GSU Receives $4.9 Million Department of Labor Grant
Governors State University has been awarded a $4.9 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The competitive grant, Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland Project, was one of only 55 awarded nationwide.
Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the grant will help provide training and placement services to unemployed, dislocated, and low-wage incumbent workers, enabling them to pursue healthcare careers.
The University will act as the lead agency providing coordination with other community-based organizations, including the following.
Project Team Taking Shape
Two grant-funded positions related to the Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland Project have been recently filled: Project Director and Assistant Project Director/Case Manager Coordinator.
Serving as Project Director is Robert Bliese, who is actually "coming home" to GSU. Bliese received his Master of Health Administration (MHA) from Governors State University in 1985.
Representing both the University and the College of Health and Human Services, Bliese will work closely with project, University staff, and community partners to direct the program.
Bliese brings a wealth of valuable experience as a health administration professional to this position. He has served as Director of Clinical Operations for both the Midwest Physician's Group in Olympia Fields and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. Prior to that, Bliese was the Administrative Director and Assistant to the Head of the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Emergency Medicine.
Serving as Assistant Project Director and Case Manager Coordinator for the Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland Project is Shari Lewis.
In addition to assisting in the management of the project, Lewis will also be responsible for designing and implementing coordinated case management systems, as well as establishing and maintaining open lines of communication between project partners, project case managers at the partner organizations, and clients.
She will also prepare and submit reports required by the Federal government, and will coordinate the Project’s Advisory Board.
Lewis brings more than 10 years of workforce development experience in project management, community health administration, marketing, training, and account management/retention. Most recently, Lewis served as the Director of the Workforce Development Initiative for the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, based in Dolton.
In addition to the Project Director and Assistant Project Director, a Job Developer and a Database Manager will be recruited by July 1 — completing the four-person project team to be headed by Robert Bliese.
Addressing the Employment Crisis
In a press release issued by the GSU Public Affairs office, GSU President Elaine P. Maimon praised College of Health and Human Services Dean Linda Samson, Interim Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, "...for leading the effort that has resulted in this competitive award. This project will help fight the recession by creating jobs in the critical area of healthcare. GSU's work with partners illustrates our collaborative spirit, fulfilling our role as a unifying force in the south suburbs."
Southern Cook County is specifically in need of a program addressing long-term workforce issues.
"We'll look to implement a strategy which reaches far beyond entry-level positions. Our goal is to provide residents with clear career pathways that allow them to enter or re-enter the workforce and also complete their bachelor's and advanced degrees," Dean Samson noted.
"Appropriate education will lead to better salaries, job opportunities, and greater investment back into the surrounding communities."
As lead agency in the project, GSU will oversee project management, database management and evaluation, reporting functions, and roles and responsibilities of the partner organizations through the addition of four new staff positions.
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Social Work Students and BSU Join Forces to Raise Funds for Haiti
On January 13, 2010, Haiti was devastated by one of the most devastating earthquakes in history. It's estimated that it may take more than a decade of international support to rebuild this country, where more than 2 million individuals were left without food, water, and shelter.
The students of GSU's Department of Social Work and the Black Student Union (BSU) have joined forces in an attempt to raise relief funds for the growth and development of Haiti.
The students will present a fashion show, "All Nations for Haiti," on Friday, May 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Sherman Music Recital Hall at GSU. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
This event is expected to highlight the talent, leadership, and diversity of GSU's student body.
More information about this event may be obtained by contacting Tamara Lewis, Department of Social Work student, at 312.476.0047, or Dr. Phyllis Bell, Social Work Faculty Advisor, at 708.534.6987.
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Physical Therapy Students Gain Insight into 'Noble' Profession
Thanks to a grant from the GSU Intellectual Life Committee, GSU's Physical Therapy Department hosted an appearance by author, PR exec and Good Morning America contributor Lee Woodruff.
Woodruff is the author, most recently, of Perfectly Imperfect—A Life in Progress.
Woodruff is wife of ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff, and founder of ReMIND.org, which is dedicated to educating the public about the needs of injured service members, veterans, and their families as they heal. Bob Woodruff suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a roadside bomb attack in Iraq, where he was covering the war for ABC News.
Addressing the Physical Therapy students over an informal pizza lunch, author Woodruff spoke passionately about the key role played by physical therapists on her husband's long and difficult road to recovery.
"You've picked an incredibly noble profession," Woodruff, a mother of four, said. "Physical therapists have a tremendous power to affect the recovery of patients and their families. You guys can change the world — one patient, one family at a time."
Woodruff related the importance of a physical therapist being able to "figure out how to get into a patient's mind and motivate him."
When the therapist who was working with Woodruff's husband of 18 years discovered that he was a former lacrosse player, she grabbed some sticks and took her patient to the hallways. It worked; Woodruff found the inspiration and motivation he needed to begin recovering not only physical capabilities, but cognitive and verbal, as well. Quizzing him on team names, "The therapist had his brain firing on all cylinders," Woodruff recalled. "It's fascinating to watch the brain put itself back together again."
Woodruff advised the students to remember the power of human touch—for both the patient and family members.
"I'll never forget the 10-minute shoulder massage the therapist gave me one day," Woodruff said.
"It was a wonderful act of kindness . . . People like you, who choose a profession like PT, are extra special people."
Author Lee Woodruff (left) chats with Janee Mohan, 2nd year Doctor of Physical Therapy student.
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Social Work Students Inducted into Phi Alpha National Honor Society
An induction ceremony for the newest members of GSU's Omicron Beta Chapter of Phi Alpha — the National Honor Society for Social Work students — was held recently in Sherman Hall.
This was the largest class of inductees the Social Work Department has had in three years, according to Kenneth Abrams, Jr., Chapter President.
The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and to promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.
The motto of Phi Alpha is "Through Knowledge—the Challenge to Serve." Maristela Zell, Ph.D., LCSW, Associate Professor in the Social Work Department, serves as faculty representative for the GSU chapter of Phi Alpha. "You are a great example of what the Social Work profession is all about," Dr. Zell told the assembled students.
Serving as keynote speaker for the event was alumnae Chasity Wells-Armstrong, who received her MSW from GSU's Social Work Department in 2008. Wells-Armstrong currently serves as Constituent Services Director for Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.
In her remarks to the students, Wells-Armstrong spoke about what it takes to be a successful social worker. She urged the students to be diligent, hard-working, flexible and resourceful problem-solvers and network-builders.
Wells-Armstrong also advised the students to find balance and a sense of humor in their lives, while they are busy serving as listeners, counselors, and advocates for others. It's also important to help the next generation of social workers coming up behind them, she said.
"Success is a journey, not a destination," Wells-Armstrong concluded.
Pictured (front row/center)
- Dr. Maristela Zell, Faculty Representative for the Omicron Beta Chapter of Phi Alpha at GSU.
Pictured (back row, left to right)
- Kenneth Abrams, Jr., Omicron Beta Chapter President
- GSU Social Work alumnae Chasity Wells-Armstrong, keynote speaker
- Omicron Beta Chapter Secretary Latoya Smith.
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Doctor of Occupational Therapy Students Demonstrate Expertise
The work of four Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT) students was featured recently when the students presented their original practice models before a gathering of fellow students and faculty members.
Also in attendance at the event was a specially invited guest, Dr. Carolyn Baum, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Director of the Occupational Therapy Program of Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis, and former President of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Caren Schranz, MS, OTR/L
Elizabeth Wanka, MOT, OTR/L
Lashanda Gayle, MOT, OTR/L
Latonya Easley, MOT, OTR/L
Pictured, left to right, are:
Dr. Divya Sood, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor in GSU’s Department of Occupational Therapy
Caren Schranz, MS, OTR/L
Latonya Easley, MOT, OTR/L
Elizabeth Wanka, MOT, OTR/L
- LaShanda Gayle, MOT, OTR/L and
Dr. Carolyn Baum, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Director of the Occupational Therapy Program of Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis, and former President of the American Occupational Therapy Association
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CHHS Faculty in the Spotlight
Rupert M. Evans, DHA, FACHE, Assistant Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Health Administration, recently received the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Service Award.
In a letter to Dr. Evans, ACHE President and CEO, Thomas C. Dolan, Ph.D., FACHE, CAE, wrote "We are honored to recognize your contributions to healthcare management excellence. We appreciate your commitment of volunteer service to the healthcare management profession, your chapter, and ACHE. Your efforts to give back to our community are a hallmark of our organization."
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JoAnne Smith, MSW, LCSW, Director of Field Work for GSU's Social Work Department, recently garnered a $1,000 grant through Women of Power from the Gabe W. Miller Memorial Foundation for a social service project Smith has been running in the Cook County Jail for the past two years.
After spending much time in the Cook County Jail providing mitigation work for the Public Defender's Office in Chicago, Smith discovered that the female inmates had few outlets from which to work on their anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
An avid knitter herself, Smith felt that learning knitting while incarcerated would be a relaxing skill that the inmates could develop.
"The women feel empowered once they learn this skill," Smith said. "it helps them relax and they start to conceptualize that there are positive avenues in life that can help them relax. While they knit, they talk about their lives and what precipitated their substance abuse and involvement in the criminal justice system."
Funds received from this grant will go towards the purchase of yarn and needles for the inmates. Moreover, Smith's long-term goal is to find funding that will support the hiring of inmates upon their release so that they may go to recovery homes and teach knitting to residents there.
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Mark Sanders, University Lecturer in the Department of Addictions Studies, was recently asked by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in Washington, D.C., to be part of an expert panel charged with the task of helping to create a TIP (Treatment Improvement Protocol), a publication that focuses on wellness, health, and recovery.
These TIPs are disseminated throughout the country to help counselors in the field do their work more effectively.
Sanders has also been selected to write a textbook on addiction for HCI Books. The book will be entitled, Slipping Through the Cracks: Intervention Strategies for Difficult-to-Reach Clients Who Do Not Fit Neatly into the Rubric of an Evidence-Based Practice. Sanders plans to complete the book by August, 2010, for publication in Winter, 2011.
Sanders recently released three new CDs through Health Systems Communications: Double Trouble: Working with Adolescents and Young Adults with Co-Occurring Disorders; Fifteen Strategies for Building "Heart," an Indomitable Spirit, and Resilience with At-Risk Youth; and Fifteen Strategies for Engaging Difficult-to-Reach Adolescents and Young Adults in Counseling.
Sanders was also recently interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about his story that was published in The Ultimate Christian Living. Sanders' story, entitled "Church in the Alley: A Social Worker's Recovery from Burnout," relates an incident that helped him recover from burnout as a young social worker.
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Raven James, Ed.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Addictions Studies, presented a poster on "Correlates of Sexual Self-Esteem in a Sample of Substance-Abusing Women" at the Twelfth International Conference on Treatment of Addictive Behaviors (ICTAB), held February 7–10 in Santa Fe, NM.
Committed to the integration of science and practice, since 1979 the ICTAB has been communicating recent therapeutic methods and research knowledge to professionals working with addictive behaviors. An enduring focus of ICTAB is on commonalities in the etiology, process, and treatment of alcohol/drug abuse and other addictive behaviors.
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When discussing the epidemic that is HIV/AIDS, the unique needs of African-American women in prevention, treatment, and care are often overlooked.
According to the Office of Minority Health (OMH), in National Partnership for Action, eliminating disparities requires effective intervention and outreach at the individual, community, and service systems levels, as well as strong partnerships to ensure efficient use of evidence-based practice.
To that end, three GSU academicians have undertaken a project, "Women Making Meaning of HIV and AIDS Services: Prevention and Education Implications."
Gerri Outlaw, Ed.D., MSW
Chair, Department of Social Work
Cynthia Carr, MS, OTR/L
Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy
Carolyn Estes-Rodgers, Ph.D./ABD, MPH, MHS, CHES
Research Associate/Evaluator for College of Health and Human Services' Center for the Care and Study of Vulnerable Populations
The researchers are attempting to discern which prevention components best meet the needs of young girls and women and the barriers and resources required to establish such programs.
The three researchers presented an update on their project at the quarterly meeting of the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention.
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CHHS Students and Alumni: Shining Stars
Theresa Quinn, a 2004 graduate of the Bachelor of Health Administration program, was recently promoted to Administrative Director of Ambulatory Services at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet.
Quinn is currently enrolled in the Master of Health Administration program.
Edwin Aghedo, a 2008 graduate of the Master of Health Administration program, was recently named a "Shining Star" by the administration of Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, where he serves as Quality/Risk Coordinator.
Since joining the hospital in 2007, Aghedo has proven to be a tremendous asset to the Department of Quality Services. Described as a dedicated team player by hospital administration, Aghedo goes above and beyond the call of duty in dealing with risk management issues at the hospital.
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Nursing Students Provide Valuable Service to Community
Under the direction of Shirley Comer, RN, MSN, JD, University Lecturer in the Department of Nursing, students in Nursing 420/421 Community Health Nursing had a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise at a recent Health Fair held in the Hall of Governors.
Pictured, left to right, Nursing student Tomeisha O'Brien; Shirley Comer, RN, MSN, JD, University Lecturer in the Department of Nursing; and Nursing student Stephani Hardie.
Students set up informational displays on flu prevention, STDs and pregnancy, heart disease, tuberculosis, and breast and cervical cancer/screenings.
Students also provided blood pressure and visual acuity screenings to fellow students, staff members, and visitors.
Pictured, left to right, Nursing students Janella Schroeder, Patti Schassburger, and DeAngela Newell.
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