities," at the Midwest Injury Prevention Summit in Bloomington, MN on November 30, 2017. The study was based on data from 179 countries. In the presentation, he espoused the ongoing effort for enhanced global alcohol consumption policies especially with regards to road users. He further highlighted the global burden of injuries related to alcohol use.

Mike Chovanec, professor, presented a poster session entitled "Partner for Change Outcome Management System: Introducing Client Feedback into a Domestic Abuse Program" at the 22nd International Summit on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego, CA, on September 24, 2017.  The poster provided findings from Chovanec’s year-long evaluation, funded by an internal grant from St. Catherine University, of a local domestic abuse program that he facilitates.

Kari Fletcher, associate professor and incoming MSW program director (spring 2018), co-wrote, “Use of college mental health services among student veterans,” a peer-reviewed article in Best Practices in Mental Health Volume 13, Number 1, January 2017. In July, she presented the paper, “The virtual holding environment: Making it real,” at the Doctoral Student Orientation in Chaska, MN.  In September, she delivered the lecture, “Support for military-connected children: Research, policy, and practice considerations,” for the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Webinar 2017 - Issues in the Health of Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families, at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She presented “Supporting Student Veterans’ Success in Social Work Programs and Within Higher Education” and “Women Veterans: The Role of Post-Secondary Institutions” at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in October in Dallas, TX. Additionally, she co-wrote the peer-reviewed article, “Belonging and support:  Women veterans’ perceptions of veteran service organizations” which was published in the Journal of Veterans Studies, 2(2), 1-12 (2017). She has also co-written, “The challenges posed by the mental health needs of military service members and veterans,” which was published in J. Rosenberg and S. Rosenberg (Eds.), Community mental health: Challenges for the 21st century (3rd ed.), 2018.  She was also co-author on the publication, “Mental Health Needs of Military and Veteran Women: An Assessment Conducted by the Service Women’s Action Network,” published in the advance online publication of Traumatology, October 2, 2017:

Mari Ann Graham, associate professor and interim MSW program director (fall 2017), presented, “Binding up our Nation’s Wounds: An ethic of Inclusion,” at the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) 2017 convention in Charlotte, NC on November 3. In it, she used an integral ethics framework to assist participants in exploring the subtle ways they get trapped in boxes of their own making that undermine their intentions to actually be inclusive.

Professor Katharine Hill, School of Social WorkKatharine Hill, associate professor and BSW program director, and her research partner Dr. Shannon Lane from Adelphi University, won the Voter Empowerment Research Award at the Policy Conference 2.0: Successes and Solutions: Policies that Work in June 2017.  The award was given for her work on a classroom-based, nonpartisan voter engagement project that was implemented with undergraduate students in two states.  Students gained knowledge and skills, registered 468 voters, and assisted community members in having their voices heard. Read more»

School of Social Work clinical faculty member Jane Hurley JohncoxJane Hurley Johncox, clinical faculty, was one of  five faculty members nationally selected by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to participate as scholars in the new education initiative, the Path to Licensure Institute. The institute began with an intensive session at the ASWB headquarters in Virginia, during which she began formalizing a Path to Licensure program for the St. Kate's - St. Thomas MSW. In addition, she is engaged in longer-term research involving the role of supervision in ethical practice. Read more»

Stacy Husebo, clinical facultyStacy Husebo, clinical faculty, presented at the Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference -Radicalizing Contemplative Education: Compassion, Intersectionality and Justice in Challenging Times, October 26-29, 2017 in Scots Valley, CA. Her workshop was entitled, “The Contemplative Self: Exploring and transforming privilege and oppression.”


Lisa Kiesel in 2017 with Mapping Social Justice project action alerts in backgroundLisa Kiesel, assistant professor, presented “The Mapping Social Justice Project: Targeted Integration of Policy and Community Engagement Across a Clinical Curriculum,” at the Policy 2.0 conference in St. Louis, MO, on June 3. In October, she presented an invited poster about the Mapping Social Justice Project at the Field Work Institute at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting in Dallas Texas and gave a presentation on the topic at the same conference. Kiesel, with co-authors Sharyn Dezelar MSW and Elizabeth Lightfoot PhD, have had their article “Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities: Social Workers with Disabilities and Experiences in Field Education”accepted for publication in the Journal of Social Work Education.  Also with these co-authors, Kiesel has been accepted to present  “Equity in Social Work Employment: Opportunity and Challenge for Social Workers with Disabilities,” at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) to be held in Washington, DC, January 10-14, 2018. Dr. Kiesel with co-authors Kristie Piescher, PhD, and Jeffrey Edleson, PhD, had their article “The Relationship Between Child Maltreatment, Intimate Partner Violence Exposure, and Academic Performance,” awarded  the 2016 Article of the Year by the Journal of Public Child Welfare. Read more about the Mapping Social Justice Project»

Melissa Lundquist, Assistant faculty, School of Social WorkMelissa Lundquist, assistant professor, participated in the Policy Boot Camp convened by the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) and the Urban Institute, sponsored by the Fund for Social Policy Education and Practice. The goal of the workshop was to help researchers learn skills to effectively communicate and disseminate their work to a wide audience as part of a broader effort to improve the effectiveness of policy and service efforts designed to ameliorate persistent poverty and growing inequality.

Dr. Catherine Marrs Fuchsel - portraitCatherine Marrs Fuchsel, associate professor, published "Sí, Yo Puedo," a step-by-step program manual to aid bilingual Spanish-English mental health professionals (e.g., clinical social workers, professional counselors, family and marriage therapists, psychologists) in their work with immigrant latina women. The empowerment program is designed to provide education, promote self-esteem, prevent domestic violence, and help readers understand healthy relationships within a cultural framework. Sí, Yo PUEDO is YES, I CAN in English. Read more»

Ande Nesmith, associate professor, shared her research in podcast #216, “Text-Based Crisis Intervention Counseling: A Promising Venue to Reach Underserved Young Clients,” for inSocialWork,® the podcast series of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. In it, she describes her program and what she is learning about the differences between in-person and text-based counseling formats. She was one of several educators who presented at the Grand Challenges Teaching Institute at the October CSWE-APM meeting in Dallas, “Teaching Environmental Justice Across the Curriculum: 2015 EPAS and Beyond.” Read more»

Lisa Richardson, associate professor and MSW field education director, presented “Closing the Health Gap through Social Work Leadership: The HEALS Program,” at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, TX, where she also participated as a Board member in the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors (NANFED) busines meeting and their Heart of Social Work Reception, at which St. Kate's - St. Thomas professor emerita, Theresa McPartlin, was this year's recipient of this national award. Read more about this award»

School of Social Work Dean Barbara Shank 2015Barbara Shank, professor, continues to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors, Council on Social Work Education; Secretary & Membership Chair for the International Association of Schools of Social Work; Board member for the International Consortium for Social Development; and member of the International Advisory Board for the Global Institute of Social Work (GISW). In July (2017) she was inducted as a Fellow in the GISW.  In November (2017), she was the 4th William “Bill” Culp Endowed Lecturer at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX, addressing ‘A Well-Kept Secret - The Rightful Place of Social Work in Faith-Based Higher Education’.

School of Social Work Associate Professor Jessica ToftJessica Toft, associate professor, and her research assistant Lacey Ducklow published, "Citizenship social work: A community environmental scan of re-enfranchisement social work supports after felony conviction," in the Journal of Policy Practice, volume 16, issue 2. This article furthers Toft's research agenda regarding democratic citizenship analysis of marginalized populations. Also in August 2017, Toft penned a response to President Trump's remarks regarding Charlottesville as the President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-MN). That letter was sent to all licensed social workers in the state. It was also picked up by other chapters around the country and either emailed to their members or reposted, including: MI, NH, OR, SC, NYC, LA, KY, KS, TX, and UT. This letter is available at Also in her role as NASW-MN President, Toft chaired a Social Work Legislative Town Hall event on Tuesday, October 23rd. Read more about the NASW-MN Town Hall»

Pa Der Vang, associate professor, presented “Redefining Viv Ncaus: Mentoring Students, Supporting Colleagues, and Developing Leaders,” at the Hmong Women Summit: The Authenticity Project on October 28 at UW-Eau Claire.  Pa Der taught “Dismantling Racism” at St. Kate’s in the fall, a new course that meets the requirement for the Global Search for Justice (GSJ) component of the CORE curriculum. She presented the title "Dismantling Racism: Understanding institutionalized racism" at the Overcoming Racism Conference at Metropolitan State University on November 3 with BSW student Jessie Hanson and GSJ student Terese Hermann. Pa Der opened the 39th Annual Hmong New Year celebration on November 24 at the River Center in St. Paul with a keynote speech and ribbon cutting.  Additionally, Pa Der has joined the Minnesota Board of Social Work Advisory Committee representing the Minnesota Hmong Social Work Coalition. Read more about her participation at Hmong New Year»

Dr. Robin WhitebirdRobin Whitebird, associate professor, is a consulting researcher to the newly funded grant: Optimizing the Value of PROMs in Improving Care Delivery through Health Information Technology. The grant, awarded to Dr. Leif Solberg at HealthPartners Institute, was funded through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The project will partner with operational leaders at HealthPartners to focus on evaluating the systematic collection of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and their use for the care of patients and in aggregate for quality improvement of care process. Additionally, she co-authored the article, “Transformative care for chronic pain and addiction: Healing the patient and the health care system,” which was published in the September 2017 issue of Practical Pain Management.

Carey Winkler, BSW Field Director, School of Social WorkCarey Winkler, BSW field education director, presented, “Challenging the Language of Difference in Social Work Education Competencies,” at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, TX, October 20, 2017.