College connects Osaka students with urban social work

Group picture of Osaka visitors and JACSW faculty -2017

Visitors from Osaka Prefecture University learned about urban social work as part of an ongoing collaboration.

“Konnichiwa. UIC e yōkoso.” (Good afternoon. Welcome to UIC).

During a recent trip to the Jane Addams College of Social Work (JACSW), a group of visitors received special welcoming greetings with a Japanese touch.

Eight students and two faculty members from Osaka Prefecture University – School of Social Welfare (Japan) who are interested in pursuing social work careers spent an afternoon on campus examining the social worker’s role in addressing issues affecting urban populations in the U.S.

The visit was part of a partnership agreement with OPU — a collaboration that is ongoing and growing.

Annette Johnson, a clinical associate professor who chairs JACSW’s social work concentration, said that during past visits, “The students from OPU stayed for a week, and visited schools and agencies in the field. So it was a rich, immersive experience for them to see how agencies and schools really interact here in the U.S.”

This year, JACSW’s collaboration with OPU expanded to include a visit from faculty and students who were interested in gender studies and health, and gender disparities in health.

Following introductions, Creasie Finney Hairston, dean of the college, welcomed the group.

Next, three JACSW faculty members presented research they are conducting related to gender and health.

Charles Hounmenou, assistant professor, presented “Human Trafficking: Global Scope and Awareness,” emphasizing the international scope of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and how it disproportionately impacts women.

Henrika McCoy, associate professor, presented “SURVIVE: Suburban, Urban, Rural Violence: Investigating Victim Experiences,” looking at the impact of violence and trauma on young African-American males.

Jack Lu, assistant professor, presented “Differentiating Health Disparities and Health Inequities: Social Work’s Role in Addressing Injustice,” focusing on an interprofessional collaboration between JACSW, the UIC School of Public Health, and urological oncology at UI Health that addresses health inequities experienced by African-American men with prostate cancer in Chicago.

“Our partnership with Osaka Prefecture University has been an enriching one,” Hairston said. “We are honored to host this delegation and pleased to share some of our recent work in the areas of gender and health disparities. We look forward to an ongoing collaboration between our two schools.”

The afternoon ended with an exchange of gifts and a familiar farewell: Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita.” (Thank you very much).

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