Scarborough and Rouge Hospital (SRH) recently announced its Mental Health department has received a $15,000 research grant from the University of Toronto (U of T). The Mental Health department at SRH’s Birchmount site will provide practicum opportunities for first- and second-year Master of Social Work (MSW) students over three years, as well as engage in a research project. U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work will designate $5,000 from the Bertha Rosenstadt Fund for Health Research to the Mental Health department at SRH’s Birchmount site for each year of the grant.
This project will contribute to the growing body of knowledge and literature on the effective use of technology in social work education and practice. Studies indicate that evidence-based online psychotherapy is as effective, if not more effective, than evidence-based, in-person psychotherapy. However, as some clinicians may have a deeper familiarity with the benefits of in-person psychotherapy, they may not understand the benefits of technology in practice.
“Social work students may enter their practicum with a similar perspective, as they have had limited exposure to this therapeutic approach. The research will explore whether, as these students become more familiar with the benefits of online therapy, they will feel more inclined towards online psychotherapy as an effective model of social work intervention,” said Faiza Khalid-Khan, Patient Care Director, Mental Health, SRH’s Birchmount and General sites. “On behalf of Scarborough and Rouge Hospital and social work staff and clinicians from our Mental Health department, I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto for enabling this important research.”
During their practicum at SRH, students will deliver evidence-based psychotherapy services to patients in the Adult Outpatient program, as well as complete assessments on the inpatient unit and with the crisis team. Students will use technology to observe and participate in e-therapy, learn about e-therapy clinical platforms, and participate in data collection and analysis. SRH will gather data to determine students’ perceptions of online psychotherapy pre- and post-practicum.
“It is evident that the social work team is making significant contributions to the research and education objectives at the hospital, all in the service of ensuring exemplary patient care,” said Faye Mishna, Dean, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, U of T. “As future professionals, University of Toronto Master of Social Work students who are fulfilling their practicum at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital benefit from this commitment to education. We are honoured to continue our partnership with Scarborough and Rouge Hospital, and delighted that the hospital is a recipient of the Bertha Rosenstadt Trust Fund.”
The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work will also appoint SRH social work staff members who commit to practicum teaching with U of T MSW students for a three-year period as Adjunct Lecturers for that time period. Other social work staff members engaged in teaching will be designated as field instructors.
SRH is a leader in e-therapy work, offering Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a first-in-Canada project in a community hospital. SRH’s e-therapy research results have been presented at major conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Conference (2015). For more information, please visit http://www.tsh.to/areas-of-care/mental-health/adult-outpatient-program/.