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CYFC Update

CYFC Update — May 2016

Learners and Teachers: Case-based Learning in an Interdisciplinary Training Program

Authors (alphabetically):
Debanjana Chatterjee, Ph.D. — postdoctoral fellow
Kari Gloppen, Ph.D. — postdoctoral fellow
Kristen Kessler, M.D. — postdoctoral fellow
Annie-Laurie McRee, DrPH — fellowship coordinator
All in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota

The diverse health issues faced by young people and their families are rarely confined to a single system. Likewise, the knowledge and skills needed to address these complex issues are not the domain of any single discipline. Thus, working across disciplines and settings is essential for child and adolescent health.  

Here, we want to share our experience in interdisciplinary, case-based learning. We do so as a writing team composed of fellows and faculty in the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) and Interdisciplinary Fellowship Training Program at the University of Minnesota representing the disciplines of developmental-behavioral pediatrics, social welfare, population health sciences, and public health. The fellowship provides training for an interdisciplinary cadre of pre- and post-doctoral trainees (“fellows”) for leadership roles in public health practice and clinical care, research, and advocacy with the goal of improving the health of, and health services for, children and adolescents. Fellows come from a wide range of disciplines (including medicine, nursing, nutrition, psychology, and social work) and meet together for a weekly seminar series during their first year in the program.

The Case
We at LEAH first began working with Cari Michaels at the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) to incorporate an innovative case-based learning series, “About Steven: A Children’s Mental Health Case Study about Depression” into our training program in 2014. This four-part case examines Steven’s mental, physical, social, and emotional development from birth through age 15 using an ecological perspective to consider the many influences (family, school, community, systems, policy) on a young person’s health and well-being. Because of participants’ enthusiasm and positive evaluations, we have since added the case study series to our regular training curriculum.

Working through the “About Steven” case together, fellows identify strengths of Steven, his family and his community, as well as possible points of intervention at each stage of his development. Participants also discuss potential missed opportunities for intervention during the critical early years that may have prevented later adverse outcomes. Fellows are encouraged to share their own disciplinary approaches to each of these dimensions, providing a learning experience in which fellows have the opportunity both to share and to reshape their own perspectives in light of the diverse disciplinary outlooks in the room. As one fellow commented this year, “This case gave us a good opportunity to contribute from our different backgrounds.”

Further, the case also provides a learning experience that extends beyond the topic of mental health to include:

Finally, the case-study format is engaging and participants reported that they had “some of [their] most lively conversations over the case study.” Participants shared some of their own personal experiences and discussed the opportunities that could be taken to ensure optimal development of youth they encounter in their own work.

Learners as Teachers
This year, as continuing fellows, a group of us had the opportunity to work together to facilitate the "About Steven" case study with our first year colleagues. As active participants last year — and facilitators of the case this year — the most enjoyable aspect was hearing from other participants about their unique perspective shaped by their discipline and background. The case study approach fosters active learning, allowing all participants to be both learners and teachers. As facilitators, we continued to see new aspects of the case as we discussed it with a new group, and the hands-on learning activities encouraged rich discussion. For example, we asked participants to write or draw what the term  “mental health” means to them on a large piece of paper in the center of the table. This activity gave participants an opportunity to use new modes to express their ideas, build-on each others’ work, and physically see a bigger, inter-connected picture.

For most of us, this was our first experience facilitating a case-based learning experience. The materials provided by CYFC were helpful and made our preparation relatively stress-free. We found that the case provided context and details to engage participants across professions and, based on our experience, we are confident that others could successfully facilitate ”About Steven” with other groups. We believe the case study would be beneficial for anyone working with children and families — from medical clinics to schools to churches or other community organizations. Not only does the case focus on what we can each do as individuals to make a change and promote the health of children, youth and families — it also highlights what we can do working together.

If you are interested in learning more about this case or using case study learning in your own work, contact Cari Michaels at

Consortium News

‘Children in Common’ Issue of eReview Receives University Award for Writing
The Extension publication, Children in Common: Ensuring the Emotional Well-Being of Children When Parenting Apart, spark of inspiration plaquehas won a University of Minnesota Communicators Forum 2016 Maroon Award. The award was presented May 12 at a Communicators Forum recognition event.

Issued in October 2015, the “Children in Common” publication was chosen as an award-winning piece in the “Writing: Long Feature” category. Maroon & Gold Awards are presented annually to University of Minnesota Communicators Forum members whose work exemplifies the University’s core values: excellence, innovation, effectiveness, integrity, diversity, collaboration, sharing of knowledge, accountability, stewardship, and service. Maroon Awards are given to entries deemed by the judges to be of exceptional merit.

children in common booklet cover

This publication was written, edited and designed by a collaborative team of Extension and community professionals and was submitted by Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate with the University of Minnesota Center for Family Development and Communicators Forum member. The publication was the 10th issue of the Children's Mental Health eReview produced by Extension Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC). Team members for this issue were:

Ellie M. McCann, M.S., University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development
Kjersti Olson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development
Eugene L. Hall, Ph.D. Student, University of Minnesota Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development, Extension Center for Family Development
Maisha Giles, LMFT, LICSW, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center
Stephen L. Onell, M.S., LISW, FathersFIRST! Program, Parents Forever™ Instructor
Rose McCullough, Hennepin County Co-parent Court 

Jenifer McGuire, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of Minnesota Family Social Science and Extension Center for Family Development
Cari Michaels, M.P.H., University of Minnesota Extension Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Technical Editors:
Mary Ann Hennen, M.A., University of Minnesota Extension
Kate Walker, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development
Mary Vitcenda, B.A., University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development

Jessica Barnes, B.S., University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development

You’re Invited to Evaluate the April eReview
ereview cover“Falling Behind: Understanding the Educational Disparities Faced by Immigrant Latino Students in the U.S.” was the subject of the April 2016 issue of the Children’s Mental Health eReview. The issue looks at research on the many opportunity gaps Latino youth encounter, including economic constraints, language barriers, acculturation issues, and discrimination. Three community authors also weigh in on how this research can be put to use in educational and community settings.

Please take a few minutes to read, and then evaluate the issue. Doing so will help shape and improve future issues of eReview. And you’ll be entered to win a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. 

CYFC’s Sara Langworthy to Speak at Communicators Forum Annual Conference
Sponsor: University of Minnesota Communicators Forum
Date: June 8
Cost: $150-$230
Location: University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs
CYFC’s Sara Langworthy, Ph.D., will share insights on the consortium’s recent video projects as part of the University of Minnesota Communicators Forum Annual Conference, whose theme this year is “Spark of Inspiration.” Langworthy will speak at a breakout session entitled “Do You YouTube? Leveraging Online Video as a Research Communication Tool.” The event also will feature a keynote address by Molly McPherson, CEO of Spark Tactics, called “Digital Death by a Thousand Clicks: When Poor Social Media Practices Slowly Kill a Reputation One Click at a Time.” Register here for the conference.  [no longer active]

Upcoming Webinar on Communication Strategies, Change, and Parental Incarceration    
Sponsor: National University-Based Child & Family Policy Consortium
Date: June 7
Cost: Free
Location: Online
Using parental incarceration as an example of a timely issue affecting millions of children and families, this webinar titled, “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street from the County Jail? Communication Strategies for Leveraging Systems Change on Parental Incarceration,” aims to give participants a deeper understanding of the critical importance of translating research to practice and policy. CYFC’s Sara Langworthy, Ph.D., will present the webinar along with Rebecca Shlafer, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, U of M Department of Pediatrics, and Sara Benning M.L.S., Outreach and Communications Director with the U of M Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health in the School of Public Health. CYFC is a member of the National University-Based Child & Family Policy Consortium. Register here for the webinar [no longer active] and send presenters your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #researchcomm leading up to and during the presentation!

Symposium to Examine Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Curricula
Sponsor: Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health
​Dates: July 27-28
Cost: $375-through June 15; $395 after June 15 (scholarships are available)
Location: Collegeville, MN
The second “Faculty Symposium on Embedding Core Principles of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health into Curricula” is for Minnesota-based faculty members teaching at two- or four-year institutions and working in the fields of family sciences, public health, nursing, social work, early care and education, early intervention and early childhood special education, mental health, early childhood and parent education, speech, and communications. Attendees will explore cutting-edge research, theory and application, and they will work collaboratively with peers across disciplines and receive instructional units and resources to embed into existing courses. CYFC's Sara Langworthy, Ph.D., will address the symposium. Learn more and register here for the symposium. [no longer active]

Partnership With EFNEP Teaches Third Graders Nutrition at Bruce Vento Elementary School 
CYFC, in collaboration with Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), is conducting nutrition classes for third grade students at Bruce Vento Elementary School. To learn more about the nutrition classes and what the students are learning, check out the recent blog post by Maks Luthra. Remember to subscribe to the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners blog for updates on the partnership with Bruce Vento Elementary School.

Center for Family Development Announcements

FD Seeks Applications for Health and Economics Educator Position
The Center for Family Development (FD) is seeking applications for an Extension educator position that bridges the health, nutrition and financial capability program areas. The Health and Nutrition and Financial Capability Extension Educator will assist in implementing initiatives to help Minnesota families access healthy food and the resources they need to make ends meet. 

The person in this position will provide direct education, forge new relationships and partnerships, train staff at other organizations, support and collaborate with stakeholders, and engage and educate policy makers. Required qualifications include a master’s degree in health, nutrition, public health, family social science, or a closely related discipline, as well as experience in one or more of the following: teaching, community education, and community health promotion. 

The person in this position will report to the Program Leader for Family Resiliency in FD and will travel frequently across the state. This is a full-time, Academic Professional and Administration position at the level of Extension Assistant Professor. 

Learn more and apply for this position at Review of applications will begin on May 20, and the position will remain open until filled.

University & Community Announcements

National Prevention Week Highlights Substance Abuse, Mental Health

This week, May 15-21, is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week — an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. The three goals of National Prevention Week aim to:

To learn more about the prevention of mental illness and the roles community members and providers can play, watch the Children, Youth & Family Consortium's video "Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours."

To learn more about National Prevention Week, visit the SAMHSA website.

Speaker to Share Experience as Caregiver to Children with FASD 
Sponsor: Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Date: May 18
Cost: Free
Location: Windom, MN
Kari Fletcher and her husband, Mike, have six children — two “homemade” and two adopted from the foster care system. Kari and Mike were licensed foster parents for 16 years in Blue Earth County and the two children they adopted have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). At this presentation, Kari will talk about her experience as a caregiver and the unmet needs behind challenging behaviors that children with FASD face in the home, classroom, and community. She will also discuss strategies for parents to reduce frustration and increase success in raising children with FASD. A light supper and childcare will be provided. To RSVP, contact Amy Schlager, or 507-841-1030. 

Conference to Focus on Cities and Nature  
Sponsor: Children & Nature Network and Minnesota Children & Nature Connection
Dates: May 24-27
Cost: $195-$425
Location: St. Paul, MN
Join Dr. Gail Christopher, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Richard Louv to hear about the benefits that nature can have on children’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Studies also show that hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in nature help improve children’s grades, as well as their attitudes and behaviors in school. In addition, meaningful experiences in nature create a foundation for inspiring the next generation of scientists and environmental stewards. Learn more and register on the Children & Nature Network website.

Upcoming African Mental Health Summit to Address Role of Culture 
Sponsor: Progressive Individual Resources, Inc.
Date: June 17
Cost: $45
Location: St. Paul, MN
“Going the Distance, Not Far Enough: The Essential Role of Culture in Mental Health Interventions” is the theme of the second African Mental Health Summit, which will feature BraVada M. Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P., as keynote speaker. Garrett-Akinsanya is a licensed clinical psychologist with 28 years of experience and an expertise in trauma survival and African American mental health. The day-long conference also will feature several presentations and panel discussions on mental health service delivery to African immigrant and refugee populations. Learn more and order tickets here for the summit. 

Center for Youth Development Offers New Self-Study Online Classes
Sponsor: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development
Dates: Available now
Cost: $25 each
Location: Online
These four short, affordable introductory self-study classes allow participants to learn foundational, research-based principles of working with youth. The classes are especially useful for new and part-time staff and volunteers. Topics include the following; click on linked text for more information and to register:

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