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By Jessica Reaves

An expert in mental health and substance abuse treatment, SSA Senior Lecturer Stanley McCracken has taught and trained countless social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists during his 30-year tenure at SSA, both at the School and at countless nonprofit agencies and government departments. Throughout his career, McCracken has been a powerful advocate in the movement to unite the frequently disparate worlds of research and practice, such as his deep knowledge of the latest thinking in treatment for dual disorders.

By Carl Vogel

SSA faculty members describe what it takes to be called to testify on their areas of expertise to legislators—and how the experience can affect policy decisions that can have far-ranging impact. Neil Guterman, Jeanne Marsh, Jens Ludwig, Dexter Voisin and Mark Courtney give insight into what it’s like to testify at a federal or state legislative hearing and how they worked to bring their experience and research to legislators in a way that can have the most impact.

Sidebar Story:

By Charles Whitaker 

For two decades, Deborah Gorman-Smith has promoted strategies that demonstrate the benefits of working with at-risk children and their families before they become ensnared in the grip of gangs and violence. Principal investigator and director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, Gorman-Smith and the center moved to SSA in the fall. Her work is devoted to studying and stemming the underlying causes of youth violence through evidence-based, collaborative interventions that focus on families and communities.

Departments

The problem of gun violence has again returned to the foreground of our national consciousness. Although we have seen some overall decline in the violent murder rate across the U.S. since the early 1990s, the problem remains devastatingly large, painfully destructive to our families and communities, and morally unacceptable.

In this Conversation, Harold Pollack and Mike Koetting talk through the specifics of Illinois’ progress in implementing the ACA, including nuts-and-bolts challenges, the state’s unique problems, and the impact of politics on health care reform.

Women reported growing unhappiness from 1985 to 2006, according to “Footloose and Fancy Free? Two Decades of Single Mothers’ Subjective Well-Being,” a recent study published in Social Service Review. They reported increased pessimism about the future, regret over the past, and overall dissatisfaction with their lives.

Young people from the highest tax brackets who care about social justice are finding ways to reconcile their money and their values by using a community organizing model that takes them beyond simple philanthropy.

Child support is a good thing, right? Not always. New research published in the March 2012 Social Service Review has found that children whose fathers paid below the median level of formal child support—$1,500—were more likely to show more aggression and more “internalizing behavior” like depression, anxiety and withdrawal.

A program in Chicago’s neighborhood high schools is better preparing some students for college than the city’s most selective high schools, a recent study found.

Historians are beginning to understand the central role art has played in the efforts of community organizers to subvert ingrained representations of race and to challenge urban inequality. 

Over the years, studies have shown that multi-racial youth are more likely to use illegal drugs, smoke, drink alcohol or be caught up in violence than youth identified as single-race. According to a paper published this year in the peer-reviewed Journal of Youth and Adolescence, however, the differences in risky behavior among these two populations are not as great as previous studies had shown.

School News

All it took was a small independent film to change Rachel Durchslag’s life. The movie, Lana’s Rain, is a fictional story of a Bosnian refugee in Chicago forced into prostitution by her dominating older brother. For Durchslag, A.M. ’05, who saw the movie in 2003 as she was working for several women’s organizations, it was a jarring look at the grim realities of prostitution and sex trafficking in her hometown.

The human toll of gun violence in this country is astounding and undeniably deeply troubling. America’s firearm death rate is eight times higher than that of other industrialized nations. More than 85 Americas die from gun violence daily—annually, another 73,000 are wounded and virtually millions are impacted by the psychological and social consequences of gun violence.