INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University School of Social Work at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has been hosting eight leaders in military social work from the Republic of Korea this week in an unprecedented meeting to discuss how the U.S. and Korea deliver military social work.
The trip was made possible after the group won a competitive grant from the Korean Association of Social Workers to visit different agencies in the U.S. that offer services for military personnel, veterans, and their families. The group’s interest after returning to Korean is to work to establish a new model of military social work in the Republic of Korea. The service organizations offer help for active duty military personnel and veterans, but there are no active duty social worker positions and the preventive programs are still building.
James Daley, an associate professor in the IU School of Social Work at IUPUI who is considered a national expert in military social work in the U.S., was contacted by members of the group several weeks ago about the possibility of coming to Indianapolis.
Several years after the 1999 publication of Daley’s book, “Social Work Practice in the Military,” one of the members of the Korean group contacted Daley about translating his book so it could be used as a training guide in Korea. The two have corresponded and finally met in person this week.
“This visit is unprecedented as a group of military social workers defined as uniformed or civilian social workers serving military personnel, veterans and their families coming to the U.S. to interact about how the two countries deliver military social work,” Daley said. Two School of Social Work faculty, Hea-Won Kim and Michin Hong, also met with the visiting Koreans.
The participants from Korea include a professor of social work at a Korean university; members of military social welfare and veteran institutions; a leader of the Korean Association of Social Workers; and social workers who work at mental health and social welfare agencies.
Michael Patchner, dean of the IU School of Social Work, welcomed the Korean group on Monday, Veterans Day, saying such a meeting “has never happened in the history of the world that we know about.”
“It is just very telling we are having this meeting beginning today to celebrate the work of all veterans,” he said.
During the weeklong stay, the group met with officials of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation in Indianapolis, the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center, the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, the American Legion National Headquarters and the Army National Guard Family Programs.