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The University of Tennessee

The College of Veterinary Medicine

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Veterinary Social Work » Contact Us » VSW Spring Educational Series

UT VSW Spring Educational Series

Each year VSW offers an Educational Series that offers seminars on topics salient to both veterinary medicine and social work. Topics covered in the Educational Series include: The physiological effects of stress, the link between human and animal violence, grief and loss, crisis communication, legal issues with animals, animal hoarding, compassion fatigue, diversity, cognitive distortions, being happy, as well as videos for discussion such as The Natural History of the Chicken.

2009 Spring Educational Series Events

All programs are available for HR 128 credit and SCAVMA points unless noted

February 20
QPR Training (Question, persuade, refer)

Representatives from the UT Student Counseling Center
12:00-12:50 in the Sequoyah Room - Bring Your lunch!
(For Students Only - No HR 128 Credit)

QPR is a training program aimed at suicide prevention. It may seem like the kind of talk that you would want to avoid, but DON'T. You CAN help save a life, if you know what to do! Moreover, in your future role as a veterinarian, concerns about client safety will come up in your career! The State of Tennessee and The University of Tennessee have adopted QPR for training in suicide prevention and education. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) provides the life saving skills necessary to effectively and directly ask someone if they are suicidal, persuade them to get help and refer them to the appropriate professional.

February 27
Juggling: Managing Individual, Work and Relationship Needs and Responsibilities

Geneva L. Brown, Ph.D., LCSW, LMFT; VSW Consultant
12:00-12:50 in the Sequoyah Room - Bring Your Lunch!

Do you sometimes feel like the juggler in the circus? Are you barely managing to keep everything going at once? Learn how to prioritize your work and relationship needs and responsibilities and take some concrete steps toward better balance in your life.

March 6
There Ought to Be A Law..

Bethanie Poe, LMSW
12:00-12:50 in the Sequoyah Room - Bring Your Lunch!

We all have things we would like to change in the world. One of the ways that change occurs is through legislation at the local, state, and national levels. In this presentation, we will review the legislative process and discuss ways in which citizens can influence what laws are passed. For the last section of the presentation, the floor will be opened for general discussion about how laws affect animal related professions.

March 27
Conflict Management

Dr. Elizabeth B. Strand, LCSW; Director, VSW
12:00-12:50 in the Sequoyah Room - Bring Your Lunch!

How do you manage conflict? Do you avoid at all costs? Do you say, “It’s my way or no way!” Do you “cave” when there is a disagreement and then struggle inside with resentful feelings later? This session will cover the basic anatomy of an interpersonal conflict. There will be discussion on conflict management styles, as well as pragmatic tips, tricks, and practice on managing conflict well. Resources for conflict management will also be provided.

April 3
When Mourning Comes: Cross-Cultural Bereavement Rituals

Sarina Lyall, MSSW Student and VSW Intern
12:00-12:50 in the Sequoyah Room - Bring Your Lunch!

Grief is typically considered to be a universal response to the loss of someone or something. However, the actual reactions and mourning rituals that may accompany grief vary across cultures. We are all shaped by our cultural beliefs, values, and attitudes. Learning about other cultures not only allows us to better understand our own cultural influences, but also to better appreciate others. This presentation aims to provide information about grief and mourning rituals across various cultures. Participation and discussion about one's own cultural traditions and rituals surrounding death are encouraged.

April 17
Depression: When Sad is All You See

Emily Armstrong, BSSW Student and VSW Intern
12:00-12:50 in the Sequoyah Room - Bring Your Lunch!

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting 15 million people each year. Despite its prevalence, it’s often misunderstood and untreated. This presentation will offer insight into the risk factors, symptoms, causes, and treatment options for the disorder. Additionally, participants will learn what to do when someone they know is experiencing depression. Since mental illness is often stereotyped in our society, participants will be given the opportunity to learn about these stigmas and discuss them in an open forum. Handouts and resources will be available to take home.

April 24
A Journey Together: From Patient to Partner

Amye Lewis, MSSW and Diana DePugh, LCSW and EAGALA certified
You must register for this experience!! Open to the first 16 people to register.

Come horse around with us and be a part of the first Vet Social Work equine assisted experiential stress management workshop. During the workshop you will learn how equine assisted growth and learning can help control the reins of stress and see how these magnificent animals can play a new role as they change places from patient to partner. This is a guaranteed experiential approach; our promise to you is that this workshop will be nothing like your typical classroom lecture because we will be in an arena with horses doing ground relays, obstacle challenges and much more. If you are not a horse person or have never been around horses, no worries!! Even if you are very familiar with horses, this will be a new experience for you. All of the work with the horse will be done on the ground and we will have a trained equine specialist at the workshop. Come de-stress: You deserve it!!! You must register for this event as space is limited! E-mail Tressie Brown at to sign up for one of two times: 10:00-12:00 or 2:00-4:00.

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