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Editor's e-Note
Delivering effective professional development trainings requires more than subject matter knowledge, as the author of this month’s E-News Exclusive found in her survey of educators and presenters of continuing education. While the primary responsibility for learning is on the attendee, educators must find creative ways to engage, helpful tools, and new formats to involve diverse groups of learners. Read more about how professional development education is changing with new learners and innovative approaches.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page; and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
From Expertise to Education
By Sue Coyle, MSW

It has been said that people do not truly understand a subject until they are able to effectively teach it. In social work there are many opportunities for teaching—as a supervisor or mentor, as a professor, and as a trainer in professional development opportunities. Each role has its own unique challenges, but when it comes to effectively communicating material, professional development stands apart.

Rather than having a prolonged opportunity to teach, professional development demands that educators communicate their subject matter in a short period of time—often only one or two hours. Further, the audience in an open training is likely to be more diverse in terms of experience and knowledge level than in, for example, a standard MSW-level classroom.

And while much of the responsibility for learning falls on the attendee, the expert cannot simply stand before an audience and read off bullet-pointed facts—a time-saving but ineffective technique. Doing so would be a disservice.

“It behooves the presenter to recognize that this is a service to the profession,” says Cassandra McKay-Jackson, PhD, LCSW, an associate professor and MSW program director at the Erikson Institute Graduate School in Child Development in Chicago. “This is a service to the profession to advance the profession,” she says.

Thus, a presenter in a professional development setting must utilize a variety of techniques and tools to maximize the audience’s desire to listen and learn. In short, the instructor must engage.

Full Story »
Tech & Tools
Machine Learning IDs Markers to Help Predict Alzheimer’s

Nearly 50 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. While no cure exists, medications can delay the progression of symptoms for several years, extending the quality of life for patients. However, in order for these medications to be effective, the disease must be diagnosed at an early stage. Current research suggests that the brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s likely starts a decade or more prior to symptom onset.

Recently, a team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University Medical Center, Stony Brook University, and Ilsan Hospital in South Korea has shown that a combination of two different modes of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer-based image analysis, and image classification using machine learning models may be a promising approach to accurately predicting Alzheimer’s risk.

“Such multimodal imaging analysis can enhance predictive power by identifying key diagnostic markers of the disease,” says team member Shinjae Yoo, PhD, a computational scientist in Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative.

Read more »
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In this e-Newsletter
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Six Degrees of Social Work — A Social Work Education Connects Professionals on Diverse Career Paths
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Mural Helps Dispel Mental Health Taboos
CNN reports on artists coming together to paint a mural that helps battle mental health myths next to a hospital in Spain.

More Middle-Aged and Older Adults Using Marijuana
NPR reports on new study finding that increasing numbers of middle-aged and older Americans are using marijuana.
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