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$1.5 Million Grant to Help NKU Social Work Program Study Trauma-Focused Care for Children

 Dr. Dana Harley remembers exactly how it felt when she and her colleagues were honored with a $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“It was an exhilarating feeling,” Dr. Harley, assistant professor in the Northern Kentucky University Department of Counseling, Social Work, and Leadership. “I am so excited that our (Master of Social Work) students will have the opportunity to gain specialized skills in the area of trauma focused care. Our students will be great assets in the behavioral health workforce.”

NKU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sue Ott Rowlands echoed those sentiments. 

“This grant creates an amazing opportunity for our students and also fills a critical need in our community,” Ms. Ott Rowlands said. “It’s always a powerful combination when students can broaden their knowledge and skills and at the same time make a real difference for the people of our region. I want to thank all of those who worked so diligently to bring this opportunity to NKU.”

In September, Dr. Harley learned of the grant, which will go to the NKU Social Work program for Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training For Professionals and Paraprofessionals. It will focus on a behavioral health workforce training program in trauma-focused care for children, adolescents, and transition-age youth, or CAT.

“The NKU Social Work CAT program will collaborate with the Family Nurturing Center and Lighthouse Youth Services,” Dr. Harley said. “Eligible NKU MSW students will receive a monthly stipend and tuition assistance – totaling approximately $16,000 per student – for specialized training in trauma-focused care and specialized field placements with children, adolescents, and transition-age youth.  

“The award will assist in better serving a high-risk population, like children and youth with behavioral health needs, with innovative, evidence-based practices and in providing this training to eligible MSW students and local mental health professionals,” she said.

In the development of the successful grant proposal, Dr. Harley was joined by Dr. Willie Elliott, Megan Lindsey (MSW field director), Amy Trostle (NKU MSW grad), and Dr. James Canfield.

MSW students accepted into the training program will earn a certificate in trauma-focused care. A transdisciplinary team will develop and teach the certificate curriculum.   

Dr. Dana Harley is in her fourth year as an assistant professor. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker-Supervisor and has over 10 years of clinical social work practice experience. She specializes in child and adolescent mental health and developmental issues. She has involved more than 225 NKU students and area high school students in her research.

“In keeping with the NKU strategic plan goals of student success, talent development, academic innovation, community engagement, and institutional excellence, we are delighted," said Karen Tapp, program director for social work. “Congratulations to the team for your dedication and hard work! We joyfully celebrate this accomplishment with you!”

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