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Social Work in the Public Eye

NASW Arizona Chapter Executive Director Carol Stambaugh was chosen by the Arizona Society of Association Executives as the Executive of the Year. It is the highest recognition given by the organization to the chief staff executive of an association in the state. Those honored with the award exemplify the very best in association management by continually bringing credit to the profession and to the entire association community.

Stambaugh was given the award at the society's annual gala recently. "I was so lucky to have a past-president, my president-elect, and some committee chairs in attendance at the gala with me," Stambaugh said. "In addition, the chapter won the Arizona Society of Association Executives Cutting Edge award for our work with orientation videos and using social media in governance. It was a beautiful night!"

Marjorie Nixon
Marjorie Nixon

Marjorie Nixon was quoted in The Straits Times, Singapore's national newspaper, for a feature story about addiction.

Nixon is originally from Wisconsin. In 2008, she became program director of We Care Community Services, a small outpatient addictions agency in Singapore. The story profiled people whose lives have changed for the better through addiction recovery efforts. The article pointed out that besides drugs and alcohol, people can become addicted to food, sex and gambling. Nixon noted in the feature that the initial months for a recovering addict are especially difficult.

"It can take up to two years for a patient to experience emotional, mental, and physical stability after abstaining from his or her drug of choice," she said. "This might include such symptoms as mood swings, sleep disturbance and memory problems."

She added that addicts are likely to relapse if they regard drugs, alcohol or gambling as the problem rather than themselves.

Wendy Maltz of Oregon wrote the lead feature article for the November/December 2009 issue of Psychotherapy Networker magazine. Maltz said the article, titled "Out of the Shadows," is a personal and clinically based overview of how pornography has changed from a seemingly harmless entertainment to a product that is causing serious mental, sexual and relationship problems for many. The story points out that access to pornography through electronic technology such as cable television, computers and mobile phones has transformed it into something that is available anytime, anywhere and often for cheap or free of charge.

Maltz cites other experts who have begun calling pornography addiction the newest and most challenging mental health problem. In her own studies, she said that she found porn use had many of the same properties as drug use and it can cause a drug-like effect. Research shows that, like compulsive gambling and shopping, porn use can lead to a "process addiction," in which a person becomes addicted to a set of behaviors, that, in turn, powerfully alter brain chemistry, the article states.

Later, it notes that "all the new information about porn we are gathering helped explain why people of all ages and from all walks of life could develop such strong attachments to porn that they craved it compulsively, couldn't control their use and couldn't stop despite negative consequences."

Maltz states in the story that the only way to prevent the spread of porn-related problems is for people to be informed and to get help early and for society to be alert to the problems. "As mental health professionals I believe we're most helpful when we resist our tendencies to automatically condemn or advocate porn," she writes. "Our effectiveness depends on our ability to join with clients in regularly evaluating porn's impact on their lives."

Jerry Rousseau
Jerry Rousseau

Jerry Rousseau, a clinical professor at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was quoted in a Wisconsin Public News Service article that was picked up by the Clear Channel News Network and distributed to hundreds of news talk stations across the country.

The story was about how the holiday season can be a time of stress for many people, especially in a poor economy. "That's where the state's social workers come in. With the economy reeling, social workers in Wisconsin are preparing for a very busy holiday season," the announcer exclaimed.

Rousseau said the economic situation would have an impact on people over the holidays. "It's going to generate even more stress," he said. "It's going to generate more frustration. Some people are going to turn to behaviors that are not necessarily going to be good for them."

Rousseau said social workers across the state help people overcome some of life's most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, unemployment, disability and mental illness. All can be exacerbated by a bad economy and the holiday season.

While the holidays are hard to get through for many people, Rousseau warned that the biggest challenges sometimes come later.

"After the holiday period, after Jan. 1, a lot of people sink into the sense of disappointment and depression that has been building through the holidays," he said.

It's a double-whammy, he adds: That's also when bills from holiday spending come due.

Frank Campbell
Frank Campbell

Frank Campbell was chosen by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to receive the Norman Farberow award for his international work on behalf of those bereaved by suicide of a loved one. The award was presented in Uruguay at the IASP world congress, which is held every two years. Campbell said he is the first American social worker to be selected for the honor. Campbell's Active Postvention Model -- most commonly used by the LOSS (Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) Team -- has been featured in three Discovery Channel documentaries.

The concept involves a team of first responders who go to the scene of a suicide and then provide support and referral to those bereaved by the incident. The goal is to shorten the elapsed time between the death and the survivors getting proper help to cope with the loss.

The active postvention model has shown to have a positive impact on both the team members and the newly bereaved, Campbell said. Many of the team members are former benefactors of the program. Campbell said the model has been replicated in several other countries, including Australia, Singapore, Northern Ireland and Canada.

Campbell has also been selected to receive the Louis Dublin award at the upcoming American Association of Suicidology Conference. He is a past president of the organization.

Samira Beckwith
Samira Beckwith

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services headquartered in Fort Myers, Fla., was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

More than 1,100 entries were submitted internationally for consideration in 54 award categories. Winners were chosen by a panel of business professionals worldwide.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, and the companies they run -- worldwide. Named the Stevies for the Greek word for "crowned," winners were announced during a gala event in New York City.

Beckwith was honored for her lifetime achievements and accomplishments in health care. The presentation noted that as president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, Beckwith is a leader in improving health care on the local, state and national levels. She has served in this position since 1991 and has more than 30 years of health care and hospice experience. Under her leadership, Hope's services, programs, staff and volunteers have grown and now provide care for more than 2,300 people each day, through Hope Hospice and other comprehensive care programs for people with serious illness in Lee, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Hardee, Charlotte and Collier counties in Florida. Beckwith has led Hope to receive numerous national awards for quality service and innovation. She is also the 2009 winner of the NASW Foundation's Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award and is an NASW Social Work Pioneer.

"This is a unique honor for me and for all Hope staff members and volunteers," Beckwith said in a statement. "It recognizes our many years of commitment and dedication as we have worked diligently to meet the healthcare needs of our community. It is a true honor to be recognized for our ongoing efforts."

 
 
 
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