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Recent Project Awards and Collaborations

Innovative Instructional Technology Grant

Awarded by State University of New York

Principal Investigator: Paul Gould, LCSW, PhD

Evaluator: Suk-Young Kang, PhD

The Department of Social Work has received an Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) to develop a 3-tier learning environment. Students begin with web-based modules which introduce symptoms, common causes, assessment strategies, and evidence-based interventions for specific geriatric syndromes. These modules are being developed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty lead by Paul Gould, LCSW, PhD in the Department of Social Work and Shawn Berkowitz, MD, CMD, Co-Director Geriatric Education Theme at SUNY Upstate Medical. Students will be introduced to materials drawn from medicine, clinical social work, neurobiology, and public policy. Upon completion of the web-based modules, students will next have a simulated patient encounter. Actors will pose as patients in the simulation lab; students will conduct an assessment to differentially diagnose the patient's condition, and then identify an appropriate intervention strategy. The simulations are recorded and reviewed by an interdisciplinary team to provide feedback upon the students' application of specific skills. In the final tier of the learning environment, students will interact with actual patients in the community to conduct an assessment, develop an intervention plan, and apply evidence-based interventions to alleviate behavioral symptoms; similar to the simulations, these patient encounters will be recorded and reviewed by supervisors to evaluate students' performance. This 3-tier environment delivers a foundation of knowledge and introduces models of best practice, followed by structured experiences that allow students to practice essential skills while receiving critical feedback from professional supervisors.

Upstate New York Consortium for Mental & Behavioral Health Education & Training

Awarded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA)

Co-Principal Investigator: Laura Bronstein, LCSW-R, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator: Paul Gould, LCSW, PhD

This initiative is conducted in conjunction with SUNY Albany, Buffalo and Brockport, along with Syracuse University, and Roberts Wesleyan College. The project will educate and train Binghamton University MSW students in mental and behavioral health interventions with medically underserved populations. Two field placements are in underserved, poor rural communities with estimated family incomes significantly below the state average. The first placement is at UHS Primary Care Deposit with a focus on older patients. Deposit is a HRSA-designated health professional shortage area, and the poorest municipality in Broome County. The second placement is in Whitney Point Central School District with a focus on middle and high school students and their families. Whitney Point recently lost its health clinic and the nearest medical center is 12 miles away. The University of the State of New York Regents report of Designated Physician Shortage Areas (2009) notes that the two service areas of Deposit and Whitney Point within Broome County (out of 21 municipalities) are Primary Care Physician Shortage areas. In addition, the low-income community of Broome County is a designated mental health care health professional shortage area. MSW students will work as part of interdisciplinary care teams to provide direct mental and behavioral health services to medically underserved populations.

Pathways Project: Building Connections in Families Living with Dementia

Awarded by Binghamton University's Academic Program & Faculty Development Fund

Principal Investigator: Paul Gould, LCSW, PhD

Evaluator: Youjung Lee, LMSW, PhD

Persons with Dementia (PWDs) and their care-partners experience a complex and interrelated set of unique needs and interpersonal challenges as the disease progresses, resulting in increasing levels of stress upon the family system. Care-partners typically report deteriorating communication and quality time with their family member with dementia, an inability to manage problem behaviors, and feelings of frustration, resentment and grief. This leads to increased isolation for the care-partner, PWD, and increases risk for incidence of neglect and elder abuse. Services for care-partners and PWDs are generally provided separately, and address only a limited number of the family's needs – this compartmentalized approach fails to address the interdependent nature of the family system and complexity of care-giving for PWDs.

The Pathways Project will offer expressive arts groups to families in Broome and Tioga counties through regional community centers. A unique aspect of this project is that is pairs care-partners and PWDs in a therapeutic environment where they may engage in art-making and socialization with other families living with dementia. The project seeks to accomplish four basic goals:

Engage persons diagnosed with a dementia in artistic activities to stimulate cognitive processes and enhance quality of life.  Identify activities caregivers may do at home with PWDs to enhance positive communication and "quality time".Provide a teaching environment where graduate students may develop competence in working with caregivers, families, and persons living with dementia.Develop a "Legacy Project" which preserves memories through artistic expressions constructed by the person with dementia.

Families participate in activities to create artistic expressions, including painting, drawing, sculpting, and collage. These activities are intended to stimulate various regions in both the right and left hemispheres of the brain through reminiscence, storytelling, and creating artwork. A series of themes will guide the development of artwork to assist PWDs with reminiscence and build a foundation for a Legacy Project to capture memories for families.

The project incorporates MSW students in the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) in the development of the therapeutic groups, delivery of therapeutic services, and finally in the research evaluation. This provides students an opportunity to develop skills related to working with persons with cognitive impairments, families, and groups.





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Last Updated: 3/24/14