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Research in the School of Social Work

The University of Memphis is the largest research university in the Mid-South, bringing leading-edge technology and practices to the region.

Faculty in the School of Social Work focus on exploring regional impacts of health and wealth disparities, developing innovative clinical interventions with individuals and families, and implementing effective community solutions to urgent social issues. The School engages knowledgeable community agencies and stakeholders, develops new partnerships, and provides unique opportunities for students to conduct research.

 

Current Research Highlights

Memphis Opioid Workforce Paraprofessional Expansion Program (MOW-PEP)

The opioid epidemic is impacting the nation, including Memphis, Shelby County, and the Midsouth region. In Shelby County alone, opioid related deaths have continued to climb since 2011. In 2011, there were 51 opioid related deaths and 159 in 2017 (Shelby County Health Department). In an effort to address this growing need, a workforce expansion initiative is being offered at the University of Memphis. The Memphis Opioid Workforce Paraprofessional Expansion Program (MOW-PEP) is a training program for students across diverse programs of study. Students who are enrolled in the program will complete program requirements and will earn a certificate of completion and $3,000 towards tuition and supplies. Upon enrollment, students must successfully complete two approved courses, one of which must be an approved substance abuse course. Students will also complete 30 hours of service learning at an agency or organization that works with families and individuals impacted by opioid or other substance use disorder. Students must also attend the free Opioid Summit that is held on campus each year. The goals of the MOW-PEP program are:

  • Increase the opioid use and substance use disorder paraprofessional workforce in Memphis and greater Midsouth areas.
  • Improve trainee’s understanding of evidence-supported prevention used for working with individuals and families impacted by opioid and substance use disorders.
  • Improve trainee’s understanding of evidence-supported treatments used for working with individuals and families impacted by opioid and substance use disorders.
  • Develop the skills of paraprofessionals in cultural competence for working with those impacted by opioid and substance use disorders.
  • Develop the skills of opioid use and substance use paraprofessionals for working as part of a behavioral health team to provide support and services to those impacted by opioid and substance use disorders.
     

If you are interested in learning more or would like to be part of the training to increase your capacity to be part of the workforce helping to meet the needs of individuals and families impacted by opioid use and other substance use disorder in the Midsouth, contact Dr. Melissa Hirschi at mhirschi@memphis.edu