Interprofessional collaboration event focuses on caregiving

Photo by Emily Bowman

Estelle Mandeville
Staff Writer

Professionals and students from the fields of education, nursing, social work, psychology, human development and family studies, counseling and Center for Leadership participated in an event focused on caregiving Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The third annual Sha Smith Interprofessional Event began with 8:30 a.m. Mass in Christ the King Chapel, which was celebrated by the Rev. Nathan Malavolti, TOR.

Malavolti said he celebrated the votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary because, “Who better to teach us about caregiving than Our Lady?”

After Mass, attendees were introduced to the event in the Gentile Gallery by Megan Reister, associate professor of education and early childhood. Reister, one of the primary organizers of the event, said Sha Smith, a late residence director of Franciscan University of Steubenville, was inspirational and influential to the interprofessional collaboration event.

Deborah Savage, visiting professor of theology, then gave a keynote address in which she talked about the differences between men and women in caregiving.

Savage discussed the works about men and women by Pope St. John Paul II and Cardinal Angelo Scola. She said, “If it weren’t for moms, children wouldn’t live past the age of four. If it weren’t for dads, kids wouldn’t know how to take risks.”

After the keynote, three sessions of talks were held at various places around the J.C. Williams Center. Each of the talks was presented by students in related fields.

One talk in the Fireside Lounge was about caring for aging parents and grandparents where the presenters discussed keeping the dignity of the person in the forefront while caring for older relatives.

Junior Grace Koski, one of the presenters, said moving her grandmother from a nursing home to her home “wasn’t a seamless transition.”

Junior Maryanne Macdonald talked about “seeing aging as a new phase.” She said its more beneficial to have a positive mindset toward aging rather than lamenting it.

Junior Martha-Marie Myer said that she wants a “revolution of tenderness” when it comes to caring for the aging.

Another presentation in the Gentile Gallery discussed burnout and self-care. Social work and mental health counseling presenters gave definitions and warning signs of burnout and practical suggestions for sustainable self-care.

The Sha Smith Interprofessional Collaboration Event included many other talks with topics, including “Adults and Children with Disabilities – Accomodations and Respite Care,” “How a Mentor Can Help You Find Your Personal Vocation” and “Helping Children Cope with the Death of a Sibling.”

The entire event was volunteer-led and operated.

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