Monday, August 25, 2014

Medicaid and the Future of Health Care in the USA: Interview with Matt Salo

[Episode 88] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about Medicaid. Medicaid is one of two health insurance programs signed into law on July 30, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Medicaid has long been erroneously thought of as "insurance for the poor." Medicare, the other program LBJ signed into law, is thought of as "insurance for older adults." Are you bored yet? Yeah, me too.

"An hour long episode on Medicaid? Are you serious?" I hear you. I've dealt with Medicaid audits, those mind-numbing time studies, and the pathologically rigid billing regulations. But before you hit the "skip" button and head over to one of my competitors - Podsocs, inSocialWork, or the Social World Podcast, consider this: Medicaid has been called "the most important program [in the USA] that nobody understands." (Matt Salo, November 22, 2013). Did you know that it is a 450 billion dollar health insurance program that served 72 million people a year? 72 million - that's twice the population of Canada, and more than the populations of France, Italy, Germany, and the UK.

In order to get a handle on this enormous program I spoke with someone who is in the news on nearly a daily basis answering questions about Medicaid - Matt Salo. Mr. Salo is the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), "a bipartisan, professional, nonprofit organization of representatives of 56 state Medicaid agencies (including the District of Columbia and the territories). NAMD is committed to providing a focused, coordinated voice for the Medicaid program in national policy discussion and to effectively meet the needs of its member states now and in the future" (NAMD website).

I spoke with Mr. Salo about his role in NAMD and the function of the organization. We spoke at length about the ethical and economic dilemma that has faced Medicaid lately - the development of a cure for Hepatitis C (Sovaldi). As Mr. Salo explained in this New York Times piece from August 2, 2014, Medicaid directors estimated that covering this cure for Hepatitis C could drive up the cost of health care by 10% to 15% across the board. Mr. Salo and I talked about how social workers can advocate for clients within a system that is constrained by economics. In the second half of our conversation, Mr. Salo described a future for health care that addressed many of the criticisms of the way managed care was conceptualized. He talked about the role of social workers in this new world of integrative behavioral health.

I'm VERY interested in your thoughts about Mr. Salo's thoughts on medicaid. Please join me in an on-going online discussion. If you're on Twitter, use the hastag #medicaid. If you're on Facebook, please go to the Social Work Podcast Facebook page and leave your comments. And if you listened to the very end of the episode and know the answer to the question "how does Jonathan know Matt Salo" please give the answer on the poll at the top of the page. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends: Stories about Social Work from Ogden Rogers, Ph.D.

Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work
[Episode 87] In today's social work podcast, we're looking at the beginning, middle, and end of social work. No, this is not an apocalyptic tale of burning towers of progress notes and zombie utilization managers... although that does sound kind of interesting. No. Today’s episode is much more innocent than that. Ask any social worker, first year undergrad or emeritus professor, “what are the most basic phases of social work?” They will tell you: beginning, middle, and end. In today's Social Work Podcast we hear excerpts from a collection of poems and short stories called Beginnings, Middles & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work, written by Ogden W. Rogers, Ph.D., LCSW, ACSW, Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Work at The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and published in 2013 by White Hat Communications. Ogden has written a beautiful little collection of stories from his 30 years of social work experience. Of the 99 stories in his collection, we’ll hear six, two each from Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Addressing suicide risk in schools: Interview with James Mazza, Ph.D. and David Miller, Ph.D.

[Episode 86] Hey there podcast listeners. Today's social work podcast is about addressing suicide risk in schools. When we think about suicidal youth, we tend to think about hospitals and emergency rooms, or outpatient therapy. When we think about schools we think about standardized testing, or unfortunately the increasingly common mass shooting. But schools are an ideal place to address suicide risk in schools. That's why I was so excited to talk with two of the leading experts on youth suicide in schools. Jim Mazza, Ph.D. and Dave Miller, Ph.D. Jim is at the University of Washington and director of their school psychology program. Jim is the past-president of the American Association of Suicidology. Dave Miller, is at SUNY Albany in the educational and counseling psychology program. He is the president-elect of the American Association of Suicidology and author the highly regarded text, Children and Adolescent Suicidal Behavior: School Based Prevention and Intervention published in 2011 by Guilford Press

I spoke with Jim and Dave in April 2014 at the American Association of Suicidology conference. We talked about what is known and not known about what works to address suicide risk in schools, some of the barriers to implementing effective suicide prevention programs, and the value in framing school-based suicide prevention and intervention in a broader context, both as a way of selling the idea to school administrators and parents, as well as to think beyond just addressing students in a suicidal crisis. As an example, Jim talked about a curriculum he has been developing that uses concepts from Dialectical Behavior Therapy that is intended to improve emotion regulation and other issues in all students.  

A couple of notes about the interview. I recorded it in my conference hotel room and you might hear some street noises in the background.  Right before we recorded the interview we had been in the hotel lobby talking with Marsha Linehan, developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This is important, not because I like to name drop, but because you'll hear Dave and Jim reference Marsha and the conversation they were just having with Marsha downstairs. It all made great sense in the moment, but could understandably be a bit confusing if you weren't with us. Downstairs. With Marsha Linehan. At one point Jim mentions research that he is doing with his wife, but doesn't mention her name. She is Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza, licensed psychologist and expert in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. 

And now, without further ado, on to episode 86 of the Social Work Podcast, Addressing suicide risk in schools: Interview with James Mazza, Ph.D. and David Miller, Ph.D.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Similarities and Differences between Social Work in the United States and the United Kingdom: Interview with David Niven

[Episode 85] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast explores the similarities and differences between social work in the United States and the United Kingdom. I spoke with British social worker and podcaster, David Niven. David is the former National Chair of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). He has over 30 years national and international experience in the field of social welfare and is recognized as an independent expert on matters of child protection and parenting. He is the founder and host of the Social World Podcast (www.socialworldpodcast.com).

There are many similarities between social work in the USA and the UK, but there are a couple of important differences. One of the biggest differences is that in the UK child and family social workers serve as child protection workers, whereas in the USA child protection and social work are separate professions.

Note: David interviewed me in November 2013 about cyberbullying and youth suicide for his podcast series. You can hear that episode here: http://socialworldpodcast.com/jonathan-singer-interview/

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Motivational Interviewing, 3rd Edition: Interview with Mary Velasquez, Ph.D.

[Episode 84] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about Motivational Interviewing, Third Edition. In today's episode I speak with Mary Velasquez, Ph.D., Centennial Professor in Leadership for Community, Professional and Corporate Excellence and Director of the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Velasquez is a trainer for the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and has been involved in research that informed the changes to Motivational Interviewing, Third Edition. In today's interview Mary talks about how she became involved with Motivational Interviewing, what has changed and stayed the same in the revised version of Motivational Interviewing, DARN CATS, the four change processes, and how people can experience Motivational Interviewing in less than 15 minutes. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sex, Relationships, and HIV: Interview with Gail Wyatt, Ph.D.

[Episode 83] In today's Social Work Podcast I speak with Dr. Gail Wyatt, pioneering sex researcher, award winning teacher, mentor, and researcher, and the first African-American woman to be licensed as a psychologist in the state of California. I spoke with Dr. Wyatt in April 2010 when she was at Temple University giving a talk about her research with African American HIV serodiscordant couples. Serodiscordant couples are those in which one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative. Dr. Wyatt and her co-investigators had just concluded an 8-years investigation of a couples therapy intervention that they hoped would reduce HIV/STD risk behaviors in African American HIV serodiscordant couples. They called the intervention Eban which is "a traditional African concept meaning 'fence,' a symbol of safety, security, and love within one's family and relationship space" (El-Bassel et al., 2010, p. 1596) The Eban intervention combined components of social cognitive theory, historical and cultural beliefs about family and community preservation, and an Afrocentric paradigm. If you want to read more about the Eban intervention or the results of this clinical trial I’ve posted the links to those and related articles on the Social Work Podcast website. So, you’re probably wondering, after 8 years did it work? Yes. At the end of 8 years, and 535 couples later, the couples that were part of the Eban intervention used condoms more frequently and more consistently and reported fewer sexual acts without condoms than the couples in the health promotion comparison group. And I have no doubt that when the researchers finished running those analyses, they went "Phew! Thank Goodness!"

For today's interview, Dr. Wyatt and I talked a bit about the research, but mostly we talked about two of the techniques that were used in the clinical trial. The first was a way of having couples plan and enjoy safe sex. The second had to do with addressing past histories of abuse within the context of a consensual sexual relationship.  It was at this point that the conversation moved away from couples therapy into a conversation about healthy sexual behaviors. Dr. Wyatt made the point that most health and mental health providers ask about a client's "age of first sexual contact" without distinguishing between consensual and non-consensual sexual contact. She pointed out that adolescents sometimes do not distinguish between the two. She encouraged providers to be more precise in their questions, and to find out if their clients are current victims of sexual abuse. We about how to include adolescent clients in mandated abuse reporting calls if current abuse is uncovered, and how to address the issue of sex among adolescents who are victims of past or current sexual abuse. And, as usual, I asked Dr. Wyatt if she could provide some resources for people who were interested in learning more, and she was happy to oblige.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Challenges and Rewards of Collaborative Community-Based Research for Social Change: Interview with Corey Shdaimah and Sanford Schram

[Episode 82] Today’s episode of the Social Work Podcast is about how to balance the demands of doing good research with the passion that practitioners and advocates have for addressing the social problems that face their communities. My guests are Corey Shdaimah and Sanford Schram, authors of Change Research: A Case Study on Collaborative Methods for Social Workers and Advocates published in 2011 by Columbia University Press.

In today’s Social Work Podcast, Corey and Sandy distinguish between Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and talk why they use PAR rather than CBPR in their work with communities. They give examples of how challenging it is to actually do PAR. They talked about the need to bridge the gap between research and practice and how that was one of their motivations for writing their text, Change Research. Throughout our conversation Sandy and Corey bring up lots of ideas that are perfect discussion points for research classes, both at the masters and doctoral level.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Identifying and Responding to Sex-Trafficking Victims in Social Service Settings: Interview with Rebecca J. Macy, Ph.D.

[Episode 81] In today's social work podcast I spoke with Rebecca J. Macy, Ph.D., ACSW, LCSW. Rebecca is the L. Richardson Preyer Distinguished Chair for Strengthening Families and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UNC at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

I started our conversation asking Rebecca how she became interested in identification of sex trafficking victims in human service delivery. Most of our conversation focused on how to identify and respond to victims of sex trafficking. We talked about the interdisciplinary nature of sex trafficking; how it involves representatives from law, medicine, social services, and how social workers can and should take the lead in coordinating efforts to help victims. And, as is the custom, we ended our conversation with resources for social workers, the Polaris project in particular. Rebecca was kind enough to send me a list of references and resources that I have posted to the socialworkpodcast.com website.

Since 2004 there has been a 150% increase in the number of searches for the term "sex trafficking." During the same period, there has been no appreciable change in the number of searches for the terms "modern day slavery" or "labor trafficking."

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Overview of Trauma-Informed Care: Interview with Nancy J. Smyth, Ph.D.

Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast looks at Trauma Informed Care, one of the most promising approaches to working with people without causing additional trauma. And I had the honor of talking about Trauma-informed care with Nancy Smyth, professor and Dean of the School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo. There are three reasons why Nancy was the perfect guest for today's topic. First, she understands what it means to address trauma at the micro, mezzo, and macro level. She has worked in both mental health and addiction treatment settings for over 35 years as a clinician, manager, educator, researcher, and program developer. Second, she's what we like to call a “content” expert. She is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress.  Her research, teaching, and practice focuses on trauma, substance abuse, and on working with people recovering from those experiences, including the use of innovative treatment approaches like EMDR and mindfulness meditation. In today's episode, we talked about Nancy's interest in Trauma-Informed Care. She identified the basic assumptions behind Trauma-Informed Care. She clarified the relationship between a trauma-informed approach to working with clients and specific empirically supported treatments for people with trauma histories, and treatment for people with PTSD. She talked about some of the ways that she has translated trauma-informed principles into micro-level treatment practices. We ended with resources for people who are interested in learning more about Trauma-Informed Care, including a bunch of episodes on the inSocialWork podcast series.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Perinatal Loss: Interview with Sarah Kye Price, Ph.D.

[Episode 79] Today's Social Work Podcast is on perinatal loss. Perinatal loss includes ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (which most people call miscarriage), late-pregnancy loss or stillbirth, and neonatal or newborn death.

In today's episode, I spoke with one of the profession's leading scholars and experts on perinatal loss, associate professor of social work at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Sarah Kye Price.

We talked why it is important to do a thorough assessment of pregnancy and pregnancy-related loss during a biopsychosocialspiritual assessment. She talked about the importance of allowing mothers / parents to tell their story. She pointed out that, although no loss is worse than any other, there are different intensities and needs depending on the loss.  She also noted that families in which there was a perinatal loss, there can also be growth. We talked about the different types of interventions and treatment approaches for individuals and families who experience perinatal loss. We ended our conversation with resources for people interested in learning more.