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From the field: Alumnae join forces with faculty on suicide prevention

In 2011, nearly 1,000 people died by suicide in Washington state. That number is twice as many as those who died in car accidents. One of those suicides was the spouse of School of Social Work Assistant Professor Jennifer Stuber.

Stuber turned her grief into action, spearheading a series of initiatives focused on suicide forefront Event 3prevention. Sue Eastgard (MSW ’88), a suicide prevention clinician, trainer and advocate, came out of retirement to work with Stuber. "Suicide is a public health crisis," says Eastgard, "and many of these suicides are preventable."

Eastgard and Stuber (seen in photo) engaged University of Washington colleagues from the School of Nursing, College of Education, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Communication in the effort and formed a nonprofit organization called Forefront, which is dedicated to suicide prevention by bringing awareness, training and expertise to the foreground.

On Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, the team officially launched Forefront on the UW Seattle campus to a standing-room-only crowd of 300 supporters who contributed close to $75,000. The successful kickoff was widely covered by the media, including New Day Northwest.

Forefront Event 2Forefront grew out of an earlier collaboration between Stuber and another School alumna, Washington state Rep. Tina Orwall (MSW '91). They created a statewide coalition to enact mandatory suicide prevention training for Washington state mental health professionals. Stuber felt strongly that the warning signs her husband exhibited were not acted on by mental health professionals treating him for depression and anxiety. Her joint effort with Orwall resulted in the Matt Adler Suicide Assessment, Treatment and Management Act of 2012, the first law of its kind in the nation. Orwall received the organization's inaugural public-service award at the launch event.

“The time to get serious about suicide prevention is now,” says Stuber.

Spotlight on giving

Daniel and Clare LaFond create $100,000 endowed fellowship

Daniel J. LaFond (MSW '68) and his wife, Clare, recently donated $100,000 to establish an LaFondendowment that will provide a $4,000 annual fellowship to a graduate student enrolled in the School of Social Work. In keeping with the couple’s commitment to advocate for the economically disadvantaged, underrepresented and marginalized members of society, the Daniel J. & Clare LaFond Endowed Fellowship will give preference to students who are in financial need, honorably discharged veterans, ex-felons or recovering addicts. The first fellowship will be awarded in 2016.

LaFond grew up in Olympia, part of a family of 12, and he served as a chaplain’s yeoman in the Navy Reserve after high school. After graduating with an MSW from the School of Social Work, he counseled prisoners, served as a caseworker for Child Protective Services, was appointed chair of the Social/Human Services Program at Bellevue Community College and led BCC’s Human Development and Counseling Center until his retirement.

School and alumni updates

Are you in? Connect with social work alumni on LinkedIn

Linked In LogoThe new official School of Social Work LinkedIn Alumni Group page is a great way to keep in touch with colleagues and former classmates. Visit our LinkedIn page and select the Join button in the upper right corner. Students are welcome. It may take up to 48 hours for your request to be reviewed and approved as we verify your relationship with the School and the University. You can also join us on Twitter for event announcements and more.

Taryn Lindhorst testifies at congressional briefing

This summer, Professor Taryn Lindhorst was part of a U.S. congressional briefing and panel discussion on the problems of parents who flee with their children across national borders to escape domestic violence. The data she provided showed how U.S. laws on international child abduction and the Hague Abduction Convention inadvertently aid abusers and fail to protect women and children who are victims of abuse. Lindhorst was asked recently to serve on the Gender and Justice Commission by the Washington state Supreme Court.

Awards and accolades

Linda Ishem and Pierce County Library team accept award from Michelle Obama

M. ObamaLinda Ishem (PhD ’08), seen in photo on the far left, and a team from the Pierce County Library System accepted the National Medal for Museum and Library Service from First Lady Michelle Obama in May. Pierce County is the first library system in Washington state to earn this award, which is the nation’s highest honor for libraries.

The award recognized the library for its services to diverse populations, including military families, older adults and business owners in the South Puget Sound region. Ishem is the chair of the library's board of trustees and was one of three local representatives invited to attend the White House awards ceremony.

Faculty achievements garner national and state honors 

The Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work selected Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen to receive its career achievement award, given for outstanding leadership in social work education and aging. Fredriksen-Goldsen, professor and director of the School’s Institute for Multigenerational Health, was chosen for her cutting-edge scholarship exploring health disparities and personal resilience among older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults. The award will be presented in November.

Richard Catalano, Jr., director, Social Development Research Group, was one of 25 members added to the Washington State Academy of Sciences. The academy provides expert scientific and engineering analysis for policymakers and works to increase the profile of science in Washington state. 

Alumnae receive Community Engagement Award from UW Tacoma

Michelle Garner (MSW ’98, PhD ’07, seen in photo) and Linda Ishem (PhD ’08) were two of three Michelle Garnerrecipients of UW Tacoma’s annual Community Engagement Award recognizing outstanding community service by UW Tacoma faculty. Garner, assistant professor in social work, has led the Reach Out Federal Way homeless shelter since it began in 2009 and currently works with a Federal Way program called City Vision to build coalitions with human services agencies. Ishem, assistant professor in urban studies, is a partner in the McCarver Educational Partnership, connecting educators with community organizations. 

School research attracts federal and foundation grants

Here's a round-up of recent grants awarded to School faculty and research groups.

  • Jennifer Romich has received a five-year, $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish one of seven national family self-sufficiency networks to research economic supports for families in the child welfare system. Professor Maureen Marcenko will join her in this work along with researchers from two other universities.

  • Rick Kosterman and the Social Development Research Group (SDRG) team received nearly $250,000 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct research surrounding the legalization of marijuana in Washington state. Their work will focus on parental perceptions about the new law and the messages that parents are sending to their children.

  • Jennifer Stuber, Sue Eastgard and the Forefront partnership were awarded a three-year, $300,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to address suicide prevention on the University of Washington Seattle campus with Husky, Help & Hope, a service to identify, refer and treat students at risk for suicide.

  • Karen Fredricksen-Goldsen has been awarded $140,000 from the John A. Hartford Foundation to establish a Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work, one of three at universities across the country. This honor recognizes Fredricksen-Goldsen for her leadership in translating new knowledge about aging into policy and practice.
  • Mark Eddy and his team have been awarded $496,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to evaluate Friends of the Children, a youth mentoring program aimed at children who are at risk for problem behaviors. Eddy also received more than $50,000 from the Campbell Foundation for the same program.

In the news

NYT feature story on social work in Cambodia highlights School partnership

A June 18 New York Times feature by reporter Kit Gillet highlighted the emerging field of social work in Cambodia, an area traditionally dominated by foreign aid workers who often had little formal preparation. Gillet’s story credits the new emphasis on social work in Cambodia to the joint partnership between the School of Social Work and the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)

NYT 2This collaboration, initiated in 2004, supported Cambodian social workers, who wanted to receive graduate-level training at the School and then return home to staff their university’s first social work department. Today, the School remains closely linked to the Cambodian university with a summer-abroad seminar program for UW social work students and a mentorship program for RUPP faculty

Upcoming events 

School advocate for Intellectual House celebrates groundbreaking

You can join the School's Polly Olsen and support Native American students at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m., celebrating the beginning of construction of Intellectual House. The University of Washington and the region’s tribes are building this longhouse-style facility Intellectual Houseto help prepare Native American students for leadership roles in their communities and in the region.

Olsen, director of community relations and development for the School's Indigenous Wellness Research Institute and Intellectual House advocate, says: “This type of facility shows young Native Americans who come to campus that higher education is attainable.” Olsen is the recipient of the University's 2013 Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Award for Community Building.

The ceremony will take place in the N6 parking lot between Lewis and McMahon halls and will include remarks by UW leadership and area tribal leaders. More information is available online or by email.

Faculty initiative sponsors forum on emotional intelligence and learning

The 3DL Partnership, a School of Social Work partnership with the College of Education, is sponsoring a forum on youth development called Integrating Social-Emotional Literacy and Academic Learning in Schools. The keynote speaker is Marc Brackett from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The event, which includes a panel discussion with representatives from the Bellevue and Seattle school districts along with community partners, takes place Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7–8:30 p.m. in 210 Kane Hall, UW, Seattle campus. Register online, or send an email for details.


Kip Tokuda, leading force in Asian-American community, dies at 66

TokduaKip Tokuda (MSW ’73), an inspirational community leader and tireless advocate for children and families, passed away July 13 while fishing on Deer Lake on South Whidbey Island. An active member of Seattle’s Asian-American community, Tokuda was a much beloved community activist who mentored generations of civic and political leaders.

Tokuda served in the Washington state House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002, where he chaired the House Children and Family Services Committee. In 1998, he co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation to encourage young people to seek out leadership roles in politics and nonprofits. The foundation’s annual award for courage, caring and vitality is named in his honor.

A former executive director of the Washington Council for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Tokuda was also a founder of the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington.

Throughout his distinguished career, Tokuda always found time to mentor MSW students and supervise student field placements. Last year, he received the Order of the Rising Sun from the emperor of Japan for his contributions to promoting friendly relations between Japan and the United States. Donations to the Kip Tokuda Legacy Fund can be made through The Seattle Foundation.


Fall 2013


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