senior handsMaya Conlon-KremerMegan Nikolai, and Teresa Smith are the 2014 winners of the I.J. Shapiro and A.J. Borrell Award for best MSSW Student Paper on Geriatric Mental Health Services.

Conlon-Kremer submitted a paper titled “Improving mental health outcomes for community-dwelling Latino elders:  Cultural competency suggestions or the Mayor’s Task Force on Aging.” Nikolai and  Smith, in turn, co-authored the paper “Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST): An Innovative and Effective Option for Caregivers.”

“I was impressed with the quality of paper submissions this year,” said Dr. Carol Lewis, Associate Director of the Center for Social Work Research. “Due to this high quality, the committee decided to give two awards instead of just one this year.”

Dr. Namkee Choi, a committee member and the Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontlogy, was also impressed with the students’ contributions.

“It shows that students understand the urgent need for geriatric mental health services, and they want to be part of the process for developing innovative ideas to address these service needs,” Choi said. “In this way, they are better prepared to work in this field.”

The Shapiro and Borrell Award is sponsored by Senior PyschCare, a leader in innovative care for age-related problems in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The purpose of the contest is to solicit ideas from master level social work students on ways to improve geriatric mental health services by making them more innovative, effective, and efficient. Dr. Leo Borrell, President and Senior Consultant of Senior PsychCare, initiated this paper contest in honor of his father and father-in-law.