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Veterans' health expert Shirley Thomas to become coordinator of Wayne State M.S.W. program

April 18, 2014

Veteranshealth expert Shirley Thomas to become coordinator of Wayne State M.S.W. program

Shirley Thomas, assistant professor, clinical in the Wayne State School of Social Work, has accepted the position of M.S.W. coordinator effective the Fall 2014 semester.

A ten-year member of the social work faculty, Thomas will chair the M.S.W. Committee and work closely with M.S.W. academic advisors regarding student orientations, concentration day, retention, and other activities. She will continue to teach in the areas of social welfare policy and social work methods of practice, maintain a program of research, and publish in nationally and internationally recognized journals.

Thomas’ research focuses on social work interventions and methods with children and families, health and health disparities, child welfare services and policies, and stress and stressors, particularly with respect to military service and veterans’ readjustment to civilian life. Thomas is principal investigator of an ongoing study, funded by the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Authority through a grant from the United States Department of Defense, on best practices for keeping veterans engaged in mental health counseling for post-deployment stress. In addition to her work at Wayne State, Thomas has practiced as a community organizer, a child protective services worker, a program evaluator and a geriatric medical social worker.

“Dr. Thomas’ extensive experience as both a researcher and a practitioner makes her ideally suited to oversee the M.S.W. program,” said School of Social Work Dean and Professor Cheryl Waites. “She has the expertise and experience necessary to guide the M.S.W. curriculum and field education and to broaden the practice opportunities available to our master’s students as Wayne State continues its long history of shaping exceptional social workers.”

Thomas will be replacing Kim Jaffee, associate professor of social work, who has occupied the M.S.W. coordinator post since 2010. Jaffee will continue to teach and conduct research at the School of Social Work.

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