Dr. Cohen Completes Fulbright Scholar Activities

Dr. Ed Cohen, School of Social Work, spent the Spring 2016 semester in Vietnam on a Fulbright Scholar grant. Dr. Cohen developed and taught a course on mental health for undergraduate students majoring in social work at Dalat University, located in the country’s Central Highlands.

The course is the first of its kind in Vietnam for the new profession of social work. Since Vietnam does not have a recent textbook about mental illness, Dr. Cohen developed a course textbook on the prevalence, etiology, assessment, and treatment of mental illnesses specifically geared towards Vietnam and translated into Vietnamese. The course was an elective for a class of 36 final-year students from many surrounding provinces.

“In Vietnam, there is a very powerful stigma about mental illness which is similar to other regions in Asia – made even worse by the intense shame of having a mental illness or being in the family.”

Due to the stigma regarding mental illness, Dr. Cohen said that there is a lack of general knowledge about common problems such as depression and anxiety. However, people want to talk about these problems since the majority of people are suffering from these problems, has a family member, or knows someone with emotional problems. Enter social workers and it provides the people with someone to start the conversation.

During a reception by the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission in Vietnam, Dr. Cohen received recognition of his contributions to the curriculum, which will be used by the faculty at Dalat University starting Fall 2016, as well as disseminated to other universities offering social work degrees in Vietnam. During his stay in Vietnam, Dr. Cohen also provided conference presentations, workshops on social work in healthcare settings, and faculty seminars on research methods in the social sciences.

Dr. Cohen said that the Vietnamese students show more outward affection to their professors because educators are held in very high esteem. However, the Vietnamese students are much more similar than different to SJSU students. Even though most students told Dr. Cohen that their parents would rather have them study engineering or business, they were proud to major in social work.

“Even though there aren’t enough social work jobs for graduates, they have a lot of class spirit and identify strongly as social work majors.”

The Fulbright Scholar grant gave Dr. Cohen the opportunity to live abroad for the first time, but it wasn’t hard to make friends. He said people are very warm and his university colleagues invited him to many family gatherings. He enjoyed the food while eating at small family-run kitchens and adjusted well even though the communication was difficult at times as the general public did not speak much English.

“I feel like I have just scratched the surface learning about the culture!”

Click here to see a photo journal of Dr. Cohen’s experience in Vietnam.

Dr. Van Ta Park Receives Funding from the Alzheimer’s Association

On Feb. 19, 2016, Dr. Van Ta Park was awarded funding by the Alzheimer's Association to develop a culturally-tailored program for Vietnamese dementia caregivers.

On Feb. 19, 2016, Dr. Van Ta Park was awarded funding by the Alzheimer’s Association to develop a culturally-tailored program for Vietnamese dementia caregivers.

The Alzheimer’s Association recently awarded funding to the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Department of Health Science and Recreation Associate Professor Dr. Van Ta Park for $150,000 over the next three years to develop a culturally-tailored program to reduce stress and depression among Vietnamese dementia caregivers.

William Fisher, the CEO of the Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, presented Dr. Ta Park with the grant check on February 19, 2016. Only the top eight percent of proposals receive funding.

Through prior research, Dr. Ta Park found that Vietnamese Americans are less likely to utilize mental health services and family caregivers caring for a family member with dementia increase their risk of depression and stress.

Dr. Ta Park is developing a face-to-face, four week cognitive behavioral skill training program that will meet at the homes of Vietnamese caregivers in small groups with up to six caregivers at a time.

Participants will be recruited through community organizations that serve local Vietnamese residents and will be divided into two groups. One group will receive existing resources from the Alzheimer’s Association website that have been translated from English into Vietnamese and the other group will receive newly developed resources that have been created specifically for the program. Outcomes of the two groups will be compared using pre- and post-test measures of stress and depression.

Dr. Ta Park will be working with her mentors, Dr. Dolores Gallagher-Thompson and Dr. Gwen Yeo from Stanford University, School of Medicine, and has recruited bilingual and bicultural Vietnamese SJSU students to be research assistants.

Dr. Edward Mamary Leads Photovoice Project

Dr. Edward Mamary, a Health Science and Recreation professor, was recently a Principal Investigator on a project entitled “Living in an Unfinished America: Shared Experiences of Discrimination and Resilience by Arab, Muslim & Sikh Americans.” Spurred by a series of anti-Arab and anti -Muslim advertisements placed on San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency vehicles (and upheld in other jurisdictions as legal under the First Amendment), the project was sponsored by the City and County of San Francisco Human Rights Commission, with support from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The project used a participatory action research methodology called “Photovoice,” to explore the lived experience of those coping with Islamophobia and anti-Arab prejudice. The Arab American, Muslim, and Sikh participants came from a wide range of backgrounds in terms of age, race/ethnicity, religion, and language. Using photography and narrative, participants shared their experiences with prejudice and discrimination. They also revealed how they met these challenges with resilience, cultural pride, and self-determination.

Defending My Son

Using photography and narrative, a Palestinian American women shares her experience with prejudice and discrimination with a picture of her son.

A Palestinian American woman used Photovoice to share her experience with prejudice and discrimination with a picture of her son.

This is my son. His name was Osama. I chose a picture of his school to show with his picture. After 9/11, many people at his school (students, teachers, and staff) tormented him. One teacher in particular continually called him Osama Bin Laden. He had nothing to do with his name and we had nothing to do with what happened on 9/11. They made it like it was his fault. He was 20 years old when he got shot. They said it was mistaken identity, but he got shot because he’s a Middle Easterner, because he had Arabic writing on his car. And they tried to make it seem like he just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every time I pass that school, I wish I could see if someone needs help or is being discriminated against. I would want them to know that nothing is wrong with them. I joined this project because of my son. He is not alive to defend himself. I raised my kids to defend themselves. I was raised to stand up for what I believe in and for my religion—how to behave, how to act, how to respect, how to love.

—Fayza, Palestinian American Muslim woman

Tying Turbans

A Sikh American man uses photovoice to describe how he overcame discrimination with the help of his parents and wearing his turban proudly.

A Sikh American man used photovoice to describe how he overcame discrimination with the help of his parents and wearing his turban proudly.

Here is an older Sikh man tying a turban on one of my good friends. This captures a very special moment from our culture, when a Sikh dad or father-like figure ties a turban on his son or daughter. It is like slowly tying valuable cultural ideals into each and every fold of the fabric. It helps the younger generation understand who they are and helps them define their identity. This photo reminded me of the time my dad tied a turban on me as a teen. I didn’t like it, especially because I got called racist slurs at school. After that experience, I went on to eighth grade and cut my hair. I didn’t feel good about myself. My parents would tell me stories of how the Sikh Gurus sacrificed their whole families so Sikhs can wear their turbans like crowns and practice their faith proudly and fearlessly. In eleventh grade, I started growing my hair again and started tying a turban. I feel connected to my roots now and every layer of my turban helps me stand tall in a crowd, proud to be a Sikh.

—Harkanwar, Sikh American man

The photos and narratives were exhibited at public events at the San Francisco City Hall Rotunda in April 2015, and at the Women’s Building in August 2015, providing an opportunity for dialogue with policy members, educators, health care providers, and the community at large.

Poster for the exhibition of photovoice held on August 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Poster for the exhibition of Photovoice held on August 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Community partners on the project included the Asian Law Caucus, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Arab Cultural and Community Center, the Islamic Network Group, the Sikh Coalition, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. A second Photovoice project on anti-semitism is underway, with the first exhibit to debut in early spring. Along with Dr. Lynne Andonian, an Occupational Therapy associate professor, Dr. Mamary will be presenting a workshop session on Photovoice at the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Center for Applied Research on Human Services (CARHS) Brown Bag event in spring 2016.

SLA Silicon Valley Hosts Dr. Sandra Hirsh for Inaugural Book Club Meeting

Information Services Today: An Introduction

Information Services Today: An Introduction

The Silicon Valley Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) hosted its inaugural book club gathering with a very special book and guest: Dr. Sandra Hirsh, professor and director of San José State University’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts School of Information and editor of Information Services Today: An Introduction. SLA is an association of information professionals with chapters in more than 80 countries.

An SLA Silicon Valley chapter member, Hirsh was invited to join the lively discussion of her textbook, which includes the perspectives of many iSchool instructors such as Wayne T. Disher, Dr. Mary Ann Harlan, Dr. Cheryl Stenstrom and Dr. Michael Stephens. Since its release in March 2015, the book has been adopted by a number of library and information science instructors around the country.

“It was really an honor to speak about my new book with the Silicon Valley SLA Chapter,” Hirsh says, describing the text as “a valuable foundational textbook for Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students as well as current information professionals who want to learn new areas, brush up on topics which have evolved since they were in school, and learn from the leading thought leaders (both from academia and practice) in the field.”

Over dinner at Billy Burke’s in San José, Hirsh shared the goals and key themes of the book, special features like webcasts, discussion questions, and an online supplement. The group discussed everything from reference services to managing technology and demonstrating value through assessment, to issues like open access and information licensing.

Chrystelle Browman, SLA director-at-large and programs chair, notes that one topic of particular interest to the group fostered a discussion on “leadership vs. management, and the limitations on the words ‘library’ and ‘librarian’.” In response, Hirsh shared her own background in the LIS field, and the role that played in the perspectives represented in the textbook, such as the use of the terms “information professionals” and “information organizations.” “We also talked about the importance of continuing to learn—even after getting the master’s degree,” Hirsh adds.

As chapter president Cory Laurence explained in her invitation to join the book club, “there’s a lot of reading to be done as a librarian, and it’s the kind of reading that is really enhanced with discussion.” Information Services Today highlights current issues and trends, and provides expert insight into the emerging challenges and opportunities of the future, identifying career management strategies and leadership opportunities in the information profession. Hirsh was inspired to create this new textbook because “the underlying principles of our field are valuable, no matter what.”

With Hirsh and Information Services Today, the book club event was a bona fide success!

SLA Silicon Valley members take a photo during the Inaugural Book Club Meeting at Billy Burke's in San José, CA.

SLA Silicon Valley members take a photo during the Inaugural Book Club Meeting at Billy Burke’s in San José, CA.

CFD Updates: Conversations, Breakfast Club, & Grant Writing

by Amy Strage, CFD

Collegial Conversations
This Wednesday, March 6th, from 3-4pm, in IRC 210, as part of our Tea and Talk series, please come join your colleague, Professor Gale Antokal, from the Department of Art, as she leads us in a conversation about The Parameters of Imagination and Fact in the Act of Drawing. She will present 40 recent works depicting one simple still life object, as well as provide an investigation of form, color, realism and abstraction in the medium of chalk pastel.

In two weeks, on Thursday, March 14th, from 8-9am, in IRC 101, as part of our Breakfast Club series, please come join your colleague Professor Sami Khuri, as he leads us in conversation about The Long and Bumpy Road from the Human Genome Project to Personalized Medicine as well as other aspects of his fascinating work in Bioinformatics.

Grant-writing: Next Monday, March 11th, please join the expert staff of the SJSU Research Foundation, and learn from AASC&U Grants Resource Center Director Richard Dunfee about the Federal Funding Landscape – MLK Jr. Library, Room 225/229, from 9 am to 12 noon. Please RSVP to Nancy Riley (nancy.riley@sjsu.edu)

Heads-up about two Internal Grant Opportunities: The Office of the Provost will be announcing two exciting internal funding opportunities – for research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA grants) and for innovative teaching and course (re)design. Details about application particulars will be announced shortly – proposal materials will be due in early April.

Check out the Center for Faculty Development calendar of events and take a few moments to peruse the teaching tools and events the Cathy Cheal and her team in Academic Technology are offering as well.