University of Pittsburgh
March 16, 2006

Pitt Presents Community Forum on How Social Workers Respond to Local and National Disasters


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work (SSW) faculty and students were among the thousands who traveled to the Gulf Coast last year to help residents begin to piece their lives back together following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Pitt's SSW will present a community forum, Detours on Life's Journey: Disasters—Social Work Is There, from 3 to 6 p.m. March 22, in the Kurtzman Room of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Lynn Coghill, a member of the SSW faculty, and So'Nia Gilkey, an SSW doctoral student, will report on their personal experiences with disaster relief in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

In addition to the presentations, a panel of experts will discuss the role of social workers in the aftermath of disasters and how social work students can be better prepared. Panel participants include Ryan Miller, director of social services, American Red Cross, Southwestern Pa. Chapter; Mark Lepore, American Red Cross mental health trainer and assistant professor of counseling psychology at Chatham College; Ed Schwartz, public health administrator for the Allegheny County Health Department; and Sharon Juli, Crisis Counseling Outreach Coordinator for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Pitt's Institute of Politics Director Terry Miller will moderate.

A networking reception will follow. The event is cosponsored by the Pennsylvania Chapter Southwest Division of the National Association of Social Workers. Continuing education credits are available. For more information, call 412-624-3711.