PATRICK THOMAS PANOS

Curriculum Vitae

PATRICK THOMAS PANOS portrait
  • Director of Global Education and Outreach, College of Social Work, College Of Social Work
  • Associate Professor, College Of Social Work
  • Associate Professor of Social Work (Tenured), College Of Social Work

Research

Research Summary

Social Work Distance Learning, International Social Work, Participatory Community-Based Research; Refugee Trauma; Cross-Cultural Mental Health

Research Statement

        I am a social worker.  Consequently, I have deeply held values and beliefs regarding equality, human rights, and the innate dignity and worth of every human being.  I therefore passionately seek the fulfillment of the primary mission of social work, which is:

... to enhance human well being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty... [and] promote social justice and social change.  (Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers, 2008)

 

            As a result, my career and personal life are reflective of these deeply held values and beliefs, as can be seen in a review of my research agenda, philosophy of teaching, and commitment to service. 

My Research Agenda

            In general, my research agenda is focused upon developing a new model of community development.  A common definition of community development is the empowerment of marginalized individuals and groups of people by providing these groups with the skills they need to affect change within their own communities.  In particular, I am concentrated on using distant learning technologies to reach isolated and under-resourced, rural communities (at a local, national, and international level) to develop, maintain, and improve their social and mental health services. There are three concurrent components to my research agenda.  My current efforts are mainly focused on the first component, which is to establish the state-of-the-art distant learning infrastructure, within the University of Utah’s (U of U’s) College of Social Work, needed to reach isolated, rural communities.  In other words, the first component of my research agenda is to establish the capacity that is needed to complete the other two components of my agenda.

The Distance Learning Component of My Research Agenda

            The University of Utah’s (U of U’s) Distant Learning Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) Program is designed to work in partnership with community colleges near or within the targeted isolated, rural communities using a “two-plus-two” model.  Specifically, students from isolated, rural communities will obtain an associates degree at the partner institution to fulfill lower-division requirements for a BSW (the first two years of their education), and then enter the U of U’s BSW distance learning program that will be held within the partner institution, to complete the upper-division requirements for their degree (the second two years).  The primary goals of the program are to: 1) Provide local students on the access to a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) degree granting program at the partnering local colleges within the community; 2) Build community capacity by increasing the number of trained and credentialed faculty at the local institutions; and 3) Increase the number of culturally-appropriate mental health service professionals within the isolated, rural communities. 

            The successful implementation of the distant learning program will provide students access to the professional training needed to work in a wide variety of social service agencies responding to the critical needs of under-serviced communities, including: child welfare, juvenile justice, geriatric support, Veterans Affairs, homelessness, substance abuse counseling, mental health, school counseling, delinquency, family support, mental retardation, medicine, domestic violence, foster care and adoptions, etc.  The provisions of social work services have a dramatic impact on the quality of life within isolated and rural community.  Moreover, communities will be better served by an education program that trains mental health and human service professionals in a culturally-relevant manner.  Over time, this will translate to a strengthening of community values and identity which, in turn, will reduce the incidence of health- and behavior-related disorders among the local population.

            Programmatically and educationally, the BSW distance learning program is focused beyond simply educating students.  Rather, the program is also designed to build the local community’s capacity to meet its own needs through the development of its own educational resources.  Thus, the ultimate goal of the project is to develop and sustain the capacities of the rural, isolated communities to educate local students, in order to meet their own social service needs, in a manner that is supportive to their culture and responsive to their own unique needs.   Consequently, in addition to transmitting class from the U of U campus in Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah, to the community college campuses, tuition monies will be used to hire mentors at the end-site classrooms.  These mentors will be recruited from partner institution faculty and local professional.  They will attend the classes to assist with “in-class” activities, support the students, and in grading of assignments.  The U of U faculty who are conducting the classes from SLC will work directly with the mentors to assist in their professional development.  The eventual goal is to develop the mentors’ abilities and talent sufficiently that they can eventual assume direct responsibility for the class.

            In addition to teacher development, the BSW distance learning program is designed to support the professional development of the different social service agencies within the community.  Therefore, the distant education facilities established by this project will be used to develop web-based training and instruction video resources for the professional community and transmitted to local agencies.

            Finally, The U of U’s BSW distance learning program will be used to engage in participatory outcome evaluations (as described in a subsequent section)  that will greatly add to both the education of the student and the support of local social service agencies.  As a Tier One research university, the U of U is capable of bringing unique resources to this project that will provide valuable support to the agencies that is typically unavailable to geographically isolated communities.  Students admitted to the Joint BSW program will also be able to access some unique programmatic resources as they participate in agency-based outcome evaluation research in coordination with their field practicum experience.  Specifically, students will be encourage and supported in applying for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grants through the U of U (http://www.urop.utah.edu/).  The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides undergraduate students and faculty members the opportunity to work together on research or creative projects. UROP provides assistantships up to $1800 over two semesters to work on agency-based research. Thus, UROP grants can provide the personnel funding agencies will need to conduct the outcome evaluations within their programs.  Student benefit personally through the financial support and experience they gain as they participate in outcome evaluation research that benefits the agencies in which they serve and learn

            Self-Assessment of the Distance Learning Component of My Research Agenda.  In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the U of U’s BSW program a $142,244 through their Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program to establish our distance education program.  This grant will allow for two classroom to be equipt with distance learning equipment on the U of U main campus, as well as a classroom on each of the Hopi and Apache reservations on the campus of Northland Pioneer College, who is our partnering community college.  This grant will  allow us to fully implement and maintain our distance learning program in St. George, Utah; Second Mesa, Arizona (Hopi Reservation); and Whiteriver, Arizona (Apache Reservation).  Additionally, during this last year, the U of U’s BSW program has submitted a proposal for a new $339,998 grant with the U.S.  U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program to fund the conversion of two additional classrooms on the U of U’s main campus, and three classrooms on the Navajo reservation at Tsaile, Arizona; Kayenta, Arizona; and Ship Rock, New Mexico. 

The International and Cross-Cultural Component of My Research Agenda

            The distance education model and infrastructure which is being established within the BSW program provides unique opportunities for international and cross-cultural research.  As mentioned previously, a distance education class has already been established in St. George; and classes on the Hopi reservation are planned for Fall 2011, and on and the Apache reservation for Fall 2012.  Because the exact same class is being streamed to each location, and all classes are graded with the same criteria and assignments, an exciting  naturalistic experiment is established.  As part of our maintenance of our CSWE accreditation, 41 different skills and competencies are being assessed throughout our program.  By examining differences between performance in St. George and U of U main campus students (places with similar student demographics), variability due to the distance  education process can be identified.  In similar fashion, comparisons can be made with three distinct cultural groups (the Hopi, Apache, and Navajo peoples), with the variability for distance learning being taken into account.  In this manner, specific cultural needs and understanding differences can be identified and addressed.  Additionally, as distance education locations are added to different locations throughout the world (depending upon faculty interest), more cultural comparisons can be made.  Finally, UROP grants can be used to establish and support culture specific research within each distance education supported region, using student researchers. 

            Currently, the U of U’s BSW Program, in partnership with Harvard University and Qatar University, is proposing to expand the use of the distance education model described above to train and supervise social service and mental health professionals in refugee camps around the world.  Initially, this model will be used to assist Somalian refugees in Kenya, and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza by training social service workers, who are culturally sensitive to the needs of muslim refugees living in the camps.  We are making this proposal with the support of Nemia Temporal, the Deputy Representative to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian Governor in Jerusalem.  It is anticipated that our model will allow us to develop culturally appropriate curriculum to address the needs of these refugee populations in particular, and muslim refugees in general. 

            Self-Assessment of the International and Cross-Cultural Component of My Research Agenda.  Currently, I am working with several faculty members in setting-up a detailed, state of the art assessment program needed to conduct both the teaching objective and cultural differences assessments.  For example, we are currently training in-class observers to assist in assessing  every class taught in the distance learning program.  The initial evaluation will focus on assessing the training of social workers in St. George and comparing these efforts with the teaching that will occur on the Hopi and Apache reservations.

            Additionally, I am currently engaging in foundational work needed to expand our program internationally.  As stated above, the BSW program, in partnership with Harvard University and Qatar University, has been invited to submit a written proposal for a multi-million dollar, six-year Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) grant.  This grant is currently being written and will be submitted by September 2011. 

The Participatory Outcome-Evaluation Component of My Research Agenda

            As described above, many of our distance education students will be involved in agency-based research, leading to UROP grants, as part of ongoing research projects.  The ongoing research projects will comprise the third component of my research agenda.

            Background: Within the disciplines of social work and psychology, Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) has become a major focus of professional research and interest.  Dr. Barry Cournoyer (2004), head of the Social Work Education Assessment Initiative, defined EBP in social work as follows:

Evidence-based social work is the mindful and systematic identification, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of evidence of practice effectiveness as a primary part of an integrative and collaborative process concerning the selection and application of service to members of target client groups. (p.4)

 

            My research agenda falls within a sub-specialty of EBP known as Participatory Outcome Evaluation. Participatory outcome evaluation is an evaluation method that has been used extensively in international community development and is becoming more common in community development in the U.S. It relies heavily on program/organization stakeholders and participants to guide the evaluation process, particularly in determining the outcomes that are important to measure and in analyzing the evaluation data (Success Measures Project, 2007; also see Taylor, Bryan, & Goodrich, 2004; Deploy, 2008). 

            My Areas of Research Interest Within The Participatory Outcome Evaluation Field:  In particular, my research focuses on participatory outcome evaluation within social service and mental health agencies that are seeking to increase the resiliency of families who have suffered trauma, including war, crime, disease, poverty, and mental illness.  The goal of this research is to gather then apply research evidence to improve treatment effectiveness and to guide clinical decision-making in the delivery of social work services to vulnerable and underserved populations who have suffered trauma.  In other words, my research agenda is to provide each agency the evidenced needed to guide decisions and establish criteria regarding the diagnosis, management and treatment of their clients. 

            The initial focus of the participatory outcome evaluation process is to accurately identify the treatment and interventional goals and objectives of the specific agency being assisted (see Taylor, Bryan, & Goodrich, 2004; Deploy, 2008).  Consequently, according to the standards established within this area of professional research, the first step in the participatory outcome evaluation process is to bring the project donor(s), the project team (staff and management), and the beneficiary representatives to identify the unique project goals and objectives within the given program being examined.  This is a lengthy and involved process better described elsewhere (Mulwa, 2007; Ukaga & Maser, 2004), however, in brief, the goal is to identify the intuitive clinical goals and procedures that are being used to illicit change in the target clients within the unique setting or situation in which services are provided. Once the unique clinical goals and methods are identified, then the specific assessment methods and tools needed to measure those goals and objectives in a process that is well described within the field of participatory outcome evaluation (see Taylor, Bryan, & Goodrich, 2004; Deploy, 2008).  Once the initial outcome evaluation data is gathered, it is presented to project donor(s), the project team (staff and management), and the beneficiary representatives project donor(s), the project team (staff and management), and the beneficiary representatives to determine the data’s appropriateness and usefulness in improving treatment and guiding clinical decision-making.  A reiterative process is then undertaken with participants to further refine the assessment process and tools until the effectiveness of outcome data to guide decision-making and establish criteria regarding the diagnosis, management and treatment of their clients is maximized.  Finally, these refined assessment methods and tools can then be introduced to similar agencies for cross-cultural comparisons to determine which factors are generalizable and which are unique to individual agencies; thus, allowing for the establishment of evidence-based treatment and practice guidelines. 

            Self-Assessment Participatory Outcome-Evaluation Component of My Research Agenda.  Currently, I am working with the College of Social Work’s Social Research Institute (SRI) and the Utah Criminal Justice Center, to make federal grant proposals to support in-agency, community-based research that addresses the needs of agencies in rural Utah and on the Hopi and Apache reservations.  We are currently visiting with agencies within these communities to identify appropriate and needed projects.  

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • University of Utah and Northland Pioneer College Distance Education Bachelor of Social Work Program. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/2012 - 06/2015. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • State Department Award to Assist JUCONI Street Children's Program. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/2010 - 06/2010. Total project budget to date: $2,000.00
  • A Participatory Impact Outcome Evaluation of Four Coordinated Social and Community Development Projects Implemented in 10 Peruvian Villages: Impact on the Childhood Health and Development. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Jowers, K., Gerritsen-McKane, R., McBeth, C., & Boyle, S.. 06/2009 - 06/2010. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Travel award to present at the 3rd Colloquium of the Network of African Family Scholars at Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/2009 - 06/2009. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts- Continuation grant. PI: Panos P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2008 - 06/2008. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Outcome evaluation of the Stay-Alive HIV/AIDs Prevention Program in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2008 - 06/2008. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts- Continuation grant. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2007 - 06/2007. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts- Continuation grant. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2006 - 06/2006. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts- Continuation grant. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2005 - 06/2005. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts- Continuation grant. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2004 - 06/2004. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Family Intervention Training Within a Street Children's Program to Prevent Family Breakdown in Puebla Mexico. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A. & Cox, S.E.. 06/2004 - 06/2004. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts- Continuation grant. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2003 - 06/2003. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Evaluation of the Stay Alive AIDs Prevention Program in Kenya, Africa. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Cox, S.E. & Panos, A.. 06/2003 - 06/2003. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Refugee Resiliency: What Helps Families Survive- A Video Documentary. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A. & Anderson, G.. 06/2002 - 06/2002. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development of technologies to support international social work humanitarian efforts. PI: Panos, P.T. Co-PI(s): Panos, A.. 06/2002 - 06/2002. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Teaching development grant. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/2001 - 06/2001. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Community needs assessment. PI: Cox, S.E. Co-PI(s): Panos, P.T.. 06/2001 - 06/2001. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Distance interactive-video supervision technologies for international social work field placements and research database. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/2000 - 06/2000. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Distance clinical supervision for international social work field placements using web technology. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/2000 - 06/2000. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Distance interactive-video supervision technologies for international social work placements and research database. PI: Panos, P.T. 06/1999 - 06/2009. Total project budget to date: $0.00