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Editor's e-Note
Every social worker knows that continuing education (CE) is a necessary requirement of the profession — a social work fact of life. Like everything in the culture, methods of delivering that education are changing. This month’s E-News Exclusive describes how exciting plans for CE offerings are engaging a new generation of social workers with digital techniques and technologies and the goal of making CE something to anticipate and enjoy instead of simply accept, while also leveraging the need for some course content to be delivered in person. Balancing those factors takes careful design and planning and this month’s E-Exclusive reports on how some innovative professionals are making those decisions and reaching out to a new cohort of CE seekers.

Happy Social Work Month!

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
CE in the Age of Technology — Balancing a Digital Future With In‑Person Needs
By Sue Coyle, MSW

Licensed social workers—whether LSW or LCSW—need to complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) courses every two years in order to renew their license. Outside of licensure, many social workers look to CE in order to obtain or maintain certification through associations. Additionally, many organizations require their social workers to participate in a certain number of training hours per year, and still more social workers look to CE as simply a way to stay up to date and hone their skills.

To put it plainly, CE is a significant aspect of being a social worker.

However, it is not always an easy one. Finding the time to take a course can be challenging, particularly when travel or time from work is involved. And a lot of CE opportunities are offered in person only.

Molly Burke Allwein, LSW, director of professional education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, says that when she took over the CE program in July 2019, it was almost entirely offline. “While there is nothing wrong with offering in-person programs, the reach of these is limited to a short drive radius,” she notes.

As technology’s presence in the profession, as well as professionals’ lives, continues to grow, CE programs, such as Burke Allwein’s, are looking to find ways to incorporate tech in their offerings.

“I am moving our CE program toward having an exclusively digital footprint,” she says. “I have a goal of eliminating paper from our procedures and processes, and having secure online databases and platforms that serve the needs of our CE office and our training participants.”

Full story »
Tech & Tools
App, AI Work Together to Provide Rapid At-Home Assessment of Coronavirus Risk

A coronavirus app coupled with machine intelligence will soon enable an individual to get an at-home risk assessment based on how they feel and where they’ve been in about a minute, and direct those deemed at risk to the nearest definitive testing facility, investigators say.

It will also help provide local and public health officials with real-time information on emerging demographics of those most at risk for coronavirus so they can better target prevention and treatment initiatives, the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) investigators report in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

“We wanted to help identify people who are at high risk for coronavirus, help expedite their access to screening and to medical care, and reduce spread of this infectious disease,” says Arni S.R. Srinivasa Rao, PhD, director of the Laboratory for Theory and Mathematical Modeling in the MCG Division of Infectious Diseases at Augusta University and the study’s corresponding author.

Rao and coauthor Jose Vazquez, MD, FACP, FIDSA, chief of the MCG division of infectious diseases, are working with developers to finalize the app, which should be available by April 2020 and will be free because it addresses a public health concern.

The app will ask individuals where they live; other demographics including gender, age, and race; and about recent contact with an individual known to have coronavirus or who has traveled to areas, e.g., Italy and China, with a relatively high incidence of the viral infection in the last 14 days.

Read more »
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