May 26 - June 11, 2014



Public health is concerned with what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people live can be healthy. Social work is concerned with how to use relationships to solve problems that impact community and individual health. This Summer Institute will focus on:


1. Common Factors in Successful Social Work.

2. Introduction to Social Work With Special Needs People.

3. Treating Trauma with Children and Teens.

4. Youth Programs Using Experiential Learning.

5. Normal Aging and Alterations.

6. Mindfulness and Stress Reduction


Each topic will be addressed as a workshop. The workshops are structured so that participants may attend one or more workshops. Early enrollment is encouraged. Participants may enroll in additional workshops at a later date if space is available. Members of all helping professions, but especially those in social work, social service work, or community health professions are encouraged to attend.


We invite participants who are (1) staff, faculty, and social work students and (2) social workers/collaborators/counterparts of Vietnamese American NGOs and other international and


Participants should have a bachelor degree in a social science related field. Three years of experience as a practicing social service worker will exempt the requirement of a degree. University students will be permitted to attend the Institute workshops on a space available basis after more qualified individuals are accepted.


These workshops will emphasize practical methods of working with people and solving problems. There is no registration fee for these workshops and priority will be given to participants from co-sponsoring universities and organizations. All organizations are responsible for the costs of transportation, meals and lodging associated with sending their staff/collaborators to the training. 


Workshops are sponsored by An Giang University (AGU) and West Virginia University (WVU) with generous co-sponsorship from Pacific Links Foundation, Southeast Asia Children’s Project (SACP), West Virginia University Extension, and West Virginia University 4-H Programs.





Workshop 1: Common Factors in Successful Social Work. May 26 -- Jim Keim, MSW, Neal Newfield, Ph.D., & Susan Newfield, Ph.D. Common Factors research asserts that the characteristic that all successful therapy and social work have in common is the relationship bond between the service provider and the client and the empowerment of the client in regards to the problem the client is address. Two assessment instruments the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS) will be presented as tools that can enhance your relationship with clients and improve the success of your work with them.


Workshop 2: Introduction to Social Work With Special Needs People. May 27 & 28 -- John Ang, MSW In this workshop, concepts of disability and impairment are examined from different vantage points together with the implications they engender. Participants are encouraged to reflect on how this might be achieved within their own socio-cultural context. Topics covered will include: different perspectives and definitions of disability, early interventions, educating children and youth with disabilities, employment issues and opportunities, disabilities and rehabilitation in later life, family life issues and caregiving, as well as how to develop a more enabling society.


Workshop 3: Treating Trauma with Children and Teens. May 29 & 30 -– Hoa Nguyen Adam, MSC, Jim Keim, MSW, Susan Newfield, Ph.D. R.N., & Neal Newfield, Ph.D. This workshop will focus on practical interventions that can be used with a variety of trauma. The focus will be particularly on childhood and teen trauma with attention to how this effects attachments in relationships. The emphasis will be on customizing interventions to cultural, individual, and contextual variables. This presentation will include discussion of family, community, and shelter treatment contexts. Participants will practice some parts of interventions with each other.


Workshop 4: Youth Programs Using Experiential Learning. June 2 – 4 -- Dennis Scott Participants will gain an overview of the Ages & Stages Model and become more familiar with characteristics of children as they grow. This workshop will demonstrate methods to create age appropriate programs, develop experiential activities, and conduct after-school or camp activities. Lessons of the 4-H program (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health) will be presented through the Essential Elements of youth development. Issues of child protection, risk factors, and promoting educational engagement will be discussed.


Workshop 5: Normal Aging and Alterations. June 5 & 6 -- Susan Newfield, Ph.D. R.N. & Jane Riffe, Ed.D. This workshop will provide participants with information about normal aging and those things that community workers can do to assist older people to age normally. Topics covered will include the latest research on psychosocial, as well as, the normal physical changes that occur. This information will be utilized to build a model of self-care that can mitigate negative influences on healthy aging. It will also address cognitive changes that sometimes occur and interventions that can assist workers to effectively work with these changes. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own aging and their beliefs and attitudes about working with the elderly. Opportunities will be provided to practice the interventions discussed and reflect on the issues discussed in the socio-cultural context of Viet Nam.


Workshop 6: Mindfulness and Stress Reduction. June 9 – 11 -- Jane Riffe, Ed.D, Neal Newfield, Ph.D., & Susan Newfield, Ph.D. When you experience stress, your blood pressure, heart rate, and level of cortisol go up, which is not healthy. When chronically stressed, our immune system becomes compromised; we heal more slowly, experience pain more sharply, and experience greater mental distress. This workshop will teach a range of mindfulness skills helpful in reducing stress, slowing down, distancing oneself from distressing thoughts, and enjoying life more. Subjects covered will include: the documented benefits of mindfulness, experiencing mindfulness as a way to relax, eating mindfully, mindful walking, shifting perspective to let go of control and improve wellbeing, thought surfing, how to “de-fuse” harsh thinking, and the power of acceptance and gratitude in reducing stress. Knowing these skills, you will be able to practice them in your own life and teach them to your clients.


Workshops will begin at 8:00 and generally end at 16:30 hours with a 90 minute noon break for lunch.





Hoa Nguyen Adam, MSC, Social Work. Hoa is a consultant to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP). She designs and advises on program development, develops case management tools, curriculums, and provides technical assistance for various anti- human trafficking activities, COMMIT and capacity building programs, especially in shelter services. Hoa has worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, much of this time on development, HIV/AIDS, disability and anti-human trafficking projects in Asia and Africa.


John Ang, MSW. John is a Senior Fellow with the Department of Social Work at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is President of the International Federation of Social Workers the Asia Pacific Region and has over 30 years experience teaching social work at NUS, the University of Hawaii, Cornell University, and Xiamen University in China. He is a recipient of the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat Public Service Medal in Singapore. He teaches and publishes primarily in the areas of social theory, child development, family life education, couple counseling and disability studies with a special emphasis on autism.


James Keim, MSW, LCSW. James is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Work at West Virginia University and Director of the Southeast Asia Children’s Project, a group focused on the prevention of child trafficking and the treatment of its victims. He is co-author of the book, The Violence of Men, and a contributor to other texts on therapy with children and families. Currently, he is a Fulbright Roster Candidate for Vietnam.


Neal Newfield, PhD, LICSW. Neal is an Associate Professor of Social Work at West Virginia University and a social documentary photographer. He teaches courses in individual, marital and family therapy. Neal is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. His publications span a wide range of social work topics from research to practice.


Susan Newfield, RN, PhD, APRN, BC. Susan is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of the Nursing Faculty at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, Department of Health Restoration. She is also a family therapist and experienced in AIDS prevention work. Susan teaches courses in individual and family mental health care. She is a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Susan’s is a co- author of a commonly used text on nursing diagnosis.


Jane Riffe, Ed.D, LICSW, LPC. Jane is a West Virginia University Extension Specialist in Family and Human Development. She brings a background in clinical social work and teaching, having maintained a private counseling practice for 20 years prior to joining WVU Extension. Dr. Riffe’s research and teaching focus on emotional wellness, specifically mindfulness-based stress management, healthy couple relationships, and co-parenting education for divorcing and separated parents. She has authored “Stress Less with Mindfulness,” a five-unit preventive mental health curriculum for teachers, social workers and other professionals interested in learning these skills of self-regulation and teaching them to clients.


Denis Scott, MPA, PCED. Denis is an Assistant Professor and the Global Education and Civic Engagement Specialist for West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Human and Community Development at West Virginia University. His current work in human and community development focuses on youth engagement, service learning, and leadership. Denis has developed, managed, and taught youth programs in school, camp, and club settings. He has worked on a broad range of Extension projects including agriculture and natural resources and families and health programs that strengthen youth and communities. Denis’s international Extension work focuses on inter-cultural exchanges and experiential learning programs for youth and adult volunteers.