Throughout March, June, and October 2021, Social Workers and Social Service Workers attended 50+ engaging virtual seminars led by exceptional practitioners, leaders and researchers on a variety of relevant topics to enhance their social work practice. 



Digital Posters were been pre-recorded as brief 3-5 minute video presentations on leading innovations in research and practice.
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"Qualitative Study Examining the experiences of Stigma by South Asians Seeking Mental Health Services"

South Asian communities within Canada have historically reported lower rates of accessing mental health services compared to other ethnic groups. Previous research indicates that stigma associated with mental illness is a major factor affecting the help-seeking process. This study aims to conduct an in-depth examination of how South Asian clients seeking counselling services at an Inter-professional Primary Care Team (IPPC) for complex mental health concerns experience and overcome stigma when accessing mental health services.

PRESENTED BY: Jackie Colting-Stol, MSW

"Queer of Colour Organizing in Canada from the 1970s"

An overview of the history of queer and trans of colour organizing in Canada since the 1970s. This topic will present practice and research challenges that call for especially addressing settler-colonialism, imperialism and transnationalism among other.

PRESENTED BY: Joelle Kim, BSW & Edwin Ng, PhD

"A Scoping Review on Health Inequities Among North Korean Defectors"

The health of defectors is a major public health and social work issue. This topic is both timely and important given that North Korean defectors (NKDs) have been rising in numbers in Canada since 2006. In this scoping review, we integrate health equity and human rights frameworks to assess the degree of health inequities between NKDs and non-defectors. Methods.

PRESENTED BY: Natalie R. Beltrano, MSW, RSW

"Training Child Welfare Workers to Engage with Involuntary Caregivers: A Near-Empty, Rapid Systematic Review and Synthesis"

Child welfare agencies in Ontario are mandated to utilize the Risk Assessment Model, yet agencies are including adaptations of the Signs of Safety (Turnell & Edwards, 1999) framework. It is understood that whichever model of child welfare is implemented, child welfare workers are required to have enhanced engagement skills to develop collaborative safety plans and develop mutually agreed upon goals with involuntary caregivers. Collins (2010) completed a synthesis of available literature on the training of child welfare workers, and concluded that child welfare training and its effectiveness is limited. The focus of this rapid systematic review was to obtain the relevant literature outlining experiments that evaluate the effectiveness of training for child welfare workers to engage with involuntary caregivers.

PRESENTED BY: Kelsey Harford, MSW, RSW

"A Scoping Review of Treatment Approaches to 'Problematic' Sexual Behaviour in Children & Youth"

Young people engaging in problematic sexual behaviour account for approximately 20% of individuals charged with sexual offenses. There are numerous factors and theories regarding the reason for the onset of problematic sexual behaviour. These are briefly reviewed while the focus of this poster remains on treatment methods for these young people. An analysis of shame and guilt are reviewed, as the enactment of shame tends to hinder recovery. I will examine the impacts of trauma and attachment on a young person’s tendency towards problematic sexual behaviours. Then specific treatment modalities are reviewed and critiqued, including: psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioural therapy, experiential therapy, and multisystemic therapy. This poster will also evaluate less traditional approaches, such as public health prevention, The Good Lives Model and restorative justice. Finally, recommendations are made for future programming.

PRESENTED BY: Amina Hussain, BSc, MSW, PhD Student

"Social Work Leadership Competencies for Effective Social Work Practice in Health and Mental Health Care: A Scoping Review"

Leadership skills are an integral part of effective social work practice. Social work practice requires leadership skills to support and advocate for the needs of vulnerable populations at micro, meso, and macro levels of care. Social work leadership skills are also essential for implementing client centred care within service provision models that are often compelled to meet corporate, organizational, and political pressures (Jones & Phillips, 2016). Yet, the current landscape of social work leadership research has been limited, particularly within the domains of mental health care. This poster outlines a scoping review conducted across six databases, to address the research questions: (1) What are essential leadership competencies for effective social work practice in health and mental health care? (2) What social work leadership competencies are identified as supportive for clients and families seeking treatment? (3) How do leadership skills support effective service delivery, team decision making, team dynamics, and social workers provision of care? (4) What are key recommendations for improving leadership competencies among social workers practicing in health and mental health settings? 

PRESENTED BY: Shaila Kumbhare, PhD Candidate

"A Reconceptualization of Suicide & Social Workers’ Duty to Report"

This paper examines how history and psychiatry have shaped social work approaches to suicide prevention. Current social work intervention strategies rely on the following four positivist assumptions: (1) suicide is the result of mental illness, (2) suicidal individuals are irrational, (3) social workers have more knowledge about suicide than their clients, and (4) that preserving life is the least harmful outcome. Analysis reveals that these assumptions hold little validity and cannot be generalised to all cases. Discussion encourages intervention strategies that are informed by the experiences of attempt survivors and a broader sociopolitical context. Social workers are encouraged to use methods that are not only life-preserving, but life affirming. Finally, community specific initiatives to increase resources and decrease isolation and marginalization are posited as potential ways to reduce suicide ideation. 

PRESENTED BY: Rusan Lateef, MSW, PhD Student

"Examining Social Workers Experiences with Offering a Social Work Field Placement"

This presentation describes an innovative educational initiative that was implemented in a community-based hospital in Ontario. The purpose of this initiative, as outlined, was to support the continuation and growth of field instruction within this hospital by creating educational opportunities and increased support for field instructors. Field instruction is a critical element in social work education and has a significant impact on the skills that graduates bring to their future social work practice settings. The positive outcomes of this study make it clear that “social workers could influence the future of care” by providing higher quality educational placements and supporting future social workers to be able to provide a higher quality of care to complex clients. Furthermore, this study presents a unique, innovative approach that was created by social workers for social workers, in partnership with the University of Toronto, to support high quality education and practice for current and future social workers. 

PRESENTED BY: MaryKay MacVicar, BSW & Monica Forresterr

"The Community Harm Reduction Response"

The poster depicts a project model which is a collaboration that promotes and enhances community-based capacity for low threshold harm reduction services. The model relies centrally on peer engagement in programming: anchored in multiple community service agencies, delivered at sites frequented by the key population, and offering a range of supports, services and referrals. The initiative has created a hub of expertise: peer training and supports, support for organizational planning and change, shared data collection and opportunities for collective learning and quality assurance. Significant project outcomes include: 10 participating organizations located across the GTA 20 Harm Reduction Peer Workers trained and employed through project activities Engagement of the key population in harm reduction programs and services Extensive monitoring and evaluation activities centred in participatory methods.

PRESENTED BY: Claire McMenemy LL.B., MSW, RSW, PhD Candidate

"Supporting Resilience in ADHD: The Role of Social Workers"

A key concern for Ontario teachers’ has been the challenges experienced by, and supports available to, children and youth with ADHD. Relatedly, there is increasing attention to how children and youth with ADHD experience resilience and the ways it may most effectively be nurtured through interactions with social workers and other supportive professionals. In this study, we explored how emerging adolescents with ADHD (a particularly vulnerable and often misunderstood population) and their families experienced resilience. Using a qualitative, constructivist grounded theory approach, we conducted 21 interviews with parents and primary caregivers of emerging adolescents with ADHD, these adolescents with ADHD, and supportive professionals who work directly with this population. The findings underlined the key role that families play in the lives of emerging adolescents with ADHD, and the need for social workers to collaborate with other professionals to include a family systems perspective when exploring resilience in ADHD.

PRESENTED BY: Lea Tufford, PhD

"Decision-Making & Therapeutic Relationship Maintenance Strategies When Reporting Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect"

Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect brings into sharp relief the divide between the ethical and legal obligations of social workers and the need to maintain the therapeutic relationship with the client. The ability to bridge this divide is paramount to ensure continued psychosocial treatment and prevent future harm to children. This poster describes the development of an educational toolkit that consists of lecture, case vignettes, best practices video, and implementation tools for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for mandatory reporting of suspected child maltreatment. This three-phase project is funded by a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant. The poster presents the results from each phase and offers implications for social work researchers and educators.