by Carla Rose-Pryor
Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
10/20/2015 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- Student
interns from the Masters of Social Work program at the University of
Southern California are taking advantage of an opportunity to gain
invaluable experience as they provide services and referrals to
active-duty military and their families.
John Howard, Dejha Harris, and Jason Woodrum from the USC Adults and
Healthy Aging Department, and Rebecca Dardon from the USC Community,
Organization, Planning and Administration Department were all welcomed
by Mark Maxfield, 61st Force Support Squadron director, Patricia Brown,
Airman & Family Services Flight chief and Cathy Howard, Airman and
Family Readiness Center director during an introductory reception Sept. 9
hosted in the A&FRC.
"Los Angeles AFB provides a unique local opportunity for USC's
specialized military and veteran's social work sub-concentration
students to gain valuable training by interacting directly with
active-duty, veterans and their families," explained Maxfield.
USC's optional military curriculum prepares students to support military
members and their families as they face numerous challenges, to include
transitions and deployments. According to Maxfield, many veterans
suffer serious mental health disorders ranging from post-traumatic
stress, anxiety and depression, which could lead to substance abuse,
domestic violence, child abuse and suicide. Military spouses and
children can also experience traumatic stress during deployments and
"The military social work program curriculum provided by USC will help
prepare graduates to treat combat-related mental health issues, better
understand military culture and improve the overall health and
well-being of veterans, their families and communities," said Maxfield.
In 2013, Dr. Michael Johnson, from USC's School of Social Work, reached
out to Ms. Ida Humphrey, 61st FSS' School Liaison Officer, Ms. Brown at
the A&FSF and Ms. Howard at the A&FRC to explore collaborating
between USC and Los Angeles AFB to provide services and referrals to
military personnel, veterans and their families.
"This opportunity not only provides an understanding of military culture
and the commitment that is made by the men and women of the armed
forces as well as the sacrifices of their families, but it also gives
the USC School of Social Work an opportunity to give back to this great
community of Americans," said Johnson.
After several years of working through agreements and other logistical
hurdles, the interns are finally approved to perform their eight-month
internship which incorporates curriculum classroom learning, guidance
from a licensed instructor and field experience at Los Angeles AFB.
"The USC program at Los Angeles AFB will play a critical role in
preparing future graduates for contemporary clinical issues in their
chosen profession," Maxfield stated.
The interns are under the clinical supervision of retired Army Maj.
Dedra Fulcher, a licensed clinical social worker and registered nurse
working as a USC external field instructor.