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Work with Covington Senior Home Earns NKU Professor National Honor

Northern Kentucky University’s Dr. Suk-hee Kim received the Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education (CORSW) Community Impact Award, a national recognition that celebrates feminist leadership models in social work education.

Dr. Kim is an associate professor of social work and the site coordinator for the Public Child Welfare Certificate program in NKU’s College of Health and Human Services School of Social Work. She is also a faculty fellow of the Institute for Health Innovation. She received the award for her Rising Hope for Aging Project, a community-based learning initiative that connects NKU students with residents at The Golden Tower, a low-income housing unit located in Covington, Kentucky, for senior citizens.

Kim first reached out to Golden Tower in 2016 and proposed a collaboration between NKU’s social work program and the community nonprofit agency. She and her students provide social stimulation that the residents so desperately need and conduct critical assessments and mental health screenings to determine the interventions necessary for residents to age successfully.

“Older adults are the fastest-growing segment of the population both in the United States and around the world,” said Kim. “As social work educators and gerontology leaders, we aim to prepare our students for future professional careers that will allow them to enhance the health and well-being of the aging population and their families.”

Kim changed NKU’s transdisciplinary approach to aging-specific curriculum and program development. She and her colleagues guided the creation of the university’s gerontology micro-credential and advocated for the Aging Resource Center—a centralized location for the campus community to access relevant and essential information, education and resources on aging.

She has received numerous accolades for her research contributions, including the Council on Social Work Education’s Community Partnership Action Award at the national level and NKU’s Inclusive Excellence Faculty Leadership Award.

“It is amazing how and what we can do in the classroom to impact our community,” said Kim. “These awards recognize our students’ excellence and the importance of community partnership to connect theory and practice and contribute evidence-based practice and community engagement models in the field.”

With support and collaboration across the campus community, Dr. Kim played a central role in NKU earning the designation as an Age-Friendly University. NKU is the region’s only institution to join the international effort to increase accessibility and support services for students of all ages.

Dr. Kim was a doctoral fellow in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She earned her joint Ph.D. in social work from the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, an M.S.W. from Boston University with a clinical social work emphasis and a B.A. in social welfare from Han-il University and Presbyterian Theological Seminary in South Korea.

-Staff report

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