University of Calgary

Researcher receives international recognition

UToday HomeJanuary 9, 2012

By Eldon Duchscher

Jennifer Bourassa’s work was among the first  to analyze international psychosocial approaches to large scale disasters outside Westernized Eurocentric realms. Photo courtesy Jennifer BourassaJennifer Bourassa’s work was among the first to analyze international psychosocial approaches to large scale disasters outside Westernized Eurocentric realms. Photo courtesy Jennifer BourassaA Masters of Social Work graduate has received the 2009 Frank Turner Award, which is presented annually to recognize ‘the best of all published articles’ in the journal International Social Work, for research she did as part of her studies.

Jennifer Bourassa’s article, Psychosocial Interventions and Mass Populations: A Social Work Perspective, was one of the literature’s first to analyze international psychosocial approaches to large scale disasters outside Westernized Eurocentric realms.

Using the 2004 South East Asia tsunamis as a basis, the research highlights the potential empowerment and advocacy roles and strategies that can be deployed in these situations. Due to the cutting edge nature of Bourassa’s research, she was approached by SAGE publishing to coauthor a chapter on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Aid in their new manuscript “Handbook of International Social Workers,” scheduled to be released in Stockholm in July 2012.

Bourassa completed her Master of Social Work with a Clinical Specialization and a concentration in International Social Work in 2007, and she is quite familiar with this topic. She was employed with Alberta Health Services for six years in various positions such as a disaster preparedness consultant, crisis intervention counselor, and a mental health therapist. In addition, she worked and volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross International/Disaster Services for 18 years.

In April of this year, she left Alberta Health Services and now serves as a Social Work Officer in the Canadian Forces. The Frank Turner Award was established in 2004 to recognize Turner, who worked was a former editor with the journal.

The journal International Social Work is the official publication of three organizations—the International Association of Schools of Social Work, the International Council on Social Welfare, and the International Federation of Social Workers.