TACOMA, WASH. — On March 7, 2014, UW Tacoma’s Social Work Program will present “Serving Veterans and Military Families: Best Practices for Human Service Professionals.” Regional and national experts and practitioners will explore concerns ranging from everyday challenges veterans face in work, education and family to serious issues such as PTSD and suicide.
Professionals working in corporate employee assistance programs and social workers in human service and government agencies are encouraged to attend.
The UW Tacoma conference will equip service providers with the latest knowledge of what works for those who help veterans and military families. Outreach is the key: when veterans become aware of the assistance available and engaged with service providers, transition success is dramatically enhanced.
“We’re very proud to host such a conference,” said Diane Young, director of the UW Tacoma Social Work Program. “It’s a unique opportunity to highlight local resources in the context of the national discussion on veteran services. And it represents UW Tacoma’s deep connections to our community of health professionals and to our military bases. We’ve got a strong group of presenters and panelists, including some of our own students and alumni.”
With the presence of Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), the South Sound region is a microcosm of national trends in military veteran experiences. The number of servicemembers leaving military service is expected to increase substantially over the next few years. Veteran unemployment rates remain stubbornly high, especially for recent vets, and the transition into civilian jobs can be difficult. Combat injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder require specialized treatment and make transitioning into civilian life more complicated. Unfortunately, suicide rates among veterans are too high.
Attendees will be welcomed by Dr. Diane Young and by Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.
Presenting the conference keynote address—entitled “Helping veterans return to community and work”—will be Dr. Anthony Hassan, director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families at the University of Southern California. Dr. Hassan is a retired Air Force officer who served on the first Air Force combat stress control and prevention team to be embedded in an Army unit.
A morning panel discussion will feature four veterans—Sean Lanegan, Dannette Johnson, Stephen Robinson and Jonathan Wicks—discussing “Challenges and successes transitioning to civilian employment and education,” moderated by Dr. Peter Schmidt, from the Veterans Training and Support Center for Learning Connections at Edmonds Community College.
In the afternoon, conference-goers will have the opportunity to choose from four workshop sessions: “Working with veterans in the workplace,” “Suicide prevention,” “Anxiety and PTSD,” and “Sexual trauma.” These sessions will be presented and facilitated by a galaxy of academic and field experts, including:
Ellen Bloom, LCSW, chief of behavioral health, Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Lewis, JBLM
Col. Carl Castro, director, Military Operational Medicine Research Program, Ft. Detrick, Maryland
Connie Chapman, LCSW, Captain (ret.) Wash. National Guard, care transition manager, Premera
Tia Christopher, U.S. Navy vet., chief of staff, Farmer Veteran Coalition, recipient of 2013 White House Champion of Change award.
Teresa Holt-Schaad, LCSW, lecturer at UW Tacoma, clinical specialist with The NW Soldiers Project
Dr. Sara Landes, research health science specialist at the National Center for PTSD in Palo Alto, Calif.
Dr. Jane Luterek, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, UW School of Medicine
Rebecca Morrison, suicide survivor communications liaison with TAPS
Kim Ruocco, director of suicide postvention programs for TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
Following the workshop sessions, closing remarks will be given by Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr., Commander, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The conference is presented by the UW Tacoma Social Work Program in partnership with Prudential and the Center for Innovation and Research on Veteran and Military Families at the University of Southern California.
What: Serving Veterans and Military Families: Best Practices for Human Services Professionals
When: March 7, 2014, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: William W. Philip Hall, University of Washington Tacoma
Cost: $25 – includes continuing education credits/clock hours/professional development units, continental breakfast, buffet lunch
More information and registration: tacoma.uw.edu/svmf-conference