School of Social Work Expands MSW Student Opportunities for IPE

By: Ellen Ostergren, Destiny Santana, and Dr. Peter Allen Lee

Interprofessional Practice and Education or IPE is an emergent way of teaching and learning skills that prepare healthcare workers to be effective in teams.  As healthcare systems evolve to deliver care through teams, social workers’ roles and influence have expanded. The School of Social Work is part of this expansion, providing opportunities for Masters of Social Work (MSW) students to develop within an IPE framework and preparing them to work in dynamic health and mental health care teams where social workers contribute essential skills and perspectives among their colleagues who include physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.

IPE is a unique way of developing the knowledge, skills, and values that health care workers need to problem-solve within an interdisciplinary team setting. According to de Saxe Zerden, IPE is founded on the premise that each team member has key expertise and a vital role in improving clients’ health outcomes. For instance, social workers serve as advocates for care, case managers and brokers of resources, and hands-on interventionists. IPE training programs provide social work students the opportunity to participate alongside peers in other health-related fields to problem-solve scenarios, learn effective communication, and plan care to meet the needs of diverse clients and patients. According to Jones and Phillips, IPE allows team members from other disciplines to understand the role of social workers, and social workers often become leaders in this type of team collaboration.

California Social Work Education CenterOne such IPE program is the San Francisco Bay Area Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) MSW Stipend Program led by the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) and funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). According to CalSWEC, the program’s main goal is to build capacity and infrastructure for greater integration of behavioral health care and primary care services within communities in need. MSW students are taught specialized training that prepares them for effective behavioral health care services in integrated care settings. Upon graduation, students commit to seeking employment in IBH settings. The IBH program offers students participation in IPE with nursing, medical, and allied health students in the Bay Area.  Currently, our School of Social Work has six students in the IBH Program along with other final-year MSW students from the University of California at Berkeley, CSU East Bay, and San Francisco State University. MSW students earn a $10,000 stipend as they complete field hours, designated classes, and additional IPE educational activities. Among the key components, students engage in an intensive simulation experience provided by Samuel Merritt University and their simulation lab. The students receive hands-on experience collaborating with nursing and medical students in a simulated patient safety scenario, including practical application of TeamSTEPPS  (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety), an evidence-based set of teamwork tools developed to address communication and teamwork in health care settings. TeamSTEPPS is used at hospitals and healthcare settings across the county to enhance cooperative processes that impact all areas of care delivery.

It is exhilarating to see our students participate in IPE, gain real-world skills for communication and teamwork, and provide other learner-professionals a chance to collaborate with social workers who are vital members of any healthcare team. While IPE is a newer element in social work education and not yet integrated into most graduate-level coursework, it is aligned with the Council on Social Work Education’s competency-based education model and a natural fit for educators and clinicians alike. Our School of Social Work is excited about the opportunities IPE brings to our students and we are looking forward to even greater expansion of these efforts.

Cultivating a Culture of Inquiry: The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program @ SJSU

By: Dr. Andrew Carter

Imagine being a graduating senior in line at a job fair with plans to plant the seeds for the first chapter in your career. With resume clutched in hand, you peruse the room to look at the other attendees, noticing their nervous energy as they similarly ponder what pathways their future might hold in store. While patiently waiting your turn to speak with recruiters, you begin reflecting on your college experience. It is at this point when you suddenly feel rushed over with a cataclysmic sense of FOMO – missed opportunities to engage more closely with faculty members, gain on-the-ground, applied experience in your areas of interest, and demystify the college experience and make clearer some of the hidden barriers.

Dr. Andrew Carter, Public Health and Recreation

Dr. Andrew Carter, Public Health and Recreation

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common among college students in the U.S. Recent articles in Inside Higher Ed and the Washington Post highlighted larger trends in overall student  dissatisfaction with their college experience. Aligning with this trend, national college attrition rates have worsened over the last decade, due in part to lack of student engagement, unclear career goals, and difficulty with the transition process from secondary school.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

Ample evidence suggests that introducing undergraduate students to research early in their college experience reduces attrition rates and limits instances of FOMO such as the one illustrated above. In an attempt to address these challenges directly, we launched the SJSU Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as a comprehensive retention strategy to enrich the academic experiences of our undergraduate students via engagement in research during their first and second years. The one year UROP curricular program features collaborative research opportunities between faculty and students, campus partnerships with peer connections and participating colleges. The UROP program will both foster professional student development and comprehensive faculty support.

Jahmal Williams, Director of Advocacy for Racial Justice

Jahmal Williams, Director of Advocacy for Racial Justice

This cross-departmental collaboration began in the Spring of 2020, when Jahmal Williams, Director of Advocacy for Racial Justice, brought forth the idea of institutionalizing such a program on campus. Williams, who participated in UROP as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan (the anchor model for SJSU), wanted to replicate and expand his experience with SJSU’s diverse student population. What initially began as a pilot project with limited scope, the program quickly expanded into a university-wide initiative with other community stakeholders. After a summer of intense planning, UROP launched its inaugural cohort this semester with 14 faculty and 13 students in the Colleges of Social Science, Humanities and Arts, Education, Health and Human Sciences, and Business, with plans to expand the program across campus in year two.

UROP is funded by the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion and housed in the Lurie College of Education, and coordinated by faculty in the College of Health and Human Sciences. For faculty and students interested in participating in the program, open enrollment will begin in the Spring 2022 semester. If you have any questions about the program or would like more information, please contact:

Andrew Carter   

Jahmal Williams

DEI Initiatives in CHHS

By: Dr. Michelle Hampton

The first CHHS DEI Needs Assessment was conducted between September and October of 2021. More than 190 students, faculty and staff participated in the survey or focus groups to share experiences and identify needs and priorities for action in the College. The results, as detailed in the full report, indicate that while many experience the College as diverse and inclusive, this experience is not universal. In order to promote a climate in which all of our community members can thrive, it is our goal to improve that experience for those who are underrepresented and  underserved through a variety of initiatives.

The Action Plan includes 7 goals (see CHHS Action Plan) based upon the needs, interests, and priorities identified in the Needs Assessment. The goal is to: build relationships and the structures to support actions that advance DEI in the College, evaluate their efficacy, and apply a cycle of continuous quality improvement going forward. The goals for the remainder of this academic year include:

  1. Institute DEI committees in CHHS departments (where they do not currently exist).
  2. Routinely schedule professional development opportunities and for individual consultation regarding DEI for faculty, staff, and students.
  3. Develop a sustainable resource for health professional advising for students.
  4. Routinely schedule development activities for underrepresented faculty mentorship.
  5. Integrate staff in department and College operations and increase access to professional development opportunities.
  6. Provide tools and establish channels for DEI-related communication.
  7. Create processes for data collection and ongoing evaluation of representation among students, faculty, staff, and administration in CHHS.

Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity (CEED)CEED members will be sharing the results of the needs assessment within their departments in December and in Spring 2022, you can be on the alert for:

  • Inclusive teaching checklists, an effort led by Dr. David Daum, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Dr. Denise Dawkins, Assistant Professor, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing and new CEED Committee Chair.
  • Student-focused sessions to share the needs assessment findings and continued data collection regarding student needs.
  • Early learning opportunities will include an introduction to Courageous Conversations About Race and discussion groups to apply teaching strategies in Cornell University’s free MOOC, Inclusive Teaching: Supporting All Students in the College Classroom.
  • There will also be opportunities for real-time problem-solving through CHHS DEI Office Hours. Anyone can register or sign up using the links below for the:

Finally, a RSCA Strategizing and Mentorship group for SJSU’s Black faculty will begin meeting monthly on January 26, 2022. For other faculty in need of this mentorship, Dr. Robin Whitney (TVFSON)  established a similar group (open to faculty who are not nurses too!), and has extended the invitation to  join this group for assistance with developing a plan for successfully achieving tenure and promotion. For more information or to join, contact The form for 1:1 appointments can also be used for general requests or suggestions.

CHHS Advisor Spotlight: Hugo Mora-Torres

By: Itzel Medina

Hugo Mora-Torres, CHHS Student Success CenterReading through newsletters we tend to read about students, professors, or even the deans, but we rarely get to read stories  about the academic advisors. Academic advisors are the people that are very involved in the students’ college career. “I have advised many students who have graduated from health career programs as MD’s, dentists, physician assistants, nurses, etc. and are helping to keep our community healthy. Many still send me Christmas cards with pictures of their families and that is very fulfilling,” said Hugo Mora-Torres, an academic advisor in the Department of Public Health and Recreation. A fun fact about him is he likes to garden. He is currently working on a “Salsa Garden” which contains 3 varieties of tomatoes, chilies, and herbs.

Hugo’s educational background is a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with Specialization in Medical Anthropology and received a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling. “After careers in Medical School admissions Health Care Administration, and Managing Health Promotion programs I decided that my most fulfilling career has been helping students achieve their academic and career potential. So I went back to school to get my Masters degree, to be able to work in my current role.” said Hugo. He enjoys helping students get to where they need to be in order to succeed.

He mentioned that he still receives Christmas cards from his former students which is very fulfilling. It is important for students to meet with their academic advisors, to have that “continuity of advising”. Students do not have to visit their advisor everyday or every month, rather,  he suggests meeting with an advisor at least once a semester or however often the student feels the need to meet.

One note of advice that Hugo wanted to share with current students is a quote that has a deep meaning for him from Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Hugo Mora-Torres, CHHS Student Success CenterHugo thinks of it as, “Enjoy learning and keep your mind open to new experiences and knowledge.” Something Hugo wanted to add is, “We are experiencing a remarkable period in human history. COVID-19, Global Warming and the political climate challenging the future of this world. However, as an optimist, I feel that we will make the best of it and we will, with a concerted human effort, make it a better place than we found it.”

Impacts of Strategic Partnerships: Collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Roth

By: Captain Victor Salum

The primary mission of the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is to develop leaders of character for tomorrow’s Air Force.  Here at SJSU, the program is designed to recruit, educate, and commission officer candidates as the Department of the Air Force’s future leaders.  As SJSU cadets, also known as Spartan Airmen, progress through the program they are taught two elements of effective leadership which are taking care of people and mission accomplishment.  One of the competencies to reach mission success is to build collaborative relationships.  Fostering collaborative relationships continues to be an integral component in mission success of the Department of the Air Force.  For example, building partnerships with coalition countries to provide humanitarian assistance and emergency response in crisis events or maintaining relationship with the different organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to exchange scientific research and technology development information on space launch and range safety, satellite communication and other areas in the realms of space has played a vital role in the Department of the Air Force’s mission.

Though the AFROTC program at SJSU does not often collaborate with organizations that large of a scale such as NASA, the Aerospace Studies Department continues to seek resources and collaborative opportunities with other organizations to help in our Spartan Airmen.  Currently, we have been working with Dr. Jonathan Roth, History Professor in the College of Social Sciences, to help in the development of Spartan Airmen.  As many might not know, our program does not only house SJSU students but also students from other universities such as UC Santa Cruz, Stanford University, and many local community colleges, who are commonly referred to as crosstown cadets (also Spartan Airmen).  One of the challenges for crosstown Spartan Airmen when they are at the SJSU campus is finding a quiet space where they can study or meet with fellow Spartan Airmen as they wait between Aerospace Studies courses.  Collaborating with Dr. Roth has helped alleviate this challenge by providing the Burdick Military History Project space for our crosstown Spartan Airmen.  To this day, our Spartan Airmen have utilized the space to study for their core academic courses, attendance in virtual classes, mentoring sessions, and more recently a virtual US Air & Space Force Career Day where Spartan Airmen had the opportunity to ask active duty members about their respective career field.  The Aerospace Studies Department’s mission is to develop exemplary servant-leaders of character to lead our country into the 21st century and in order to achieve that they must be provided the tools and resources necessary to succeed even if it is something as simple as a space to study.  Collaborative efforts between Dr. Roth and the Aerospace Studies Department have aided in the development of our future US Air & Space Force leaders.