Safe, Stable and Nurturing Families Help Everyone Achieve their Fullest Potential
September 2018
Welcome to the inaugural Jordan Institute for Families (JIF) e-newsletter! Building on a 22+ year legacy of strengthening families, communities, and the people who serve them , we aim to amplify our North Carolina impact by finding new solutions to complex problems, fostering collective action, moving research off the hill and into practice, and keeping social workers and community leaders at the top of their game. With the leaves beginning to turn, we look forward to the academic year ahead. We have a strong line up of continuing education events, several new projects to launch, the Wicked Problems Institute and Home Visiting Summit in October, and the Summit on Student Safety and Well-being in November along with a series of new ideas to pursue and our social justice in action series. We hope you'll join with us as we work together to create the conditions where all families can thrive. ~ Sarah Verbiest , DrPH, MSW, Director
Melissa Villodas Joins the Team

Melissa L. Villodas , a first year doctoral student, has just joined the JIF Team. She received her MSW in 2015 from New York University, with an undergraduate degree in writing.  Much of her work and training has been in trauma informed evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with severe and persistent mental health challenges.  Before arriving at UNC, Melissa worked as a Clinical Therapist for a treatment family foster care program and as the Project Director for the Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Group at New York University. Melissa plans to explore how a community impacts youth identity formation and mental health wellness during the transition to adulthood. Melissa is also interested in policy issues that impact marginalized youth and young adults in urban communities of color. She will be supporting the JIF team in building our blog and visibility, assisting with fund and program development, and with program evaluation!
Closing the "Know" "Do" Gap

The Jordan Institute for Families co-hosted the inaugural Summer Institute on Implementation Science June 13 & 14, 2018. In partnership with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), the institute brought together more than 100 professionals who engage with and support children and families in various non-profit, higher education, government, and foundation settings across the state and country (and Canada). The institute offered attendees new knowledge and skills aimed at bolstering their efforts to implement evidence-based practices that promote positive outcomes and equity among the populations they serve. 

In this way, the Summer Institute on Implementation Science joined together the Jordan Institute's mission to extend social work training beyond the academy walls into communities and NIRN's goal to support the development and use of evidence to improve outcomes for children and families. To learn more about the summer institute, review the program and agenda, or access presentation materials and videos, click here . Thank you to all the faculty and staff who lent their expertise to the program as speakers.  
NC Early Home Visiting Assessment Just Released!

The North Carolina Landscape Study of Early Home Visiting Programs, offers the first in-depth analysis of the field of maternal and child health home visiting in its current form in North Carolina. Despite the increased awareness of...

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An Entrepreneur in Action

Kalyn Wilson, current MSW student, is already a social entrepreneur having started the  THRIVE Cheer and Dance Company  - merging her skills in competitive cheerleading with her passion for helping young women of color gain skills, confidence, and resources which will help them enter and succeed in college. She receives mentoring/coaching from the SIE Lab as she develops and refines her services. Kayln in turn has provided valuable student input in the Lab's development. Kalyn was recently selected by Black UpStart to receive mentoring, networking, and coaching services to support aspiring black entrepreneurs.
Refugee Wellness Program Update

“I came to America for a new start, to forget the past. No matter how hard I try, the forgetting isn’t working”. This phrase is spoken in numerous languages by people who have survived persecution, torture, and violence across the globe, and have come to build a new life in the Triangle. Through the UNC Refugee Wellness project, resettled families have a chance to come together through support groups to share their strategies for resilience, and engage in individual therapy to reduce symptoms of distress related to past trauma and current challenges. For the past 5 years, this program has also been training the next generation of social workers to provide mental health interventions to refugee adults through group and individual therapy, strengthened families by reducing parental distress, and worked to destigmatize mental health treatment.

2018 is bringing opportunities to this program. First, Refugee Wellness submitted an application to the NC Office of Refugee Resettlement for a new contract to fund the 2019 fiscal year. The team received a generous training opportunity through the Center for Child and Family Health’s Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy learning collaborative. This training will allow them to begin equipping parents to help their children heal from traumatic stress, something that many refugee parents have requested. With support from the NC AHEC Campus Innovation Award, Director Josh Hinson will collaborate with professors at UNC and Duke to teach an interdisciplinary class of medical, social work, dentistry, nursing, geography, and public health students.

The program welcomed Marlowe Crews Kovach, LCSW-A, back to the team in late June, as the new program coordinator. Marlowe completed her internship at Refugee Wellness two years ago. Marlowe is taking over the great work started by Laura Garlock, who has returned to her home state to continue supporting refugee and unaccompanied asylum seeking youth. Five MSW interns will join Refugee Wellness this year, each bringing their unique skill sets. They will facilitate support groups, engage individuals in brief treatment, and bridge clients to community mental health providers or other supports. The team is building a strong partnership with the Jordan Institute for Families, which has already provided grant writing and administrative support to help sustain and grow this work. Questions? Email  
The Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Lab Unveiled!

Blue walls, orange chairs, Counter Culture coffee, innovate what? All your questions answered here!

What is the Lab?
The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (SIEL) aims to help students, faculty, staff, community members and organizations apply positive aspects of innovation and business to impact social issues . This could mean starting a new non-profit, launching a new program within an existing organization, helping two organizations (e.g. a business and a non-profit, or a university and a church) effectively work together on a common issue, or using human-centered design to co-create services with the people for whom they are intended. The end goal of these efforts is to amplify the impact of programs and services with and for vulnerable populations. The Lab helps the School of Social Work live into the UNC Chapel Hill mission where Innovation is Fundamental.
Why was the Lab started?
In recognition that many of today's social problems are too entrenched for one sector or one entity to solve, as well as the on-going instability of funding for government services and non-profits, Gary Nelson, DSW, envisioned bringing those with common goals from different arenas together to address social inequality and multiply the impact of otherwise disparate efforts. The Lab is a means to that end. Building on past work with the Middle Space, the Lab launched in the Fall of 2016 by engaging two MSW student interns (Beth Lowder and Nora Spencer) who developed a business budget and a plan.

Who is currently working within the lab?
Christina Hill-Coillot, LCSW is the Program Manager. Prior to joining the team in November 2017, Christina led work in California's public mental health system. Using social work values of engagement at two Fleet Feet stores she owned, she also built a vibrant running community for people of all abilities. Beth Lowder, MSW splits her time between the Lab and the Family and Children's Resource Program. Gary Nelson is the SIEL Director. Veronica Creech, MSW is the Lab's entrepreneur-in-residence. She is the Manager of Economic Development in Raleigh, one of only a few cities nationally that has pledged to add a social equity framework to their economic development. The Lab also has an Advisory Group.

Who pays for the Lab?
The Lab began with technical support and funding from the UNC CUBE and a private donation. The renovation of the 1 st  floor and 2 nd floor JIF suites as well as the hiring of Christina Hill-Coillot was supported with resources from the Jordan Family Endowment. The Lab is activating a business plan to secure grants, contracts, and donations to support the current infrastructure AND to grow!

What does the Lab do?
The Lab team can provide consultation and mentoring to students, faculty, staff, and community partners to develop a business plan and connect with community resources to get their social enterprises up and running. This fall the Lab will be offering a series of skill-building workshops, covering topics like navigating difficult conversations, innovative career options for students, community and economic development through an equity lens, and using human-centered design for social innovation. The Lab also provides fee-based consulting services in areas such as stakeholder engagement, leadership, capacity-building, strategic planning, research and dissemination, and innovative program design and implementation.

Am I allowed to hang out in the cool first floor space?
Absolutely! The 1 st floor suite is everyone's space and is open to the school, and outside groups, for use. The small offices can be used for small group work or meetings - either on a first come basis or through reservation. The central room is open for use by individuals or groups anytime it is not reserved. Additionally, the "Impact Gallery" around the walls of the main space is to visually highlight community-engaged work being done by faculty and students. If you have research posters, presentations, materials describing your community projects, artwork, or other information you'd like to display, or if you would like to reserve the large central room, please contact Christina .

Who can I contact to learn more or get involved?
Christina at or 919-843-9223. Her office is in Room 116 - stop in and say hello!

The Lab in the News: UNC's INNOVATE Carolina recently featured the SIEL- click here to learn more.

Join us on October 9th at noon in person or by live stream for a great line up of speakers on the topic of Innovation in Social Work Practice. Click here for more.

Let YOUR Voice Be Heard
We are amping up our use of this forum to advance practice, challenge thinking, and share stories. Have something to share? Email Sarah - the forum is open. Click here to read our current posts! This fall we will be featuring six social work change agents who are taking on important social justice issues. Learn more about Isela Gutierrez this month.
Social Justice in Action

The Social Justice Action Series (SJAS) is organized by a team of students, staff and faculty looking to deepen an understanding of social work, activism and equity. The SJAS began the year with a conversation with student activists and the showing of their Silence Sam documentary. Next up was a focus on social work and civic engagement. September 10 th included a full day, non-partisan event offering incoming students the opportunity to register to vote in the state of North Carolina, and familiarize themselves with their districts, NC voting law, offices up for election, and ballot measures. Artie Hartsell of Democracy NC, and Roxane Kolar of Blueprint NC participated in an evening panel, making the connection between social work and civic engagement. The program and resources highlighted how race, socio-economic status, and ability play into voting access and knowledge.

Keep an eye on the website and event calendar for more fall events. Plans are underway for a program to discuss critical immigration policies and practices and how they impact social workers and families. An artivism event is being planned as is a series on incarceration. Questions? Email