The Social Work Department at California University of Pennsylvania is collaborating with Intermediate Unit 1

Calu and IU1 logo combined

The Social Work Department at California University of Pennsylvania is collaborating with Intermediate Unit 1 to provide community support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to help in the virtual world,” said Joseph Mahoney, director of behavioral and mental health/social work services for IU1, which serves districts in Washington, Fayette and Greene counties.

“We wanted to support mental health and frontline workers who may be dealing with those who have been directly impacted financially or from the virus itself.

“There is so much uncertainty, and everyone on some level is impacted by what is going on. Everyone is going through something.”

Dr. Janice McCall, assistant professor of social work, produced two broadcasts on the ways that community trauma — widespread events like drug epidemics, hate crimes, or disease outbreaks — relates to an individual’s ability to cope.

Instructor Jane Zupancic, who is a program specialist for Washington County Children and Youth Services, provided information on recognizing and reporting child abuse. Her first session drew 300 participants.

“We know what child abuse looks like when you’re face-to-face with a kid and you can see the signs,” Mahoney said. “But through a computer screen, it might look different. What does it look like, and what do we do now?”

The collaboration is the latest the partnership between Cal U and IU1.

“Cal U and the IU have a great relationship, and Dr. Sheri Boyle has collaborated with us for years on trainings to provide continuing education credits,” Mahoney said.

“The Social Work faculty take seriously one of our core social work value of service,” said Boyle, chair of the Social Work Department and coordinator of the University’s Master of Social Work program.

“It is exciting for us as a department to be a resource to our University community and work with Intermediate Unit 1. The IU accepts many of our students for their social work practicum. It’s a pleasure for us to give back to the IU through these podcasts and other training programs.”