For the fourth consecutive year, students from the University of Southern California (USC) Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work learned how social workers help the military community during a visit to the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Fred Stone, a clinical associate professor at USC, says the annual visits are a chance for students to understand some of the many ways that social workers play a vital role in the military.
“They learn about the extensive number of programs that there are for the military members and their families,” Stone said.
During the March 17 visit, DCoE subject matter experts explained the ways that DCoE provides the Military Health System with up-to-date clinical and educational information about psychological health and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Representatives from the Deployment Health Clinical Center provided information about psychological health issues service members face and how social workers can make a difference. Experts from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center described the TBI Recovery Support Program, which places specially trained social workers at military bases to help members of the military community recover from TBI. Staff from the National Center of Telehealth and Technology presented emerging technology and mobile applications that assist both patients and providers.
The presentations also included overviews of A Head for the Future, a TBI awareness initiative of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center that promotes TBI awareness, prevention and recovery, and the DCoE Outreach Center, which provides information on psychological health and traumatic brain injury.
DCoE leaders say they welcome the chance to help groups like this one understand its work. In addition to being a great opportunity for students to learn, the presentations give DCoE staff members an avenue to share what they’re doing and how their work affects the military community.
“Our primary purpose at DCOE is to conduct research and develop programs and products to improve psychological health and traumatic brain injury care for our service members,” DCoE Deputy Director Dr. Richard Stoltz said as he welcomed the group.
Alissa Myer, one of 22 students from USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, said she especially liked that DCoE resources and tools are available for civilians too.
“Visiting the Defense Centers of Excellence was really wonderful,” Myer said. “They showed me all of these resources, particularly the apps on the phone.”
Stone thanked DCoE staff members for engaging the students and helping them better understand what the organization is all about.