Category Archives: Social & Behavioral Sciences

Two faculty leaders among 40 Leaders Under 40

Two outstanding faculty members holding their plaques

Dr. Kelly Graves and Dr. Salil Desai

An industrial engineer working at the nano level and a clinical psychologist working at the community level represent N.C. A&T in the Triad Business Journal’s 2015 class of 40 Leaders Under 40 for the Piedmont Triad area.

The selection of faculty members Dr. Salil Desai and Dr. Kelly Graves was announced this week.  The program sponsored by the weekly business newspaper has now honored six A&T faculty and staff members in the past five years.

Dr. Salil Desai

Desai is an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He was honored for his research in collaboration with high-tech nano and bio companies that has the potential to revolutionize the fabrication of regenerative tissue scaffolds, bio-chem sensors and functionally gradient materials that lead to next-generation devices and systems.

Desai patented a major advance in nanomanufacturing, a process that can fabricate selective features at both the micro- and nano-scale. The ability to fabricate structures from the micro-scale to the nano-scale with varied geometry and high precision in a wide variety of materials is important in advancing the practical impact of micro- and nano-technology in the semiconductor, biotechnology and industrial sectors.

He has collaborated with NanoTechLabs of Yadkinville to apply his technology to the fabrication of flexible Thin-Film-Transistors for aerospace technologies. Their team has received Small Business Technology Transfer funding from the U.S. Air Force. The innovation was supported by the Oak Ridge National Lab as a disruptive technology.

Desai was awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER award to investigate fundamental phenomena for developing innovative nano/micro scale processes ($400,000, 2009). The CAREER Program “offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research…”

He also serves as an affiliated faculty member of the bioengineering program, an affiliated faculty member of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, an adjunct faculty member at the Wake Forest University Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and co-leader of research in cardiovascular devices for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials at A&T. Desai is director of A&T’s Integrated Nano & Bio Manufacturing Laboratory, a clean room in which his students conduct fundamental research toward developing novel nano/bio manufacturing processes for a variety of applications. He is an active researcher and educator in the interdisciplinary fields of nano/micro and bio manufacturing.

Dr. Kelly Graves

Graves is executive director of N.C. A&T’s Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, an interdisciplinary group of professionals in counselling, criminology, health education, peer support, psychiatry, psychology, public health, social work, substance abuse counselling, and wellness coaching. They provide community-focused, evidence-based, and culturally competent behavioral health services.

Graves created the Center to bring the community a new level of trauma-focused services. Since it was established in 2012, she has grown the center’s staff from four to more than 20 and secured over $2.5 million in funding. She has led the development of partnerships with 42 public and private organizations – including the Greensboro Police; Guilford County Schools; Guilford departments of public health and social services, and other state and local public agencies; and 20 private agencies such as Family Service of the Piedmont, Guilford Child Development, and the Women’s Resource Center.

The center serves Greensboro and Guilford County by providing mental health and substance abuse services with a particular specialty in trauma recovery. Its current projects include:

  • The Greensboro Child Response Initiative, a partnership with the Greensboro Police Department to provide advocacy services and resource linkages to children and families experiencing violence or trauma.
  • Guilford County Child Trauma Task Force, a project co-led by the center and the Department of Social Services to create a systemic approach to prevention, education, and awareness about child trauma.
  • Project I-CARE, a collaboration with Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine to offer co-located, integrated physical and behavioral health services for uninsured patients. Services are also available in Spanish.

Graves is a tenured faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Services in the School of Education. She teaches at the masters and doctoral level. She also trains professionals across the country on the implementation of evidence-based practices in behavioral health settings.

Graves conducts research on the integration of behavioral and physical health, integration of co-occurring disorders into treatment, trauma, poly-victimization and other topics. She shares her expertise nationally as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and through her books and articles.

A&T Fall Family Counseling Conference to include Youth Mental Health First Aid for non-professionals

THEME: “Fostering Families: Connecting Communities.”

WHEN AND WHERE: Thursday and Friday, November 20-21, Proctor Hall, Room 160.

AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS: Keynote speakers and presentations, youth mental health and supervision workshops, Graduate Research Poster Symposium.

PROPOSAL DEADLINE: Proposals for presentations are due this Friday, October 31, to Dr. Patricia Whitfield (click for email).

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID: Youth Mental Health First Aid is offered as a featured workshop on Thursday, November 20, 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The workshop is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and others how to help adolescents (age 12-18) experiencing mental health or addiction challenges or who are in crisis. Note: This workshop is not intended for experienced mental health professionals. Registration is limited to 30 people.

Click here for more information and to register for the workshop only.

SPONSORS: Department of Human Development and Services, North Carolina A&T State University; Be a Substance Abuse and AIDS Free Environment (Be SAFE) North Carolina, A&T State University; North Carolina Association of Marriage and Family Counselors; Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Honor Society at North Carolina A&T State University.

TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION: Click here.

QUESTIONS: Dr. Patricia Whitfield, click for email, 334-7916.

Wednesday’s Constitution Day Teach-In is a forum for engagement and action as well as discussion

The Constitution Day Teach-In on Wednesday September 17 will be an opportunity for the community to commemorate and discuss the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It will be a chance to engage in an expressive discourse on issues of compelling importance to contemporary society. All voices are welcome.

The teach-in concept may be unfamiliar, particularly to students and other young people.

The term was first used to describe a 1965 anti-war event at the University of Michigan. This event was organized by the Students for a Democratic Society and was attended by more than 3,000 students, faculty and community members. The concept of a teach-in is attributed to Dr. Marshall Sahlins, an anthropologist and University of Michigan faculty member.

A teach-in is not a seminar or panel discussion. It is a public, “general educational forum” in which all the participants engage in discussion, song and dramatic presentation on a topic of compelling public interest.

Teach-ins were widely used in the anti-war movement of the 1960’s. The concept of the teach-in, however, is not unlike the public discussions on civil rights that occurred in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Such discussions took place in churches, schools, private homes – any available venue.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as well as popular speakers on the left, e.g., Malcolm X, used such forums to educate and exhort people to action. These “meetings” always involved song and/or some dramatic presentation. The concept of “teaching” as public discourse is deeply rooted in the history of African American protest and civic action.

The teach-in will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the General Classroom Building, Room A218.

Special thanks to Professor James Mayes for the history lesson!

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Constitution Day: A Teach-In, September 17

Constitution Day 2014 flyer

Youth Mental Health First Aid: Tuesday June 3, Center for Behavioral Health & Wellness program

Flyer for June 3 youth mental health program

To register, click the image above or go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/63XYLXZ

A&T counselors certified in trauma-focused therapy to aid children suffering after abuse, violence, loss

Four counselors at A&T’s Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness have been nationally certified in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. They’re the first clinicians in the Piedmont Triad to receive the certification.

Dr. Kelly Graves, Mr. Christopher Townsend, Ms. Wendy Scott, and Ms. Ashley Blanton received the certification from the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, which developed the certification program with Rowan University in New Jersey.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is designed to treat posttraumatic stress and related emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents. The Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes the goal of TF-CBT as reducing negative emotional and behavioral responses following child sexual abuse, domestic violence, traumatic loss, and other traumatic events. The treatment addresses distorted beliefs and attributions related to the trauma and provides a supportive environment in which children can talk about the traumatic experience.

“Based on systematic reviews of available research and evaluation studies, several groups of experts and Federal agencies have highlighted TF-CBT as a model program or promising treatment practice,” DHHS says.

Click here for a listing of nationally certified TF-CBT therapists.

For more information about this approach or to schedule an appointment with a certified clinician at the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, call the center at 336 285-2605.

N.C. A&T social work researcher aids UN agency with study of unaccompanied child refugees

Cover of UN reort on unaccompanied child refugeesAmong the distressed peoples of the world, few groups are more vulnerable than refugees.  And among refugees, few are more vulnerable than children, especially children on their own, without families.

Since 2011, the United States has experienced a surge in the number of unaccompanied children coming from Central America’s Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and Mexico. In fiscal 2013, there were more than 40,000. More than 21,000 came from the three Central American countries, compared to 4,000 in 2011.

With the cooperation of the United States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees set out to learn why. The result was a report, released this month, “Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection.”

“While recognizing a significant contextual difference between the situation in Mexico and in the Northern Triangle of Central America, the common denominator is that all four countries are producing high numbers of unaccompanied and separated children seeking protection at the southern border of the United States,” the report says.

“UNHCR’s research was to ascertain the connection between the children’s stated reasons, the findings of recent studies on the increasing violence and insecurity in the region, and international protection needs.”

The project was a daunting one. To get a statistically meaningful sample, hundreds of children needed to be interviewed. Then the data from the interviews needed to be analyzed.

For help with that analysis, the U.N. agency consulted with Dr. Maura Busch Nsonwu of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an assistant professor of social work and interim director of the social work bachelor’s degree program in the Department of Sociology and Social Work.

Dr. Nsonwu has worked with the U.N.’s refugee agency on a number of projects over the past three years.  Her research focuses on refugees and human trafficking.  She had conducted qualitative studies, so she had the necessary expertise. But this study had two dimensions unlike anything she had encountered.

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Targeting teen dating violence: ‘No Hatin n Datin’

Poster: No Hatin n DatinThe N.C. A&T Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness is partnering with the Greensboro Police Department and other community agencies in a project to prevent teen dating violence.

“We asked teens what to call this sensitive topic. They have named it ‘No Hatin n Datin,’ ” the police website says.

Unlike the dating advice many teenagers have received for generations, the program isn’t a well-meaning lecture full of “do’s,” “don’ts,” and stern warnings.

“The goal is not for adults to tell teens what is necessarily good or bad, but to instill in teens the importance of thinking for themselves about what it means to them to have a healthy relationship,” says Dr. Kelly Graves, director of the A&T center.

“Connecting relationships with music is a great way to start a dialogue about what a healthy relationship ‘looks like’ to them.”

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Seminar: Thinking Beyond Medical Help: Psychological Implications Surrounding Physical Trauma

Dr. Robin Liles

Liles

This week’s Engineering Research Center-Bioengineering Joint Seminar, Friday January 24, 11 a.m., McNair Hall, Auditorium:

Topic: Thinking Beyond Medical Help: Psychological Implications Surrounding Physical Trauma

Speaker: Dr. Robin Guill Liles, Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Services, N.C. A&T, and Associate Director for Assessment, NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials. Dr. Liles is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor.

Abstract: A primary and aspirational goal for bioengineering is to develop life-sustaining, even life-saving devices.  This goal has significant implications for individuals living with physical impairment and disability.  However, medical science and its many supportive “arms” (e.g., bioengineering) can fall short in considering the psychological implications surrounding physical trauma.

Addressing certain mental health issues and concerns may exceed the professional purview of medical providers and their bioengineering counterparts. Nonetheless, possessing an enhanced understanding of trauma-related psychology could positively impact both medical care and related scientific and engineering conceptualizations and experimentation.

This seminar delivers an overview of post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health disorder often associated with severe and sudden onset of physical injury, disease, and other life-threatening events.