October 4, 2007
Vol. 27 No. 2

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    SSA conference to feature social work of Froma Walsh

    William Harms
    News Office

    A conference to honor the work of Froma Walsh, a leading mental health scholar on family resilience and on strengths-oriented, community-based families, will be held Friday, Oct. 12 at the School of Social Service Administration. Walsh is the Morse and Sylvia Firestone Professor in SSA.

    The conference, which begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Jeanne Marsh, the George Herbert Jones Professor and Dean of SSA, will bring together leaders in the field of family therapy who advance mental health, health care and related social services methods.

    “The impact of Froma Walsh’s research on social work and the family has profoundly shifted the discourse from a focus on dysfunction and pathology to health and resilience,” said Marsh. “Her work has changed and will continue to change the intellectual trajectory of the field.”

    The speakers will present their innovative practice approaches, research and cases to inform and inspire clinical practice and community-based programs designed to strengthen resilience in vulnerable families.

    Among the University faculty members speaking are Waldo Johnson, Associate Professor in SSA, and John Rolland, Professor in Psychiatry. A full schedule and registration information is available at http://ssa.uchicago.edu.

    A faculty member since 1982, Walsh is a leading expert on family resilience and has pioneered the introduction of spiritual resources in healing and positive growth with clinical practice.

    Walsh’s scholarly work led her to develop a research-informed, family resilience framework for interventions to strengthen families facing crisis, trauma or loss; disruptive transitions; and prolonged adversity. Her model is used in research, program development and direct practice in many parts of the world. Her most recent work addresses family and community resilience in response to widespread trauma and catastrophic events, including natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, war-related losses, refugee experiences and terrorist attacks.

    At the invitation of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, Walsh has traveled to Jerusalem to provide training for community mental health workers who are serving Palestinian refugee children and families suffering severe trauma and loss.

    Her books include Strengthening Family Resilience, Normal Family Processes: Growing Diversity and Complexity, Living Beyond Loss: Death in the Family, Spiritual Resources in Family Therapy and Women in Families.

    Walsh holds a joint appointment in Psychiatry and also is Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Family Health.