SSW Graduate Student Conference Papers

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    Public servants and their perspectives of the fentanyl crisis in Wichita and Sedgwick County
    (Wichita State University, 2023-04-14) Stegman, Angela; Pierce, Rheanna
    The purpose of this study is to explore public servants' perspectives of intervention(s) necessary to combat the fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl related overdoses, fatal and nonfatal, continue to rise in the United States. The 2021 annual report of Sedgwick County Forensic Science Center reports cases submitted with fentanyl detected rose from 4 in 2016 to 191 in 2021 for an increase of4,675%. A Qualtrics survey was distributed to 35 organizations that work within the community and have interactions with people who have been utilizing fentanyl. Some public servants who have had an interaction with interventions of fentanyl are; social workers, corrections and law enforcement, city and county, hospital and emergency room medical professionals, mental health provider staff/professionals, Department of Veteran's Affairs medical and mental health professionals, addictions and treatment provider professionals, and community advocates. In this exploratory qualitative study we will assess the public servants' perspectives of interventions, explore the perspective of the public servants' beliefs of how the community perceives their job at their attempt to prevent the fentanyl crisis and examine the zip codes of the helping professions participants to understand what District of Wichita they are speaking to specifically. Findings then will be categorized into themes of professionals, experience in the field, licensed held, race and a median age range of the participants per helping profession. This study hopes to inform public servants by providing more information on how different perspectives of public servants can impact or contradict one another so better education can be distributed. This study found that the most recognized intervention across public servants was to have a medically assisted treatment that can work with a multidisciplinary approach. With fentanyl overdoses continuing to rise, research should continue to explore how to create successful multidisciplinary team interventions within communities across Wichita and Sedgwick County.
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    Mental health and suicidal ideation among people incarcerated with HIV in Namibia
    (Wichita State University, 2022-04-29) Witherspoon, Shea; Kalomo, Eveline N.
    INTRODUCTION: The protection and promotion of human rights are vital in preventing the spread and mitigating the impacts of HIV worldwide. Incarceration is also widely accepted as being a human rights issue, partly due to health inequities faced by incarcerated individuals. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is said to be the epicenter of the HIV epidemic. Despite the prevalence of HIV among prison populations in SSA research related to this population, especially in Namibia, is quite limited. Emerging research suggests that for incarcerated individuals living with HIV, issues related to mental health are likely exacerbated. PURPOSE: To date, no studies have examined the impacts of mental health issues on suicidality among incarcerated individuals living with HIV in Namibia, Africa. Thus, the current study aimed to fill this gap. METHODS: This cross-sectional study utilized a purposive sampling method to survey 154 incarcerated adults living with HIV in Namibia. We tested three hypotheses: (H1) Higher levels of PTSD will be associated with an increase in suicidality; (H2) Higher levels of depressive symptoms will be related to an increase in suicidality; and (H3) Individuals with a history of mental health issues prior to incarceration will be related to an increase in suicidality. RESULTS: Supportive of H1, a logistic multivariate regression models revealed that higher levels of PTSD were significantly associated with higher levels of suicidality. And supportive of H2, higher levels of depressive symptoms were significantly related to higher levels of suicidality. There was no support found for H3. Additionally, we found unmarried prisoners were more likely to report suicidal ideation than prisoners with other marital statuses and male prisoners were more likely to report suicidal ideation than female prisoners. CONCLUSION: These findings call for culturally appropriate interventions to support this population in improving mental health and are especially important given that social workers in Namibia are increasingly being called to work with individuals living with HIV.
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    Improving cultural competency for new social workers
    (Wichita State University, 2019-04-26) Pierce, Rheanna; Ray, Armondo; Bolin, Brien L.
    INTRODUCTION: Social workers are meant to be culturally competent in their work as this ensures best practice methods. However, many social workers are not well-versed in microaggressions which falls under the umbrella of cultural competency. This damages not only the name of the social worker, but the field of social work, as well as the clients that are involved. In order to increase cultural competency and reduce possible trauma, this paper examines microaggressions through the lens of new social workers. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to increase knowledge about microaggressions and combat them. This is to help new social workers remain culturally competent and provide best practice. METHODS: This study examines microaggressions within the social work field, specifically focusing on new social workers. The study used the data from a convenience sample of two graduate level diversity social work classes at a Midwestern State university, where a total of 48 masters students participated in this exploratory study of microaggressions in social work practice. RESULTS: Participants reported: being trained in different skills compared to other professions (20.8%, n=10), being aware of structural inequalities (22.9%, n=11), or being open-minded (37.5%, n=18) when asked about issues of social justice and micro aggressions. When social work students answered questions about their experience of micro-aggressions over half responded that they had general experiences with microaggressions (50%, n=24). Finally, when the participants were asked about confronting micro-aggressions that have been experienced (31.3%, n=15) reported they would avoid the conflict, or they would try to educate the other person (31.1%, n=15). CONCLUSION: Schools of Social Work should teach new social workers techniques and skills in order to be culturally aware and have humility in understanding and interactions with other cultures, religions and political beliefs. It is imperative that School of Social Work at the University level begin the narrative now rather than later to ensure that Social Workers are empowering their clients instead of dismissing a part of their client's identity.
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    Assessment and interpreting services in discharge of Latino patients in Kansas
    (Wichita State University, 2017-04-28) Guzman, Kelly; Showstack, Rachel E.
    Case managers consist of social workers and nurses who plan dismissals. No known social workers or nurse case managers speak Spanish at Via Christi St. Francis and St. Joseph in Wichita, KS, which can contribute to the inefficient and unsafe discharge of Latino patients. Kadushin and Kuly (1993) report that 80 social workers in 36 not-for-profit acute care hospitals spent more time assessing patients than providing them with out-of-hospital services. The purpose of this pilot study is to identify assessment methods used with Latino patients, and case manager attitudes toward the current interpreter service system at Via Christi St. Francis and St. Joseph. Thirty-five case managers will be recruited to complete an electronic survey about their attitudes toward these issues, and preliminary data will be presented. There are implications for financial efficiency of the hospitals, educating case managers about interpreter usage, and informing policies on interpreter usage.
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    Qualitative data analysis and presentation in an exclusively digital environment
    (Wichita State University, 2016-04-29) Stillwell, Lindsey; Grant, Natalie S.
    Technology continues to advance research fields, especially in qualitative data analysis. Digital storytelling, a form of qualitative research, offers researchers an opportunity to visually share their data in a way that is easy to consume by the general public and resonates with the viewing audience. This is an introduction to an innovative method to analyze videotaped interviews that potentially reduces the influence of researcher bias and meaning lost through traditional transcription and coding methods. Researchers utilizing this method will abandon transcription and perform coding within the digital environment. Coding in the digital environment thereby retains context, body language, and non-verbal cues of the interviewee. Potential impacts include greater contextual understanding, stronger meaning making, and research reporting with less bias.