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Applying Neuroscience to Social Work Practice with Children and Adolescents
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When: Friday, June 21st
9:00 am-1:00 pm
Where: University of Utah College of Social Work, Okazaki Community Room (155)
395 S. 1500 E.
Salt Lake City, Utah  84112
United States
Contact: NASW Staff

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**Registration is now closed**

Applying Neuroscience to Social Work Practice with Children and Adolescents

Presenter: Jessica Black, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair, Children, Youth and Families Department, B
oston College

This presentation will introduce the concepts of brain development as they pertain to social work practice and policy impacting children, adolescents, and their families. The primary focus will be on the brain in social contexts that support the development of resilience, and of adaptive coping skills and relationships such executive function, regulation, attachment and social competence. To set the stage for the discussion on the neurobiology of resilience, some of the early presentation will examine how the brain and body are impacted by adversity, trauma and toxic stress, and how these negative experiences influence health and mental health. However, the healing upward spiral that can be built within the mind, body and brain through attention to the positive and the possible is also very relevant to social work and therapeutic intervention, and therefore much of the presentation will place emphasis on the biopsychosocial lens of resilience.

This presentation will blend clinical practice with cutting edge neuroscience and genetics research to explore the many ways in which the brain is built through a positive social context. The plasticity of the brain provides an important conduit for behavior and cognition to be rewired. Plasticity, the ability of the brain to change through experience, is the foundation to intervention and treatment and can be facilitated throughout the lifespan, from gestation to parenthood and beyond. No background in the biological sciences is needed for this presentation, although participants will leave with a deeper vocabulary of brain-based terms that connect to practice and policy, along with resources to continue individual learning. To this end, all genetic and neuroscience content will be bridged with familiar social work terms, principles and theory.


Jessica Black, PhD is an Educational Neuroscientist and an Associate Professor at the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW). She obtained her doctorate in Educational Psychology from Stanford University School of Education and then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research within the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Black’s research integrates the use of neuroimaging (functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging), genetics, standard neuropsychological behavioral testing and environmental measures, such as the home supports, to predict outcome in children with risk for scholastic underperformance and premature school attrition. Keenly interested in resilience, Dr. Black has extended her neuroimaging research to better understand the neural underpinnings of humor and the extent to which humor and positive emotion generally may contribute to resilience during pivotal transitions in the lives of youth.

Dr. Black has published in top research journals such as Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and The Journal of Neuroscience. She is the Chair of the Neuroscience in Social Work Special Interest Group (SIG) within the Society for Social Work and Research, and is the Chair of the Children, Youth and Families Concentration within the Boston College School of Social Work. Dr. Black is actively engaged in integrating neuroscience into social work research, education and training for students and professionals.


Time: 9:00am-1:00pm

CEU's: 4

Cost:  NASW Members: $55

           Non-NASW Members: $110

Student members of UPA may contact the NASW office to get the student discount code.  NASW members must be logged in to receive discount.  

NASW student members: $30
UPA student members: $30

*Two scholarships are available for students or professionals with limited means.  Please contact the NASW office 801/583/8855*

Parking: Free parking is available in the East Stadium parking lot.  You may park in A or U spots


Driving and Parking Directions--Click here


*Important Notes*

-When you register, please complete both the Attendee Info AND Attendee Selections section on the registration page or your registration will not process properly.  Please call us at 801-583-8855 if you need assistance.

-ADA Requests must be made 14 days in advance of the presentation.

-If you are unable to attend the event, please contact the NASW office.  We will issue full refunds within 7 days of the event.



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Utah Chapter, NASW
University of Utah, College of Social Work Room 229
395 South 1500 East • SLC, UT 84112
Phone: 801-583-8855 • Email: