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UNC School of Social Work helps China tackle growing pains
Date:8/4/2008

CHAPEL HILL As China gears up for the Beijing Olympics, a burgeoning relationship between U.S. and Chinese social workers is helping ensure that the world's most populous nation can deal with its growing pains at the same time that it's coming of age.

The problems vary widely from helping victims of the recent Sichuan earthquake cope with trauma, to managing the impact that China's one-child policy and a booming elderly population are having on the nation's social fabric.

Such tasks aren't made easier by the fact that social work as a discipline is still quite new in China and the number of trained professionals is relatively low.

To help address the issue, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Social Work has formed a partnership with the School of Social and Public Administration at the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. The two institutions recently formalized the relationship with a five-year joint "memorandum of understanding."

The international partnership, a first for the UNC school, evolved from a series of collaborative efforts between Chinese governmental ministries and universities and comes as China's marketplace economy continues to expand as does the country's need for some form of social services system.

"China is moving quickly to develop social work services, and they are developing practice and policy innovations from which we are learning," said UNC School of Social Work Dean Jack M. Richman, Ph.D., who welcomed the joint venture. "This is a real win-win collaboration."

Over the past several years, UNC faculty and Chinese professionals have worked together on research and training, while a study abroad program with East China University is now in its second year.

And in May, the relationship took on new meaning, when a devastating earthquake struck central China, killing tens of thousands of people.

The disaster coincide
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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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