Advertisement

Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 159–167 | Cite as

Educating Graduate Social Work Students in Disaster Response: A Real-Time Case Study

  • Patricia A. FindleyEmail author
  • Kathleen J. Pottick
  • Stephanie Giordano
Original Paper

Abstract

Social workers are mental health first-responders in disaster events, yet that role has been relatively underemphasized in social work curriculum for agency-based practice. The recent increasing number of disaster-related events has challenged schools of social work to respond with curriculum and field placements that meet the student demand for education in disaster behavior health. This paper describes how a real-time education and training program for disaster response was created and adopted into an existing graduate social work school curriculum. It also details how new field placements were created, and others were transformed to focus on mental health counseling and disaster relief following a significant weather-related event. This case study demonstrates how resources were developed and leveraged to address the immediate needs of devastated communities, and it provides strategic information on the way that social work students worked to address both acute and longer-term symptoms and needs of victims and survivors through clinical training and supervision. Through the historical lens of disaster response and behavioral health, resiliency-building is shown to be the cornerstone of effective community networking.

Keywords

Disaster response Mental health Social work training Disaster curriculum Field placement 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Project Manager Sandra Moroso, M.A. This paper was funded in part by a grant from the Robin Hood Foundation (Grant Title: Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Initiative, Grant Number 435346).

References

  1. Abrams, J., & Shapiro, M. (2014). Teaching trauma theory and practice in MSW programs: A clinically focused, case-based method. Clinical Social Work Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10615-013-0472-z.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychological Association (APA). (2014). Disaster response network. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/practice/programs/drn/index.aspx.
  3. APA and American Red Cross Reaffirm Historic Partnership. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.apapracticecentral.org/update/2009/03-30/apa-redcross-reaffirm.aspx.
  4. Andron, S. (2013). Rebuilding New Orleans: A community field learning experience. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 33(3), 297–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baum, N. (2004). Social work students cope with terror. Clinical Social Work Journal, 32(4), 395–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bragin, M. (2011). Clinical social work in situations of disaster and terrorism. In J. Brandell (Ed.), Theory and practice in clinical social work (2nd ed., pp. 373–406). Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). (2014). Disaster management. Retrieved from http://www.cswe.org/CentersInitiatives/KAKI/KAKIResources/25187.aspx.
  8. Fothergill, A., & Peek, L. A. (2004). Poverty and disasters in the United States: A review of recent sociological findings. Natural Hazards, 32(1), 89–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Germain, C. (1983). Technological advances. In A. Rosenblatt & D. Waldfogel (Eds.), Handbook of clinical social work (pp. 25–57). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  10. Goldberg, G. (1974). Micro-level intervention: A frame of reference and a practice model. Journal of Education for Social Work, 10(3), 25–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Green, B. L. (1996). Traumatic stress and disaster: Mental health effects and factors influencing adaptation. International Review of Psychiatry, 2, 177–210.Google Scholar
  12. Halpern, J., & Tramontin, M. (2007). Disaster mental health: Theory and practice. Belmont, CA: Thomson.Google Scholar
  13. Hopper, E. K., Bassuk, E. L., & Olivet, J. (2010). Shelter from the storm: Trauma-informed care in homelessness services settings. The Open Health Services and Policy Journal, 3(2), 80–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). (2013). World disaster report: Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action. Geneva: IFRC.Google Scholar
  15. Manuel, J. (2013). The long road to recovery: Environmental health impacts of Hurricane Sandy. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121(5), a152–a159.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Mathbor, G. M. (2007). Enhancement of community preparedness for natural disasters the role of social work in building social capital for sustainable disaster relief and management. International Social Work, 50(3), 357–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mirabito, D. M. (2012). Educating a new generation of social workers: Challenges and skills needed for contemporary agency-based practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 245–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moyo, O., & Moldovan, V. (2008). Lessons for social workers: Hurricane Katrina as a social disaster. Social Development Issues, 30(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  19. National Association of School Nurses. (2014). Emergency preparedness and response in the school settingThe role of the school nurse. Retrieved from www.nasn.org/PolicyAdvocacy/PositionPapersandReports/NASNPositionStatementsFullView/tabid/462/ArticleId/117/Emergency-Preparedness-The-Role-of-the-School-Nurse-Adopted-2011.
  20. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2014). NASW on disasters. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/events/911/disasters.asp.
  21. National Center for Social Work Trauma Education and Workforce Development. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.ncswtraumaed.org/.
  22. Neria, Y., & Shultz, J. M. (2012). Mental health effects of Hurricane Sandy: Characteristics, potential aftermath, and response. JAMA, 308(24), 2571–2572.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Nuttman-Shwartz, O., & Dekel, R. (2009). Challenges for students working in a shared traumatic reality. British Journal of Social Work, 39(3), 522–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. O’Neil, J. (2001). Red Cross, NASW have pact. NASW news. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/news/2001/11/pact.htm
  25. Pottick, K. J. (2014). Kathleen J. Pottick on Superstorm Sandy and social work resources. Retrieved from http://blog.oup.com/2014/03/superstorm-sandy-social-work-resources/
  26. Tosone, C., Lee, M., Bialkin, L., Martinez, A., Campbell, M., Martinez, M. M., et al. (2003). Shared trauma: Group reflections on the September 11th disaster. Psychoanalytic Social Work, 10(1), 57–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tosone, C., Nuttman-Shwartz, O., & Stephens, T. (2012). Shared trauma: When the professional is personal. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 231–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Trattner, W. I. (2007). From poor law to welfare state: A history of social welfare in America. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  29. University of Buffalo School of Social Work. (2014). Retrieved from http://socialwork.buffalo.edu.
  30. Wood, G. G., & Tully, C. T. (2006). The structural approach to direct practice in social work: A social constructionist perspective. New York, New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Zakour, M. J., & Harrell, E. B. (2004). Access to disaster services: Social work interventions for vulnerable populations. Journal of Social Service Research, 30(2), 27–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Findley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathleen J. Pottick
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephanie Giordano
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers University School of Social WorkNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging ResearchNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations