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/news-events/news-archive/2017/

United Way Honors Widener University

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Widener University received the 2016-17 Corporate Citizenship Award from United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey for research that was conducted by faculty and students in the Center of Social Work Education on enhancing trauma services in the region.

Through the help of Dr. Jenny Wyatt, associate professor of social work and director of the Center for Violence Prevention at Widener, United Way formed a collaboration of providers and other stakeholders to enhance trauma-informed care in the region. To help inform the work of this collaboration, United Way asked for faculty members and students in the Center for Social Work Education help in developing a resource guide of trauma-informed service providers.

Last fall as part of “Social and Economics and Justice II” class, students worked on a literature review to obtain information for a resource guide to enhance trauma-informed care in the region by closer examining services at the provider level.

“In the class we explored trauma informed care in different populations and what the benefits are and how it can extend to every part of an organization,” Isra Abuyounis, a graduate social work student, said. “Being a social worker, we work a lot on the micro level, to see our work used on a macro level and impact policy is an amazing feeling.”

According to Margo Campbell, assistant professor of social work and lead instructor for social work in communities, “The literature review that the students worked on explained how trauma-informed care is defined and what it looks like in different organizations. There is a lot of trauma-informed care happening in silos, so this research allows us to pull together a resource guide that will better inform the county of what is being done.”

United Way is hoping that this research will allow for them to better prepare trainings and assistance to organizations that need it. 

"We're so grateful for Widener University's Center for Social Work Education's leadership and expertise in helping us develop a resource guide that will have the potential to help us transform the way we provide services to those in need in our communities,” Suzanne O'Connor, Director of Education, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, said. “Their work will not only be integral to informing our investment framework moving forward, but it will also help us advance our goal of building a trauma-informed region over the next five years.”

Stephen Kauffman, professor of social Work, and Eric Stein, assistant professor of social work have also been a part of the research collaboration.

Kauffman is continuing working on a tool that will better assess the resources that are available. He is creating a survey that will review specific aspects of trauma informed care.

“These findings will show a map of what the county looks like terms of offering trauma-informed services, which will be useful for agencies to understand where to send appropriate referrals,” Kauffman said.

“This resource guide is now a part of a larger relationship between the university and United Way, in which we are hoping to create more opportunities for our students to be a part of,” Campbell said.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website, http://www.widener.edu/